When you can, go outside. From vitamin d boost to supporting your mircriobiome, being outdoors has been linked to so many health benefits (lowered stress levels, boosted immunity and improved mood, to name a few). And what’s best — it’s totally free. Take the dog on a walk, eat your lunch on a park bench, walk to work once in a while. Watch a tree’s leaves blow in the wind. Even just 5 extra minutes just ‘being’ outdoors without a mission can be a big boost to your health.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Claire Owen Adams.
Claire is the co-founder of I’m Outside — whose mission is to bring the benefits of being outdoors to all — and founder and CEO of COA. Strategies — a digital marketing agency that partners with brands and entrepreneurs in the design and beauty space.
As a marketing strategist, she’s helped launched clean beauty brands like Alpyn Beauty and beauty tech company Beauty Scripts. Claire splits her time between Jackson Hole, WY — an outdoor mecca — and New York City
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’ve always been drawn to creative and beautiful things — be it design, fashion, beauty products, nature — and have spent most of my career turning those passions into business reality. I’m super analytical and goal driven and love being in the vicinity of beauty and creation. I found my sweet spot partnering with creatives to bring their visions to life.
This passion — to be an “enabler” or “integrator” to visionaries — spurred the creation of COA., which, at first started as consulting and quickly grew in tandem with the growth we were fueling for clients. And, along the way, I realized I now had all the tools and experience to bring my visions to life too.
I’ve always been interested and dedicated to a life of wellness and love being outdoors, being active, eating well, getting a good night sleep, being vigilant about sun protection, doing yoga, etc.
I was lucky to work very early in the clean beauty movement with client Alpyn Beauty, who I consulted for from pre-conception through to placement in Sephora, Credo, Goop and more. During these years I oversaw their D2C strategy and digital marketing. I was entrenched in the research and philosophy behind what makes a product clean while still being efficacious. I became obsessed with the importance of what we put on our skin and how it affects our overall wellbeing. It was all so obvious to me but the message was not getting out to the general public. Nature has everything we need to maintain balance and stay healthy.
Three years ago, I began to divide my time between Jackson Hole and New York City, managing a heavy workload and frequent travel. My husband and I developed a tree essential oil practice for stress relief and daily moment of calm in our new, radically indoor environment.
I had a travel case of a dozen bottles…I would tincture, blending just the right amount of each oil in a diffuser or the shower. It wasn’t really user friendly…so I knew there had to be a more modern delivery system.
In the wake of COVID-19 and quarantine, the tree oil practice became ritualistic. It was a moment every day that I could reset from workday to night. It helped me take control of my environment and mindset.
My husband and I teamed up with friend and compounding pharmacist James Blackburn, Pharm. D., to develop a user-friendly product that brings the benefits of being outside to people who don’t have the opportunity to get outdoors as much as they would like.
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?
Gosh, I feel like I’ve already lived 100 careers. Through my work with clients I’ve gotten a glimpse into dozens of business, teams and cultures.
But the most interesting? I started my career working in a family office for a very wealthy family, supporting the matriarch of the family. This gave me a glimpse into a world I normally wouldn’t have seen…at age 22 I was booking private jets, organizing exotic vacations, orchestrating philanthropic events, managing large art collections and multiple homes, while traveling frequently…I was responsible for a lot, at a very young age.
This came with a lot of mistakes! I once booked a jet for a very important person for 7:30pm when it was supposed to be 7:30am. WOW! Talk about learning how to problem solve in real time, mid-course correct and do everything in your power to rectify with your “client” or boss.
Every day was a new and unique problem to solve. There was no formula, you had to develop a system of checks and balances for your decision making to be able to get things done and move forward quickly. That’s the big takeaway for me: don’t be afraid of doing things you’ve never done before. If you mess up, it’s part of the journey. Admit when you’re wrong. Make it right. Never make the same mistake twice and recognize patterns to apply learnings to new problems as they arise.
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?
Besides the private jet booking?
When I first started I’m Outside, I tried to take on too much without having a good support system (a team) in place. I was working around the clock and uber-stressed as we began to grow. I learned the importance of making great hires and building a team, spending time developing company culture and values, and getting comfortable with delegating important responsibilities.
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?
My husband Nathan. He’s always been very successful from a very young age. Cutting his teeth on Wall Street and has been running technology and healthcare companies for as long as I have known him.
Even when I was figuring things out early on, he’s always seen something in me that I didn’t know was there. He’s been my biggest cheerleader and my toughest critic. He makes me think big and never hesitates to talk through a problem I am trying to solve.
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?
I’m Outside’s mission is to bring the benefits of being outside to all. Nature is something that unites all of us and hold the keys to solving so many problems. There is a lot of science that says time spent outside has the power to make people healthier and happier.
If we can create a culture that’s conscious and connected to nature and that understands the health benefits that it provides, it will have a powerful impact on our society.
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.
When you can, go outside.
From vitamin d boost to supporting your mircriobiome, being outdoors has been linked to so many health benefits (lowered stress levels, boosted immunity and improved mood, to name a few). And what’s best — it’s totally free. Take the dog on a walk, eat your lunch on a park bench, walk to work once in a while. Watch a tree’s leaves blow in the wind. Even just 5 extra minutes just ‘being’ outdoors without a mission can be a big boost to your health.
Get a houseplant.
Not only does having something green help your indoor air quality, but even looking at fractal patterns, like those found in trees and leaves, can help to reduce stress.
Eat less sugar.
Managing blood sugar spikes as a result of an unfocused diet has been paramount for my energy, mental clarity and sleep. Check your labels…there is sugar and other junk hidden in just about everything. Once you’re aware, make small tweaks to bring your consumption down overtime. Maybe it’s skipping dairy in your coffee or realizing that fruits should be eaten in moderation. Watch your intake of empty carbs, particularly in the morning. These things add up.
Make sleep a priority and own your morning.
Arianna Huffington has definitely pioneered this mantra, but the quality and consistency of sleep permeates every aspect of your waking life. Unplug from your devices and turn winding down into a ritual. When you wake up, before you look at your phone or get swept into reacting to the day’s demands, make some time to do something for yourself or that you’ll be proud of at the end of the day.
Have a routine, but break it from time to time.
I thrive on structure. But it’s exhausting to hold yourself to perfectionist standards. Let that go. Break your own rules every now and again. Eat something really unhealthy because the time is just right. Have one too many glasses of wine with an old friend. Take a 2 hour break in the middle of the day if you need it — ideally to get outside. Shaking it up is fun and exciting and returning to your routine that much more powerful.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Adult recess! Making a culture out of healthy breaks, time outdoors and work/life balance.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Surround yourself with amazing people with diverse backgrounds of culture and experience that are better or smarter than you.
- Don’t get frustrated when things take longer than you think, they almost always do.
- Figure out how much money you need to start a business, then double it. That’s what you’ll really need. This probably applies to time, too.
- Growing revenue is much harder than you assume at the beginning, even when you have an amazing product. Refining your message and telling your story by engaging your customers around the problem you are solving for them is a complex but valuable exercise.
- Take meetings with everyone. Even small connections can open big doors or provide a valuable insight. These meetings can also allow you to help someone along their journey.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Sustainability is a major focus for me. I believe this is an upstream problem that can fix so many others downstream, including environmental changes. Mental health is also so important and a problem that we are trying to address with our mission of getting more people outside.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Follow me personally @claireowenadams or my business endeavors @imoutside_co @nouviesun and @coa_me.
Thank you for these fantastic insights!