Featured on Forbes. Author: Yola Robert
Self-care has never been more emphasized in corporate environments, so it is no surprise that brands are integrating this movement into conferences and festivals such as SxSW. Chillhouse, an NYC based self-care destination that offers massages, manis, a wellness cafe and a curated selection of products that make you feel good, created a Chillhouse x SXSW lounge for festival goers to take a moment for themselves in between panels and events. "Networking can be extremely stressful and so is sitting in a room soaking in information. SXSW is not the typical place you would expect to find a relaxing activation and that is why we wanted to bring the experience of Chillhouse to the festival," says Cyndi Ramirez, CEO & Founder of Chillhouse.
The lounge at The Four Seasons Austin featured manicures by CND, massages with Moroccan Oil, face masks by Patchology and some of their favorite self-care products like Shhhowercap. Kelly Krause, Conference Programming Manager and Head of Strategic Partnerships at SXSW, talks on the importance of incorporating self-care into the festival culture, "We know our audience loves talks focused on well-being in the workplace, business, and relationships. In 2016, Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of Headspace closed out SXSW with his Keynote, "Why Happiness is Hard and How to Make it Easier," and that was really inspiring to see so many in the audience really engage and respond well to it. Since then, we've been intentional about incorporating more talks and aligning with brands that help enhance the attendee and festival experience."
SXSW also incorporated a panel on tapping into community for retail growth with these self-care and wellness brands. Ramirez joined Jackie De Jesu, CEO of Shhhowercap and Lo Bosworth, CEO of Love Wellness to discuss how they have built authentic communities around their brands to promote organic retail growth. Part of building these authentic communities to promote retail growth comes from being present at events like SXSW.
"I've always been such a fan of SXSW. I started my career as an advertising creative and it was something to look forward to every year. The festival is on the cutting edge of everything. And, I think beauty and fashion brands (or at least breakthrough ones) tend to pride themselves on having that same energy. I can't make generalizations, but I'd assume that most festival goers are pretty plugged in on their phones always and forever. I live that way, too, so no judgement. I really believe that we're seeing the societal shift towards wellness and self care because of that reliant behavior (addiction) to tech and prevalence of all these "black mirrors" in our lives. A focus on actually being present in the moment and on your personal wellness gives your mind and body a break from all that. A true counterbalance. For that reason, it makes the most sense as brands that we'd be here. The community of people who attend SxSW are the people in most need or ready for our message," explained De Jesu on why Shhhowercap had a presence at the festival.
Bosworth also took part in an offsite activation along with being on the panel, "Taking part in SXSW furthers our mission of creating a more open and honest healthcare culture for women. The conversations we’ll have here help to shake up stigmas, and encourage women (and men) to take these body-positive messages with them as they leave and into their own communities. Taking a moment for yourself during a busy moment like SxSW can actually help you experience the event more fully. Try this mindfulness practice of focusing only on a sensory experience: the smells coming from the food trucks, the feeling of your body in a chair during a panel, or the noise from a band. That moment of focus will help to relieve any stress you may feel."
As SXSW continues to emphasize the importance of self-care through cutting edge brands, comes the hope that more executives at leading corporations who experience the festival are able to enhance their company cultures through the self-care movement.