Born in Taiwan and raised in Los Angeles, Hellen’s life has always been a blend of east and west. Her family owned cashmere factory furthered her textile and fashion education at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in California where she earned a degree in Apparel Manufacturing and Product Development.
Hellen has been instrumental in launching many emerging designer labels including HELLESSY, 6397, AREA. Recognized as a member of The Female Founder Collective, Hellen now applies her design and business skills toward the development of her namesake line of transformational, holistic healing products.
Where were you born and raised?
I was born in Taipei Taiwan and grew up in Orange County, running around in the Eucalyptus forest, and spending summers in Laguna Beach.
What was your life like before moving into the holistic space?
Busy would be the word! For the last 20 plus years, I worked in ready-to-wear luxury fashion, chasing deadlines and creating thousands of garments. I love the process of creating collections – taking a concept and realizing it onto a body in fittings. Every material chosen had an intention and a reason for it being there. We would spend hours of fittings on models and many runway shows, preparing for the season after season. Starting from sourcing the fabrications, then conceptualizing the collections, making sure the merchandising created an organic flow. After a labor of love of 6 months, we would present a runway show for 15 minutes, creating a world for everyone to romance and peak into this universe you created. Typically I would have 2 to 3 clients at a time launching collections, and at the same time running production, ensuring the product meets the standards of our retail partners. One season finished and the next season would follow.
What inspired you to get into making bath brews?
In the face of personal tragedies and this hectic schedule, I began to search for ways to release and process the pain in my body. I was determined to come out on the other side without bitterness or resentment. I became a reiki practitioner and aromatherapist in the process, creating the brews to have a home spa experience to unlock my body and connect to my mind and heart. This allowed deep releases while renewing me to conquer my work the next day. For over 2 years I took anywhere from 3-5 baths a week. There was a sense of grounding I experienced throughout the process, and others started taking notice as I shared my journey on social media. I began getting orders and slowly grew this into multiple products.
What healing benefit do you think soaking in a bath provides over taking a shower? What is your go-to bath brew?
The Bath Brew product features salt sourced from a company with a patented machine that sorts it down to the granular level, removing dirt, sand, and impurities, leaving the Epsom mineral. Sorting out all of this excess material ensures your body always experiences a productive therapeutic experience. We are seeing in research that up to 50% of the US population is magnesium deficient. Bathing is one of the best ways to intake this mineral; take note it does need to become a ritual, consistently soaking in each bath for at least 20 minutes for the mineral to absorb into your body. Studies have shown Magnesium can lower blood pressure, has anti-inflammatory effects, supports brain function helping to fight depression, and boosts performance in exercise.
Studies have also shown clear benefits when listening to “sound waves affecting the brain waves, which causes relaxation and sets the frame for the healing process.” Quoted from A. Pesek, T. Bratina’s research on Gong and its therapeutic meaning. We have customized 4 songs to each bath, targeting the intentions of each brew.
In addition, giving yourself permission to stop and regroup for 20 minutes is essential to your overall well being. We are in a culture where we are on call all the time, due to all of our technology and social media platforms. It’s important to have time to allow your mind (music), body (minerals and oils), and soul to restore.
I believe in soaking twice a week to receive the benefits of the minerals and center your body. To center yourself, it’s always important, to begin with, the Center Your Heart bath brew.
I see an opportunity to also make the shower an aromatic, grounding daily experience by using our Revive oils. The essential oils work with the steam in the shower to light up the olfactory system, creating a refreshing experience while awakening your senses. The core essential oil blend contains Japanese Mint (Mentha arvensis), powerful support to brightening your breath, Laurel noble (Laurus nobilis), anti-inflammatory and expectorant, along with other oils that create an aromatic experience to set forth your day on a positive note.
Research for reference:
We understand you gave a lot of your inhalants to people working the frontlines during this global health crisis. Tell us more about your inhalants and what inspired you to create this product?
The inhaler was discovered throughout my case studies as I was preparing for my aromatherapy certification. I smelled over 350 different kinds of Essential Oils throughout the coursework, learning about the chemistry and the benefits to ones’ mind and body. When I saw the effects firsthand, I proceeded to expand my case study to 150 people and saw 80% of the subjects started to experience positive benefits on a daily basis. Their aromatherapy ritual became an essential tool when they felt anxious, uneasy, unfocused, or even to support a public speaking engagement; these emotions were all very heightened because of COVID. Using my background in fashion and my ability to spot trends, I quickly identified one in this product. The product was discreet, personal, and provided a low bar of time commitment, yet it was very effective in supporting a shift away from negative thoughts.
“While having COVID, I had many sleepless nights. I could not breathe which would then cause anxiety. The inhaler and the face steam helped me both physically and emotionally by opening up my airways and bringing me comfort that calmed me down. These products helped me get through this horrible ordeal. The drawback was that my husband, an EMT, kept stealing my inhaler as it helps him with his anxiety on the job. It was an easy problem to solve! We got him his own.”
– Alexandra Plazas-Herrera Co-Founder The Co-Laboratory – NYC
“The inhalers intensify my connection with my consciousness to manifest my life to its fullest depth. It’s kept me grounded. I keep it in my first aid kit. Hellen donated 30 to my colleagues and this has helped to support them to remain calm”
– Rose, COVID Nurse – Hudson NY
“It helps me prepare for my meditation and comes in such a sleek, portable package. Perfect for on the go and travel. Helps remove the chatter from my mind, so I’m more clear and able to meditate.”
– Julie, COVID ICU Nurse Practitioner – Santa Monica
What motivates you to continue creating? Do you create the formulas for your bath brews and the inhalants?
My motivation is to empower people with tools to heal their minds and to connect to their bodies. The Apothecary Cabinet is a modern interpretation of the centuries-old practices of Aromatic Botanicals, which will be a division within HELLEN to service clients with more acute issues. I create all the formulas and consistently test new products as I have moved my broad case studies to individual clients now. I love these one-on-one consultations because they challenge me to create new rituals, observe, and learn.
What are you doing for self-care and self-love that is a nécessité that you were not doing before this global shift started?
Keeping it simple and consistent has become my focal point in creating self-care and self-love rituals.
For self-care, I’ve started eating whole foods, anti-inflammatory foods, and herbs, and infusing water with herbs and/or tinctures to increase benefits to hydration. I incorporate my Aromatic Inhalers into my mediation, yoga, and walking routines. I love practicing my meditation and yoga in my backyard, surrounded by nature. I also find self-care through gardening and growing my own vegetables and herbs.
Self-love is all about restoration: giving myself permission to move through all emotions, rest when I need to, even taking afternoon naps, and being gentle with myself remembering everything is moving slower. During the Full Moon, I sit in the evening to absorb the moon, releasing things that are illuminated in my life and manifesting new intentions for the coming month.
As a way to keep my heart inspired and maintain awe for life, I began hatching butterflies and creating a sanctuary in my backyard for monarchs.
Photo Credit: Farida Latif