We had the good fortune of connecting with Kimberly Crider and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kimberly, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I come from a corporate beauty background. I’ve worked for beauty brands doing marketing. I’ve worked for service providers doing talent acquisition. I’ve run businesses and been an assistant. For almost eight years I thought balance was the epitome of what we strive for. We work 40 hours a week and come home to unplug. We live on the weekends. I used to obsess over it – reading all the articles of all the successful people to figure out how to create that.
And then? I started questioning things. What is success other than what I define it as? What is balance other than a word that puts pressure on all of us – that we have to have equal time spent in certain areas of life. Because really – work, personal, alone, together – it’s all life. We are not meant to have a work life and a personal life – we are here to live. In all things and in all places.
When we try to compartmentalize these parts of ourselves into tiny little labeled boxes, we lose the magic of what everyday living looks like. We start to feel the chords of life wrap so tightly around us that we can’t breathe. We overthink and obsess over if we have the right balance.
So to me, I look at balance and give it the middle finger. I step into the flow and choose to just be. In the messy, the beautiful, the chaotic, the sticky – I don’t worry or guilt myself over if I spend too much time working some days or if others I don’t look at my email. Each is a very important part of me that I honor.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I was raised in a religious family. Growing up I was highly sensitive to talking to ghosts (hi yes I am going there), a sense of knowing things, feeling people’s emotions – basically all the things that I was told were taboo or would get me a one way ticket to hell. It was this confusing paradigm of conflicting thoughts, beliefs and emotions that I was numb to and scared of my intuition.
I have always been someone who has so many ideas and loved to find solutions. I graduated high school early and worked at a beauty apparel company. I interned at a marketing startup in Chicago building websites and doing social. I started a tutoring company for beautifully unique kids and sold it to move to Salt Lake. I oversaw marketing and worked with today’s top influencers for a beauty body product company. I helped create a bath product line. I oversaw talent acquisition for a beauty service company. I’ve consulted with some of the biggest beauty brands on marketing and sales and strategy.
If busy had a picture in the dictionary, my petrified determined face would have been on it. I made decisions based on data, numbers, on following the trends. And it was working to some degree because I was making a lot of money and found success. But then my personal life started to fall apart. My first husband was toxic and all of a sudden the cracks started appearing in my perfectly, unaligned constructed facade. As I looked around at the world around me like a mirage I realized that I was forgetting birthdays. Missing family gatherings. Running on empty most days. Not actually listening to my intuition which at that point was screaming at me to run away. One day, I dropped all the balls. Literally said f*ck it. I let go of every single chord, religious belief and conditioning I had been holding onto and listened to my soul for the first time in a long long time.
I met my husband, Cody, on Tinder. We went on a date two weeks later and a voice in my soul said that I was going to marry him (after swearing off marriage or kids). Five months later, I got pregnant with our daughter and we eloped at the San Diego courthouse with just us and a photographer two months after that.
A few months later I started working at a permanent makeup product company called MEI-CHA as an administrative assistant a few days a week to get out of the house. In what was supposed to be just an easy job, turned into helping with a rebrand into overseeing marketing into building a community program into taking over strategy. Right after my daughter was born, a few of the brands I had been consulting with asked me to come back and help with processes and strategy which then morphed into my company, The Coterie Co.
And then? COVID hit. We were forced to reassess our priorities and what change we actually wanted to contribute to. The team and I took the summer off (not off off but off with less clients and more breathing). We traveled and spent time in our communities. I trained in Reiki. And when we came back in the fall a shift happened. I realized I didn’t want to help big companies get bigger. I didn’t want to share my beautiful, crazy ideas with a company who would use it to make a few more million. I wanted to help small brands and creatives – to vote with my talent for a world where the little guy thrives. I wanted to use my intuition that I had been scared of for so long to build something I knew would raise the collective. Because imagine if a couple of million was placed into an entrepreneur who was a woman or a person of color or anyone in the minority. Imagine the world changing things that would happen if we all stepped into that shift.
So we rebranded The Coterie Co. to Studio Le Lune because I was inspired by the many phases of the moon, like those that live in all of us. We shifted our offerings to mentorship and healing and guidance instead of just doing. We lowered our prices. We created a space to talk about the entrepreneur holistically with mindset and business.
I still manage community and strategy over at MEI-CHA and am the head Healer, Guide & Writer at Studio Le Lune. Two and a half years ago I thought I had tricked the Universe by stepping into an administrative role that I thought would be easy. I thought I could hide and run away from what my calling was because it scared me. Because it didn’t fit into that perfect box that my inner child with traumas from religion had constructed. Because talking about energy healing and business and looking at life as not separate but together goes against the grain.
But now I guess that’s what makes Studio Le Lune different. We look at you. At your traumas and limited beliefs and the stories you tell yourself. We walk through shadow work and journey into mindset before we look at the brand. Because your brand is just a physical manifestation of you. If you want to build sustainably and intentionally, you have to do the work. You can run from it but life has a way of coming back to you. It’s a lesson I’ve had to live over and over again before it actually stuck.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
– Griffith Observatory
– Mission Tiki Drive-In
– The Last Bookstore
– Malibu Wine Safari
– Tour Warner Brothers Studio
– Farmers Market
– Tea @ Huntington Library
Monthly Art Faire / Walk Downtown San Clemente
Massage @ C’Siren Day Spa
Disneyland + California Adventure
Angels Stadium Tour
Speakeasy @ Blind Rabbit in Anaheim
Dinner @ MRK in San Clemente
Breakfast @ Toast in Newport Beach
Grab Some Jun @ Fermentation Farms in Costa Mesa
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I created a restaurant when I was fifteen. It was part of a school program called Prostart through the culinary program. Myself and two other girls met with an architect and marketing experts and the top executives of world renown restaurants before we won state and then nationals. Our mentor, Nanette Mcwhertor, showed me what it means to be a take no shit woman in business. That women are just as good as men and we can do anything we put our minds to.
My husband who listens to my crazy ideas – from leaving the beer industry to come work with me in beauty & wellness. To changing my successful business model to something where I do reiki AND teach people how to create strategic processes. He never even bats an eye is just along for the ride.
Michelle Essenburg @chayole