Connie is the Co-Founder of NIU BODY, an all-natural beauty brand.
WHAT IS YOUR MORNING ROUTINE?
I’m definitely a morning person, and I have a very specific routine that starts at 6:30AM. The first thing I do is make my bed and raise the blinds in my apartment to naturally wake up with the sun. After washing my face and brushing my teeth, I make a quick concoction of water mixed with lemon and apple cider vinegar to re-hydrate. At the same time, I’ll quickly check my calendar to mentally prepare myself for the day and for any important meetings scheduled. I like to work out in the morning, so I usually catch up on emails during my warm-up on the treadmill or elliptical.
After the gym, I shower and jump into my skincare routine. I love massaging our Calm Lavender Toning Mist and Glow Facial Serum into my skin with a jade roller, which helps reduce puffiness and brighten your complexion. My go-to breakfast is a green smoothie (1 cup of spinach, ½ a frozen banana, ½ tbsp. chia seeds, ½ tbsp. flax seeds, collagen powder, 1 tsp. Glow Beauty Powder, water, and ice). If I have time, I try to meditate for 5-10 minutes before heading to the office.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR CAREER PATH
My career path is pretty unconventional. After graduating with a business degree from Queen’s University, I started my career in accounting because I heard it would give me tangible skills and open doors for many different careers. I quickly found myself uninspired in the field, so I switched to marketing and sales at a multinational consumer packaged goods company. During this time, I fostered my customer-facing, branding, and negotiation skills, and was also introduced to my co-founder, Laura. I always knew I wanted to start my own company, and loved entrepreneurship from a young age. My father, a fellow entrepreneur, let me tag along with him on business trips as a kid, and I was enthralled by the idea of being my own boss.
I spent a year working on NIU BODY as a side hustle, working weeknight evenings and full-day weekends, before making the leap to fully dedicating myself to NIU BODY. As a co-founder, I focus on strategic partnerships, international expansion, and marketing. It’s been such a rewarding experience and amazing journey so far, and I’m grateful for everyone I’ve met along the way.
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU OR WOMEN FACE IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
The great thing about the natural beauty industry is that it’s a very inclusive space. The female founders I’ve had the honour of working with so far have all been extremely kind and helpful. In the beauty industry in general, however, it’s surprising that so many companies with skincare and beauty products for women are still run by men. Also, sometimes people don’t take my co-founder and I seriously because we’re young female founders. For example, when we were looking for manufacturers, they were often surprised by how young we looked and asked if they could speak with our boss! Luckily Laura has a background in chemical engineering, which instantly gave us credibility.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNG GIRLS WHO WANT TO BE THE NEXT YOU?
Be authentic and kind. Don’t compare yourself to what other people are doing, and try not to listen to the haters.
If you’re lucky enough to find something you’re passionate about, start working on it now. Don’t wait until you’ve perfected the idea, or else you’ll never start. Stick to your gut and work your butt off. Life is too short to look back one day and think, “what if?”
HOW DO YOU SEPARATE WORK LIFE FROM YOUR PERSONAL LIFE?
This is something I’m admittedly still working on. I don’t believe in work-life balance, or the concept of equal time spent at work (i.e. clocking in 9-5 hours) and then switching off completely for leisure. I’m fortunate that I absolutely love what I do, so even when I’m working long hours it flies by.
That being said, there are times where I do need to shut off completely. As someone who struggles to “turn off”, I’ve realized that scheduling in me-time is really important. A tip I picked up from my naturopath is to use the Pause function on my email inbox, so I’ll pause my inbox at 10PM and won’t look at my emails until the next morning. I also try to book yoga classes mid-workday to clear my mind, and I always put my phone away when I’m with friends and loved ones.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I’ve heard that you are the average of the five people you most associate with, and I truly feel so inspired by the amazing people in my life. I’m fortunate to have such supportive parents who worked tirelessly to give my sister and me a great life, an incredible co-founder who I can bounce ideas off of and grind with through the difficult times, and an amazing boyfriend who inspires me every day with his hustle and unconditional love. I’m a lucky girl.
WHEN YOU’RE OFF THE CLOCK, WHAT ARE YOUR INDULGENCES?
I love trying new workout classes – the other day I went to a yoga class where the first half was done with your eyes closed, which was a fun challenge! I also enjoy trying different foods. I have an ongoing note on my phone of restaurants, bars, and brunch spots I want to explore. Listening to podcasts is also one of my favourite things to do. My go-to’s are How I Built Thisand Optimal Living Daily. Finally, traveling is one of my biggest passions. I love immersing myself in new cultures, indulging in local foods, and feeling completely vulnerable. I’m super excited to be heading to Tulum at the end of the month.