AUTHORITY MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

Posted by Karina Michel Feld on Jan 23rd 2021

AUTHORITY MAGAZINE INTERVIEW

Keli Murphy of ‘Whimsy Sugar Scrubs’: The Power of Flexibility; How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic

The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.

As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Keli Murphy.

Keli Murphy has quite the adventurous resume! A Professional Dancer and Stuntwoman turned Beauty Professional with 20+ years in the beauty industry as a Master Stylist, Salon Owner and Kevin.Murphy Educator. She also earned her degree in Japanese. Staying open, being flexible and adapting to change is something she knows very well and how she has continued to push through even the toughest challenges. Keli is the Founder/Creator of Whimsy Sugar Scrubs (www.whimsy4u.com), an eco-friendly line of scrubs and oils. She was lucky to find her soul mate and has been married for 23 years, is the proud mother of 2 boys and 2 Jack Russell puppies. When not working, surfing or playing with her pups, she loves creating in the kitchen, entertaining and anything that involves her kids, family, organizing and the beach!


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

Let’s just say my childhood was both amazing and challenging in some very unique ways. So much of what I overcame young has carried me to become the person I am today and the warrior that lives inside of me! Born with no optical nerve, I have been blind in my right eye since birth. To some this would be a disability, but to my family It was an ability to see things differently (no pun intended)! My parents chose for this not to be a problem, so I was incredibly lucky to embrace that perspective and move past any limitations. They taught me to not let the circumstances define you. The challenges and struggles were real, just as we all have our road blocks or those trying to work against us. The older I got and the more I grew into who I was meant to be, the more strength I had to push through and rise above it! You tell me I can’t; I will show you I can! The amazing thing about my childhood was my parents who believed in me and supported a non-traditional path. They encouraged finding your passion, keeping a balance and always doing your best. From jumping off roofs to deciding at 6 years old I would be a Dancer when I grew up, they believed in me every step of the way and at 17 years old I started my career as a Professional Dancer! Whenever there was a doubt or fear, my dad always told me to tell yourself “YOU GOT THIS!” To this day, I say it all the time and tell my boys to do the same.

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

“If you are not actively involved in getting what you want, you must not want it!”

I heard this from Stuart Robinson on my first day of his on-camera commercial acting class at the young age of 18! I had thought taking this class was a good idea to improve my auditions. Little did I know that binder full of notes would carry me through all my journeys even to this day! So often we have these big dreams that seem intangible and overwhelm us. When we break them down into realistic bits we gain clarity and can actually start to work towards them. This quote was his response to an actor complaining of his agent. He completely blew our minds when he reminded us that the agent gets 10% so they are responsible for 10% of our career, the rest is on us! If you really want something, do everything you possibly can. When you stay actively involved and are able to keep that inner drive going, you truly will become unstoppable.

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

“You Can’t Afford the Luxury of a Negative Thought”

I believe every page has an ear fold, this book is that good! This was a timely recommendation in my early entertaining years with the daily doses of rejection, insecurities and disappointments. The title says it all and what’s inside reminds us to not entertain the negative thoughts when they come our way. As much as I believe I was born with a rosy colored lens along with a positive upbringing, this book firmed up the power of positive thinking. In life you always have a choice and I believe this book strengthened and encouraged my ability to find the good in everything.

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?

I have spent the past 20+ years working as a Master Stylist, Salon Owner and Kevin.Murphy Educator. I downsized from my 7-chair salon to a private studio about 5 years ago just before we found the news that led to a 2-year journey seeking medical answers for my husband. This alone was our saving grace just before he had a tumor removed from his spinal cord and was then unable to work due to medical complications for a few years to follow. Like me, he’s a warrior who daily continues to fight thru roadblocks to maintain normalcy as best he can, never complaining and handling it all with grace! So these past 3 years I have been the main income source, juggling business and family. I also am a passionate entrepreneur and somehow constantly find new things to learn, grow and create. I fell in love with a scrub I bought in the summer of 2019 but was not happy with how it was hard to wash off. The chemist and creative in me turned this quest of creating a scrub you didn’t need to loofah off into a passion project. The results, after several weeks and pounds of sugar later, were too good not to share. My clients were my perfect audience and I could not keep them on my shelf! My husband encouraged me to launch a line and so my intention was to do so in what I hoped to be within the next few years.

What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?

March 21, 2020 ~ My salon was shut-down due to the Pandemic and continued to be closed for 11 ½ weeks. You tell me I can’t work…I will show you a way that I can! Not one to sit around, I saw this unusual “gift” of time as my prime opportunity to use to its fullest to work on my line of Sugar Scrubs. I researched, tested, created and finalized everything for my packaging, ingredients, and shipping. I did a photo shoot and was just in the beginning phase of designing my website when I got the news to re-open. That was for only 3 weeks and then the 2nd shut-down happened for 8 more weeks. My SILVER LINING, a lot of time to do a lot of work, research, design, final decisions to ultimately get it all figured out and I launched my e-commerce shop August 1, 2020. Pretty much a one woman show, but my husband is my best partner and photographer! My two boys (12 + 14) got to witness all it takes to jump start a business and I was able to launch a brand at a time that everything else we do wasn’t possible. It has been just a few months since the launch and it’s growing at a steady pace. I am back in the salon and excited every day to work on my WHIMSY SUGAR SCRUB line and grow it to its true potential. This year has been a whirlwind, to say the least, but I am excited for this new venture and that it came from a place that would have been otherwise a huge loss. Instead, I was able to lean into the gift of time and develop products we all can feel good about!

Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?

What started as a passion project to create a sugar scrub to my liking, my Aha moment came when I achieved what I was trying to create. At that time and after several weeks of concocting, I knew it was too good not to share! I seriously can’t stop and it’s a good thing because the more time spent the more I want this to grow. My favorite part of the beauty industry these past 20+ years has been being a “daymaker”, making peoples day and helping them feel as good as they look! In the midst of this pandemic, being stuck at home and having to take on so much more than most of us “signed up for”, Whimsy Sugar Scrubs can offer an experience for some well deserved self-care and help even more people feel good! So much has poured into this. I really feel blessed to have had this idea and am so happy my customers love the products as much as I do making them!

How are things going with this new initiative?

Things are going great with just a few months since our launch. We are growing at a steady pace and are thrilled to have some recent press including Holiday Gift Guides and magazine features. Whimsy Sugar Scrubs has the best interest of you and earth in mind and is at the heart and soul of all we do. From our vision to your shelf we handcraft, package and ship sustainably and encourage our customers to reuse/repurpose our jars post scrubbing with our jar accessories! We love the process and are enjoying the journey. Even packaging and shipping is so much fun and our customers appreciate their un-boxing experience as much as they love our products. We also have 4 organizations we feel deeply rooted too that we will contribute seasonally as we grow, starting in 2021. The more we grow, the more we give, and we are so excited to see how far this new journey will take us!

Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I am truly grateful for my husband, Mark, and owe so much of who I am and what I have achieved because of him. He is the most selfless, insightful, realistic person I know. I met him in the height of my dance career at 21. He has shared all these crazy twists and turns and is my rock through it all. He continually has sacrificed so much so I could pursue my dreams. How he compliments me is incredible. I mean this in a yin and yang kind of way! I make jewelry as well and for my 1st gift show, back when we first met, he made “trees” using Manzanilla from his family cabin and cemented them into flower pots with moss. They made beautiful jewelry displays. I mean, who does this?! He almost pursued photography and is super talented so he has been doing my headshots and is my in-house photographer, also responsible for all my pictures for Whimsy Sugar Scrubs. He literally built my first salon from the inside out, including a beautiful garden for clients to process and enjoy. Thankfully I documented it all and have a beautiful picture album to prove it!The list goes on, but what is relative to all of this, is that he tapped into the potential of my scrubs. From consistent feedback to how well it was received by my clients, he knew I was onto something special. He encouraged me to go for it, once again encouraging me to reinvent myself. The beauty of this venture is that it is something he can be even more a part of and I wouldn’t want it any other way. He is the best partner in business, life and family I could have ever dreamed of.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?

The most interesting thing since we started is how SERENDIPITOUS this journey has been! My name, Whimsy, is from my salon name Whimsy Salon. I tried to come up with a unique sugar scrub name and finally my husband said no to them all, it’s Whimsy, that’s you! Serendipitous in how the more we look or harder we try we make our way back to what seems so simple and even closer to home! For example, our shipping boxes were our hardest decision. We tested multiple boxes and fills and let’s just say when you ship glass and are trying to be sustainable, it’s no easy task! Not satisfied with anything we tried and feeling frustrated and discouraged, I simply changed my wording in a Google search and found the shippers that we use to this day! They are the most sustainable solution and protect my jars the best. In addition, the source is just a few hours away and I love that it’s supporting a local business too! So you see, we seem to come back to almost where we started and with the best solution! I guess we are so used to everything being much more complicated with so many roadblocks and hiccups along the way that this journey so far has been like no other! It’s as if the combined struggles between my husband and I over the years, together in our businesses, have paved the way for a smoother path now. When it’s meant to be it truly does fall into place.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. THERE IS ONLY ONE YOU

That A-ha moment when my passion project became a reality also brought a bit of defeat. Originally I created this for myself with no other intention. The more I concocted, the more ideas came and I knew I just had to keep going and share this with others. When I did my market research and saw how saturated it was with Sugar Scrubs there was that moment of defeat before I even started. After some time had past with much more research, I reminded myself there is only one me. If I haven’t done MY version yet, then actually it has NOT all been done before! It is so important to remind ourselves that there is always room for each one of us and the world needs that special gift that only we can offer!

2. DON’T WEAR ALL THE HATS

Yes, I will admit, I am type-A and a control freak. I have very strong ideas on how I like things done when it comes to my businesses and I rarely ask for help. I am still mostly a one woman show as I recently just launched, but for the 1st time I’m feeling excited to grow so I can let more stuff go and bring on other awesome team members to join our journey. That said, my husband is my right hand man. I should know better by now that when I surrender and let him help, even if it’s something small, I relax and enjoy the ride so much more. We are not meant to do EVERYTHING so from the start, however possible, build your team and let each person do what they were brought on to do. Let go, trust the process and remember you will learn and grow so much more with others and their unique perspective!

3. PLAN FOR THE WORST

As an optimist I am challenged at looking at the downside of things. My strength has always been focusing on the good and finding it even through the darkest of times. Playing the devils advocate definitely has its place in business. I wish I embraced this concept a long time ago! As someone who likes control, my mind is blown away on how much more control you gain when you allow yourself to plan for the worst. You give yourself the opportunity to find solutions to anticipate issues should they come your way. I recently forced myself to exercise this notion and wrote down everything that could possibly go wrong. The positive dreamer in me stepped into reality, got real with the good and the bad, and was able to figure some important things out. It also didn’t seem as bad as I thought and helped remove some underlying fears and uncertainty. This exercise felt like a dress rehearsal that prepared me for the real deal! As much as we all strive to think positive it is also important to keep the balance and think of the negative too. When we plan for the worst, we gain a broader perspective and a stronger game plan to conquer whatever course our journey takes.

4. SHARE YOUR DREAMS WITH OTHERS

I have always been quite protective of my thoughts and dreams. In my early careers I didn’t celebrate the small victories in the event they didn’t lead to my final goal. I wish someone told me earlier in the game to share every part of my journey. When we share our dreams with others we open ourselves to other thoughts, insight, experiences and unique perspectives we otherwise would have never known. It also builds great accountability. You are vulnerable to share your dreams, but at the same time when you want it that bad it creates momentum. The more you hear yourself talking, you take ownership of what it is that you want, you gain clarity and doors begin to open to lead you along the way!

5. GIVE BACK

Summer, 2019, brought some incredible experiences and insight. It was one “season” in life that would later reveal its importance. My friend and I drove up the coast through Northern California for a much needed girls getaway and surf trip. We stopped in a cute beach town to eat, walk and shop some unique stores. She loved this one particular candle but the price was a bit high. When the seller told us a tree was planted for every candle sold that was a game changer and in that moment, price had no issue. The value was in the way the candle gave back. At the time we thought that was amazing, bought the candle of course, and went on our happy way. I wish someone told me a long time ago to connect my business to the greater good of others. It was in my final phase of my web design when I thought about that candle. All along I have held true to my brand to be eco-friendly and sustainable. What we do, use, create and ship are with the best interest of people and the planet in mind. That candle revealed its story once again, and in the moment I paused to reflect the value that gave, I knew I needed to stretch my brand to do the same. The world as it is today, we all are craving to find more ways to help. Whimsy Sugar Scrubs has created a GROW + GIVE section to our site and are thrilled to be part of 4 organizations that we feel deeply rooted to. We also have an opportunity to not only make our customers feel good but also to make a difference, one scrub at a time!

So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?

As our world has been tossed upside down, now more than ever, we all have been forced to look within and embrace all that is important to us. In so many ways I believe the good side of it has been a necessary pause or reset to the world we were living in. The go, go, go way of life at some point catches up. If anything, our dogs and kids are super happy we all are home way more than usual! As far as staying positive, I choose to focus on what make me happy. I am blessed to be able to walk to the beach so when there are waves, I start my day with my family surfing! I also find peace spending time in my kitchen. Cooking, baking, concocting truly feeds my soul. My passion for chemistry and concocting has transferred from the kitchen and into creating some beautiful scents for my scrubs and oils. Whimsy Sugar Scrubs has been a saving grace and a beautiful escape to dive into. The whole entire process of creating, researching, filling up my many binders (I love binders), labeling, organizing, and spreadsheets also make me happy. I am a bit weird like that but organization makes me feel like I am in control of something and it is super satisfying!

Having this launch to focus on has been enough, but in any stressful time I believe in finding balance and things to feed your mind, body, soul. Stay active, make good choices, pray and focus on the good is what I choose and it negates the bad to get you through, even the toughest of challenges!

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?

PICK UP 3

I live by the beach and am a mermaid at heart. It is so sad to be on our beautiful beach and see trash everywhere, coming in and out of our ocean. Trash is an ongoing problem throughout the world and ultimately does end up in some body of water. If everyone could PICK UP 3 pieces of trash a day we could all be part of a solution. Just thinking of how many people I see in my beach town in one day, if they would PICK UP 3 pieces a day, what a difference just that would make! If everyone in the world could contribute, such a simple request ~ PICK UP 3 pieces of trash a day, we really could start to minimize damage to our environment and help sustainability for generations to come!

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!

Marie Forleo. My girlfriend mentioned EVERYTHING IS FIGUREOUTABLE by Marie Forleo at the start of my sugar scrub journey. I relate to her in regards to what I also was given by my parents, including some interesting expressions! I love inspirational books and this one hit so many chords. Lots of validation for familiar ideas I know and do, with a bunch of new perspectives gained, and some incredible calls to action. This booked moved me in a way that I could not stop talking about it! Marie Forleo not only has amazing insight, but her passion and willingness to share and give, so others may achieve greatness, is truly inspirational. A lunch date would not be enough time, but to meet and sit with her in any form, I would be more than willing to take what I could get!

How can our readers follow you online?

You can find me on my Whimsy Sugar Scrubs website: https://www.whimsy4u.com

I am also @whimsy4you on Facebook, Instagram & Pinterest

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

Authority Magazine

WRITTEN BY  Karina Michel Feld

Executive Producer of Tallulah Films

Authority Magazine

Leadership Lessons from Authorities in Business, Film, Sports and Tech. Authority Mag is devoted primarily to sharing interesting feature interviews of people who are authorities in their industry. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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