Alora and Veronica May: “Talk to yourself like you would a good friend”

We believe that wellness starts with self-love and self-acceptance. This is the best starting point to really becoming happy and healthy. If you love your body unconditionally and love every curve and show gratitude to your body for its movement and being the vessel that allows you to experience all that life has to offer […]

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We believe that wellness starts with self-love and self-acceptance. This is the best starting point to really becoming happy and healthy. If you love your body unconditionally and love every curve and show gratitude to your body for its movement and being the vessel that allows you to experience all that life has to offer you will start caring for it with better foods and exercise and products that are wholesome and natural. True wellness starts from within.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Alora and Veronica May.

SΛM & LΛNCE is owned by sisters Veronica & Alora May and named after their grandmothers: Shirley Ann May (SAM) and Georgette Lee (LANCE). SAM & LANCE is an ethical online marketplace of jewelry, skincare, and home goods made by women worldwide. They help women on their sustainable journey discover products with a story to tell.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I started the company with my sister Veronica over a year ago because I wanted to be able to easily support companies that were in line with my personal values. When I wanted to shop, I would find myself spending so much time looking for women-owned companies that were producing their products ethically. And, when you think about how many things we purchase in a year, I was spending so much time on research alone. I thought, ‘There must be a better way!’ So I decided to create a one-stop-shop where people could find a variety of ethically created products that were all supporting female-owned businesses.

We named it after both of our grandmothers since they embodied the creativity, strength and ethical standards we see reflected every day in the brands and products we believe in.

SAM was our paternal grandmother’s initials. She would sign every embroidery and cross stitch with her initials at the bottom. LANCE was our maternal grandmother’s nickname. Her brother gave her the nickname LANCE after he returned from the Second World War as an ode to his rank as Lance Corporal.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

Being in this space, every day has been interesting! Every time we find a new brand to work with, we are always so inspired and excited about how they are taking action on producing ethical goods. Each one has truly unique stories and women behind them that it makes doing our jobs exciting and joyful. These amazing stories range from jewelry being made by at-risk and homeless youth to help teach them new and marketable skills and provide them an income to get back on their feet. To a candle company that grows ingredients in their own gardens. The way each of these companies takes pride in caring for humans and the environment is always so interesting!

What we can take away from this is how much good is out there in the world. Sometimes, especially these last few months, things can seem uncertain, but there are good people dedicating their lives to living their dreams in an ethical and sustainable way. We find it truly inspiring

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The biggest mistake was not communicating openly and honestly to each other (which is crazy because we’ve known each other our whole lives!). We didn’t communicate our preferences and strengths to each other about the tasks and it resulted in individual frustrations, anxiety, and us not being motivated. Finally, our Dad noticed something was up and called us out on it. We finally talked about it and realized that if we just swapped tasks we would both be so much happier. We ended up laughing pretty hard at how ridiculous the whole situation was and made a promise that we always needed to speak up and be honest with each other even if we thought we might sound a bit harsh or selfish, and so far it has worked out to be much more productive and peaceful!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

It may sound cliche, but it’s definitely our parents! Our Mom was big on being environmentally friendly. She grows her own herbs, has a vegetable garden. She does a lot of preserving and canning and always reuses as much as possible! She taught us about using natural products whenever possible and also tried to support small and local businesses. Our Dad has been a business owner his whole life, and has led through example — he taught us that it not only takes hard work and dedication but also compassion and empathy to be successful.

Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

We want to show people how easy it can be to shop consciously and make purchasing decisions that have small environmental impact but a large humanitarian impact. Each of our products is from a female-founded business and the products all fall into categories of being eco-friendly, sustainably made, zero waste, or support a charitable organization. We do considerable checks and verifications to ensure that each brand on our site is truly as ethical as they claim so that our community can make purchases they feel good about.

Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.

  1. Do your research — ask questions, read ingredient labels, start a conversation. Being aware of what you are putting on or in your body is important to overall wellness. Not only for your own wellness but also for that of the planet. There are lots of resources out there to make your research easier, there’s also other ways (like our site!) where you can be guaranteed you are purchasing sustainable and ethical goods.
  2. Find Balance — Life doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to eat purely organic vegan or use only all-natural skincare. Aiming for this would be setting yourself up for failure. It is about making healthy, conscious decisions as often as you can and being flexible for the times you cannot. It’s ok if you want to eat plant-based during the week then on a Saturday go for chicken wings with your friends, or if you find that the only face cream that works for you isn’t all-natural. It’s important to remember that it’s the effort that counts and you will feel better just by trying
  3. Practice Self Care — were not just saying to eat a box of donuts in the bathtub while shouting self-care! (although we have also done that and while it is amazing it’s not what we mean) but practice it every day in the little decisions. Eat your vegetables, drink water, get enough sleep, listen to your body, and take extra care if you’re feeling overworked or overwhelmed or even just a little sore.
  4. Think Green! — go outside and spend time in nature, add plants to your house, make sure your fridge (and your plates!) are full of greens. It’s an easy thing to remember to stay healthy
  5. Talk to yourself like you would a good friend — speak kindly to your body, give yourself encouragement, point out your own strengths and skills. Even say them out loud! Talking to yourself outloud makes this more effective too!

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

We believe that wellness starts with self-love and self-acceptance. This is the best starting point to really becoming happy and healthy. If you love your body unconditionally and love every curve and show gratitude to your body for its movement and being the vessel that allows you to experience all that life has to offer you will start caring for it with better foods and exercise and products that are wholesome and natural. True wellness starts from within.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

  1. Follow your instincts. — You know what is best for you and often we ignore our instincts because we are nervous or are lacking confidence. We have found that our instincts are actually great and if sometimes they’re not, well it’s a learning experience and you will have better instincts next time!
  2. Know your personal values and stick to them. — We were getting advice from people that conflicted with our core values and deciding not to listen to them and stick with what we felt was best really made a huge difference.
  3. Having haters means you’re getting somewhere — Negative comments and messages are never fun and can be really discouraging but just remember that if people are sending ‘hate’ that just means that what you’re doing is making impacts and waves and people are actively taking time out of their day to respond.
  4. You cannot always give 100% — and that’s ok! We live in a world that glorifies the people who are busy and have multiple ‘hustles’. Trying to live like this leaves people drained and frustrated when they can’t meet all the expectations they set for themselves. If you are always giving 100% there are no more % points for yourself or to breathe or to grow.
  5. You are not alone! — Sometimes being an entrepreneur can feel lonely and isolating. You often work from home and have a small team and are very busy! But it is important to remember that there are so many great communities out there to connect with and are full of people who are going through similar things to you!

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

That’s a tough question! We could talk for hours about why each one of those is important to us! But if we had to pick just one we would have to say Sustainability. Focusing on sustainability has brought about so many new technologies and inventions. Things like beyond meat, tencel (a fabric that is made from vegetable cellulose and is much less harmful to the environment to process). With all these innovations the other areas (veganism, environmental changes) are being improved as a result. If we can live on this earth in a sustainable way, if companies and large corporations can change their focus from doing harm to doing good we can be sure that we are leaving this earth in a state fit for future generations

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Thank you for these fantastic insights!

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