BE.LOVED is fast becoming a cherished brand in Latvia, and Kinga was recently interviewed by a national news channel. Here’s the interview in English…
I first got to know you as a yoga teacher. When did you fall in love with yoga? What kind of yoga and other yogic traditions do you practice?
I started in 1999 with Hatha yoga and my first teacher was American. Very quickly after that, I met my first Kundalini Yoga teacher and fell in love with that yoga style. I felt immediately that this is what I was looking for. While traveling, I was still experimenting with other styles, but I always came back to Kundalini. In 2011, I decided to change my life and moved to Latvia and started my Kundalini teacher training, and I immediately started to teach. When I think of myself, first comes being a mom and then a yoga teacher 🙂
How did yoga change how you feel about yourself, both as a human soul/spirit and as a woman (flesh and blood)?
Yoga definitely transforms lives. I experienced that myself and witnessed with many girls I teach. Throughout my twenties I had lots of health problems. That’s when I decided to try yoga. So the first level is physical when I realized that movement and proper breathing techniques can really heal me. When yoga became part of my every day routine, other habits changed. I started to be more aware of what I eat and drink – after some time I stopped eating meat, started to look at what kind of cosmetics I use, analyzing ingredients, became more aware about the environment – how I can contribute to less garbage around. That was all in small steps. The second level is more spiritual. I always considered myself as a believer – I was baptized and raised as a Catholic but also attended other churches. But that was a formal religion which was far from spirituality. Real yoga is a form of spiritual growth, no matter how much some yoga teachers deny it. When I meditate and those moments of total bliss come when I feel the whole universe inside, that’s when I realize that just here and now matters. Of course then comes the reality, everyday life, hard moments and the real question is how to take those moments of bliss into real life. My son once told me that he feels if somebody knows God by how this person treats him, is this person joyful and kind. I think that he was right. The most important is that we treat other person with dignity and without judgment.
How often do you practice yoga nowadays and what do you enjoy most about it?
Now that both my kids are in school/kindergarten, I have time for my own practice every day, sometimes it’s just 30 minutes, but it’s very important for me. When I do regular practice I immediately feel better, have more energy, smile more, enjoy life more.
What is the story behind your skincare products? What gave you the impulse to create your own natural cosmetics?
When I was in early thirties, I started to have sudden problems with my skin, especially around the eyes – many wrinkles, dark shadows, bags etc. I tried all possible cosmetics including top brands, but I saw no difference. That’s how I became interested in cosmetic ingredients, analyzing what is really inside. I started to learn face yoga and face massage – a great method to keep face muscles in good shape. Now I teach it to other women. I believe that a healthy diet, good sleeping habits and physical activity really influence the condition of the skin. Cosmetics are just a support, and should also have a therapeutic influence. Unfortunately in most cosmetics on the market there are mostly chemical ingredients, lots of them proven to be harmful for the body. Around 3 years ago I decided to start using just natural cosmetics, and I started making them myself. I enjoyed it so much that soon my friends motivated me to start my own brand. I was not sure if I wanted to return back into business. I have a business degree from university, and I’ve worked for different business ventures, so I know the disadvantages. I waited with that decision for a year, but the name BE.LOVED kept coming back.
How did that become a brand with your own online shop? Where else can people purchase your products?
I tried to combine a BEing and LOVEing philosophy, in natural cosmetic products. It took almost a year to prepare everything – decide which bottles will be best (I decided to use a Swiss innovation – dark violet glass that energetically activates the botanical formulas), talked with designers about the graphical concept, experimented with formulas and recipes, tried a variety of top quality essential oils, and finally the longest and most expensive part – getting the assessments done for all products. I don’t make stock – all products are hand-crafted after they are ordered – that’s the concept to keep ingredients as fresh as possible. I sell them mostly online in Latvia, Poland and UK. Now they are also sold in Riga in Urban Yoga studio boutique.
What’s the process of creation like? How do you test the products? How often you create new ones?
The creation process is long. First I make the tests – let’s say I want to have a face cream for dry and sensitive skin. I make 3-4 different variations. I check all basic parameters, then try it myself and give it to 4-5 girls to try. Then after 1-2 moths I decide which variant to choose, and I usually give out samples to more girls to try, and wait for feedback. Then I send the product to UK for assessment and testing. Meanwhile, the labels for bottles/jars are designed and printed. Once a product is assessed it can be sold. So I make photos and list it online. When an order comes in, I prepare bottles/jars, make the product, pack and label it, and post it. That’s all very time consuming but I love to create 🙂 So many new products are waiting on my list to be formally accepted for sale.
What are your future dreams and goals for BE.LOVED skincare?
One girl asked me at the very beginning when BE.LOVED was created where I want to be in 5 years. My answer was that I want to still be able to travel around the world for 2 months a year as I do now. And I keep that goal. I don’t treat BE.LOVED as a business, I don’t make goals, strategies, business plans. I try to keep it small and simple. I just enjoy when women like what I make and that keeps me going.
Where does our femininity come from? Where is it rooted? Why do so many women nowadays try and find or awaken it? Why is it gone/forgotten/sleeping?
We live in world dominated by men. That’s a fact. In central Europe, for many years girls were taught that they can do everything as men – study every subject, work in every industry, combine work with family. Additionally, in traditional families, girls were told that sexuality is a sin. So as a woman, living in man’s world, working hard (often in jobs we were told to do, not the ones we chose), keeping family life and additionally being stressed about not showing our sexuality (because it’s a sin) we really forgot what being a women means. After a few years of living such a life, some problems usually start. Either emotional or physical (health troubles). That’s when we realize we need to come back to our roots and discover our sexuality and femininity again – femininity which is our basic and integral part. There is no woman without femininity.
What does it take to actually awaken and embrace your femininity?
I personally, as well as many women I know, had problems with femininity. I was raised in a very Catholic family, by a loving but strict father and a mom who was afraid to show emotions. As a young adult I was told that only success matters, I should set up goals and go for them – a totally male attitude. At work, surrounded mostly by men, I even forgot I can wear dresses. The breaking point was when my husband said that I behave like a man. I believe that my health problems were a gift for me to reconnect again both with my inner self and my feminine side. Now as I work just with women I believe embracing femininity is a life-long process. Being calm and patient is part of it. Deciding by yourself if you want to work or which of the talents you want to develop, or if you prefer to stay at home with your kids is also part of it. Maybe wearing dresses, putting on lipstick is another part of it. No matter if we are moms, sisters, wives, single, no matter in which societal frames we fit, celebrating in those small moments of being a woman – that’s what is important. And for each of us there are different ways. For me the key is dance, sound and nature.
You have organized several “Sabad for women” together with friends and have seen many Latvian women trying to get in touch and deepen their relationship with their primal woman, their feminine side, the true power of themselves. What’s your view – are Latvian women feminine?
Women all around the world want and need the same – to Love and Be Loved. This does not change if you live in Latvia, Sweden, India or Brazil. And just love (first for yourself and then for others) makes us women feminine. In Latvia women take care of themselves, pay attention to clothes, make-up, hair-style. I think it’s great as long as it helps them to feel feminine. With my friends we already organized 7 “Sabads for women” gatherings were we celebrate our femininity with other women.
What are the most popular problems or aspects blocking women from truly exploring, feeling and using the power of their femininity?
We are all afraid to be judged. Our egos get crazy when evaluated. Both our childhood stories when we were judged by parents or other kids, as well as current situations from work and family lives block our feminine powers. To help unblock them sometimes it takes just one ritual (there are many methods including dance, shamanic practices, sauna etc.) but as I mentioned before, I believe that in order to keep our femininity we need love ourselves first and repeat those small rituals regularly in our lives.