Dakota Hills and Sierra Brashear of Moon Bath: “Being women in biz has its advantages and disadvantages”

We’d say that the best word of advice we’ve received is that sometimes it’s better to just let things go than to seek restitution in the event that we feel crossed or disappointed in a business partnership. Most likely, it’s not worth the personal and professional energy it would take to resolve and we would […]

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We’d say that the best word of advice we’ve received is that sometimes it’s better to just let things go than to seek restitution in the event that we feel crossed or disappointed in a business partnership. Most likely, it’s not worth the personal and professional energy it would take to resolve and we would rather continue building momentum in support of the greater vision than to dwell in details of the past.

As a part of our series about women who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dakota Hills and Sierra Brashear.

Dakota Hills and Sierra Brashear who founded Moon Bath, are female entrepreneurs who fully embody their brand. They shared a mission to ignite the modern bathing renaissance. Together, they combined the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with modern intuitive alchemy to bring you earth integrated bathing rituals that inspire you to tune in and reconnect. Moon Bath represents the exploration of ancient healing modalities, elevation of the diverse global community and stewardship of our precious earth — it is their opportunity to use small business as a force for good in the world. Being good stewards of the earth and its inhabitants is rooted in both of their core beliefs.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to the launch of Moon Bath?

We weren’t always such avid bathers. We were inspired by a dear friend — a true self care enthusiast — whose out of this world bathing rituals seemed to transport her to other realms, and she came back glowing. We needed to know EVERYTHING — we wondered, can bathing actually connect us to the cosmos?

Then we tried it. And, honestly, who knew?! Turns out that tuning in to the guiding force of the moon, setting an aligned intention, and immersing ourselves in warm, herbaceous waters was the medicine we never knew we needed.

Dakota was on her yoga mat during the height of a Scorpio Full Moon when it struck her — she recognized that this was it. For her next mission, she would inspire others to create space for these epic bathing rituals, and the name Moon Bath was beamed in from the stars.

Meanwhile, Sierra was on a weekend getaway at her childhood home in the Rocky Mountains, having a bath, and blissing out. She recalled an Ayurvedic teaching that hailed the benefits of immersing in water, salt and intention, and she thought to herself…the world needs to know about this healing magic!

Our company Moon Bath was created out of a desire to connect deeper with ourselves and the planet and we set out on a shared mission to help ignite the modern bathing renaissance. With our desire to absorb into our bodies the vast healing benefits of plants, we loved the idea of turning our bathtub into a warm tea, adding a little milk and honey, and then steeping our bodies to drink in the earthly goodness. Combining the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda with modern intuitive alchemy, we created earth integrated bathing rituals that inspire us to tune inward and reconnect.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

We are being disruptive by simply taking a moment to consider our impact and making adjustments to our practices to cause the least harm. Moon Bath holds a deep reverence for the plants, materials and the people involved in the production of our products — and in a world that is so often driven by profit over people and planet, this in and of itself is an act of resistance.

We believe that social and environmental responsibility go hand in hand with running a business and that true success is attained with a triple bottom line approach — people, planet and profit. To us, the triple bottom line approach to business is an important way to create positive social and environmental change. With this in mind, we do our best to reduce our impact on the environment and to uplift our fellow human beings through facilitating sustainability, security and dignity throughout our supply chain.

We seek to support woman in business, create jobs for underrepresented populations and elevate social consciousness for the purpose of fostering more equality in the modern-day workforce. Our other initiatives include sustainable packaging, carbon neutrality, charitable partnerships, and working with mission driven vendors. Moon Bath is a proud member of 1% for the Planet, donating at least one percent of annual revenues to environmental nonprofits committed to creating a healthy planet.

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

The best part of running a small biz is you make mistakes all the time! We’re constantly learning from them and even discovering they were a blessing in the end, so it’s hard to even consider them an error! Generally, we like to approach things from a place of levity, so when something goes wrong, we’re pretty quick to crack a joke and move right along. Being a small business owner basically just entails problem solving all day every day. When we realize a misstep, it’s about being a quick pivot and rolling with the punches — same with life, amirite?!

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

A big part of our vision is to uphold and elevate the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda — a wisdom that invites us to tune in more deeply to the rhythms and elements of nature. With this in mind, one of our favorite mentors is Maya Tiwari, Ayurveda pioneer and Vedic scholar. We have so much appreciation and reverence for her tireless commitment to inspiring health, wholeness and peace, and the way that she has made the potent wisdom of Ayurveda available in the West. Maya is tuned into the cosmos and the sanctity of life on Earth in a way that really speaks to us. As we formulated our Botanical Bath Teas, we gathered inspiration and guidance from the moon wisdom she offers in her book Women’s Power to Heal: Through Inner Medicine. In this book, she shares, “The ancients claimed that all substance of life is created from the dust of Mother Moon, the cosmic source. The Moon’s perpetual cycle determines all rhythms, desires, and possibilities on the Earth.” This idea resonates so deeply with us and continues to guide our inspiration as our business evolves.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

We take great pride in being positive industry disruptors. There is usually a well worn path that many have taken and then there’s opportunity to off-road basically everywhere. It’s not that we look for chances to make things harder on ourselves, but we definitely don’t feel the need to follow industry standards or norms. We’re interested in using business as a force for good and change, and that tends to mean paving a new way, with a higher level of integrity, whether that relates to our social or environmental impact.

The first instance that comes to mind is our packaging. We wanted our body oil to be in a large bottle that wasn’t glass, as we recommend storing in your shower, and didn’t want to risk the glass breaking. Virgin plastic just isn’t an option for our containers, so we scoured the world for the best possible solution. We were shocked by the amount of greenwashing (conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound) happening when we spoke with “sustainable” packaging sources. We FINALLY found a source that offered 100% USA curbside recycled plastic produced here in the USA in a facility powered by a solar array. Of course, you pay a premium for this level of sustainability and thus it isn’t something that is offered in lower quantities for small businesses. We decided it was worth it and made a very large purchase with the confidence that people will appreciate the integrity behind the bottle in their hand.

The second instance that comes to mind is ensuring that our retailers are in alignment with our values. Social justice is something we feel passionately about, and we want to make sure our retailers do too. During the application process we prompt them to confirm that they are in solidarity with our commitment to social justice action.

As far as the negative impacts of disruption, we think it’s always important to READ THE ROOM. Is it a moment for us to speak up or remain quiet? It’s a fine balance and something we’re regularly considering. Our business is an extension of who we are, and we want to use our brand voice as a way to uplift disenfranchised people groups and speak to issues that are critical to creating a world that works well for everyone.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

We have just one to share! We’d say that the best word of advice we’ve received is that sometimes it’s better to just let things go than to seek restitution in the event that we feel crossed or disappointed in a business partnership. Most likely, it’s not worth the personal and professional energy it would take to resolve and we would rather continue building momentum in support of the greater vision than to dwell in details of the past.

How is Moon Bath going to shake things up next?

Up next! We are excited to be releasing a new product called Mind Rise | Transcendent Nose Oil, which is inspired by the Ayurvedic practice called nasya. It’s intended to support you to clear and elevate your mind with soothing oil infused with the revered Ayurvedic botanicals brahmi and tulsi.

According to the Vedic wisdom, the nose is considered the doorway to consciousness, making the gentle application of herbally infused oil through the soft tissue of the inner nostrils a powerful way to support the mind. This clarifying detoxification technique helps to balance the air and ether elements (vata) and improve the flow of prana — the vital life force that flows in through the breath. It is said to improve intelligence and memory, release tension in the head, and promote mental clarity, in addition to protecting the nasal passages and strengthening the eyes. We are humbled and honored to get to share this ancient practice with the world, and we hope that it inspires more reflection

In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by ‘woman disruptors’ that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?

Being women in biz has its advantages and disadvantages. These days consumers are generally more conscious about where they vote with their dollars, and we know that supporting women owned businesses is something many feel passionate about. We think as women in business you do encounter from time to time an old school mentality, that may not love taking direction from (younger) women and we have to navigate those situations from a place of gentle empowerment. Women who speak out or directly may be viewed as being bitchy, while a man in the same position might be viewed as a boss. Finding a balance with being confident in your stance, while staying true to some of the softer essences that might accompany a woman is the sweet spot.

Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?

Over the past year we have found a great deal of resonance with the podcast called Conspirituality, by Matthew Remski, Derek Beres and Julian Walker. It’s a weekly study of how spiritual beliefs and the new age wellness industry have converged with historically right-wing conspiracy theories. Because we live in the new age spiritual mecca of Boulder, Colorado, and because our business falls within the wellness industry, we have witnessed this phenomenon firsthand. This podcast has helped bring understanding to this landscape and helped us to further articulate our both personal and business values. For us, it is very important that our work is rooted in ancient wisdom and/or science, rather than self-proclaimed expertise. We also do not sell our products under the misguided pretense that they will support you to circumvent real-world health challenges, nor allow you to bypass your responsibility as an individual who is a member of the collective. Conspirituality has supported us to ground in with these values, and to offer our products as complementary to the life-long practice of tuning in with nature as a guide to what supports the whole.

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?

As white women in wellness, we feel that we have a responsibility to dismantle the systems of oppression that this industry often perpetuates. With that in mind, we seek informed ways to build upon, not inspire, the movement that has already been in process by Black, Latinx and Indigenous communities for generations toward ending racial injustice in America. It is clear to us that the ongoing problem of white supremacy in this country impacts not just Black and brown communities, but ultimately, the white people who are perpetuating racism — either covertly or overtly. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, the major stumbling block toward freedom is “the white moderate, who is more devoted to ‘order’ than to justice, who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.” At Moon Bath we are committed to positive peace. For us, this means listening, learning, reflecting, engaging in tough conversations and taking action to support the voices and movements of communities of color. We invite you, especially if you’re white, to join us in thinking critically about how you can listen, learn and take action in your own ways.

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

One of the phrases that we live by is, “If it’s not a f*ck yes, it’s a no.” This small but mighty phrase has been relevant to us in our life and work because it speaks to engaging fully and authentically with everything we do. We are both wildly passionate people — we know what matters to us, and we don’t settle for less. When we make choices from this level of clarity, we find that more and more we are surrounded with people and activities that are in full integrity.

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