Q&A with Tracey Woodward
How is Kalmar different to other brands you have worked for?
Kalmar is different to other brands that I have worked for because it was created through Karen who wanted to create a brand but also the key message was how do you really want to feel and how can I help your energy. Kalmar was created with a key message in mind which had to be, how do you really want to feel and how can I help you energetically feel and find your purpose? And the reason we have four categories is that our purpose in life even though we get caught up in lots of other stuff, is to find joy, be calm, have a sense of peace, and ultimately have self-love. These are never really talked about in beauty. It’s always if you use this, you'll become this. But, if we find happiness in ourselves, we find calm in ourselves, we find peace in ourselves, and then we radiate beauty because beauty knows no bounds. For me, it was such an honour to be asked to be on this journey where we weren’t talking necessarily about ingredients, but we were talking about aromas, we were talking about self-care, and we were talking about setting intentions every day so that you manage your mood because what we tell ourselves, we become. To work with a brand that has beautiful ingredients, is sustainable, has quality skin care ingredients in body-care products, and has a message of empowerment for men and women. The treatments really are more than massage, they give you a sense of self, a sense of self-worth, and they're like a hug. Every treatment is like a beautiful hug. I’d be crazy to turn down that opportunity. I think it's one of the best brand decisions I have ever made.
Why does Kalmar talk about ‘soul states? What does each soul state mean?
We try to look at soul states as a sense of emotions. You are dreading the day or not feeling anything, we wanted to say that there are these states of mind and states of soul. They are about empowerment; you decide to feel that way.
We are all born with a sense of joy. As life goes on, we tend to lose our sense of joy and we search for a sense of calm, but we don’t always get there. We believe that the sense of joy and calm balance each other out. If you are overwhelmed, you need a sense of calm, but you can’t feel calm without joy. Once you feel calm and joy you can truly feel a sense of peace and appreciate nature. That’s why the ingredients in peace are all green, nature. When you are surrounded by nature you see that beauty. We call them soul states we wanted to make sure that we drop how is the state of your soul in the question. How are you feeling, do you have anxiety, we wanted to talk about the emotions. We believe that a life well lived is a life full of Joy, Calm, Peace and Love.
Why does Kalmar have different products in each soul state rather than the same?
We have four candles and four massage oils and in other areas, we do have a wash, lotion, cream. There are different times that you need those different products. There are some products that are not needed for every Soulstate. Joy scrub, lotion because you need to feel invigorated, energised. Calm has the body cream and body wash and that is about nurturing and comforting. The aromas in Calm are very nurturing, cocooning. Peace, we have balm, hand & body wash and lotion and that is all about nature and grounding. Love is seductive, it’s about self-confidence, self-acceptance and awakening your inner goddess. In Love we have the Bath Oil, a beautiful thick body cream and, our latest launch, Face Oil.
So why does Kalmar talk about soul states, and what does each soul state mean?
We try to look at soul states in the sense of emotion. You know, when you wake up in the morning, you might not feel that great, you don't feel happy, your kind of dreading the day, or you are in a situation where you're not feeling anything. We wanted to say that there are these states of mind and states of the soul, but they require a purpose. It's about empowerment. It’s about you taking that decision to feel that way. The first one is joy; everybody is born with a sense of joy; every baby is born with joy. Babies laugh hundreds of times a day, if not thousands, they’re constantly giggling. As life goes on and we go through the process of learning and the process of life changes, we tend to lose a sense of joy and we search for a sense of calm, but we don't always know how to get there. We truly believe, at Kalmar, both Karen and I, that the sense of joy and calm are the first that you really must search for because they are your equalizers. They balance each other out. If you're overwhelmed and you find calm, it really helps you to influence joy. If you have a sense of joy, it's easy for you to find a sense of calm.
Happy people tend to be very calm people, they have a perspective. We also believe that if you have a sense of joy and calm, it's easier for you to understand nature and the power of nature. That’s why peace very much smells and is enhanced by nature and its great ingredients. We’ve got a lot of plant-based ingredients in all our products, but peace really is very, very, very green. I always say that when you are in a good space, you see the beauty in nature, whether that be walking by the ocean, by a cliff, in a forest, even just in a park, or just walking along a street, a tree line street, you see that beauty. We called them soul states, we wanted to name Kalmar for your soul and senses, and that was going to be the name. We wanted to make sure that we dropped how is the state of your soul into the conversation. How do you really feel? Are you suffering from anxiety? Are you sleeping? Do you have the desire to sing and dance? Do you listen to songs and smile? Are you easily distracted? We wanted to be able to talk about the emotions, and we believe at Kalmar, that a life well lived is one full of joy, calm, peace, and love.
What are the Kalmar treatments like?
It's hard to explain the treatment. I've been in the beauty industry for 37 years; we wanted something that was going to feel different. You come into our space, it's cocooning, it's pink, it's calming, it's destressing, instantly. You step on this beautiful floor, onto this lovely, sumptuous carpet, and you feel like you're in a place of safety. Every treatment is very different. We worked with a healer, spiritualist and intuitive called Sinead to create this incredible energy treatments. We wanted other people to leave with knowledge of healing. The treatments we've created with Sinead, are not the typical “lie face down, we're going to work legs, back, neck, shoulders, head, and turnover.” It is constantly going to be about connection. Through that massage and treatment, the guests, will leave with some life skills. Whether it be pressure point massage, or if it be body tapping, whether it be an educational lymphatic drainage, or how to give yourself a tummy massage that's going to help you release anxiety, stress and trauma. These are all areas that we don't normally touch on our body or even talk about; but Kalmar is about self-connection. What we wanted to create were treatments that gave you some tips, we want them to be educational. We wanted to offer some teachings and top tips, and we also wanted people to feel loved and cared for, so that you had a real sense of joy when you had the treatment, and you walked away with a list of things that you could do at home. If you have the calm treatment, it involves a lovely tummy massage. It really relieves tension, and it allows people to talk about how they're feeling emotionally. Do they have some trauma in their lives? We spend as much time listening to our client on the bed as we do perform in the treatment. So that's when there are gaps in between services. The House of Kalmar is about having time to really, really spend with that guest and make them feel like that hour and a half is for a whole day, they walk out of there and they're starting their day and they have more energy to continue with the day.
They’re all very positive treatments, but they do leave you feeling calm or joyful or very grounded. I know lots of people that come for the peace treatments, and they say I'm just going to walk for a little while, because they feel connected. They feel like they're being earthed. Love is one of my favourite treatments. Which has a big focus on tension release, like if you've got pains in your calves, how is that connected to your hips, to your neck and your shoulders? And it comes at it from an energetic perspective. We spend such little time getting to know ourselves, in getting to know our bodies. Whatever your body, whatever shape, whatever colour, whatever texture, however it's feeling, Kalmar wants you to connect with yourself and love every part. That is our journey, and that's why our treatments are very, very different to anybody elses.
When you helped create the products with Karen, why do you choose to use skin care ingredients in body care products?
This was Karen, and it was really interesting, because I've never taken ten years to create a brand ever and I've been in the industry for 37 years. Karen was very specific about what she wanted. She didn't want essential oils in in her products. She said, “I don't know how they're extracted, I don't know how stable they are, I want to use safe synthetics, I want to work with a perfume nose, I want to have skin care ingredients in body care products, because why should I treat the skin on my body any different to the skin on my face? It all deserves attention.” And it all deserves, ingredients that are going to hydrate, nourish, protect and make your legs as beautiful as your complexion. And of course, she's now a fabulous flamenco dancer, so she's exposing more of herself than ever before, but she does treat every part of her body as one. It’s not just about what you see, above the neck. It’s about what you feel. It's about the line of your décolleté. It's about connecting to your arms. It’s about the liking your legs. It’s about nourishing and hydrating your feet. We are all for self-care and encourage connection. There are lots of things about me that I don't like, but since working with this brand I certainly practice what Kalmar is about. I’ve always body brushed, had cold water showers but I've never used body oils and creams every single day. But since creating this brand, I have, because Karen’s beliefs are, it's not just your face that counts; your feet hold you up, your legs have got to keep you moving. I believe that she's right, that we should celebrate our entire body, and not just think, the face looks alright, forget the rest. So that's why we've got skin care ingredients in there. It’s about being confident and knowing that these products are really going to hydrate and nourish the skin.
And what was the importance of putting gemstones in the products?
It was about how can we connect with the energy and how we wanted to feel and for consumers to understand that we are all energy. Everything has energy attached to it. We all have got frequencies flying around us constantly. And the biggest way for us to show our true being is to radiate energy, to have a sense of being uplifted, being happy, being calm, being graceful, having elegance and poise and a confident attitude. What we wanted to show is that, gemstones are energy, therefore we are adding this energy to our products, and in turn we are adding that to you. It’s another message. And you already have beautiful energy, you just don't know it yet, or you haven't connected with it, but we all have the ability, and we know that by just managing our breath, which is another thing that we teach you when you come for a Kalmar treatment, it's about breath management. The therapist will work with you on the breath work so that you understand what that feels like and that makes an enormous difference. The brand is about energy, everything is about sending you positive energy.
Why did you choose to include synthetical, safe fragrances instead of essential oil?
The safe synthetics are really important to us because all ingredients are broken, and no one really knows where your aromas come from. You don't know how it's extracted. A lot of people think that synthetic ingredients are unsafe and unnatural, but actually a lot of them are better because they've had more testing. I always use food as a typical example of this. I had a lovely piece of Parma ham the other day. Well, if you look all to the Parma ham, you can get Parma ham pretty much anywhere in the world. There are not enough pigs in Parma for that to really be. It’s the same with essential oils, they're extracted in different ways. You buy them in bulk, and you don't know where it comes from. We wanted consistent ingredients, so that we knew that our products were always performing. There's a lot of photosynthesis happening on the skin when essential oils are used. And they're not safe for every individual, we wanted Kalmar to be safe for everybody, and that's why we chose not to. Karen reacts to essential oils. Her skin is so sensitive that if they’re not good quality, or a first extraction, her skin really, really reacts. So that's why we worked with a perfume nose to create the aromas, and then at the science lab for the ingredients.
And what are your favourite three products from Kalmar? And when do you use some three products?
I love all of them. Love Bath Oil must be the first. I love the creams, both the creams. I burn the candles constantly, because when I get home, if I need to feel the joy then I'll burn joy in my house, and at night I burn love in my bedroom. So, I actually love them all, and I love to use them at different times, but I suppose that the creams and the bath oil, are the ones I can't really do without.
And when do you use the calm body cream? And the love one? Is it dependant on how you feel?
How I feel, but I love the richness of the creams. I love the fact that, they're absorbed to the skin fast, they're very luxurious; it feels like you’re using skin care on your body, which for me is opulent. But and I also love the aromas. You know, my daughter Ava uses calm all the time. It’s her favourite products the wash, the cream and the oil. She uses the wash, the cream and the candle are her constant go to products. When she asks me to buy her more of the Calm products, I understand her state of mind as well, and how she's feeling. There's a great message in our products, in the treatments, that people choose. When you do the questionnaire and you come in for a treatment here at the mews, you’re asked, several questions that then lead you to what treatment you should be having. So, you may think that you need love, but actually the questionnaire and how you've answered it, might say joy or peace. And I find that really, really interesting. I think that's a novel way to get the guests to open up about how they're really feeling, and how we can release some tension in their body to allow them to go about their day, their week, their month, a year.
Can you give us any tips on what your self-care and rituals are?
My self- care rituals have pretty much been the same for many, many years. I try to walk a lot, and I try to get out in nature, I dance for 7 minutes most mornings. I’ll put some sort of and twelve-inch single which lasts 7 minutes on, I'll tell Alexa to put something on, and I have a dance around while I'm making my hot water ginger lemon. I have that first and then, I'll come back later and have a small coffee. I’ve now moved on to decaf rather than caffeinated. It’s too stimulating for me now, but I think that bodily, I’m more in-balance than ever before, so I need less stimulants. I take a cold water shower every morning I only wash with cold water in the mornings, so everything is cold. Ice cold water when brushing my teeth, ice cold water on my face and ice-cold water on my body. Before my shower, I body brush and I face brush, and then I follow with my usual routines. I try and do my 10,000 steps every single day. And at the weekends, I try to do longer, and I try to be around people whom I enjoy the company of as much as possible. And I try to avoid people that don't bring me Joy, Calm, Peace, or Love, to be honest.
And what was the best change you’ve made for your wellbeing?
The best change I ever made was taking responsibility for it. Because we so often, required to think about everybody else first, and not think about themselves. I'm a mother, my children are grown up now, they’re 21 and 31. I've always worked very hard. I’ve always been a curious learner. I have a niece as well, who I've supported for many, many years. I always say I've got two of my own, only one loan. I’ve had husbands too and so and I've had big teams I've looked after. I spent a lot of time putting everybody else first, and not enough time putting myself first. The second big mistake I made, is I gave my health, the responsibility of my health, over to somebody else, and that was probably, you know, a doctor, or whoever I needed to see at that time. And they give me their little bit of advice and tell me what I needed to do. I'm 57 in January, and I came to the conclusion in my forties, after my mum dying of cancer, that I had to take responsibility for my health. I still have my blood tests and my blood pressure and smears, and all the things that you need to do to check your breasts and mammograms, etc. Those things that you need to do to know that you are clinically healthy. But also, I needed to take responsibility for the inflammation that sat in my body, for how I was sleeping, for the food that I was putting into my stomach, for the things that I've put into my mind. I've spent most of my life scaring myself to death, being fearful of failure. When I got to about 40, I realized that failing was absence that was allowing you to realize your potential, because you were overcoming challenges and moving on to the next opportunity. So, taking responsibility for my own health and wellbeing, and understanding that has been my biggest wellness learning. I am responsible for how much I weigh. I am responsible for how high my blood pressure is. I am responsible if I am not sleeping at night, I am responsible if I am not fit. I'm responsible for everything I put in my head. Those faults, they sit with me. I can elaborate, I can scan myself, I can talk myself up and talk myself down. I am the person that I am with the most. I come into the world as me, and I'm going to leave by myself. What I've discovered in my fifties, and it took from my mid-forties to early fifties to get there, if I look after myself, if I look after my emotional wellbeing and my physical wellbeing, and I love intermittent fasting, I love going to health retreats. I no longer go on holiday and just sit on a beach with a book. I want to go off and learn. I want to meet interesting people. And my goal for the next two decades, is not for my life to shrink like my brain is going to, because that's what happens as we age, but to expand as much as possible, to expand my energy, to expand my circles of knowledge, to expand my empathy and my humility and my kindness to others and myself, but also to learn and be curious about people. and stick with being responsible for my health because that is my biggest wealth. Nothing else really matters. And I'm a better person for it. I’m a better mother. I believe I'm a better lover. I believe I'm a better boss. I know who I am now, and I know what I need to live my best life possible.
The five key things about living well.
The five things that you can't do without if you want to live a healthy life, is sleep. It’s got to be a priority. Growing up, being a sixties child, and growing up in the in the eighties, where no one really slept, it wasn't such a problem. I've now discovered everybody needs sleep, and it makes such a difference. Second one is fasting and not constantly having food, not having because that's comfort. It took me a long time to figure out that I wasn't giving my body fuel, I was giving my body comfort. There is a difference. And so now I look at food, I love taste, I love textures, I love wonderful food, I look at food is fuel. And every now and then I'll fall off the wagon. But, I'm not running to McDonald’s, I'm looking for healthier options. And the interesting thing about fasting and going to places like Buchinger Wilhelmior or Palazzo Fiugi is that each time you come back from those places, you have less of a desire, because you become more educated, and you know that they are addictions. They help the dopamine, they lift you up, and then you crash. So food for me as fuel, but still making sure that it looks beautiful, that it tastes beautiful, it’s really important. And, feeling okay with being hungry, this is really important. I was scared of that for such a long time, because as a child, I was skinny and delicate, because I'd gone so much time without food growing up. That was the thing that I really had to overcome. So, sleep, food, exercise, like movement, just moving, whether that's dancing, whether that's just feeling alive, or standing under a cold shower, or wild swimming, or going for a cryotherapy treatment, doing whatever. You can have a cold shower and feel fabulous. There are loads of different solutions to, stimulating the body and making you alive. And purpose is another thing that is important, what do I want to get out the day? How do I want to feel? How do I want my week, day, month, year to end? So, having some ideas about where you're going and what you're doing is really, important. Lastly, connection, human connection, is so important. We spend so much time making comparisons. This is we're a digital age, where we look at everybody and we feel that everybody's lives are so much better than ours. Because you see someone on social media, and you see a perfect life. And it's not that their life is perfect. It’s just you see them in how you would like your life to be. You’re not seeing their life really. You’re seeing what your goals are, what your aspirations are. But you're making comparison. Human connection is really, really important, because when we are connected to people that we want to be around, they tell us the real story. And we don't always know everything. I always said to my kids, you know more about the people that you don't know. They're the people where you make up a perception, women are really good at that. Women are really good at taking one sentence and transferring it into a life dream or a life goal or a process. Because we're planners. That's why we carry babies for nine months, because, we go through these processes. We’ve got protocols. Everything, in most cases, with women, is driven by process. You know, we've spent our life in a cycle, a hormonal cycle, menstrual cycle, baby making cycle, life planning cycle. For us to have some community and purpose and process and joy in that is really important. These are the five keys in living well: Sleep, food, purpose, exercise, and connection.
And what is the most important tip you can give on wellness?
The number one is to really know yourself. And it's a long journey. It takes trillions of cells to make a human being. Trillions and trillions and trillions. You can't know everything at 10, 20, 30 or even 40, but always take time to get to know yourself and know what you need. And don't be dictated by everything that's going around you. It's easier to say, then do, but you are always going to be your best companion, so be nice to yourself, be kind to yourself, love yourself. I’ve started to listen to love songs in a different way, I'm singing them to myself, for myself, by myself. Because actually, we’ve got to connect with ourselves more. I think as we become more isolated we've got to be comfortable with that. Everything else is going to fall into place. People are going to get wise about diet. People are going to get wise about exercise. But what people tend to think is that they're not enough, they're not good enough, they can't function alone. For me, that's the most empowering thing that you can do for yourself, is to know that you are good enough, to know that you're strong enough, to know that you're capable to achieve anything that you want to achieve, no matter where you come from. You’ve just got to create opportunities for yourself and find the energy to be able to do that. Because it requires tenacity, drive and determination. But we all have that within us. This is that we choose to suppress certain things because of how we feel about ourselves. I would say, open that box and explore every part of you, your soul and your senses.