Date: 4 January, 2023
Nerissa Low of Liht Organics On The Self-Care Routines & Practices Of Busy Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders
Spending time and building the relationship with myself has built my Self- Confidence and I have definitely become a more self assured person over the years. I make my decisions based on what I feel most aligned with instead of worrying about what others might think, allowing me to shine in my most authentic self.
All of us know that we have to take breaks in our day to take care of ourselves. “Selfcare is healthcare”, the saying goes. At the same time, we know that when you are a busy leader with enormous responsibility on your shoulders, it’s so easy to prioritize the urgent demands of work over the important requirements of self-care. How do busy entrepreneurs and leaders create space to properly take care of themselves? What are the self-care routines of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders? In this interview series, we are talking to busy and successful entrepreneurs, business leaders, and civic leaders who can discuss their self-care practices and self-care routines. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Nerissa Low.
Nerissa Low is the founder of Liht Organics- a line of ultra- clean, premium organic cosmetics comprising of up to 90% USDA-certified organic ingredients that are gluten-free, cruelty-free, vegan, and ultra-clean without synthetic chemicals, fragrances and nanoparticles. Born out of Nerissa’s personal skin problems, Liht Organics was launched in 2019 in Singapore, China and in the UAE with a mission of LOVE- Love for Self, Humanity and the Planet, to provide safer alternatives to beauty.
Liht Organics has since gained market traction and proven its position as a strong contender in the cosmetics arena with beauty awards won for hero products in its range, and recognised for its efforts towards environmental consciousness with the Asia Enterprise Brand Award 2019. Her background in finance as a multi-award winning financial practitioner and a speaker in the areas of finance and personal empowerment contributed to her business acumen leading to her achievement of the highly coveted Women Entrepreneur Award and Singapore Prestige Class Award for Business Leadership and Excellence in 2019/2020. She was also recognised in 2022 as a Change Maker for Sustainability Through Art in the Spirit of UAE here in the region.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! It is an honor. Our readers would love to learn more about your personal background. Can you please share with our readers your personal backstory; What has brought you to this point in your life?
Itall started with my own personal struggle with adult acne when I was in my 20s. During that time I was on daily oral medication and had to have steroid injections directly into my pimples every month. Having been on that treatment for a few years, I realized that I needed to find a permanent cure for myself. I went into a deep dive research and found that I was hypersensitive to the chemicals in my daily care products and after doing a detox of my skincare routine, my skin cleared up in 3 months! While organic skincare was easily available, I had difficulty finding authentic organic makeup that had the performance I was looking for. That was when I decided to start my own line of ultra- clean cosmetics curated exactly the way I wanted them to be.
I showcased the products at Cosmoprof in Hong Kong and China and I realized that the market had a great demand for organic products- that was a turning point for me to start scaling the business internationally! What first started off as a small dream of solving my own personal skin problems quickly turned into a mission to scale the brand towards globalization.
What is your “why” behind what you do? What fuels you?
From a business standpoint, I knew that there would be many other women who might face the skin problems that I did. I always knew I wanted to create something magical that would be great for the market- something that would help solve problems, something that would contribute to humanity. Our mission of LOVE- Love for Self, Humanity and the Planet, is the compass that guides the company. I didn’t want Liht Organics to be merely a wonderful beauty brand, I wanted it to have a persona that could inspire people to make more conscious choices for themselves and to bring a message of empowerment. That is why our shade names are named after positive affirmations and our eye products are named after crystals to remind women that they are gems to the world.
We also take extra care to ensure that all our ingredients are not just safe for the user, but also for the planet when it washes into the oceans. I have a deep passion for animals, and my personal dream is to build animal foundations and privatizing land in the Amazon rainforest. Not only is the Amazon contributing to 20% of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to millions of people, animals and organisms. Ultimately, saving the planet involves a collective effort, and Liht Organics is here to encourage everyone to start by taking baby steps towards making more conscious choices in their lifestyles.
How do you define success? Can you please explain what you mean from a personal anecdote?
Peace of mind. To me, it doesn’t matter how much money I have if I am unable to look at myself in the mirror and be proud of what I have done. During the course of my journey with Liht, there have been many occasions where I have been presented with business opportunities that required us against our ethos. There were distributors and potential investors who wanted us to do animal testing and add chemicals in our makeup for the sake of market expansion and profits, and that was a hard no for me. It is a non negotiable for me that the team I choose to work with and the investors I bring onboard share the same values so we can move forward with our vision and mission without compromise.
What is the role of a growth mindset in your success? Can you please share 3 mindset mantras that keep you motivated, sane, and propel you forward?
“The Biggest Threat to our Planet is the Belief that Someone Else will Save it”- Robert Swann
This quote always touches my heart deeply because it spurs me on to keep pushing no matter how “small” our efforts are in the grand scheme of things. There is a strong ripple effect in everything we do, and I believe that if everyone chooses to use less chemicals, to use a little less paper, to eat a little less meat, the collective impact on the planet will be massive.
Shine so Brightly that all in Darkness will Fall Away from You- Nerissa Low
It is inevitable that we will come across people with bad intentions in business. A wise man once told me “Don’t let the bad habits of others change your good habits”. This has always been a reminder for me that if I constantly choose to stay in the Liht (pun intended!), people with questionable intentions will eventually reveal their true form and exit my life. The light that we shine will always emanate and expose the truth.
Sometimes in Life, We have to Earn More than Just Money- Anonymous
I first heard this line from a friend of mine and it couldn’t be more true. Money has never been the priority in the decisions I make in life. The love, support and trust that we have garnered today from our investors, business associates and customers are a result of how we constantly choose people over profits, and this value is what forms the unwavering foundation of the company.
You are by all accounts a very successful person. How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I always feel that doing something impactful for the planet is the work of the collective consciousness and I can’t do it alone. We do our best to provide safer alternatives in beauty and to inspire people to make better choices in their lifestyles even outside the beauty space. On every platform I have been invited to speak at and share my views, I feel that as long as I have inspired one person to make one better choice that would have the ripple effect to change their lives and in turn the world, I have made a small contribution to the planet.
Can you share a mistake or failure which you now appreciate, and which has taught you a valuable lesson?
Having launched and expanded into 27 stores in February 2020 RIGHT before Covid is by no means one of the biggest challenges I have put the business in. We were on a very aggressive expansion plan having grown 50% per month since we first launched into the UAE in November 2019. I am however thankful that we didn’t launch into the 300 stores in our original plan. As difficult as the pandemic was, I am thankful for all the lessons we learnt- prudent expansion, seeing the truth in everyone, and making the difficult decisions I would have found impossible during a time when things are good. Adversities always show the true colors of people and I am glad I got to see it so early in the journey. Covid has definitely put us on a fast track to learn the business lessons that would have taken 10 years to learn and I am grateful for this express lane in business.
You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
Resilience- I have always been known to be someone who is mentally and emotionally strong, but Covid has certainly tested me as a person and a business owner, to stay positive in light of a global pandemic where everything seemed to be falling apart with no end in sight. During that time, it was the support of my friends, team, and investors who kept me sane and for me to be able to hold the faith that there would be gifts behind this adversity. I am grateful for all the love and for that I know I am still on the right path.
Intuition- My strong sense of intuition guided me to make the right decision. Many a time, we have been offered opportunities that looked “good on paper” but at the back of my mind I get the sense that things are not what they seem. I have learnt to always trust my intuition, and til date it has never been wrong.
Vision- Years ago before the organic movement was on the upward trajectory as it currently is, I stood firm on my principles to only launch organic products that I believed in, despite the noise that surrounded me. People were discouraging me with comments and opinions that “nobody cares for organic products” and that “no one would pay for it”. I have always been unwavering on what I believe in and have had a knack for seeing where the market moves in the future, that is why it is important to be a brand that is progressive even in trends outside of the beauty space and to build the relevant partnerships with the right companies in different industries.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
The beauty business is considered a traditional one, and I am always looking for ways to jazz it up a little. Apart from new product launches, we are also going to be including a VR element at our upcoming activation during the Dubai Shopping Festival at the Mall of the Emirates from 21st-29th January. Customers at our podium will get to do VR makeup on their avatars! The theme will be “The Metaverse is NOT Male”, to encourage women to step into the currently male dominated Metaverse space.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview about Self-Care. Let’s start with a basic definition so that we are all on the same page. What does self-care mean to you?
Self-Care to me, is all about looking after your mind, body and soul. It is so important to be aligned with every part of ourselves, because our thoughts become our actions, and our actions become our habits and eventually shape us as a person. Mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing are all essential for us to be healthy physically so for me it is always important to be balanced in every aspect of my life.
As a successful leader with an intense schedule, what do you do to prioritize self-care, and carve out regular time to make self-care part of your routine?
As someone who can definitely have the tendency to be a bit of a workaholic -It is hard not to when you are so passionate about what you do.. This has definitely been something I have had to make conscious efforts to set aside “me time” as a non negotiable. I meditate regularly to be quiet in my own thoughts and even go for meals on my own to spend time building my relationship with myself.
I am also fully present whenever I am not in work mode. I don’t have my phone with me when I am walking my furkids (adorable Corgi and my incredibly handsome ginger cat), and every night is bonding time for us. Spending time with them is extremely grounding for me as it allows me to fully connect without having a verbal connection and to be able to feel the pure energy of animals.
I also think it is super important to start my day with the right energy.
For me, it comes down to having time and space in the morning. I like to get up after being well rested without the abruptness of an alarm. I start my day cuddling my furkids and make it a point not to touch my phone for at least the first hour of my day. I listen to peaceful meditation music while I have my morning coffee, and have a healthy breakfast of superfood smoothies and activated chia seeds.
Will you please share with our readers 3 of your daily, or frequent self-care habits?
There are 3 essentials I ensure I do at least once every 2 days- exercise, meditation and spending extra quality time with the furkids where I take them out on extra long walks or even outings to cafes and beaches. I also fill my body with all kinds of superfoods and traditional chinese tonic as much as I can to replenish my body with the nutrients it needs.
This is the main question of our interview. Based on your own experiences or research can you please share 5 ways that taking time for self-care will improve our lives?
Taking time for self-care has brought so much benefit in my life.
- Spending time and building the relationship with myself has built my Self- Confidence and I have definitely become a more self assured person over the years. I make my decisions based on what I feel most aligned with instead of worrying about what others might think, allowing me to shine in my most authentic self.
- Regular meditation has helped to balance my energies in this crazy journey. It is a constant effort to remain grounded when everything is pulling one in all directions. Meditation provides me with the clarity I need to take the right steps in life and in business.
- Being aware of the need to be FULLY present in the moment helps to improve relationships and allows me to truly experience life. Life is not just about work, and when we are present- we get the opportunity to watch the people (and pets!) around us grow, helping us to understand them better. Some of these opportunities will no longer be there anymore once it is missed, so it is important to understand the impact of even a single second. That is why Liht stands for — Living in Her Time, which is a reminder for people to be present in their moment, in the time and place that they define for themselves.
- Health and Vitality is definitely improved with a good diet and regular exercise, and this allows us to perform at our best in everything we do.
- Improved awareness for personal development- When we get more in touch with ourselves, we become more aware of our thoughts and actions, and this is the first step towards improving ourselves as human beings. We are not perfect and there is always room for improvement, but firstly we need to be aware of its existence.
Sometimes we learn a great deal from the opposite, from a contrast. Can you please share a few ways that NOT taking time for self-care can harm our lives?
I have seen some very successful people who may have it all on the outside, but are incredibly unhappy people who have to put on a charade. It becomes a downward spiral when they make living a lie a way of life, and depression becomes inevitable. It is easy to get lost in this journey, especially if one is not grounded and sure of who they really are.
What would you tell someone who says they do not have time or finances to support a regular wellness routine?
It really doesn’t have to take up a lot of time or have to be expensive! Taking walks in the park or the beach (barefoot if possible!) doesn’t really cost, and you can incorporate wellness habits into your daily routine such as listening to podcasts in the mornings while getting ready or listening to meditation music while you are doing work at the laptop. It also really helps to have a community or network of likeminded people who can support each other in this area.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)
I would love to meet the founder of MindValley- Vishen Lakhiani as I am very much aligned with his vision of incorporating business and wellness. Of course, I have also heard great things about Richard Branson and I always admire leaders who have successfully remained true to themselves and lead very balanced lives in every area while navigating an extremely successful business.
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
Read the original article on Authority Magazine