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Shannon Davenport Founder, Esker
How has motherhood played an important role in the founding of Esker, your clean beauty brand?
I took the plunge to launch the brand right around the time I was about to deliver my ﬁrst daughter Sage. It was pretty terrifying because I was in between many things, still working full time, about to be a mom, and launching a company all at the same time. I had a deep fear that motherhood would change my personality and even though it was a huge adjustment (especially for the ﬁrst few months) I realized I was the same person in my core and that becoming a mom didn’t mean the end of my ambition. If anything it fuels me because I want to make her and her sister proud.
You have very special products and with your expertise you could have done facial serums or beauty, or things that perhaps are more commonplace in the non-toxic beauty category. Why did you start with the products you started with?
Body care was always where I wanted to be. I come from a trend forecasting background and I always thought that body was such a cool space within beauty that other brands just weren’t paying attention to in a meaningful way. I saw so many products that were all focused on the face, or clean makeup and very little out there that specialized in body. Our skin is our largest organ and 90% of it is from the neck down so it made sense to me to treat the skin on our bodies with as much care as our faces.
What kind of self-care or beauty rituals do you keep? Do you think ritual or routine is a big part of what makes these products powerful?
Esker is all about creating self-care rituals through bathing and body care. Throughout my life I’ve always turned to a nice warm tub as a way to destress, and reconnect with myself. Even during the times I was traveling constantly for work and couldn’t ﬁnd much time for regular exercise or meal planning, I would always look forward to a soothing bath. Bathing is proven to help with sleep, mood, skin health, and heart health, and I was surprised to ﬁnd out how many people had access to a bathtub but weren’t exactly sure how to use it. I started the brand to share these body care and bathing rituals with other people.
Do you see your husband take an interest in your products? Are you seeing more demand for these kinds of products among men?
My husband is also a bath person so he loves good smelling soaps, body washes and bath salts. I’ve even seen an uptick in men interested in our exfoliator, the Body Plane. I think it’s great!What is the thing you like least about being a Founder and working for yourself? What is the thing you like most?
I miss having coworkers, that was one of my favorite parts of working in an oﬃce and having a full time job. I’ve made some incredible friends along the way through diﬀerent jobs! But as we grow, we’ll continue to build out our full time team and get that sense of community going. However, I love the feeling that I’m in control of my business. I love the freedom and ﬂexibility that comes with working for yourself. I’m a pretty diligent worker but I can move things around and that helps me balance family and friends with my responsibilities.
Do you have a 'personal advisory board' of folks you turn to about business - and life in general? Who are they and how did you assemble them?
Now that I’ve raised money for my business I actually do have an advisory board which is amazing. They’re people who have experience in retail, branding, marketing and business that I can learn so much from. Personally, my female friends are everything to me, and I take their feedback and input really seriously. I feel lucky to have an amazing community of people to lean on in both work and life in general.
Are you a competitive person? How does it make you feel when you see a new competitive product in your space?
I don’t really consider myself a competitive person, but in business you have to think about things in that way. My approach is more proactive than reactive, if I see other products or brands coming into our space I try to lean into what makes Esker really special and diﬀerent.
Is it hard to get user feedback on your products while in product development? Do you turn to trusted friends and family, or do you assemble strangers who are unbiased?
I try to do a combination of both, it helps that a lot of my friends are also customers. I am a big researcher so I look everywhere for input on product development!
What is the thing about motherhood that most surprises you every day?
Every day is something new with my daughters. They keep me guessing, keep me laughing and keep me on my toes! I love watching their unique personalities develop and I can’t wait to see who they become. Well, I can wait because it’s true that they grow so fast, within a blink of an eye! So I’m trying to savor this age and this phase as much as I can.Shop Shannon's Look:Swiss Dot Top