We had the good fortune of connecting with Kathryn Dickinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kathryn, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Prior to AILLEA, I have always been able to have work/life separation. I have always been an incredibly hard working – happily working evenings, weekends, extra hours – whatever it takes to get the job done. But when I left my previous jobs to go home, I was almost always able to leave my work behind. Since starting AILLEA, I have worked 365 days a year. When its your own company, there is no down time and there is always something more that can be done. Not every day is a full 7-10 hour day, it might be something small like answering emails etc. But there are no longer days or weekends off. As a result, I have looked to create work/life integration and simply grab small pockets of personal time whenever I can. If thats tennis at 10:00 a.m. on a Tuesday with a friend – I do it and I don’t feel guilty. If that means driving to the mountains on a Thursday and working remotely for a few days, I do that. If its dinner with no phones with my husband – we do that! But I always make sure each day to carve out a little time for myself to rest and reflect.
What should our readers know about your business?
AILLEA is a clean beauty retailer with 5 brick and mortar stores in Denver, Atlanta, Charleston, Raleigh and Charlotte as well as an online presence at www.aillea.com. We have over 50 brands of high performing brands with the strictest standards in ingredients in clean beauty. Starting AILLEA came from my personal health journey. When I realized the toxic sludge that was in many conventional products I was using in my bathroom, I went on a mission to clean up my products the same way I had done for my diet. However 13 years ago (pre facebook, instagram, bloggers and goop) the information was so much harder. I just kept wanting to shop my store. Finally 6 years ago, the universe put a strong hand at my back and I knew I needed to create AILLEA. Building a company from the ground up is incredibly hard. In the beginning, I tried to do everything – be my own lawyer, accountant, designer. I finally learned that having a strong team around me is worth its weight in gold and leaves me to do the things I really need to do which is build up AILLEA. I would love people to not only know me and my passion for clean beauty and helping people navigate it, but also my brands. The brand founders behind the brands I work with are truly AMAZING. Indie Lee, Josh Rosebrook, Susanne Norwitz (Maya Chia), April Gargiulo (Vintner’s Daughter) – the list goes on and on – these people truly inspire me every day and I really want people to connect with them the way I have.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Eat: I LOVE eating out at great restaurants – my current favorites are Tavernetta, Rioja, Local Jones, Le Bilboquet, Uchi and Matsuhisu, DRINK: Union Station (both downstairs or the upstairs) or a fun roof deck like the Halcyon is always fun too. I also really like the vibe at Death and Co. DO: *The Denver Botanic Gardens are truly spectacular and when there is no Covid, the summer concert series is hands down one of my favorite things to do. *The Comedy Works on Larimer Square has some FUNNY shows and * The DCPA does a tremendous job with their performances (if you do their broadway membership you get every new show (like Hamilton) as it comes in to town guaranteed). *Hiking: Mt. Galbraith, 3 Sisters and Indian Peaks are 3 of my favorite local day hikes). Skiing in Vail is always amazing. * Wash Park and Sloans Lake are great for quick laps, they are so pretty and I love the mountain views. *I also always LOVE the Denver Farmers Market. The South Pearl St one is truly my favorite – make sure to check out Miller Farm and Moringa Vinga, those are 2 of my favorite stands * Concerts at Red Rocks (or anything at Red Rocks – it is truly a local treasure) SHOPPING: I think Larimer Square and Cherry Creek North have some great shops. I also love Homebody on 6th and Modern Nomad in RINO. There really is so much to love about Denver, I could go on and on and on with this list!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The team I get to work with at AILLEA are at the heart and soul of the success of AILLEA. My store managers Dustin, Becca, Haily, Lindsay and Kristine are truly inspirations to me. AILLEA would not be the company it is today without their passion, dedication and commitment to clean beauty and our customers. They are so smart, hard working, amazing to be around and are a true inspiration to me and why I do what I do.