Shannon Davenport // Her Picks
Shannon Davenport of Esker Beauty
3 words to describe your personality.
Curious, Silly, & Driven.
I wake up and get my daughter up for the day, she’s almost two and she’s very energetic so as soon as her eyes are open she’s asking for books or songs so it’s always a real jump start to the day. I love podcasts and my ritual is to play The Daily in the morning as I get ready and start to think about my to do list. Every other day my husband and I do a morning run, we bring our pup along too. Since we both primarily work from home it’s really great to get outside first thing. After getting home we’ll have a smoothie or coffee and get to work. I’m a bullet journal-er so I typically open my book and get going on my tasks. I usually catch up on emails and have check in calls with my team since we’re all remote, it’s important to take time to get on the phone or video conference so we feel like we’re all in the loop about everything that’s going on.
Since I left NYC a few years ago I’ve been really into gardening, which is amazing for managing stress. I love being in the dirt! I also love to travel, cook, and listen to music.
3 things you cannot live without?
Podcasts, bathtubs, sunglasses.
Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” I love simplicity of the golden rule.
I was working for corporate clients as a trend forecaster and over the years I started to feel so disconnected from the work. I wanted not just to talk about ideas and recommend them to companies but actually act on them and build the brand I’d love to see in the world. One that is beautifully crafted with integrity, honesty and passion.
That natural ingredients don’t work and are ineffective. On the flip side there’s another myth that natural ingredients, particularly essential oils, are irritating but the truth is it’s all about blending properly. Essential oils are like spices, it's all about using each one differently depending on the type. There are a lot of brands out there claiming clean beauty.
What makes a product the ideal clean beauty product that works? What are some rules of thumb when shopping for a good product that works?
I always would make sure about that there’s not cheap fillers in your product. For oils for example I would avoid things like sweet almond oil or sunflower seed bases because they tend to be on the greasier side and don’t absorb well into the skin. Ingredients like squalane or jojoba or evening primrose are wonderfully powerful and quick-absorbing. Also steer clear anytime you see the word ‘fragrance.’ There’s nothing wrong with that in and of itself but anytime a brand doesn’t fully disclose all ingredients it makes me wonder why.
What was the most surprising thing you learned through the process of creating Esker?
I’m tougher, stronger and smarter than I realized! I often feel like without a business background I’m in over my head or some days I wonder what the hell I’m doing but it’s amazing how much you can rise to different challenges if you have a growth mindset.
Which Esker product would you recommend to someone introducing clean beauty into their routine?
All of our body oils are a great place to start. They’re super lightweight and absorb easily plus they smell really good. They’re not greasy or tricky to apply, so the experience for someone has never used a body oil is super easy.
It’s a core ethos of your company to create awareness around the importance of consuming clean products. Similarly we feel strongly that the jewelry industry is filled with miseducation / a fast fashion mentality. As a brand we hope our footprint ends up being one that promotes purchasing ethically-sourced intentional designs that contribute to the greater picture. What is your hope when you think of Esker’s greater picture?
As we grow I want to prioritize recyclable and reusable packaging, we have enough single use plastic and landfill waste floating around the world and I don’t want to contribute to it unnecessarily. Also I want to use the brand as a platform to raise awareness around pollinators, many of which are in serious danger. We use plant based ingredients and without bees and butterflies none of those crops would be available to us. There are small things we can all do like avoiding pesticides, planting native species and supporting our local farmers and beekepers. Our natural world depends on these foundational species.
What makes you most proud?
Simply the fact that I took a leap of faith and left my full time job. It took a lot of guts for me to bite the bullet since I was so used to a regular paycheck and routine. I’m also proud that I’ve been able to do this while being a new mom. It’s definitely not even remotely easy but it’s wonderful to have the opportunity to grow in all aspects, as an entrepreneur and a mother.
What’s next for you?
We’re launching new products in the next 6 months that I’m super excited about and we’re continuing to grow. I love being part of a team so I can’t wait to build out our Esker team.
Is there something you would like to share about yourself that we did not ask?
I owe a lot to my family and friends for their support in helping me launch this business. My husband, dad, stepmom, and best friend in particular have done so much to get the company to where it is now. I feel super lucky!