Sara Panton // Her Picks
Sara Panton of Vitruvi
I’m Sara, and was born on Vancouver Island in Canada. I work at vitruvi which is an essential oil company. My brother and I founded vitruvi 4 years ago and I am the ceo and am lucky to work alongside an incredible team of people who are constantly growing product lines, distribution and content with a focus on helping women take time for themselves to live more naturally with essential oils.
When I’m in Vancouver at the office my morning is always cuddles with my dog charlie, followed by emails, a matcha tea and a VEGA smoothie before I head to the office. When I get to the office it is usually a variety of meetings, appointments and calls on things ranging from: strategy and financial budget strategy, product development, logistics for new product roll outs, and creative meet ups for new campaigns. The most important part of my week is when I sit down with our customer experience leads to review customer experience pain points, frequently asked questions they have experienced throughout the week, positive customer stories and areas of improvement our customer experience team sees opportunity in.
My evenings are quite standard and pretty quiet (I’m an introvert…) I come home — take my dog to the beach, do a workout which is Pilates, yoga or a jog, have dinner and then get to my inbox and emails or larger tasks I didn’t get to throughout my day. My day usually finishes with a bath, putting my diffuser on and getting into a few pages of a book. Or just utter exhaustion and falling into bed after being up too late.
I’ve always been drawn to minimalism and the idea of having fewer things but investing in quality over quantities. One of the things that I really love about essential oils is their multipurpose and unique ability to have multiple uses and span a variety of categories. I love that you can have a single product like say Tea Tree or Sweet Orange and that is can be used in home cleaning, your beauty routine, to scent your home naturally and even be used to help break down grease and dirt as you wash the dishes — This single product is now replacing over 7 products that would be taking up room, space and cost money. I also love the customization of essential oils and aroma. if you have less things then they should be tailored to you, they should be custom to you — I truly believe that is the new luxury, the customization and personalization of the products (especially personal care, wellness products and aromas) in our life.
My closet is really made up of only the essentials, I like to keep things simple and wear a version of the same outfit each day and switch it up depending on season. It’s usually the Everlane loafers, Levi’s or Aritzia Denim Jeans (I love the Yoko ones), and a linen top and blazer. For winter i switch it up with a chelsea boot in the rain (i’m loving my new ones from Stella McCartney), and a cozy knit sweater — I also wear a lot of vintage and find a lot from my friend Sarah who runs Boheme Goods. I try to buy everything used or vintage.
Vitruvi was inspired by my love of traditional medicines and wellness practices from cultures and places around the world. I had just finished a degree in Global Health Sciences and was in my first year of medical school studying preventative medicine. I had just learned about the olfactory nerve and was fascinated by the science of scent and how scent could influence the brain and body. My brother and I were roommates at the time, I came home one day and said “wouldn’t it be cool to have a line of products that let you use scent throughout the day?”. Sean agreed that it could be an interesting idea and we started a simple blog and website.
As you can see, vitruvi truly started from a passion project, with no agenda to create a company. It began when I was making products for myself using essential oils, From there we discovered other people were interested in essential oils, in complete honesty we had no idea what market or category we were even in for the first year of the company — We just created products for ourselves and our friends and in doing so ended up launching the leading digital first essential oil company.
My motivation is our customers and our team — Our community is made up of some of the smartest, kindest and most interesting women I’ve ever met. They are resourceful, discerning, thoughtful and it is an honour to work alongside the team of women behind vitruvi and to make products for our customers — both of which embody these traits. Our company is really built on the feedback and priorities of our community and customers — I am constantly listening, looking and asking. Motivation hasn’t ever been an issue in the last 4 years, vitruvi was a passion project I worked on late in the evenings after being in school for hours. Being able to work on it everyday is a privilege and having a team is a huge responsibility that I take very seriously.
I always have a few books on the go. I just finished reading a book called Zen and The Art of Falling In Love (it’s really good), and I am currently reading “Pour Your Heart Into It” the making of Starbucks, and well as “The Responsible Company” by Yvan Chenhard (the founder of Patagonia) I’ve read it 3 times and I always find a new piece of history or inspiration from it.
Thats a really great question, thinking about living with intention for me is really about understanding what is truly important to me. And it’s about being really clear what I value and what key actions, relationships, and priorities support my vision — Beyond those key factors most of what happens in life is noise. Being clear of a vision, a personal mantra or manifesto and having the self awareness of what you want your impact on the world should be.
When I’m not sure about if I should do something I think of the mantra “In for you than who”… to me this means that if you know you can do something better than anyone else, and that you feel the responsibility to execute, create or take responsibility then go for it full force.
All my jewelry has a story, there are pieces that mean different things to me to mark specific milestones in my life, and I also buy a ring in every country that I go to — Nothing expensive, just a little band or symbol that reminds me of the culture and place I was.
My most special piece of jewelry is my grandmothers engagement ring. She was the most important person in my life, so full of energy and spunk and life. She was goofy and fun and so smart — She passed away when I was 10, and I will never forget my grandfather calling me over and sitting me down and kneeling down to open the ring box. He said, your grandmother wanted you to have this. I was 10 at the time and I remember knowing the significance of that. It was a beautiful exchange. The week before I had given her my Teddy bear. The bear I was given by my aunt when I was born. She was in a lot of pain, and I wanted her to be comforted. I wanted it to be with her forever and it was cremated with her. In a way we exchanged the most important thing in our lives that week, and that ring is a reminder of her energy and compassion of which I will always strive to reach.
I’ve always loved jewelry from an early age. I remember getting supplies for making my own jewelry and each year before our annual family camping trip my parents would take me to ‘Bead World’ which was a store for people to make their own jewelry. I would buy beads, string, wire, gems, hemp string, anything I could afford and would bring my own DIY jewelry kit of which I would make it all week while we were camping.
Before living with any type of intention, I think it’s important to know what you truly value — And I mean truly. Make a list of what is most important in your life, the people, the experiences, the goals, the pleasures, the adventures or the quiet moments and then make space for that. Steven Covey calls it “putting the big rocks in the jar” it means setting the priorities for your life, because if you don’t “the business” and emails, and phone calls and errands and tasks will fill up decades of your life. Some of this are unavoidable for sure. But even if you pick 3 key things for a week, or month or season or year and then actively reflect with self awareness on how you are making time for those things. When you know what you value and what your value is, you start prioritizing life in a really different way.
When you’re starting your career or a business it’s really easy to get caught up in the ego or the validation and comparison of other people. I believe passionately that if you want to build something you need to keep your head down, block out the noise, look for validation only from people who truly know you and who understand the business, market or career you are in and then spend all your energy (especially in your 20’s) to building something for yourself. Whether that be on the corporate ladder, your own business, or throwing yourself into a company. The early stages of a career are the time for you to pull ahead of the pack, and I think you would be surprised by how easy it is to succeed and excel when you really apply yourself.