Clean Beauty: ESKER’S Shannon Davenport

We are so excited to introduce Founder of Esker Beauty, Shannon Davenport! Her beautiful product is our newest addition in store and online.  She has a true entrepreneurial spirit and has our heart behind her brand. I feel connected to women like Shannon who are passionate and are dedicated to their dream of starting a business.  Read on and get inspired. Shop her beautiful products here.  I personally love all of her products, but the roller and oils feel so luxurious!
xo Marysia 
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Why did you start your brand?

I worked for 12 years in New York and LA as a trend forecaster, partnering with global fashion, food and beauty clients. My job was really fun, I got to research consumer shifts and track trends across industries, but I noticed that as the years passedI started to feel disconnected from the work. I wanted not just to talk about ideas and recommend them to companies who may or may not listen, but to actually act on them and build the brand I wanted to see in the world. One that is beautifully crafted with integrity, honesty and passion. At the time I started working on the brand as my side hustle (3 or 4 years ago) it really felt like bodycare was an afterthought for a lot of brands–there wasn’t a lot of innovation and there were a lot of products made with cheap, greasy filler ingredients. After getting my certification from the New York Institute of Aromatherapy I set out to approach the bodycare category from a fresh perspective by starting out with making the best possible body oils in the market. 

 

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Why should women use clean beauty?

At this point there’s no reason not to use clean beauty! I think the last few years have shown us that clean beauty brands can be just as effective and elevated as mainstream products. Ingredient innovation has come a long way so there are all kinds of interesting things people can formulate with that are exciting and totally natural. I’m all about exploring lesser-known ingredients which is why with our products you see things like juniper, cypress, and CO2 extracts (which is a totally chemical and heat free extraction method). It’s never my intention to make anyone feel fearful or shamed if everything in their life isn’t ‘clean’ but I think now we’re in a great position where there are so many options that it’s becoming a no-brainer, whether it’s makeup, bodycare or even home cleaning supplies.

Is it true that it could irritate your face if there too much botanicals/essential oils?

Pretty much anything can irritate your face if it’s not formulated properly, which includes botanicals and essential oils. Essential oils are super diverse, they can come from tree resins, leaves, flowers, citrus peels and grasses; there are actually over 100 naturally occurring essential oils. So when we lump them all together as good or bad for the skin we’re not really seeing the whole picture. The way that I think about essential oils and skincare is its all about using the right oil in the right way. Just like with spices in cooking that also come from a diverse range of plants, you wouldn’t use a paprika like you would use basil or curry, so it’s about understanding what to use and how, and that’s where using products that are formulated with safe percentages and carefully chosen oils is really important. Yes some oils can definitely be sensitizing if they’re used directly on the skin, and especially in super delicate areas of the face but the body is an amazing way to utilize essential oils and get all of their skincare and aromatic benefits, especially if they’re being formulated properly.

 

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What other brands do you personally use in your beauty arsenal?

I love Benefit for their brow line, they make such an awesome array of products. I lean towards Korean products for anything for my face that has SPF–Amore Pacific and Dr Jart are mainstays. ​For makeup Kjaer Weis does a gorgeous job and the packaging is heavenly. Kari Gran’s lip products are super moisturizing and lovely and Living Luminizer from RMS is basically always in my makeup bag. 

What is your favorite Marysia piece?

I have the Palm Springs Maillot in black and I’m in love with the simplicity of it but also the special details. It’s unbelievably classic and I know I’ll be wearing it for years to come. I also love the artful tie details in the Venice suits, they’re so gorgeous and the craftsmanship really comes through.

 

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How does your company practice sustainability? 

I wanted to create a brand that made people think more deeply about plant life and a huge part of that is acknowledging and appreciating the role that pollinators (bees, butterflies and birds) play in the ecosystem. The more I read about how to protect pollinators the more I understood that helping them can actually be quite simple–planting more flowers! I loved the simplicity of that idea and I wanted to make it super easy and fun for my customers to do, so I created a custom seed packet that fit into each box of body oil as an extra little surprise. We’re also very focused on using packaging from post-consumer recycled materials or fully recyclable materials like glass. We’re at a crucial junction right now where brands need to step up and make sure they’re creating as little waste as possible. I also want to help educate people around how to help pollinators. We’re building out some great educational content on our site and we’re an official supporter of The Xerces Society, which is an incredible nonprofit based here in the US.

 

What advice do you have for anyone starting their own business?

Get ready for lots of ups and downs! I recently read a quote from Kevin Liles that said “success is never owned, it’s rented and the rent is due every damn day.” That really resonates with me because having a small business is really an endurance exercise. You have to do as much as you can on your own with finite resources in the beginning. That means waking up each day ready to roll your sleeves up and approach each problem with an open mind, even if you don’t know how to figure it out at first. Some days you start to wonder if you’re nuts, but then you have the wins that power you to keep going and keep growing.

 

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