We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarita Parikh and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarita, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
glow + gather took root in 2009, when my life was uprooted. I was diagnosed with epilepsy (which had been undiagnosed since childhood) while leading an otherwise healthy life. It was at this point that my seizures had become more frequent and severe. As a pediatric physical therapist, I had spent years working with children with severe medical conditions such as epilepsy and knew the toll epilepsy can take on a career and personal life. My diagnosis forced me to slow down, create self care rituals, connect with nature, and value the support and love of friends and family. My unique perspective, as both healthcare provider and patient, emphasized the need for better natural products, without synthetic ingredients or fragrances that often trigger reactions, while also being indulgent and affordable. During this same time, my niece and co-founder, Kerala, had very sensitive skin and came to me for assistance. Together we researched and created what is now our signature whipped body butter. We used it personally, gave it to family and friends, and as a pediatric physical therapist I gave it to my young clients with eczema and other sensitivities. Everyone loved it and my niece and nephew were convinced we needed to start a company. But, I didn’t know quite where to begin. I eventually shutdown my physical therapy practice to focus on my health and began to spend the time developing additional natural beauty products with Kerala and Jax. I loved making products that truly helped people and wondered whether it could ever be more than a hobby. After a couple of years of trying to convince me to start a company with them, I finally agreed. It was my niece and nephew, Kerala (then age 11) and Jaxon Parikh (then age 8), who gave me the courage and push needed to make our new hobby into a new business, and a new livelihood for us. My now 14 year old niece, Kerala, and 11 year old nephew, Jax, are the co-founders of glow + gather, the inspiration and drive behind the company, and also the visionaries.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The roots of glow + gather drive our mission and focus us on what’s important: self care and community connection. Our goal is for our natural and luxurious, yet affordable, line of personal care products, home goods, and spice blends to spread beauty and joy to as many people as possible. glow + gather is inspired by my journey, which taught me that we should all take time to slow down, enjoy life, embrace nature, and connect with one another. We hope to inspire joyful living, and everyday gatherings with friends and family. glow + gather has a three-part mission: • Create + share simple, high quality, effective products that contain pure, natural ingredients and embrace our inner glow • Gather and build community to spread joy + enhance lives through creating connections and opportunities to help each other thrive • Give back to support our local + global community by building community relationships and non-profit partnerships, and maintaining a focus on sustainability. We love to provide a unique twist to all our products, and support local growers + farmers to bring our customers a farm to table experience with our cooking line. We take pride in ensuring all products are crafted in small batches and are chemical, artificial ingredient, filler, and cruelty free. We believe in the power + properties of nature, while backed + rooted in science. Creating community and connection, and creating impact is a large part of what we do. Some examples of our recent work include: Partnering with SafeHouse Denver to donate much needed supplies to their shelter as domestic violence has significantly increased during the pandemic. We also honor our East Indian heritage and embrace our culture in our company through our products, and through diversity and inclusion advocacy and education. We are creating a Celebration of Cultures + Countries Series to provide education and connection through food, purposeful conversation, and cultural activities for our community. glow + gather took root in 2009, because of challenges, when my life was uprooted. I was diagnosed with epilepsy while leading an otherwise healthy life. I had been having seizures since childhood, but they had been undiagnosed until 2009 when the seizures had become more frequent and more severe, and were finally diagnosed. This started my long journey in attempts at seizure management, medications, and the significant side effects of all the medications. As a pediatric physical therapist, I had spent years working with children with severe medical conditions such as epilepsy and knew the toll epilepsy can take on a career and personal life. My diagnosis forced me to slow down, create self care rituals, connect with nature, and value the support and love of friends and family. My unique perspective, as both healthcare provider and patient, emphasized the need for better natural products, without synthetic ingredients or fragrances that often trigger reactions, while also being indulgent and affordable. This combined with my niece’s sensitive skin and request for help in creating a solution laid the foundation for what was to become glow + gather with our first product. I eventually shutdown my physical therapy private practice to focus on my health and began to develop natural beauty products. We continue to overcome these challenges on a daily basis. As we launched glow + gather, and as we continue to grow, I am learning to balance managing epilepsy and running a growing company. Every day is different, and every day faces it’s own unpredictability. We are building and running glow + gather by our own terms and set of rules because of epilepsy, because we are 2/3 youth run, and because we are bootstrapping and self funding our company. It does impact the decisions we make and how fast or slow we grow. We are being very purposeful in laying a strong foundation as we grow to help us maintain our balance in the chaos of building and running a business. Flexibility and adaptability are guiding principles, as well as surrender and grace. Unfortunately, medication does not completely control my seizures, so lifestyle also has to be a primary method of seizure management, which impacts my every day and what is possible, and with that comes acceptance. I am grateful for the flexibility owning my own company gives me to manage my lifestyle. The knowledge that we are able to blaze a new trail, have a different way of doing things and still be successful is something we would love to share to inspire others that the traditional path doesn’t need to be followed.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Winter Park – it’s quiet, relaxed, and laid back. There are beautiful hiking trails in the summer and skiing in the winter. Idlewild distillery is a great place to relax for the afternoon/evening. And for something more upscale- Devil’s Thumb Ranch- the back patio has gorgeous views, and they have s’mores around the firepit! There are some great breweries in Winter Park and Fraser as well. And, of course, you can go into Grand Lake with the lake, and on into Rocky Mountain National Park. More locally, always Red Rocks, some local trails in the Foothills – Evergreen, Golden. I’m struggling to remember life pre-COVID and all the places I used to love to dine and drink! These days I stick to the trails and the open spaces.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My niece, Kerala (age 14), and my nephew, Jaxon (age 11), are my two co-founders. glow + gather was initially their inspiration and vision, and it took them a couple of years to convince me this company was something we needed to create. In fact, there was a time when I vehemently denied it was ever possible it would happen, after all at the time I had my own physical therapy private practice. But, they were persistent and we officially launched May 2017. Jax and Kerala are responsible for long term planning, product development and production, sales, and marketing strategies. My co-founders are the ones who truly keep me motivated and inspired, remind us to keep the fun in the company, help me stay true to our vision and goals, and remind me why we are doing what we are doing. They keep the passion alive on the most challenging days. They also keep the fun and the joy alive and remind us to celebrate our passions, our company, and every accomplishment – whether small or large. Because of their age, we definitely have to remember to keep things more fun and light hearted, not get so wrapped up and laser focused that we forget the bigger picture. We started glow + gather with the belief in embracing the joy and fun in all we do, and glow + gather is both, as well as an embodiment of what is truly important to us: connection, authenticity, integrity, joy, nature, beauty, and service. Jax and Kerala ensure we strive to remember and honor that everyday.
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