Wise Women Wednesday: April Kensington

April Kensington

Q. Who are you? What is your background?
A. An L.A. girl who moved to NC 14 years ago to find her roots, and a new understanding of beauty. I worked in Beverly Hills as a stylist in my early 20’s and needed to move out of the frantic searching for success in LA, and ended up in NC finding nature as a haven. I had been studying fine art and photography before I moved and spent several years in the country teaching myself to paint like the old masters with portraiture and teaching art, along with doing research on everything in the chemistry of beauty products and the natural world and how they collied. It all accumulated into starting my business and being able to facilitate creativity in running it with passion.

Q. What is your work?
A. I started 100% natural and cruelty-free e-commerce and retail store, where we are passionate about vetting ingredients to be sure they are safe and the products themselves work. It means I study chemicals a lot. This turned me into an accidental formulator of my own skincare line Hidden Forest Naturals. The first product I created was a chocolate face mask + wash. I say I made it selfishly for myself because I wanted a wash that wouldn’t strip my skin, and would leave it healthy and glowing. Plus I love chocolate so what better way to start every day than with my favorite food all over my face. The line is focused on the pH of the skin and caring for specifically sensitive skin.

Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. Two things. My daughter and I started writing books together, and in my new creating space I am loving the time I get to illustrate them.

I also just finished formulating an organic ultra-hydrating facial serum called Morning Dew that is perfect for highly sensitive skin and in need of hydration. We are working on getting the line into new retailers and Amazon, so I am excited for the growth of a line that supports sustainable farming and fair trade.

Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. Other than starting my own retail store when everyone around me was saying retail is dead, booking a live aboard sailing and dive trip this summer and swimming with sharks took a bit of courage. Just like starting my business it was one of the best experiences of my life, and incredibly rewarding, but also involved risks I had to be willing to take, and know on the other side I would likely be okay.

Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it? If not why not? What's stopping you?
A. Two years ago I took the risk to start doing work that I love. I saw that on the other side of that risk was more reward and the wonderful ability to take more risks to do things I love. I committed to getting deeper into my writing and art this summer, and I took the risk of setting aside time to make that happen every day, no matter what. The reward is seeing the work that is coming out of me and joy and release that brings to me every day.

Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. I would be sure to share that I was already enough, and that I just needed to keep practicing and exploring the things I loved most rather than worry if it made others happy or if it would make me successful in the eyes of the world.

Q. What's one piece of advice or motto you love and use in your daily life that you would like t share with my sweet readers?
A. Love deeply and live into your deepest passion a little bit every day. It adds up so much joy.

Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
A. The knowledge that if I don’t I feel incomplete. For several years I've been growing my business and using my creative skills in other ways, but I almost completely abandoned my drawing and painting that had been such a present part of my life before. I would dabble here and there but I didn’t have a dedicated space to create anything in my home. I would pull out paints or drawing paper and pencils, but after I was done I felt like it had to be put away so the space wouldn't feel messy. It was not conducive to allowing me the leisure of creativity, and creativity needs space and unhurried time.

This year I purchased a drafting table and picked my favorite window to put it under, then I committed to spending an hour there every day no matter what. I finally had a space to be present with my work, not feel bad that it was not picked up and tidy. I love my space, and that simple move has made so much difference to drawing me back to creating.

Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. One of my favorite podcasts is OnBeing with Krista Tippet. It’s one of the most insightful podcasts I have ever been lucky enough to listen to. Interviews with poet philosophers such as David Whyte or Brother David Stiendl-rast has changed my life and mindset. One of my favorite episodes was with Ellen Langer - who studied the science of mindfulness. She found it doesn’t take 10-20 minutes of meditation each day to rewire the brain. Instead her years of research accumulated to the understanding that mindfulness can be simply actively noticing new things in what once seemed ordinary.

Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. Child’s pose. It’s the pose that allows you to stop, and know you are enough, you can rest, and it takes you to a small moment where you can reflect on how you are feeling.

Q. How do you live a life of abundance?
A. Collecting all the things that bring me joy, and repeating those actions every day. I also allowed myself to stop feeling guilty about enjoying myself so much and saying no to things that did not make me feel whole.

April Kensington