Friday, April 10, 2015

MAKERS + MOVERS: LOTUS WEI




here is no need for Lotus Wei to pluck on petals to know of my love for them. Their Inner Peace elixir has allowed my heart to drop into kindness, a reverent space of self-awareness + trust. It has also diffused the anxiety of loved ones with whom I have shared it with. I cannot explain the magical aura that the CAPtivator diffuses into my being—it has saved me from even the moodiest of moon cycles (who would expect less from a collaboration between CAP Beauty + Lotus Wei?). I'm already dreaming of the other potent potions I need: Inspired Action for the monkey mind that often tangles me up in this technological era + coat my skin in Infinite Love to diffuse away self-doubt . . .

The beauty of their work is evident even digitally, so I was overcome when I had the honour of connecting with its maker, Katie Hess, whose own beauty is palpably infused in her products. I introduce you to the petal power behind Lotus Wei  . . .

KATIE HESS, LOTUS WEI | Phoenix, AZ

Q: You have an extensive background and have trained internationally with leaders including The Dalai Lama, The Karmapa, + Ayang Rinpoche. Tell us a little bit about you + how these experiences have shaped you.

Since I was seven years old, I always felt like I was on a mission, and that I needed to be working on a big project, helping lots of people. But at age seven, I was frustrated that I was living in a small town in a small body. I had to put those feelings on a shelf for many years to finish schooling. 

After college, I had already lived in Europe for two years and had learned two languages fluently, so I went to do volunteer work in Mexico. During that time I studied as many forms of natural medicine that I could find, including finding my incredibly talented flower essence teacher from Spain. 

When I moved back to the U.S., within a short time period I met some very special teachers from Tibet and other parts of Asia, who made me feel like I had found what I had been  looking for from such a small age. I could finally exhale, stop searching and get to work. 

My flower essence teacher had taught me about the methodology of flower essences. My meditation teachers from Asia taught me about discipline, devotion, compassion and how to deal with my own crazy mind and transform my negative habitual patterns. It was a time of an intense, fast-paced, heal-the-healer type lifestyle. I went to HH the Dalai Lama’s teachings in Bodhgaya, India in 2003 and met the Karmapa there, as well as studied intensively under Ayang Rinpoche, Tibet’s foremost master in the practices of death and dying. My experience with these masters, as well as my other main meditation teachers was radically life-changing. 

This kind of practice and methodology enhanced my flower essence practice and my connection to mother earth, as well as instilled in me a sense of urgency - that life is short and precious, and that I must strive to do as much as I can to benefit others while I’m here. 

Q: What inspired you to create flower essences?
I had already been working with my teacher’s flower essences for seven years (working with clients in one-on-one consultations) and a close friend asked me, “Why aren’t you making your own flower essences?” and I was perplexed. I guess I hadn’t trusted that I was ready for it, but after that point, I was. 

I started going out into the wild looking for special flowers that people most needed today. I transitioned over to using my own essences in my practice, and then eventually created products with them. The original inspiration to working with flower essences fifteen years ago came from my flower essence teacher. He said that if 3% of the world’s population was actively using flower essences, it would create enough positive ripple effect, that it would change the outcome of the future in a supremely beneficial way. That was a big enough vision for me to hang my hat on. 

Q: What is the meaning behind LOTUSWEI + what is its personal significance to you?
The lotus flower symbolizes enlightenment. It grows in a muddy swamp, yet has the unique quality of not letting any speck of dust or dirt rest on the surface of its flowers or leaves. (Scientists have studied it to try to replicate ’the lotus effect’.) It’s a metaphor for our lives - we live with stress and chaos and have all kinds of challenges, but we can use all of that to develop our pure qualities, our compassion and wisdom, and ultimately attain enlightenment.  Wei, in Mandarin has several meanings/uses. It can mean ‘transformative action’, as in something’s happening. It can also mean ‘for the benefit of all’. So LOTUSWEI means that anything we offer to people has the transformative action of catalyzing and magnifying each of our most pure and beautiful qualities - for the benefit of all. 

Q: Do you have a ritual for making/applying your products? 
I don’t do any of the hands-on production anymore, but when I did, I would visualize each bottle as someone’s heart. So in one sense I felt as if I were carrying the heart of the future person that it would belong to, as well as it simultaneously visualizing it as the antidote to whatever that person’s heart needed. 

Now whenever I am formulating new products I make sure my mind is positive, gentle and calm, because it’s like planting a seed. I make wishes and state my intention clearly in my mind like a prayer, that I want whatever is created to be of highest possible benefit to all sentient beings. I make wishes that the light from the flower essences spreads all over the world, lighting up people’s lives and waking up their happiness. 

I make all the flower essences by hand and once we have the mother essences, I am still the one that dilutes them for production, adding mantras for wisdom, compassion, clarity, loving-kindness and protection, as well as my purest of wishes for humankind and the earth. 



Q: How long did it take for you to craft your products to the state it is in now? What was that experience like for you?
It evolved over several years and is still evolving … 
I didn’t know anything about growing a business when I first started, so it’s been an amazing ride to learn about design, strategy, projections, accounting, loan packages, social media and so on. Formulating unique products comes pretty easily to me, but it can require a lot of time for testing and sharing to see what people resonate with. 

In the beginning everything seems to take longer - when you’re inexperienced, every little decision is deliberated. I remember our first bottles with home-printed labels. And each time we upgraded our packaging, scents, product offerings … it got easier and easier. 

Q: What is the most transformative experience you have had in using flower essences?
The most transformative experience I had with flower essences was my first collection trip in British Columbia, Canada. I was totally blown wide open by the level of profound communication that was occurring spontaneously between myself and the plants, animals and the earth itself. I realized that there is an ancient wisdom there that is irrefutable, yet untapped by most people. With everything we have today we are just barely scratching the surface of the healing power of plants, flowers and earth. 

Q: When you are not working on your line, what else do you like to do?
I’ve recently become obsessed with dancing salsa and mambo. And I love going to the sauna - I sit in the hot sauna + alternate with cold showers. It relaxes all the muscles + boosts the immune system. I also meditate every day in the morning and walk the doggies at night. 

Q: What keeps you going? Do you have a daily routine or a mantra?
I do a  daily meditation practice (Tibetan Buddhist style) for the last 14 years. It has been utterly life-changing. 

Q: What are some of your favourite snacks or foods that fuel your creative process?
Wei of Chocolate (organic chocolate with flower essences!), kombucha, + fruit!

Q: What are your three staples for glowing health?
Lots of water infused with flower essences, weekly detox in the sauna, movement (like salsa dancing)

Q: What is your beauty routine? What do you do or use to keep your skin beautiful?
Simple oils, balms and hydrosols that we have in the lab (but just haven’t created a skin care line yet). Each week I also enjoy a gentle clay mask while at the sauna. 


Q: What are your some of your go-to products in your holistic medicine cabinet?
Flower essences galore … plus TONS of herbal extracts and teas, Vitamin D and fish oil. 
If I need an immune boost: Elderberry syrup + Gaia Echinacea. 


Q: What is your next big vision for LOTUSWEI?
Hmm … I don’t like to talk about things before they happen, but I can say that we’re constantly striving to nurture and improve what we’ve already created, while magnetizing ways to expand the power of what we do through collaborations, technologies and new products/experiences. 

Recently we finished our first Flowerevolution, which is a six-month transformation program, and the results were amazing! The before/after photos of the Flowerevolutionaries are stunning, as well as their experiences using the limited edition flower elixirs consistently for six months. We’re in the process of creating and releasing new programs now and are really excited about the positive snowball effect of what we’ve created. 

I’m also working on a book with Louie Schwartzberg, a filmmaker and master time-lapse photographer, for Hay House, which will publish next fall.