Meet Cathy O’Brien, CEO of Naturopathica Holistic Health. She’s a fierce believer in the power of nature and grounding self-care rituals who has built a number of beauty brands, including Jo Malone and La Mer. But Cathy means more than just business–she has earned an MSW from Columbia University, as well as a Certificate in Domestic Violence prevention. For Cathy, beauty and healing take many forms.
Tell us a bit about yourself, and what led you to Naturopathica.
The healing power of nature and touch, has always been a love and a resource for me. I believe in and practice, as best as possible (but not perfectly), an informed approach to my own WellCare. I think about what I eat–and strive to be thoughtful about what I ingest–without being rigid. I work on moving my body every day and go through cycles of different levels of “fitness,” but I’m always moving and stretching, no matter what. I believe in meditation to start the day, even if it’s for five minutes; it grounds me and gives me energy for the day.
I know that ingredients in all products matter. I’ve always been conscious of their impact through what we inhale and what we put on our bodies topically. Toxins are everywhere, and the increased rates of illnesses show that which has been a concern of mine for as long as I can remember.
As a personal practice, I have long worked with women’s organizations that support women in trauma, and recently earned my MSW from Columbia University, and a certificate in Domestic Violence Prevention from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. I’ve worked with the One Love Organization, The National Domestic Violence Hotline as an advocate, Mount Sinai’s Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention (SAVI) program as an advocate, and Sanctuary for Families in the Economic Empowerment Program. In all of these experiences, it was clear that any and all mind/body healing practices are helpful in building emotional strength.
From a business perspective, I have had the great fortune to work with and help build a number of exceptional brands including Jo Malone and La Mer through the Estee Lauder Companies. The opportunity to work with Naturopathica and evolve the practice of one’s own empowerment and confidence around self-well-care is a gift for which I am and will be forever grateful.
“Our purpose is to share healing rituals, experiences, and herbal remedies to help people learn how to better care for themselves and others.”
What is your vision for Naturopathica’s future?
Naturopathica was founded on and exists in collaboration with the healing power of nature and touch. Our purpose is to share healing rituals, experiences, and herbal remedies to help people learn how to better care for themselves and others. Our roots are in the spa environment and, as that has evolved over the years, so have we, and we will continue to. We value and treasure our spa partnerships–those that have been with us since we started, and those that have joined throughout the years. We are excited to continue to nurture and grow with our partners and to create new relationships with new spa environments that connect with people through experience and touch. Our vision and goal is to always be present for our partners, delivering what they need, when they need it.
The foundation and “essence” of Naturopathica is a complete approach to the awareness and practice of how to tend and care for yourself. Every day, in small, manageable practices–in feel good, and smell good ways. Physical and emotional care and health are linked. The rituals embraced by Naturopathica support and help emotional wellbeing every day, empowering people with bite-sized tools of their own.
Are there more products and/or spa locations in the pipeline?
We have exciting plans for product and location evolution over the next three years. There has been great demand for building franchises around some of our beloved facial products–our first launch is in April of this year with our Manuka Honey Body Collection; we are building out our Vitamin C Serum and Lotion duo by adding a dry body oil for summertime; and for October our always-in-demand Calendula Nourishing Cream will be joined by nourishing scalp and body treatments. Going forward into 2024 and 2025 we’ll have more surprises that are in keeping with the Naturopathic mantra and mandate.
As for locations, it is our great hope and our plan to give access to Naturopathica to all types of estheticians and massage therapists who seek holistic and botanical care for their clients and espouse the Naturopathic lifestyle of WellCare.
In your opinion, what differentiates Naturopathica from its competition?
Naturopathica began as an herbal remedy apothecary with the intention of teaching people how to care for themselves with botanicals. Our practice evolved to include the healing power of touch–adding nurturing body and face-care services, connecting the internal and external experiences. Our East Hampton spa was called the Naturopathica Healing Arts Center. Our purpose and premise remain the same–we build and grow from there.
How has the spa & beauty market changed overall, and where do you think it’s headed?
It’s been a rollercoaster these past few years for all of us in the spa community. I believe what we have all seen over the past year is a return to the spa environment with an appreciation and understanding of the need for self-care and overall wellness. It’s not a “luxury,” it’s a necessity to care for ourselves and to keep learning how to do that in ways that work for our individual lifestyles. What has been exciting to see is the evolution of what a “spa” looks like–how and where people are choosing to go for services and care–and that there are now different ways for people to have access.
Can you name spas that have been with Naturopathica since its beginning?
What is the one Naturopathica product you can’t live without, and why?
I go through phases with favorites based on how my skin is feeling given the weather, the climate, stressors, and dietary changes. There’s no one thing that is right all the time. At the moment, I am obsessed with the Plant Stem Cell Serum followed by Carrot Seed Oil. I use it day and night and honestly, my skin glows. I find that expression hokey, but I don’t know what else to say! I am coming off of my obsession with the Vitamin C Serum from summertime, preceded by my use of the Oat Polish Cleanser and Calendula Cream. There’s more, of course, but I travel with all of these everywhere.