As a part of the Morning Lazziness series about strong women leaders who attained success with their incredible ideas, I had the pleasure of interviewing Danielle Jackson.
It’s vital to take time for yourself, and every journey starts with a single step. Self-care starts with a good night’s sleep- Danielle
Danielle is the founder of Celestial Silk, a silk and self-care company. She believes that getting restful sleep and taking time for yourself is very important as it leads us to a better version of ourselves, makes us more productive, and keeps us happy.
She also believes that giving oneself some quiet time in the day to either reflect, pray, journal or meditate will lead to a night of deeper sleep.
Many thanks for doing this for us; please let our users know about yourself and Celestial Silk?
I started Celestial Silk with a ton of research and a small pillowcase order. Now besides silk pillowcases, we carry silk scrunchies, sleep masks, face masks, and headbands and have 7 figure sales annually. We’ve been able to donate tens of thousands of dollars to charity, over 3,000 silk pillowcases to women undergoing chemotherapy, and we’re able to provide affordable, high-quality silk items at almost half the cost of other silk brands. And I’m so honored that Celestial Silk has been featured as the Top Rated silk pillowcase by Women’s Health 3 years in a row, with numerous media features, including TeenVogue, Better Homes & Gardens, Essence, O, and Today.com.
What made you start this venture- the silk pillow covers? What thoughts made you realize the importance of silk pillowcases for sleep?
Like most changes in life, it started with stress. I was overworked and ready for a change. At the time, I was a freelance beauty writer, and I had an assignment to compare a “fake” and a real silk pillowcase. Going into this, I knew that polyester was made from petroleum by-products – so basically, it’s made from chemicals. Gross! But aside from the material origin, the polyester pillowcase made me sleep hot, and it felt strange on my skin.
Silk, on the other hand, is completely natural. The material is very breathable, hypoallergenic, and temperature-regulating (so it helps you sleep cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.) When I slept on the Silk, I slept better than I had in months. I liked sleeping on something natural, and the Silk was really good for my curly hair.
For the assignment, I bought a cheap silk pillowcase that fell apart in the wash. But when I looked for a better replacement, I couldn’t find a high-quality silk pillowcase that was within my budget.
After a few weeks of looking for but not finding a better silk pillowcase, I put that search on the back-burner. I went to bed after a tiring day and had a dream that I was swimming around in Silk. In my dream, I was doing laps in an ocean of this soft silk material.
And when I woke up – an idea just clicked. Why not try to find a manufacturer that would make pillowcases exactly how I wanted but that I couldn’t find? Affordable. Thick, but not too thick. High-quality seams. With a zipper. And Non-Toxic Dyes. If I was looking for this type of pillowcase, others were too. And that was the beginning of Celestial Silk. : )
How can Celestial Silk help in solving the problems of women who work late at night and are not getting enough sleep?
I believe self-care is the first step in better sleep. You have to care enough about yourself to make changes that are good for you and your body. If you have children (or pets) that you care deeply about, you make sure they get healthy food and exercise. You also give them attention and provide them with something fun & stimulating to do.
You need to care about yourself as much as you care about others. Make health a priority. If it is truly impossible for you to add any extra sleep, at least make those sleeping hours as restful and uninterrupted as possible.
Black-out curtains and eye masks help block light. Sound machines help block noise. Many times changes in diet will bring a deeper sleep. Silk pillowcases can help achieve a better sleep due to their natural properties of being hypoallergenic and temperature regulating – Plus, they help keep skin and hair moisturized, saving time getting ready in the morning. And aromatherapy, like our Celestial Silk sleep mists, can help feelings of calm and relaxation.
What are your plans for the future? How do you plan to grow this company?
Celestial Silk started with all silk items and slowly added other affordable luxury self-care items, like gemstone facial rollers and sleep mists, and relaxation rollers. I believe the key to growth is listening to customers and your intuition and adding products and services that customers will enjoy.
Can you share a story with us about what brought you to this specific career path?
Life seems to be an accumulation of mostly choices, but chance and luck (and if you’re the sort to believe – maybe a touch of fate too). If I hadn’t graduated from college with an English degree, I probably wouldn’t have started writing. This means I wouldn’t have received the assignment to compare two types of pillowcases. Which means Celestial Silk wouldn’t exist.
If I had to pinpoint a crucial moment of Celestial Silk – it would have to be the dream I had of swimming around in silk material. After months of being overworked and frustrated, I wanted a change. That night, I prayed and meditated for direction, and I had a dream of being surrounded by this perfect silk material that made me light and joyful. I woke up the next morning with a wonderful idea to interview silk manufacturers, and that led to the creation of Celestial Silk.
I am extremely grateful for my husband and his help. When sales started to come in quicker than I could handle, my business wasn’t at the point where I could hire someone.
Many silk companies charged up to 600% mark-ups. My whole purpose in creating Celestial Silk was to provide a high-quality silk pillowcase that was affordable to most. With the cost of marketing, paying virtual assistants, building inventory, and saving for a warehouse, I just didn’t have the funds to hire someone to help me with a package. After long 12 hour days, my husband would stay up late to help me package hundreds of pillowcases. Without his help, Celestial Silk would never have gotten to where it is today.
There is no shortage of good ideas out there, but people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. How did you overcome this challenge?
Time, dedication, persistence, passion, and focus.
Whatever your goal is – whether it’s starting a business, getting fit, or saving for vacation – you have to make it important to you. Otherwise, excuses will keep popping up – and it will be easier and easier to make decisions that won’t lead to accomplishing your goal.
To me – planning and organization are the keys to overcoming a challenge. Once you have the right mindset, accomplishing tasks seem rewarding, and then you can build on that momentum.
I make lists of things that need to happen and then break every task down into very simple steps. That way, I never feel lost or like I’m running in circles. I always have a clear direction of where I’m heading.
What helps you stay driven and motivated to keep going in your business?
A sense of accomplishment is very rewarding. Planning and breaking down goals into actionable steps is key for me.
When I wake up in the morning, after I’ve said my gratitude prayer, I focus on what I want to accomplish during the day. I spend a few minutes imagining what that looks like and how it will feel. This sets the tone for the day.
When I reach the goals I’ve set for myself, it creates a lightness that feels great.
Then, of course, accomplishing your business goals leads to better customer experience, media features, and higher sales. All of this creates a motivational snowball effect.
You have been blessed with great success in a career path. Do you have any advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but seem daunted by the prospect of failure?
If starting a new career or business seems daunting to you, I would say, “Do a lot of research, take minimal risks, and start small.” Then think of the absolute worst-case scenario. If you’ve researched what you want to do and how to do it, you’ll gradually start becoming more comfortable with the idea. And, if you’re not risking much, chances are, the loss would be something you could comfortably live with.
I founded Celestial Silk after almost a year of detailed research and interviews. To minimize risk, I was also writing full-time to pay for living expenses and to save for possible business expenses and the initial order. Because I wanted to start small, my initial order cost $700, and business expenses, including licenses, insurance, and web hosting was $300. All of this helped grow my confidence. Then I arrived at a mindset that allowed the business to grow.
How do you keep yourself motivated and humble throughout the day? Do you practice meditation and yoga?
Every morning when I wake up, I take a few minutes to think or journal about things that I’m thankful for. This helps start my day in the right frame of mind. I wake up at an average time, around 6:30, and I like to have some movement, something simple like stretching and taking a walk to feel alert and fresh.
I’ve read (and heard) that meditation is best if done in the morning. But, everyone’s different, and I find that my best meditation time is the early afternoon. It helps redirect the rest of my day.
As for staying humble, I look at Celestial Silk as a result of its customers. Of course, I get excited and feel honored when a customer writes to me to tell me they love their pillowcase or if the pillowcases get mentioned in a magazine or on a website.
But – someone could invent the best gadget in the world. If no one buys it, then eventually, it will turn to dust. It’s all about the customers and what they choose.
I didn’t invent silk pillowcases. I don’t even personally make them. : )
I just found a way to give people high-quality, affordable options. Anyone could have done that. So really, there’s no other choice but to be humble.
What are your “3 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I had heard this one – but I didn’t really fully grasp the meaning pertaining to the business. You can’t please everyone.
Some people just won’t be happy. Maybe they had a bad day. Maybe they are extremely picky. Whatever the reason, you will run yourself ragged trying to please everyone. Of course, resolve any valid complaints, but realize that sometimes, people are just difficult.
And that flows very nicely into #2 – Don’t take customer complaints personally. Again, they could be having a bad day, or they are just uninformed, but a customer complaint is about the product or service your company has provided. Please do not take it as a personal attack. View it as merely a customer opinion. Take action to correct a problem or issue with a product, but don’t see it as a personal failure.
#3 – Research thoroughly, but make sure to put your research into action by making decisions. If you never take action, all of your research is worthless. It’s easy to “keep busy” by researching. But results only come from actions.
Sometimes your decision will be wrong, but that’s ok. That’s how you learn. Make a decision – follow through – and evaluate the results. This is how to keep the momentum going.
How’s your self-care routine look like? How did you take time to keep your mind and body thrive?
Self-care is so important. There are those fun self-care things like taking time for bubble baths and a good novel or pampering yourself with a spa day, but self-care is about so much more than that.
The balance of maintaining a peaceful mind, healthy body, and vibrant spirit is a lifelong journey. I find that my self-care starts with the very basics of getting restful sleep, adding movement to my day, and fueling my body with healthy options.
Once that has been accomplished, I add in meditation, gratitude, and exploration.
Finding time to do those things has to be a top priority, otherwise, the day can get filled with other tasks, especially if you work a lot. Just like achieving business goals, planning is my key to living healthy and fulfilling my self-care routine.
I plan ahead and set aside time each day to do care for myself. I actually set an appointment for self-care in my planner. When I take care of myself, I’m a better me, and I have the energy to try to make the world a better place. If I don’t take care of myself, I feel tired and drained – and then there’s no growth of any kind, business or personal.
I’ve learned that self-care doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Little steps of improvement make a big difference overall. You don’t have to exercise an hour, eat healthy, meditate, journal, and read everyday. Choose one or two activities to start. For example – set a goal of exercising 10 minutes a day. Since you’re trying to create a lifestyle change, make it something fun. Don’t talk yourself into running on a treadmill if you hate it. If you like being in nature, take a walk in the park.
Once you understand how those little changes are making a difference in your life, it will be easier to add other goals that help you become a better version of yourself.
You are a person of huge 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?
That’s kind of you to say. : ) I believe taking care of the earth and its inhabitants really sum up any charity or non-profit organization. The key is choosing a movement that fits an individual’s passion. A passion inspires others to make changes. Personally, I feel like the earth has been dumped on and needs everyone’s help, but I also know that a lot of people go through hard times and need compassion and financial help. That’s why Celestial Silk donates 10% of all proceeds to charity, including donations to environmental organizations, homeless shelters, and those undergoing chemotherapy.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.