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“Remember to enjoy the little things.” With Dr. Ely Weinschneider & Eliza Timpson

Remember to enjoy the little things. It’s easy to feel exhausted by what you’re missing. Being in quarantine in a city can feel stifling. I am lucky to have an amazing view of the San Francisco skyline from my apartment and every night I get to watch the sunset. It’s a moment I normally miss because […]

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Remember to enjoy the little things. It’s easy to feel exhausted by what you’re missing. Being in quarantine in a city can feel stifling. I am lucky to have an amazing view of the San Francisco skyline from my apartment and every night I get to watch the sunset. It’s a moment I normally miss because I’m at the office, and I feel lucky to see it every night.


As a part of my series about the things we can do to remain hopeful and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewingEliza Timpson, Co-founder of Sunwink.

Eliza created Sunwink in her dorm kitchen at Harvard Business School after being diagnosed with an autoimmune skin disease and turning to herbs as a means of treatment. Underwhelmed by the limited options for easy, accessible and affordable herbal wellness, she envisioned a brand committed to bringing the power of herbs to everyone through grab-and-go herbal tonic beverages. She launched Sunwink in San Francisco in 2018, growing retail to 150 stores in the Bay Area in the first year.


Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

Iam a Storyteller, a Businesswoman, and a Believer in mission-driven work. I used to think I could not be all three of these things at the same time.

I was a Creative Writing major in college and went on to teach High School English with Teach For American. From there, I entered a management rotation program at a supply company. I had stints in Finance, Strategy, and Operations and was managing a team of sixty people when I left for business school.

For a long time, I didn’t feel like all of these experiences added up. But, in actuality, they helped Sunwink become the company it is today. Sunwink’s story is built from the stories of many people’s love of healing plants. Sunwink’s mission is to bring plant-based wellness to all people — and to give back to organizations that support women and the earth. Sunwink’s business is to revolutionize the industry by being the cleanest beverage on the market.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog. It’s a reminder that if there was a roadmap, it would be easy, and if it was easy everyone would do it. It’s also a reminder that mistakes are part of the journey, and idealism can build amazing things.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

Remember to enjoy the little things. It’s easy to feel exhausted by what you’re missing. Being in quarantine in a city can feel stifling. I am lucky to have an amazing view of the San Francisco skyline from my apartment and every night I get to watch the sunset. It’s a moment I normally miss because I’m at the office, and I feel lucky to see it every night.

Control screen time. The news. Instagram. LinkedIn. Twitter. Articles your mom sends you early in the morning. We receive so much information from the outside world. Try to take back control of your scrolling time.

Be kind to others. It’s easy to take out your fear, boredom, or sadness on the loved ones you’re living with. It’s also easy to judge everyone and everything on social media for their experience. Be gentle with others — everyone is feeling this and we often don’t know the experiences that others come to the table with.

Watch TV that makes you laugh. Seriously.

Move your body. When it’s getting too much, have a 5-minute meditation on hand or a 30-minute yoga class. Just walk away from what you’re doing and focus your energy on movement.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Don’t lose sight of what your brand and mission are about. Sunwink’s mission is to bring herbal wellness to all people. This week, our herbalist advisor led an “Herbs for the Immune System” video workshop for our team, which was a great way to connect back to the core of who we are.

Set up a process to avoid unnecessary panic. When there is a crisis, it’s easy to feel like you’re in panic mode all the time. Try to take a step back and anticipate the things that are going to feel volatile in the coming weeks. For example, we knew our supply chain security was going to be in constant question over the coming weeks. We set up a vendor management tracker that everyone on the leadership team can access — it includes weekly updates on all of our vendor partners. Our Operations team updates this daily, and it helps us avoid sudden panic moments when someone asks — What’s the status on this ingredient? Did we talk to this distributor?

Make time for your team to have fun. We have a daily all-team stand-up meeting every morning. Given the current situation, it can feel intense and distant when you’re in crisis mode. You miss the small, fun moments that are part of the day-to-day when you’re in the office. We decided to have one person share a quote, a fun fact, a yoga pose, or whatever feels right for them at the beginning of each meeting. It’s a light-hearted way to start the morning and makes everyone smile.

Connect with mentors and advisors often. When COVID-19 hit, my co-founder and I compiled a list of all our mentors and advisors and made a point to talk to them about our company and the greater business environment. It’s a good way to stay informed and run tough decisions by experienced individuals.

Take time away from work. It’s hard to let work go — especially when time feels uncertain. But it’s more important than ever. My co-founder and I are good about telling each other when we need to step away for a Saturday or an evening (even if it’s just to do a puzzle in quarantine!).

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

I love Annie Dillard’s quote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” These words gave me the courage to start Sunwink. I was graduating from business school and had accepted a job offer to work at a big consumer packaged goods company because I thought I had to have the right training before starting a company. But, something wasn’t adding up. I decided I had to stop waiting for the perfect moment to start doing what I actually wanted to do.

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

I am proud that Sunwink is supporting a movement — the movement to bring herbal wellness to more people’s everyday self-care regimen. I think it is incredibly empowering to understand that the plants that grow around us — elderberry, lemon balm, mint, rosehips — can help support our minds and bodies. It’s a movement that not only allows people to live healthier lives but also to connect to the natural world.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can find me on LinkedIn or Instagram (@eliza__ganesh)!

OTHER

Stay informed but be smart about it. As founders and company leaders, it’s our job to stay informed about what is going on in our industry (and the business world). But the onslaught of information can feel overwhelming in a time like this. Instead of scrolling through the news, LinkedIn, Instagram, and that article an investor sent you every hour, I like to set two to three designated times to read through news and newsletters that come my way. That way I can better think through the information coming at me.

Keep clear lines of communication with your team. Video meetings are best to simulate the feeling that you’re actually together.

Make time to make a plan. It’s easy to get caught up in the crisis-mode feeling of the day-to-day. But, even though you don’t know everything, it’s important to go back to the drawing board and recognize that you need a new plan for your team. Take the time to work through a new quarterly plan and annual plan with your leadership team. Come up with a communication plan to share with the larger team.

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