(Belated) Bodhi Week – Interview with Elijah Choo
See what happens when I post every day for a week? I don’t post for a whole week! A few days before #BodhiWeek commenced I asked Elijah a few questions to round off the series of posts with. Here are the questions and the answers between myself and Elijah Choo – a very inspirational man indeed!
Q. I know that you used to be a graphic designer, tell us more about your transition from design into grooming and beauty?
My interest in well-being and skincare began its journey from as far as I can remember.
Coming from an oriental background, you are surrounded by traditional remedies and an understanding of Chinese herbs and botanical ingredients that help balance your “Chi”. I grew up ingrained with the philosophy that prevention is always better than cure, and taught to understanding that you are what you eat.
When I was in my teens, I used to concoct the most bizarre potions and lotions from ingredients found in the fridge and on my mother’s dressing table, much to her annoyance. From pulverised carrot and honey face masks to hair conditioners made with egg yolk, chocolate and a healthy dollop of mum’s face cream. I guess that was the start of my “hobby”.
After fifteen years in the advertising and marketing industry, I became disillusioned by my career path and was looking for new challenges, a new journey. It was during this period, with work starting on the restoration of our 16th century farm house, plus continual cleansing, that led to the development of severely dry skin. I was using various premium skincare brands at the time and it turns out the ingredient causing my problem was Sodium Laureth Sulphate.
I love complex evocative fragrances and although switching to natural skincare helped my skin condition, these products tend to have weak single-layered fragrances. I want my cake and eat it! Realising there was a niche for skincare that marries the best of both worlds, Bodhi was born.
Q. Have you always had a lot of products in your bathroom? Do you have more so now?
Always, especially when I was in my twenties. I don’t think I was a product junkie but my family and friends would beg to differ. Growing older, and wiser, I started to stick to what I love and works best, whittling it down to a few key brands. I have to admit growing much older and wiser, I’ve abolished most of these key brands too, due to the product ingredients used. My bathroom is now only filled with Bodhi plus a few new products that are still under wraps.
Q. Tell us more about the name Bodhi – where does it come from and what does it mean?
Bodhi is the Sanskrit word for “enlightment”. More accurately, it means “to awaken” and “to understand”. It is the name of Fiscus Religiosa, the sacred fig tree, also known as the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge.
It’s about truly seeing the world around you. To open your eyes, not only to what you put on your skin but to what your choices represent; how ethical the product is, where do the ingredients come from and how it can help other communities.
Q. And tell us some more about your ranges.
Botanical Therapies, our inceptive range of bath and shower products, launched in Autumn 2010. This is the “discovery collection”, pulling influences and inspiration from my life and years of travel. Each blend has a story to tell, from Cambodian spa influenced Galangal Spice to the Moroccan mint tea and Tiger Balm White inspired Mint Thé.
We tend to look after our facial skin and often neglect the body. Botanical Therapies is packed with pure essential oils and anti-ageing botanicals to indulge the senses and leave skin soft, smooth and nourished.
Artisan Series is a hand-blended collection. Inspired by legendary ingredients, these are produced in small batches using quality botanicals selected for their unparalleled skincare benefits. Launched last September, Desert Rose Rejuvenating Face Oil has since become a cult favourite, gaining firm fans in the bloggersphere and the Red Magazine office. Of course, it also won Best Face Oil in Biteable Beauty’s Best of 2012/13!
Following its success, we introduced Neroli Lucé Revitalising Face Oil for normal or combination skin along with the seductive Flora Paradiso De-Stress Massage & Body Oil and Thai massage inspired Ginger Brew Deep Tissue Massage & Body Oil. Three more will be added to this range in June: Cacao Cocoon Lip Treatment Balm, Mint Thé Temple Balm and the much-anticipate Rosemary Chi Himalayan Detox Salt Scrub.
Q. To me, it’s apparent that travel really inspires your essential oil blends, what’s your favourite destination and where are you looking forward to going to for the first time?
My mind is a sponge constantly seeking and soaking up new inspiration for the next Bodhi product. Most have been accumulated throughout my life, and through my travels. It’s difficult to pick one favourite since every journey and destination is unique, to be savoured in its own way. I tend to seek out jungle adventures as I’ve always had an affinity with the rainforest; from the Amazonian Basin to the Bornean jungles and the legendary Spice Islands. I also have a thing for wild expanses of nature. To be a mere speck in the middle of The Sahara is a very spiritual and humbling experience. Next stop? Patagonia perhaps, or Mongolia.
Q. Who is your ultimate beauty icon?
I don’t have a beauty icon. Well, not a beauty icon but rather a holistic health and wellness guru – Dr Andrew Weil. His approach to life, health and beauty is inspiring. I believe beauty is a state of mind that comes from within; a well-cared for body and mind promotes a quiet confidence that helps exude beauty, a certain allure and confidence. The rest is only skin deep.
Q. What are your top three skincare tips?
- Prevention is always better than cure. So instead of using harsh synthetic products that can have damaging effects on your skin, body and health in the long term, choose natural or organic formulations that care and protect.
- Feed the mind and it will help feed your body and skin. I’m a firm believer in questioning all that is fed to you by any brand and the media. Knowledge is key and it is good to question how and why in order to learn what’s best for your skin.
- Have a good night’s sleep. Your body goes into repair mode when you are in deep slumber, working to deal with damage caused to the skin by oxidisation, stress and whatever you’ve thrown at it. Sleep is when the body produces more proteins, which in turn rejuvenates and repair skin. It’s not called beauty sleep for nothing.
Q. What beauty columns and blogs do you regularly dip in to?
There is quite a long list. These include BiteableBeauty.com, of course. buff-beauty.com, holisticgreenbeauty.com, thebeautyshortlist.com and pamperedprince.co.uk are some of the blogs I love.
Q. Any advice for entrepreneurs wanting to start their own business in the beauty industry?
Yes, just do it.
Most of us only dream of achieving our goals, mostly out of the fear of the unknown or out of disbelief that we can get actually get there. You only have one life, so don’t waste it pondering over all the what ifs. If you believe in it and are passionate enough about it, do it.