We had the good fortune of connecting with Jennie and Dillon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jennie, Dillon, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
What does it mean to put “work” “life” and “balance” together in the same sentence? How do we maintain balance when the world itself is on a tilt, unpredictable and wild? For me and most individuals I know, work, life and the balance between them seems almost unobtainable – like something from a fairytale. We are constantly over-compensating for one with the other and there is hardly any balance at all. The challenges that life puts in front of us ultimately test our inner balance system, and at JeMaé, we strive to face those challenges head on and to create products that help people find inner balance naturally.
The struggle for balance is universal. We often trade the limited time we have for self-actualization, relaxation, and personal development for overtime or searching for the next fix. For many, the only options for “taking the edge off” are toxic substances. However, as a society we are becoming more open to the world of natural healing. The earth maintains a circle of life and we often forget we come from that system. At JeMaé, we understand that with what and whom we surround ourselves is just as important as what we put in or on our bodies.
I was raised in a “walk it off” type of family in which depression and anxiety weren’t acknowledged and children couldn’t possibly have enough problems to get headaches. So, taking that mindset into adulthood eventually became problematic for me–physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I started to suppress my emotions and struggled to maintain any sense of balance or self-care (a word with which I only became familiar a few years ago). At one point, I was working three jobs, going to school, while also being in a relationship. Things seemed insurmountable, and the only way I could manage and balance my inner self was to self-medicate. Whether alcohol or drugs, I would reach for anything that would allow me to relax and turn off the stressors in my life. I completely lost all balance in my life.
I was introduced to CBD and its benefits about a year and a half ago and it has completely changed my life. At first, I used CBD for my knees (I’ve had three ACL surgeries as a result of dancing professionally in my early 20’s). I also suffer from carpal tunnel in my wrists from serving and bartending for over a decade. However, with the help of CBD, I was able to rid myself of aches and pains, helping my body heal itself naturally. No product has ever quelled my pain and inflammation as well as CBD.
Making CBD products originally stemmed from my desire to create an alternative to pharmaceutical treatment. I wanted to heal myself physically and mentally in a way that was healthy and natural. A little research taught me that CBD was the alternative I was searching for: a natural compound that communicates with the body’s existing network of endocannabinoid receptors to help regulate sleep, mood, memory, appetite, and pain sensation, among many other systems critical to the flourishing of the mind and body.
As those close to my cofounder and me began taking a strong interest in our research and findings, we realized how many people also struggle to find balance in their lives. We realized how many people are subjected to the, “coffee, work, Advil, sleep-aid” cycle with no time left to recover and reflect. We realized that my experience could benefit others, and suddenly my passion for CBD became my purpose–JeMaé was born.
Our mission at JeMaé is to help our customers find balance in their lives, and each product has been developed with that mission in mind. We can’t imagine a time in which balance will be more critical than in a post COVID-19 world. And although our launch date has been pushed back to fall/winter 2021, we’ve used the time to enhance our products as well as our business plan. We’ve also decided to support a few causes that have personal meaning to each of our core members such as animal cruelty, addiction advocacy, and the environment.
Each of our products aims to answer the call to develop something that we or someone we love had previously neglected. We made the Soothe Sticks to help me with my carpal tunnel from years of bartending and my knee pain from ACL surgeries, but discovered that my union-working family also found relief for the ailments they had been working through the pain of for years. Our CBD SOL screen was made in an effort to enjoy some fun in the sun without the toxic effects of traditional sunscreen, while taking advantage of CBD’s restorative effect on skin to enjoy the beach safely. When we made the CBD massage oil candles, we decided it would be a great way for my partner and I to enhance intimacy and simultaneously help one-another shed the anxieties of the day.
While our business has always been focused on restoring balance in our lives, our ideas about what that means have evolved. Initially, we saw it as a battle between time spent working and time spent rejuvenating and growing. However, as we began to actualize our dream, our view of that dilemma has shifted. Marc Anthony said, “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” There is great wisdom in this from my perspective. Seeing life as a tradeoff between “business and pleasure” is inherently limiting, and if there is any silver lining in this horrible pandemic it is the opportunities for people to work and develop ideas with more freedom and diversity.
Here at JeMaé, we believe no one should have to choose between success and happiness or productivity and health. We believe our products will help people on their journey toward building a well-adjusted and balanced life.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The core philosophy of our business is one of love and care – for ourselves and for one-another. There is already plenty of pressure, fear, anxiety, and anger. We didn’t see a need to create a model based on any of that. The bustling rat race of our shared professional and personal lives moves at breakneck speed right past so many of the things in the world that are the most beautiful. JeMaé is about slowing down enough to regain conscious contact with nature and the people we love.
Perhaps counterintuitively, that is actually how we have arrived where we are today; by slowing down and really communicating with each other and the people we trust, in an effort to remain focused on our shared values and goals. There have been plenty of obstacles – financial, social, societal and personal. But it is by staying present in each moment to collaborate on solutions and not overlook the opportunities in the periphery that we have been able to break each difficulty into manageable pieces and surmount it.
If there is a core lesson we believe can be taken from our story, it is just that: All we have is now. So why not trust the unknown, enjoy the journey and allow it to take us somewhere we would never have guessed, but wouldn’t trade for anything.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We’d have to kick the day off with and awesome breakfast at Shoop’s Delicatessen, a Santa Monica staple. Then take a bike ride down to the Venice boardwalk for some local art and fresh fruit. Next is the gorgeous drive up to Cafe 27 for a Topanga treehouse lunch, which is conveniently surrounded by plenty of beautiful hiking to spend the afternoon.
No trip to LA is complete without watching the sunset from the iconic (and delicious!) view at The Lobster located atop the Santa Monica Pier. Finishing the local portion of the tour would be a movie at the Rooftop Cinema Club.
True to our company vision, we’d have to end the journey with the drive to Joshua Tree to camp the night and enjoy some of the country’s best hiking the next day!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
It would never have been possible to accomplish what we did without the help of our loving friends and family, especially the wise council of Laura Arceneaux, Brian O’Doherty, Kate Rice, Howard Brock, Gracie Cline, Lisa Arbore, Donielle Cline and Carlos Sosa – our undyingly supportive parental figures. A special shoutout goes to Brad Thompson-Moreland, Baldemar Soto and Seano McFarland for their creative inspiration and sage advice.
Tim Minchin’s commencement address at UWA has also been a North Star helping remind us of what’s important.
Last but not least, our rescue pets Callie and Valentino remain a source of unconditional love and child-like fun.