Perfection is the enemy. Hard stop. In the early days I wasted a lot of mental and emotional energy on things I shouldn’t have. Yes, you want to create the best experience possible — but spending literal days choosing between candle scents isn’t exactly necessary.
As a part of our series about women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Morgan Robart.
Morgan Robart, Co-Owner of Skin & Sage, Seattle’s home to sustainable self-care making the luxury of high-end spa services something regularly attainable and better for the environment. Combining holistic European and Ayurvedic techniques with science-backed products and technology, Skin & Sage aims to create the perfect balance of relaxation and results. Prior to her second career in wellness, Morgan held global leadership positions in engineering at a Fortune 5 company.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Istarted out my career studying and earning my degree in Mechanical Engineering, but quickly learned I was better suited for business leadership. I’ve been lucky enough to hold global leadership roles in a Fortune 5 company that took me all over the world — 39 countries and counting! Earlier in my career I was definitely a corporate-ladder-climbing force to be reckoned with, but I realized over time that I wasn’t happy constantly juggling work demands. After the birth of my first child in 2019 and the pandemic that was quick to follow, I had the time to reevaluate my priorities and imagine what the life I wanted would look like. As I planned to return to work, I decided to shift gears entirely to focus on making wellness and self-care more attainable for others, deepen connections to my local community, and see the work I do every day positively impact people.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
When I first started the transition away from my remote tech job and started training in esthetics, I remember being so scared to touch other people’s faces. It was just so out of my comfort zone to be that intimate, especially with a stranger. The first time I cleansed someone’s face, I was so nervous and kept asking if they were okay or if what I was doing felt right. Now of course giving facials is one of my favorite things to do, and I think it’s because of that connection that used to feel so foreign.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When I was considering transitioning out of corporate life, there was a moment in Budapest where I was so exhausted from the relentless weeks of travel and the emotional toll of planning layoffs. I was at a high point in my career — major cost reductions, margin increases, etc. — but it was such an emotional low moment that I curled up in my rental car, had a good cry, and fell asleep. My lesson learned from that moment was that just because things look good on paper doesn’t mean they’re the right choices for you. It’s okay to take a moment to check in with yourself and identify the areas that are causing an emotional drain.
Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I absolutely love my work at Skin & Sage, because every single person leaves in a better mood than when they arrive. Of course our treatments are targeted for surface-level results like glowy skin or groomed brows, but seeing people feel more relaxed and confident after spending time taking care of themselves is my favorite part. The way we structure our treatments means guests have a moment to take off their shoes, have a cup of tea, and just lay down and feel cared for. So many of us just don’t get that enough!
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing?
- Wear sunscreen every single day. Regardless of age, skin type, or lifestyle, this is the number one thing every person should do to help prevent skin cancer and premature aging. This includes cloudy days and means going beyond just your face to ensure your neck, chest, and anywhere else not covered by clothing gets some protection!
- Drink plenty of water. We all know we should, but it’s something I still have to remind myself of every day. I’ve seen positive effects on my energy levels personally, and it can mean fewer headaches, improved digestion, and an overall healthier body. Most of the times I think I need another coffee I’m actually just thirsty for water. Your skin is your body’s biggest organ, so making sure you’re staying hydrated means you’ll radiate that healthy glow!
- Always wash the day away. Even if you don’t wear makeup — which I usually don’t — it’s incredibly important to wash your face in the evening. It removes pollutants, sunscreen, and sweat, but also creates a moment for a mental cleanse at the end of the day. Taking a few minutes to create a bedtime ritual helps me to sleep better and feel like no matter what I dealt with that day, I don’t have to take it to bed with me.
- Get away when you need it. So much of the “self-care” discourse directed at overwhelmed and overburdened women suggests quick fixes like taking a bubble bath or watching your favorite reality TV show. In those scenarios, all I end up doing is soaking in my anxieties and feeling like I’m not getting enough done. I always suggest to take some time to remove yourself from that to-do-list environment, where you won’t be able to see the laundry or the toys or the laptop. Even if it’s just a quick trip to your local coffee shop — or spa! — it gives your brain a bit of breathing room so you can come back with your best foot forward.
- Build positive routines. For me, nothing happens unless I put it on my calendar. The chances of doing a one-time thing for me are low, but once I commit myself to a weekly meetup or monthly facial I’ll find a way to make it happen. Sometimes putting your moments of self-care on autopilot and scheduling them as a recurring event in your calendar will make sure they’ll actually get priority.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I wish we could add empathy to the water supply. We’re all busy and have a million things going on, but that doesn’t give someone an excuse to not think about how their actions or the general state of the world will affect another person. I know in my low moments I hope that empathy is extended to me, so I try to be that person for others at every opportunity I can.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- I hope you’re a hat person because you’re about to wear at least 50. In the early days of starting a business, you can count on being the accountant, tech support, interior designer and plumber. As you grow you can start to outsource the pieces you’re less comfortable with or willing to do, but you’ll still have to be the one managing them and making sure they get done.
- Your kids will support you when they see you happy and going after something you care about. I was originally really nervous about balancing parenthood with starting a business. But now my 4-year-old is so excited to talk to people about “mommy’s” spa, and I can tell that she’s proud of me. Doing both can still be overwhelming at times, but I know that they both work together to give my daughter a life she can be excited about.
- You’ll probably find support in unlikely places. As someone who struggles to ask for help, I’ve been so pleasantly surprised with how supportive my family, friends, and community have been when it comes to building my business. Everyone from our handyman to our first customers genuinely wants to see us succeed and just knowing that is a buoy on days I’m not feeling my best.
- Perfection is the enemy. Hard stop. In the early days I wasted a lot of mental and emotional energy on things I shouldn’t have. Yes, you want to create the best experience possible — but spending literal days choosing between candle scents isn’t exactly necessary.
- Prioritize according to your own rules. The best thing you can do for your mental health is to understand what needs to be taken care of ASAP and what can wait. I’m not the type to let things sit on my to-do list, but sometimes that’s exactly what needs to happen so you can focus on the things that will make a difference in the long run.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
All of these are obviously important to my business and myself personally, but in my work I tend to spend the most focus on sustainability — in terms of the environment and in terms of self care! Our approach means luxurious and highly-effective treatments, all while being environmentally conscious. We’ve partnered with clean beauty brands that offer vegan and cruelty-free ingredients along with crafting our process to minimize disposable items and single-use plastics. The waste we can’t avoid is taken care of through a robust recycling plan. We also believe that self-care is more than just a special treat — it’s a philosophy of behavior that ensures you’ve filled your own cup before pouring out to others. So we offer memberships to create that commitment to taking a few moments to pause each month and feel confident that your treatments are created to produce the least environmental impact!
What is the best way for our readers to further follow your work online?
You can visit our website https://skinandsagespa.com/ for more details on our sustainability commitments, memberships and services, and our Instagram is for the fun stuff — @skinandsageseattle
Thank you for these fantastic insights! We wish you continued success and good health.
About the Interviewer: Wanda Malhotra is a wellness entrepreneur, lifestyle journalist, and the CEO of Crunchy Mama Box, a mission-driven platform promoting conscious living. CMB empowers individuals with educational resources and vetted products to help them make informed choices. Passionate about social causes like environmental preservation and animal welfare, Wanda writes about clean beauty, wellness, nutrition, social impact and sustainability, simplifying wellness with curated resources. Join Wanda and the Crunchy Mama Box community in embracing a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle at CrunchyMamaBox.com .