When Samantha Sargent, founder of Be Genki was 21 years old she tried to kill herself. At that point in time, she thought that the world would be better off without her; and that there was no possible way she could cope or fit in. “I was desperately hoping that there was more to life than what I was experiencing but couldn’t see how it was possible. My ’round peg’ didn’t seem to fit in to any of the ‘square holes’ of the society I was living in. So I swallowed a box of sleeping tablets washed down with a glass of methylated spirits and wrote a letter,” explains Sam. Luckily she is here today to share her story and her beautiful business with us all.
“What amazes me today, is that anxiety, worry and stress are on the rise. As a culture, we’re not coping. And I can relate all too well to this, as I certainly had no idea how to cope. My desire is to show people how I learnt not only to cope, but to thrive in this crazy thing called ‘life,” explains Sam. “I don’t have the answers for your life. But what I do have, are tools that I was given by others that helped me get through various challenges. The biggest one being, to make peace with the person looking back at me in the mirror,” she says.
Like many people who reach this point in life, Sam says that self-judgment was what once crippled her. She says she still has her up and downs, as we all do. “I am far from perfect. I stumble. I trip. And sometimes I fall oh so fabulously flat on my face. But to wake up each morning excited about the day ahead; having a healthy relationship with my body; enjoying a beautiful complexion; being in a kind and nurturing relationship; being able to handle everyday stressors without freaking out; and being able to rest my head on the pillow each night ready for a peaceful nights’ sleep, was once a far fetched dream. Today, it is my reality,” says Sam.
In her beautiful business, Be Genki, Sam avoids plastics. All products are made using Miron violet glass to ensure the potency and life force of the ingredients are protected for you to experience fresh once opened. They are accredited by Choose Cruelty Free Limited, so when they say no fluff, they mean no fluff. Be Genki has been awarded the Butterfly Mark, powered by Positive Luxury, in recognition of continuous efforts to contribute to healthier, happier communities while minimising environmental impact. The butterfly mark offers brand transparency and connects consumers with the brands that care about sustainability, social responsibilities, environment and fair trade. They are also a Safe Cosmetics ‘Champion’. Translation? They have met all of the requirements set by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
“We are also a member of the Real Beauty Manifesto, which strives for purity, compassion, honesty, community, transparency and sustainability in the fickle beauty industry. Being a part of this is our way of saying we’re committed to being open and transparent, even if others aren’t.” says Sam
Open since 2002, Sam enjoys making vegan choices for her daily meals, skin care rituals and fashion purchases. She has a consuming love for the beach, countryside and nature. “I feel like the luckiest woman in the world being able to walk hand-in-hand each day with a kind, loving and hilariously funny man, who I married three times,” she says. “I don’t believe in dogma, and enjoy the occasional ‘happy egg’ from happy loved chickens that live on a nearby hillside. I am an optimist. I am wholeheartedly in love with dogs. I am also crazy in love with cats, pigs, birds and horses.”
Sam studied make-up artistry, skin care and image training. She also studied to be a personal trainer and nutritionist. No matter what time of day it is, you’ll always find her sipping on a cup of water or herbal tea. “I love to practice Zen Ki yoga. I am grateful for the lovely emails that I receive from people who have been touched by my brand, Be Genki.” Sam really engages fully in nature and loves to walk on the beach, swim in the ocean and observe nature.
Who are you? Tell us about the people behind the Be Genki
I love to sun gaze in the afternoons, and gaze up at the stars through the skylight above my bed in the evenings. I’m grateful for the wisdom that I have learnt from Don Tolman, and I always refer back to his recommendations first and foremost when treating myself, my loved ones, or people who come to me for nutrition consultations. I love to travel, anywhere and everywhere.
I think massage is a necessity not a luxury. My family means everything to me. You could play the drums in my bedroom whilst I’m sleeping and I wouldn’t wake up. I loved doing a Vipassana meditation retreat of 10-days silence and meditation so much so that I went back again and again. Many years ago I use to party til dawn and was fortunate to learn the tough but valuable lesson at a very young age that excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs is a tool for escapism. I now think it’s more fun creating my life as a happy and healthy adventure, as opposed to escaping from it.
I love to cook. I love giving and receiving energy work with the tools of Access Consciousness. I make a seriously kick-ass healthy and yummy smoothie. I spend a huge portion of my days researching and have an unquenchable thirst for educating myself more. I wish I could sing like KD Lang. I am deeply intrigued by the language of colour and how it can help in the understanding of our self, which I learnt through the Aura-Soma Colour-Care System.
I don’t understand how or when humans got to the point where we stopped caring for Mother Earth and when I hear about an oil spill in our oceans or see someone throwing a cigarette butt in the gutter it hurts every living cell of my body. I also truly believe that it’s not too late for the world to change. I am profoundly inspired by the talent, enthusiasm and initiative of younger generations. I am also deeply inspired by my grandmothers, the most gracious women I have ever known. I love to garden and talk to the plants and critters. I feel naked without painted toenails.
How did you start the business and what inspired you?
The short answer: to help encourage and inspire emotional wellbeing by providing products with lifestyle tips, which help to bring about a positive change to our state of mind. About 13 years ago I made a blend of essential oils to help support my my friend who was faced with anxiety. I suggested a few self-care rituals be infused into her day to help build her health, too. Weeks later that friend made the choice to stop taking anti-depressant medication. That oil blend was Be genki Serene.
Often we hear of people suffering in silence or turning to unnatural remedies as they face problems. Whether it’s reaching for that 3rd cup of coffee, using sleeping tablets to stop tossing in the night, losing your temper at loved ones or beating yourself up about not being able to cope. This is not what life is about. We can change anything by being conscious of our choices. That’s why Be genki exists so people have a natural way to help themselves.
(**Editors note – I do not believe that Anti-Depressants or other medications to support mental health are something to avoid. I have personally used them as someone who has lived with depression and anxiety, as well as working with many people in my mental health career who benefitted from medications at some point in their lives. I do believe that self care rituals such as using oils, can enhance wellbeing and lift your mood but you should never cease medications without medical adivce and should always seek professional advice if you are dealing with any mental health issues -Helen).
What made you fall in love with the idea?
The feedback I receive from our customers has kept me falling in love with Be genki for 13 years straight. And the funny thing is, that whilst Be genki was originally inspired by helping a friend, it has helped to support me and my own journey of self-acceptance, self-love and creating a life that I enjoy.
Was there anything you didn’t love about it?
The little day-to-day business hurdles such as trying to get the packaging “right” is always a challenge for me. The earth lover in me wishes we could package the product in biodegradable packaging but with oils it’s not possible yet. I’m hoping for someone to start producing hemp packaging that is completely biodegradable and applicable for oil-based products. As soon as that happens … count me in!
What are your thoughts on sustainability and how is this part of your business and own home?
Sustainability is a big part of my life. Not just sometimes, but all the time I am trying to see how I can make improvements to my footprint on the earth. We live in the Byron Bay hinterland, so we catch all our water from the rain. Our house has solar, and we’re in the midst of planting 200 koala-friendly trees in the paddock where our home / office / production room is based to create a sanctuary for koalas. They are currently getting moved out of their natural habitat with all the development going on, so it’s our little way of giving something back.
Do you have any tips for other people wanting to create a sustainable home?
It’s easier than you think. Start reading and learning different ways of doing things, and experiment with it at home. Take baby steps, and get comfortable with each step along the way, so that each change is for the long-term as opposed to a trend that passes by. Investigate the use of hemp. It’s the future of sustainability. If we ever did build a home, we’d build it in hempcrete for sure. In regards to mindful, my recommendation would be to declutter all the crap. To invest in quality that lasts for generations.
Biggest Challenge in setting up and running your business?
Gosh. Practicing the art of patience, and not freaking out at all the little things that inevitably go “wrong”. Mistakes happen. It’s how we deal with them that determines what happens next.
What do people say when they see your work?
They love it. Here’s a link to a few love letters we have received.
What do you do to relax and unwind at home?
Gardening in our veggie patch, lay on the verandah with my husband watching the birds, have a warm bath with our Be genki Serene essential oil blend, cook a delicious dinner and then snuggle up on the couch with my husband.
Sam has an amzing story and so much to share. Head here for more