When launching Calithea Skincare I wanted to make sure I was creating a product line that would evoke people to feel powerful with their natural selves. I wanted it to give them the confidence to further love themselves and create a positive vocabulary affirmation list for themselves. As a young woman, I’ve seen how toxic social media has become in destroying the self-esteem of many young and impressionable girls. This is why I wanted to create and share a product line that counteracts that and gives girls the power to reclaim their confidence.
I was very fortunate in that I grew up in a very positive environment where all the women in my life instilled in me at a very young age the importance of humbly embracing myself. My Yiayia (grandmother) who was a big inspiration in starting Calithea was the one who subconsciously taught me the practice of self-affirmations. As a young girl, I would have a sleepover at her house at least once a week. This usually took place on Saturdays as she always wanted to be the one to take my brother Peter and I to church on Sundays so that we would be on time. Getting ready for bed each night was the same routine. I would first bathe and she would instruct me to let my conditioner soak into my hair for at least 5 minutes to make it soft and shiny. After my shower, she would have a bar of soap, a jar of moisturizer, and a bit of olive oil waiting at the sink for me to perform the skincare routine she created for me. She would stand in the doorway and talk to me as I delicately washed my face. Yiayia would recite things to me like “You should be thankful for the beauty God has granted you with inside and out” and “Always embrace what you were given and be appreciative of it. Never compare what you have to what others have because what you have is beautifully unique.” When I was finished I would follow her to her room where she would sit me down in a chair in front of her big vanity mirror so that she could do my hair. I always had to sit close to the wall because she had one of those hair dryers that were attached to it. She would finish drying my hair and add a few drops of olive oil to the ends of her fingertips. With delicate hands, she’d brush and run her fingers through my scalp for a few minutes. Doing this she would continue to give me more words of wisdom. Sitting in front of the mirror looking at each other’s reflections she would tell me how this world can be at times. She said sometimes it’s beautiful and you will meet the most wonderful people that accompany your life perfectly. Other times she would explain how it is a cruel place where jealousy creeps through every crack and just because others might display that feeling sometimes that I should never do the same. She would tell me I needed to realize what I have been given is enough. Yiayia would always tell me that my natural self was enough and that I need to remind myself of that. She would always require me to verbally respond to her to ensure I knew and understood these things.
Now as a 19-year-old young woman her words still stick with me. When I get too hard on myself sometimes I have learned to look in the mirror just as she taught me and recite those same things to myself. My biggest takeaway from her was that there is beauty in the simplicity of things and we need to be appreciative of our natural beauty and not compare it but rather embrace it. Be accepting of yourself and love the things that make you different. This is why I try and spread the same message she taught me through our products here at Calithea because I know not everyone is as fortunate as I was to have an amazing person like my Yiyia in their lives to teach them these things.