Talking EO Products and Break the Mold with Susan Griffin-Black
When was the last time a scent changed your life? Susan Griffin-Black, co-CEO of EO Products, wandered into a London apothecary in 1991 that inspired her to start a company focused on beautiful, healthy body care.
Susan has actively decided to Break the Mold and do things a little differently than most. Whether it’s how she chooses to work alongside her ex-husband co-CEO or how she actively practices Zen Buddhism, Susan inspires us to Breaks the Mold—and we think her story will inspire you, too:
What was your “aha moment” with EO Products? How did you know this was something you should devote yourself to?
I wandered into a small apothecary in Covent Garden, London in 1991. There was a scent there in that small store that changed my life. It was Lavender essential oil, and it smelled like I thought the world should smell. As I breathed in the essential oils, I knew I had found a new livelihood. These scents were real, vital, and honest and I knew I had to integrate them into my life and my life’s work.
What is the hardest part of running a company?
Making a conscious choice to stay interdependent and self-financed with angel investors (early on) and SBA/bank financing. Resource allocation is a magical and mindful process. When sales and cash flow are rocking in the right way, it’s a beautiful thing—and when not, not so much.
What’s your method for work-life balance?
There’s no such thing in my world. I make my best effort to live an integrated life; my work, family, and personal lives are all a part of one beautiful and messy existence. I tend to think in terms of presence rather than balance, I am mindful about being present for the various people and projects that need my attention throughout my day.
Besides running your business, what’s another way that you #BreakTheMold and stray away from the conventional?
I see a lot of successful people running around frantically, always saying they don’t have any time.
“I #BreakTheMold by consciously slowing down and having a clear understanding of my priorities.”
I live my life in a way that is integrated with my values; I think kindness as a virtue is underrated. I do my best to practice love instead of fear, I go to a hot yoga/Kundalini class most afternoons, I have been a Zen Buddhist student for over 20 years which is my practical foundation of how to do, be, and have, and I enjoy dinner with my partner, family, and friends most nights. I’m very thankful that my kids are doing well and I get to live and work in such a beautiful place.
What's one thing that people would be surprised to know about you?
Most people are surprised to hear that my ex-husband and I are co-CEOs of our company. We were together for 13 years, and we’ve been divorced for 10 years now. We’ve managed to transform our relationship, run our company together in the best possible way, and take care of each other and our children. We used the skills we learned as parents in our business, and they were so helpful. I often tell young women just going back to work after having a child that they are now more qualified than most: the skills you develop while raising a family (all on very little sleep) are the exact skills most companies wish their employees had. Skillful motherhood is still sadly underrated.
What piece of advice do you have for women just starting out in their career?
“Spend more time developing a vision for what you want in your life and less time wondering if you’re good enough.”
And, let that vision be malleable so it can grow and evolve with you. When you find something that you want to learn, learn it from the people you want to learn from. Know yourself and what has heart and meaning for you, that’s where the magic lives.
What quotation or saying inspires and motivates you to be yourself and #BreakTheMold?
“Stay together, learn the flowers, go light.” Gary Snyder, For the Children.
I think this just sums it all up: connection, nature, and simplicity are all conducive to more kindness and love.
What’s next for EO Products?
We’re launching a line of aromatherapy perfumes this August called Love & Flowers Aromatherapy Perfumes, and I can’t wait! These perfumes are my dream project; the complex scents are just sublime and I can’t wait to share them with everyone.
We’re also launching two new websites at the same time with the purpose of creating a place for our growing community of EO lovers to gather, research, and discover all the natural beauty the world has to offer.
What is the most-used app on your phone—and why?
MindBody, I check it to see which yoga class I’ll attend that day.
What’s the first thing you do every morning?
What book could you re-read over and over?
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryū Suzuki.
What is your go-to bra style?
Finish the sentence: I #BreakTheMold by _____.
I #BreakTheMold by consciously slowing down and having a clear understanding of my priorities.
This post is part of our #BreakTheMold series, where we celebrate the lives and work of trailblazing women. Check out the rest of the series here.