To be honest, it really wasn’t on my radar until I got married. Before then, I worked as a photographer in the entertainment and fashion fields. My father-in-law (founder and CEO of ORLY International, Jeff Pink) approached me and asked if I wanted to learn the business. I joined ORLY as the brand manager for the spa line. As I learned more about the beauty world, I fell in love with it. After studying the industry for years, learning about our competition and seeing where everyone fits, I saw a hole that needed to be filled. There wasn’t a premium brand based on environmental awareness. That’s when I came up with the idea of filling that void with SpaRitual.
Your father-in-law is an industry pioneer. How has he influenced you in your own business ventures?
Jeff really taught me the ropes of the beauty world. I’ve been able to learn all the facets of running a business. He’s a tough guy and I think I toughened up working with him for 12 years, which isn’t a bad thing! He’s one of the founding fathers of the industry, and to be part of the next generation of that legacy is really exciting.
SpaRitual’s Spring 2014 collection is entitled Explore. Explain?
Each collection aligns with our overarching theme for that year. For example, 2014’s theme is The Journey, with the idea that everyone must embark on a journey to come back home. Each seasonal collection is created as part of a cohesive story to which clients and consumers can relate. We have an amazing team, and we are all involved in the creative process every step of the way. I also oversee everything, and ensure our collections make sense and hit the latest trends and themes.
You are a wife and mother of two. How do you juggle your business and family life?
It’s not always easy! Over time, I’ve learned that things don’t always have to be perfect. It’s about staying engaged with your work and life and always seeking balance. It’s important to take care of your mental and physical self, so I meditate twice a day for 20 minutes, get regular massages, exercise and eat well. Also, I don’t go into the office on Fridays—I need that day to be by myself and with my kids.
What do you do in your spare time?
I’m always reading. Right now I’m reading The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which I first discovered as a little girl, and One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. I also enjoy music—my husband’s a musician! I love Stevie Wonder. I listen to him all the time. There are certain voices you never grow tired of listening to, and Stevie’s is one of them!
Terms like “vegan,” “fair trade” and “organic” have become a part of our daily vocabularies, and our lifestyles. But a mere decade ago, this wasn’t the case: although the so-called “Green Movement” had begun to pique the interest of the general public, it had yet to take off.
It’s not surprising then, that in 2004, when Shel Pink began shopping around SpaRitual in her unique line of earth-friendly nail lacquers and spa products, the response from the beauty industry was lackluster. Beauty pros, particularly nail technicians, weren’t keen on the idea of trading in their tried-and-true nail polishes and products for more natural alternatives, says Pink, who created SpaRitual products to be free of harmful toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate (DBP).
“I met with a lot of resistance in the beginning,” recalls Pink. “Although nail techs could see the current brands they were working with might not be the healthiest, they didn’t seem to care.”
Pink refused to fold, and surged forward with the conviction that her earth- and wellnesscentric products would soon catch on. She was proved right. Over the past 10 years the Green Movement has become a force to be reckoned with, and the same can be said about SpaRitual. The company has expanded from its nailcare roots to include body care, candles and lip glosses.
Although SpaRitual’s message of wellness hasn’t changed since the beginning, it has evolved. “Some years ago, I saw the Green Movement start to take on a different shape,” explains Pink. “There was a new focus on slowing down, sustainability of self and a need to seek more depth.” This emerging concept gave birth to Pink’s latest initiative: Slow Beauty. The idea rejects modern materialism and embraces a return to simple wellness that promotes a state of beauty that resonates from within. In addition to creating products aligning with this “slow” philosophy, Pink has also launched a blog dedicated to the movement, which users can access through SpaRitual’s site, sparitual.com, or at slowbeauty.com.
With 10 years under Pink’s belt and some hard-earned street cred to boot, one thing’s for certain: her journey is far from over, and this trailblazer is ready to explore some more uncharted territory.
–by Angela Melero