Asutra Founder Stephanie Morimoto on How to Live a More Productive, Organized, and Fulfilling Life

“Active self-care empowers me to take charge.”

Stephanie and Asutra friend and investor, Venus Williams. Courtesy of Stephanie Morimoto.
Stephanie and Asutra friend and investor, Venus Williams. Courtesy of Stephanie Morimoto.

When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people.

Stephanie Morimoto is the owner and CEO of Asutra, a natural beauty company that encourages people to put self-care first. “We as women often multitask intensely and care for others at the expense of ourselves,” Morimoto says. “As a woman who lived this way, and burned out in crazy jobs, I’ve seen firsthand the importance of truly caring for yourself — on purpose.” 

Morimoto wanted to create a culture that helped people re-energize, refresh, and inspire — not only on the outside, but within. She also wanted to make it available for everyone, intentionally offering products at accessible prices. “Our mission of active self-care is unique in that we’re helping people amp up their ‘me time’ so they can be their best, rather than escape their stresses,” Morimoto adds.

In her Thrive Questionnaire, she shares her top tips on getting organized, and why it’s so important to take time for yourself.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? 

Stephanie Morimoto: I’m not a morning person at all, so having a routine to get going is key. On weekdays, I make a mug of tea and work out. After my shower, I use Asutra magnesium body butter for exercise recovery and our anti-aging serums for a great glow. I listen to the news while driving to Asutra’s warehouse. On weekends, I sleep as late as possible! Then I drink a lot of coffee and read the weekend New York Times with my husband.

TG: What gives you energy?

SM: Self-care of all kinds! Whether it’s working out, spending time in my garden, hanging out with friends, or a nighttime bath, self-care replenishes my energy so I can make things happen.

TG: Your company, Asutra, is built on the foundation of self-care. How do you encourage others to take care of themselves? 

SM: We, especially women, often multitask intensely and care for others at the expense of ourselves. I had to retrain myself to prioritize sleep and exercise, to wind down from a stressful day, to put good things in and on my body, and to take time for me — and not feel guilty about it. I still don’t do any of this perfectly, but I’m passionate about sharing active self-care routines and products through Asutra to help as many people as I can.

TG: One of your campaigns has this tagline: “Active self-care empowers me to take charge.” What does that mean for you?

SM: Active self-care isn’t selfish — it’s important. It’s not an escape from your stresses. It’s an ongoing practice that’s essential to being your best you — so you can go out and be even more bada*s! We define active self-care as taking care of yourself on purpose.

For me, sleep, daily movement, eating well, spending time outside, and laughing are ways I care for myself on purpose. I love using our magnesium body butter in the morning and magnesium flakes for a nighttime bath to soothe my muscles after a hard workout and replenish my magnesium levels for faster recovery. Our lavender and chamomile aromatherapy spray is a must every night — two spritzes on my pillow and one in the air helps me unwind.

TG: Can you share a time you went from surviving to thriving?

SM: About 10 years ago, I was totally burned out from my job, but cranking through 18 hours a day, taking on ever more responsibility because my bosses asked me to. Then I said, “Enough,” and frankly forced myself to reset my priorities, putting my health and well-being first. As women, I think we are taught to feel guilty when we do something for pure enjoyment, but what’s life without enjoying yourself? Now I take time to do things simply because they feel good, and to care for myself, and I am so much happier! I gave myself time to reflect on not just what I wanted to do, but who I wanted to be in the world. It was transformative. 

TG: As a leader, what do you think is the best way to communicate with your team? 

SM: Clearly, timely, and empathetically. 

TG: What is your best advice for a budding entrepreneur starting out? 

SM: Have big goals and a plan, and then fully expect things not to go according to that plan. It’s important to have a North Star goal, but flexibility in how you get there. Hire people who are better than you at the things your business needs to succeed. Truly listen to advice from people who are experts, but ultimately, trust your gut.

TG: How do you inspire your team? How do they inspire you?

SM: I try to inspire my team by modeling the behavior we expect of everyone at Asutra: Focus on results, live our core values, and admit and learn from mistakes. I also thank them constantly, and we celebrate team members who exemplify our core values. My team is amazing. They are goal-oriented like me, think of things I don’t, and support and celebrate each other. I’m inspired just watching them every day.

TG: What is your relationship with your phone? Does it sleep with you?

SM: My goal in life is not to need a phone! I’m a long way from that. At night I put it on silent in my kitchen, far away from my bedroom. That way it’s not the last thing I touch before bed or the first thing I look at when I wake up. 

TG: How about email? How do you deal with it?

SM: I follow the RAFT rule: read, act, file, or trash. Touch each email once. I block three times per day to read and respond to email, and don’t look at it the rest of the day. Otherwise it steals your productivity.

TG: What are some of the ways you stay organized?

SM: I set annual, quarterly, monthly, and weekly goals to keep my eye on the prize. I translate these goals into daily tasks, which I portion out for each day the following week on a one-page action plan. I try to assign myself tasks I can realistically get done in a given day, based on what meetings, trips, or trade shows I have scheduled. As an entrepreneur, I also build time into my schedule to handle the variety of things that come up unexpectedly. On the rare occasion I find myself with time I blocked off and something hasn’t come up, I take a micro-break and do one of my favorite self-care activities — usually taking a quick walk outside or going into my garden.

TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.

SM: “The measure of achievement is not winning awards. It’s doing something that you appreciate, something you believe is worthwhile.” —Julia Child

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