Wellness Boss Stephanie Morimoto Wants You To Take Care Of Yourself, "On Purpose"
In a nutshell, I’m nuts about Asutra, a line of natural self-care products that’s equal parts woo-woo and straight-up science.
Right now, for inspo while I write this post, I’ve loaded up my desk with goodies like Chill the night away melatonin / magnesium CBD cream, Mist your mood lavender and chamomile spritz and Bubbly ever after aromatherapy bar soap. And a few weeks ago, after I completely destroyed my back playing (waaaay too much) tennis, I spent quality time in the tub with Soak pain away bath salts.
Asutra products look great (see pics below), smell great and perform great - all while blasting you with tons of natural, organic ingredients loaded with health benefits. Is it any wonder Venus Williams had her people cold-email Asutra CEO Stephanie Morimoto to tell her how much she loved the brand? Yup, that happened. And now the adorable tennis legend (and Florida resident!) is not only an investor in Asutra, she’s the Chief Brand Officer.
But as great as Venus is, I wanted to hear from Stephanie. So I reached out, and she reached back, and here’s our fun, informative Q+A:
FBP: I peeked at your LinkedIn profile, and basically nothing about it said, “This woman is headed STRAIGHT to the beauty and wellness world!” How and why did you make the leap from national education organizations like New Leaders and Teach for America to helming Asutra?
MORIMOTO: We, especially women, often multi-task intensely and care for others at the expense of ourselves. As a woman who lived this way - and burned out in crazy jobs - I’ve learned the importance of truly caring for yourself. And doing it on purpose.
I had to retrain myself to prioritize sleep and exercise, to wind down from a stressful day, to put good things in and on my body, to take time for me - and not feel guilty about it. I still don’t do any of this perfectly. But I try to do as much of it as I can on purpose, so I can be present and loving with my family, my friends and my colleagues.
I first discovered Asutra as a customer. I’m big into yoga and exercise and came across the all-natural yoga mat cleaner and pain cream online. The passionate reviews persuaded me to try them. When I began using these products, I totally got why people were writing paragraphs about how much they loved them. Now, I’m one of them. I’ve had the honor of connecting with so many customers who have shared their stories about how Asutra has helped them with pain relief, better sleep, or creating softer and healthier skin.
As luck would have it, I learned that the founders of Asutra were looking to sell the company. I jumped at the chance to buy the business I loved and take it to the next level. I relocated Asutra to my hometown of Chicago to contribute to the city’s economy and create good jobs with benefits for our diverse team.
FBP: Where does the name Asutra come from, and how does it tie into the brand’s mission?
MORIMOTO: “Sutra” means thread in Sanskrit. We offer a wide range of products - for sleep support, pain relief, aromatherapy, skincare. The thread through all of them is that they’re all natural, and they help you care for yourself the way you want to.
FBP: Please explain Asutra’s core ethos of “active self care.”
MORIMOTO: At Asutra, we’re folks who are passionate about helping other people take care of themselves - on purpose - to get the most out of life. We call it active self-care.
Active self-care isn’t selfish. It’s important. It’s not an escape from your stresses. It’s an on-going practice that’s essential to being your best you, so you can go out and be even more bad-ass!
FBP: In reading reviews on your site, I’m impressed that Asutra has customers of all ages and all sexes. How do you think you’ve been able to attract such a wide, diverse base?
MORIMOTO: Thank you for noticing that! Serving a diverse audience is extremely important to me and our team. We are super picky about only offering products that work. We make natural, safe products that we want for ourselves and our families. Our products are priced accessibly. One of team’s core values is: Customer service is tops. If our customers feel awesome and cared for, we’re doing it right. I think these are commitments that can be felt by people of all ages and sexes. As a woman of color leading a diverse team, I’m very committed to intentionally highlighting diversity on our site and social media, so everyone feels welcome.
FBP: And speaking of reviews, did you see the one from Luis, who plays the bongos and is grateful for the pain relief he’s gotten from your magnesium cream? Adorable.
MORIMOTO: Yes! We loved that review. It’s such a great example of someone who loves getting the most out of life - in this case through his music - and wants to take care of himself on purpose so he can do more of it. That perfectly embodies who we want to be part of Asutra’s active self-care revolution.
FBP: Can you explain, in layman’s terms, why magnesium is so magical for our inner and outer health?
MORIMOTO: I could go on and on about the benefits of magnesium! Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in your body and is essential to maintaining your energy level, helping you relax, and sustaining the health of your heart, muscles and kidneys. This mineral contributes to strong, healthy teeth and bones. Magnesium also plays a vital role in supporting healthy brain activity and an optimal state of mental health.
Yet, two out of three people are magnesium-deficient and don’t even know it.
We used to get enough magnesium through our food, but our soil has been depleted of many key nutrients. So while foods like leafy greens, nuts and beans are all good sources of magnesium, most of us need to supplement.
You can take magnesium supplements in pill form, but a lot of people experience an upset stomach. The beauty of using a topical magnesium supplement is that it absorbs through your biggest organ - your skin - faster into your bloodstream and bypasses your digestive tract, avoiding stomach upset.
We make it easy to take your magnesium topically. You can use our highly portable magnesium oil spray - simply spray it on your skin and massage it in. You can use our magnesium body butter, which does double duty as luxurious moisturizer and magnesium supplement. Or you can soak your body or feet in our magnesium chloride flakes, relaxing your muscles while doing something good for you. This last one is my personal favorite.
FBP: Several of Asutra’s products seem geared toward exercise recovery. Are we working out too hard? Too much exercise is not great, agreed?
MORIMOTO: I have to say, I’m a big believer that daily movement and exercise is critical for overall health, especially since most of us sit in a chair all day. It’s not just my belief; the science backs this up. I’m also a big believer that moderation is key. We want to help people give themselves the time and routines to let their bodies recover from that exercise.
If you work out, you use up more magnesium. Supplementing helps your body get the most out of the exercise you do and also recover. Plus, recovery can be stretching, or pain relief, but it’s also getting a good night’s sleep and having a great dinner (and wine!) with your friends.
FBP: How did the Venus Williams alliance come about? I know she was / is a fan of the pain relief products, but did she just “cold email” you? Or did she have her people call your people?
MORIMOTO: I got a cold email from an agent at William Morris Endeavor, the giant talent agency, asking to learn more about Asutra. We scheduled a call, and I’m telling him the whole story I just told you. He said, “Wow, this is so inspiring.” I asked him how he heard of us, and he said, “You’re not going to believe this, but Venus Williams uses your pain cream. And she wanted to learn more about the company.” My jaw dropped!
I sat down with Venus in person to share with her where Asutra has been and our vision for the future. We didn’t set out to partner with a celebrity, but Venus so perfectly embodies our ethos of active self-care that it was an excellent match. Plus, I have such deep respect for all that she’s accomplished as an athlete and entrepreneur, and that she’s advocated for equal pay for women tennis players. She was excited to get involved and help us build awareness and grow the business. We’re absolutely thrilled to have her join Team Asutra as part owner and Chief Brand Officer.
FBP: It’s almost literally 1000 degrees in Florida right now. “Sell” me on why taking a hot bath with Soak pain away Magnesium Flakes is the best thing I can do to bounce back from too much tennis. It sounds majorly counter-intuitive…
MORIMOTO: I’m half Japanese, and in Japan, nightly bathing is an important wind-down ritual. You shower first to clean your body, then you climb into a high tub where you’re submerged to your neck in hot water. This is in a country so humid in the summer, you feel like you’ve taken a bath just by walking around the block. But when you get out of that bath, you and your muscles feel utterly relaxed. And you have the best night’s sleep.
Now imagine this ritual with the added benefit of magnesium. Magnesium is critical for overall wellness, and the best way to get enough of it in your body is to absorb it through your skin. A magnesium bath does double duty for you: you replenish your magnesium levels so your body can recover, while the hot water relaxes your mind.
Well…now I feel the need to go take a magnesium bath!
FBP: Me too! Thank you carving the time out of your crazed skedge to chat with Florida Beauty Problems, and good luck with all things “active self-care”!