A conscious conversation — with Wass Skincare
I met Nelle for the first time when she was looking for a designer to bring her vision to life for her new online shop. From the get-go I was mesmerized by her calm presence and her attention to excellence that she carries gracefully like a flowy linen kimono. Not only did I get to know more about Wass, her natural skincare range, but I started learning more about Nelle herself - the heart and soul behind this clean beauty adventure inspired by the seasons.
Read below for our conscious conversation with Nelle van Deventer — the heart and hands behind Wass skincare and carefully curated clothing.
Tell us about Wass and how it started?
My background is in fashion design, and during my student years and traveling, I acquired a love of design according to a seasonal colour palette & change. Combining this with my interest in staying connected with a healthy lifestyle, I started researching the benefits of aromatherapy intensively, experimenting and creating products from natural botanical oils. Since I can remember working with my hands and creating has always been a part of my life.
What does the name Wass mean?
The word Wass is an acronym for — (Afrikaans pronunciation - and my native language)
Winter. Autumn. Summer. Spring.
What did you do before Wass and does that play a role in what you do today?
I worked as a waitress, cabin crew member for an international airline, the fashion industry, the film industry, volunteer at Two Oceans Aquarium. I figured things out.
What do you love most about what you do?
Having the freedom to create, research and formulating products. Telling a story with my brand.
Do you see Wass as your future and something you want to pass onto your next generation?
I would like to see Wass grow into a concept store and hopefully pass onto my daughters that they can be strong business women and still be gentle and kind in their own sense of style.
What is your biggest challenges as a small business owner?
Finding a balance between my work and my personal life.
What is your biggest victory yet for Wass?
Being able to grow organically at my own pace, learning enormous amounts about myself and running a business.
Where do you find advice / mentoring for growing Wass as a business?
I sign up for short courses when I have time available and surround myself with inspiring individuals that I can relate to on some level, relationships that feed on positive outcomes.
Being a creative female, how important is wellbeing as a women for you?
Wellbeing in taking time to exercise and stepping back from circumstances that make me anxious. Wellbeing to me personally is a journey, I try and avoid "trends" in health and stick to eating habits and exercise that feeds me emotionally and encourages me to live a healthier life.
Do you have specific rituals you practice as a means to wellness as a women?
I practice Yoga as often as I can, Yoga is a self-practice and you develop strength gradually. If you rush the postures, your foundation will be wrong, and so I have learned this in life too, laying my foundation first to ensure my roots are grounded and strong.
I tried to be a runner, but Yoga and hiking is the only exercise I feel connect me to a grounding state of what is truly important in my life while removing materialistic thoughts that might surface.
What does self-care mean to you as a women and how Do you make that part of your daILy life?
Self-care to me is taking time to understand what effects my present state and balance within my day. I am often anxious and nervous about a circumstance or want to do more, I am currently working hard on finding a balance that works for me emotionally and practically without worrying too much and not procrastinating at the same time. It's tricky.
Do you think your wellness has a direct influence on your business?
Yes definitely, Wellness should be a lifestyle. It should be part of your daily life and not just a trend of the newest diet to follow.
If I have an unhealthy week, my balance is completely out, and when my balance is out, it affects my work.
When do you feel like you are at your best?
When I work with or towards something I believe in.
What is your long term vision for Wass?
Owning a small concept store.
We all know that self-love as women is hard for us - what part of your womanhood do you celebrate the easiest?
Growing and becoming more sure of who I am.
If you find yourself on a stage in front of a crowd of women - what would you say to them as motivation to be the best version of themselves?
Fall in love with your eyes closed, be real and true with an honest approach to who you are and always have your own back with everything you take on. Don't follow the masses to "fit in" - Take risks and trust your intuition. Don't let challenges affect your vision for your goals. Each challenge unfolds in a necessary lesson to be learned. Be open to your history and the lessons it brings, Always be graceful and never a push-over.
If you can give the 13 year old version of yourself a piece of advice / wisdom that you know today - what would that be?
My mother taught me from a young age to take care of my body and health, apply sunscreen every day, that I will see the results when I am older. Also, mentioned Cleopatra had beautiful skin because she bathed in full cream milk ( this stuck with me)
I had severe eczema on both of my arms and never wanted to swim without a massive T-shirt. I was an incredibly awkwardly round shaped 13-year-old girl with blonde eyebrows and fuzzy hair and often felt out of place. I did bath in milk and loved eating (being a vegetarian) but unfortunately bathing in milk and eating healthy every day did not make me fit in or look like the other girls my age.
I wish I knew then that I would realise growing up with the foundation of taking care of myself will go so much further than the outside appearance or a trend you embrace for a few months. I had a clear understanding of what healthy living was without starving myself or becoming too obsessive, even though my figure was nothing compared to the other 13 year old girls.
My favorite way of movement is
My favorite season is
Winter because the sound of the rain.
Broccoli because I can't stop
The first thing I do when I wake up is
Try to wake up
The last thing I do before I go to bed is
Check my emails
My guilty pleasure is
Eating crunchy peanut butter from the jar while checking emails
Coffee or tea
Early bird or night owl
I get my energy from solitude / people
My favorite meal right now is
Crisp-tender steamed broccoli and roasted brussel sprouts with homemade dressing ( lemon, grated ginger, honey, a pinch of chilli, olive oil and soy sauce ) with cranberries and roasted pumpkin seeds. I can eat this every day.
My favorite Wass product is
Our Conscious Conversations is a way of sharing real stories and honest insights into products, people and places we admire and feel we can all learn from. Sharing is caring — and this is a series where we express our care in sharing.