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Clea Martin & Elly Bannon: “You have to fill yourself up before you can inspire others”

You have to fill yourself up before you can inspire others. The true power of self care comes once you’re able to spread your authentic light to others around you. This only comes when you fill yourself up first! You can make the biggest impact on the world when you take care of yourself. Be […]


You have to fill yourself up before you can inspire others. The true power of self care comes once you’re able to spread your authentic light to others around you. This only comes when you fill yourself up first! You can make the biggest impact on the world when you take care of yourself. Be open to discovering how this looks for you. For us, it is prioritizing nature and breathing fresh air. This is a daily non-negotiable for us before we can support anything else.


As a part of my series about strong female leaders, I had the pleasure of interviewing Clea Martin & Elly Bannon, the co-founders of Honey & Be. Clea Martin is the co-founder of Honey & Be and also the co-host of the Self Adore Podcast. She is currently involved in every part of the business, from customer service to marketing, business development, product development, quality control, brand building, photoshoots, and everything in between. Clea wears all the hats that come with building and running Honey & Be, but focuses on business operation and brand experience. Clea received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, minor in Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside in 2015 and moved in a career rooted in strategic planning, business development and marketing before realizing her strong entrepreneurial drive and creative spirit! Clea is a huge foodie and appreciates any good meal! She expresses her creativity through cooking and developing new recipes. She has two sweet cats that live in sunny LA with her! Elly Bannon is the co-founder of Honey & Be and also the co-host of The Self Adore Podcast! Elly is involved in all elements of the business, from customer service to marketing, business development, product development, quality control, brand building, photoshoots, and everything in between! While she does touch all aspects of the company, she focuses on the technical side of things and sets the creative and strategic direction for the brand. Elly graduated from Chapman University in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Design, emphasis in makeup and fashion and a minor in Advertising. Elly began a career working at an ad agency before realizing her calling to create her own brand and bring a vision to life. Elly thrives off spontaneous travel and exploring new places! She lives in beautiful San Diego with her work pal, Ollie Kitten.


Thank you so much for doing this with us Clea & Elly! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

We dreamed up Honey & Be during a time when self care seemed nearly impossible for us to practice. When we each took a step back from our lives, we realized that self care had fallen last on our priority list and we were experiencing complete burn out. We both reached some of the lowest points we’ve ever experienced, mentally and physically. It felt like we were not alone in this feeling either, which made our realization even more powerful. We knew something had to change, but we didn’t know where to begin. Taking a step back and evaluating our lives from an outside perspective was a powerful tool that we used to take an honest look at what was serving us and what we needed to let go of.

Determined to get our feet planted back in the practice of self care, we began seeking daily reminders for ourselves and others — reminders that would help reinforce the importance of self care. After a lot of thinking, we got to work on building out a product line that could actually be this reminder for us. Our objective was to create a product line that could fit the message we so strongly believed in… practice more of the self care that you deserve. We wanted to provide a physical reminder and ways for people to pause and treat themselves sweet. While we were creating our products, we wanted to also keep in mind that it needed to be something that could seamlessly fit into an everyday routine, not something that felt like an additional chore. With a passion set in beauty, wellness and self care, we felt a calling to bring the three together… and so began our sweet company, Honey & Be. We were so inspired by this idea of bringing elements of mindfulness into the beauty space. Intention setting has been one of the most powerful ways that we were able to shift our mindsets out of the lows that we went through. Our experience with intention setting began in various yoga and meditation classes that we attended, and we began to see our lives shift before our eyes. After seeing the impact that it had on us, we made it a point to bring intention setting into products.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?

The most interesting thing we’ve experienced has been feeling the overwhelming power of an idea overcome us. The concept for Honey & Be actually came to us on cross country road trip from New York to California… more specifically, on a 16 hour drive from New York to Chicago. Road trips teach you a lot about yourself and the world around you. They make you rethink everything and focus on what really matters. We felt like we learned more than we ever had in any job in those long, silent moments in the car with our thoughts. During that long car ride, we began playing around with the idea of impacting people in a way that we would have never been able to in a corporate setting. We felt the essence of freedom and experienced a shift in our mindsets. This light switch shift allowed us to remove anything in our way that might be stopping us from making things happen. We quickly learned the power of manifestation… when we were in New York sitting in Central Park we imagined ourselves going back to New York someday. We actually ended up in New York again exactly one year later when we attended our first Trade Show for Honey & Be.

This road trip was our launching point for many ideas to come, the more specific and clear idea for Honey & Be arrived to us months later. The day the idea arrived to us, we were in Palm Springs. We were awake at 3am, brains buzzing with thoughts that were swirling and starting to take some kind of shape. That idea was ours and our souls seemed to be on fire! We still remember what it felt like to have this idea! Our excuses for being too “busy” seemed to melt away and we then made a conscious decision to move forward and take action. You must create the space for things to come into your life, then be open and willing to receive them and work with them. This way of thinking is truly what brought our company to life.

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

In the beginning of our journey, we started our e-commerce site. One of the biggest obstacles we had to overcome involved our products breaking in transit since our products are fragile. The beginning of our entrepreneurship journey was filled with feelings of failure, uncertainty, and frustration. At times, we could not believe such trials were happening and we felt totally out of control. A majority of our days were spent troubleshooting with our fulfillment center, following up with customers and sending replacements. What did not seem funny then, but is funny looking back was the day we did a test order of our inventory to Clea’s house to evaluate the situation. Over 80% of the products in our order arrived broken, in beat up boxes and with no protective packaging! We were very hard on ourselves at this time and it almost felt like we couldn’t move past these issues. Once we removed emotion from the situation we were able to brainstorm a few things we could do to create a solution! From there we took it into our own hands to add MORE protective elements to our packaging, further improve the durability product itself, and switched to a fulfillment center that could support us in packaging our products safely.

Our biggest learning in this experience was the importance of really thinking through everything that could possibly go wrong before launching, over preparing, taking matters into your own hands and not relying on anyone else. We also discovered the power of moving forward even when you think you’re “failing”. Success is truly right around the corner from failure! We look back on these early days with gratitude for all of the lessons that we learned because we have only grown from them!

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

Honey & Be is merging the beauty and wellness industries with SELF CARE to create a powerful and unique “whole self” experience. We are reimagining what self care means and inviting our customers to practice the self care that they deserve. We are creating an experience for people to tune into what they truly need and make taking care of themselves a priority. HONEY is the reminder that you deserve to treat yourself sweet. At its core, Honey & Be has one intention: BE is the reminder to practice BEing present while doing so. Our high quality crystal beauty tools are reminders to slow down and discover what you truly need in a self care routine. Our product line is exceptional quality, something that we take great pride in. Honey & Be focuses on not only the physical benefits of facial massage but also encourages the mindfulness around slowing down and indulging in a moment of self care. Part of our product experience includes a self care intention setting card where we guide the user to set their self care intention. Our products encourage a powerful, mindful beauty ritual from start to finish.

For us, the intention setting element of our line is the most important part and is the biggest reason why we dropped everything to dive full time into building and growing Honey & Be. We invited mindfulness into more areas of our lives and saw a major shift in our confidence once we practiced intentional beauty and put love into our beauty routines. This really allowed us to find beauty in simple, every day moments that would otherwise be overlooked. We learned that self care can take so many forms and goes far beyond a bubble bath or a cup of tea. We realized that the most life changing form of self care is cultivated from a small collection of daily habits.

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

We recently launched a podcast, Self Adore that is shifting the self love conversation into a more inviting and empowering place. It is available on Apple Podcasts and Spotify! Self Adore was inspired by the word, “Adore” which means to love, respect, treasure and cherish deeply. The word adore is used in context when talking about someone else, however we are challenging that and changing the conversation. Imagine what it would feel like to “adore” yourself deeply. Self “love” is so broad and wildly overused. It is sometimes hard to know what self *love* truly means. Imagine if we could break it down a little more and expand our idea of what it truly and deeply means to love ourselves. We are here to create an open space for us all to rediscover how to self love, regardless of what phase of life you are in. We hope to empower you to step into your magic and inspire you to Self Adore! We are so excited for the podcast because it is really sparking inspired conversations and covering topics that will support you on your journey of adoring yourself. We believe that there is a strength in opening up and sharing your story with others who share the same values.

What advice would you give to other female leaders to help their team to thrive?

Our advice would be to continually inspire your team on a daily basis. Your team is a direct reflection of the values, vision, and respect that you are showing them. If your team is inspired, they will perform from a place of passion and contribute to the overall success of the company. Also have an understanding that everyone on the team needs to be shown appreciation differently, similar to love languages! Some team members need words of affirmation, others love small gifts, or perhaps a thoughtful act of service. Be open to shifting how you show appreciation.

What advice would you give to other female leaders about the best way to manage a large team?

Both of us are empaths and it has been valuable to learn this about ourselves as we have gained a lot of internal insight around it. If you have a large team to manage, our biggest piece of advice would be to protect your own energy. This will ensure that you’re able to remove any emotion that may be getting in the way of managing your team. When you protect your own energy you are better able to open the door for team members to come to you and have productive and helpful conversations around support or anything else!

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?

Both of our families have been tremendously supportive beyond what we could have imagined! Their support through the hard times as well as their excitement around our successes has been foundational for us to move forward! Among endless things, Clea’s parents have offered their advice to us while we were seeking a trustworthy lawyer and Elly’s parents helped navigate our tax process this year. We could never truly thank them enough for believing in us the way they do!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

The most rewarding part of building Honey & Be has been all of the lessons we’ve learned from our customers, people we’ve met at events, and absolutely everyone that we’ve met along our journey. We have had some of the deepest, most meaningful conversations with complete strangers that completely blew us away. It was so fascinating to us that people have felt so comfortable opening up to us about various (sometimes vulnerable) parts of their self care journeys. Our products are helping to bring more intentional self care into so many places it did not exist before… the work place, out in nature, in the hospital, in school, and even on the beach. It lights us up when we see the impact Honey & Be and our products are making on someone’s life, big or small.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

1: Mindset is everything. The only thing in the way of you and your ultimate vision are the limiting beliefs that you’re holding onto. You have the ability to shift your mindset in this moment- own that power. Mindset has been the most powerful part of our journey with entrepreneurship and has guided us every single day. Mindset was the reason we were able to move forward at the very beginning when everything seemed to be going wrong!

2: Inspire yourself every day. The importance of inspiration is often overlooked, however we would argue that filling yourself up with inspiration is one of the most important forms of self care. We begin every morning by making a matcha latte which helps give us the energy and inspiration that we need to start our days. We also love writing and reading a few lines of inspiring quotes, podcasts, and books before we begin our day. We believe that inspiration is a driving force behind our creativity/ motivation, which ultimately translates to success in our business.

3: Open yourself up to the possibilities. You never know what will come out of a situation if you allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone. Our favorite moments in building Honey & Be so far have all involved experiences that were a direct result of being brave enough to just go for it and step into the unknown. For example, we attended a powerful conference at the beginning of Honey & Be’s growth. We did not know who would be there or how it would go. However, we trusted our gut and went for it! It was there that we met some of the most important and pivotal people to our brands growth!

4: Do your best every day. Doing your best requires you to laser focus, have grit, serious endurance and push yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of. How can you make the biggest impact that you can today? Most of the things that you do in a day should tie back to the goals that you have set both personally and professionally. Prioritization is key…we make a list of our top 6 priorities at the beginning of each day to make sure we are moving towards our goals. We share our lists with each other to make sure that we’re aligned in our vision.

5: You have to fill yourself up before you can inspire others. The true power of self care comes once you’re able to spread your authentic light to others around you. This only comes when you fill yourself up first! You can make the biggest impact on the world when you take care of yourself. Be open to discovering how this looks for you. For us, it is prioritizing nature and breathing fresh air. This is a daily non-negotiable for us before we can support anything else.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Our ultimate vision and biggest dream is to inspire a movement of self love & a shift in the current belief that taking care of yourself takes too much time and energy, or is “selfish”. We would love to break down all of the barriers that are in the way of self love and empower others to Self Adore. Taking care of yourself from within will shift the world. A practice of Self Adore releases anxiety, built up resentment, overwhelm and sadness. We believe that if more people could live in the feeling of Self Adore, there would be more love, more room to grow and more positive energy flowing in the world.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

I believe that inspiration will always try its best to work with you — but if you are not ready or available, it may indeed choose to leave you and to search for a different human collaborator.” — Elizabeth Gilbert

This quote truly shifted our minds about ideas and how you must go after them and chase them like nothing else matters! Treating your ideas with respect was and is a huge part of our success!

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 with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Oprah’s work has been one of our biggest inspirations for years. Her podcast has truly shifted the way we view the world, accept what is possible, observe happiness and how we carry on! We admire the power she has to shift the mindset of others and the way she makes people feel so deserving of love and soul care. We enjoy a thoughtful breakfast with Oprah and would sip on some matcha with her in an inspiring place!

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