Meet Shizu Okusa- the brain behind superfood brand Apothekary. Shizu and her team are on a mission to create the modern Farmacy via superfoods and adaptogens.
Give us the 20 word story on Ayurveda.
Know what Yoga is? Ayurveda is the sister science of Yoga but focused on the nutrition and food element, while Yoga is about movement. Both make up a lifestyle that is holistic, 360 and rooted in over 5,000 years of tradition and science.
What made you switch gears from Wall Street banker to founder of Apothekary? What skills transferred over?
I originally started my career working at Goldman on the trading desk. Loved it, learned a ton, and worked with some of the smartest people that I know to-date (and investors of Apothekary!). Burnt out and thirsty for change, I moved to Mozambique and Bali for a year to learn about entrepreneurship, agriculture and Ayurveda where I became certified after an intensive full-time 30-day training in Ubud. It was intense!
Later that year I started my first company, JRINK, which got acquired and then I started Apothekary as another solution for a personal problem - stress, hormonal imbalance, sleep issues, gosh - everything, you name it. I wanted to couple my familial traditions of swapping OTC drugs for natural herbs, Ayurveda, and also my 8 years of experience and lessons in the wellness industry. Fast forward one year - Apothekary was born!
Talk to us about preventative vs. reactionary care.
I think we’re seeing preventative healthcare become even more important than reactionary healthcare, especially with COVID. People are wearing masks, spending more time at home, and generally thinking about how to stay healthy while keeping their immune systems strong while COVID is spreading at record speeds. It’s an equally important element of wellness because reactionary care is often “too late” - you’re already sick. Preventative care is checking in every day with how you’re doing, and then nourishing your body accordingly. You know your body best and I often find that reactionary care is less intense when you have a good preventative wellness routine already in place. That’s exactly what Apothekary strives to do - with tools, blends, and tips + tricks to stay healthy any time any where.
What’s your favorite Goodmylk product and how do you use it?
I LOVE your guys’ new oat mylk! It’s completely natural vs the gums and added canola oils you find in more commercial brands. The new Goodmylk product is so creamy, and I make my own personal take on a horchata using the mylk with a pinch of Maca mood boosting + natural sweetness, and Mind Over Matter for cognitive focus + stress relief.
East Coast or West Coast?
West coast :). I am a sucker for sunshine and Vitamin D. I do miss the distinct four seasons in New York and DC though!
Favorite dish to cook for others?
DIY sushi rolls. I prepare all the ingredients and lay them all out, and people make + roll their own hand rolls. It’s so fun, delicious, and great for sharing.
Pant suit or dress?
Oh dress for sure. I don’t wear suits anymore..unless they’re color block pink (see headshot ;)) or super fun and expressive!
Words you live by?
Know your “Ikigai” - its a Japanese word (生き甲斐) that essentially means life’s work or passion. Having grown up in a super traditional and immigrant Japanese family, I saw my parents work their tails off but they always found to do it with a smile and this...natural flow of some sorts. This is what Ikigai is - this natural calling that just wakes you up everyday and put your best foot + energy forward in life. For me, that’s constantly creating, growing, and living in the pursuit of a “wellthier” life.
Favorite wellness product that actually works?
I wouldn’t say “product” but I would say find a wellness routine that works. For me personally this looks like waking up early so that I can actually carve out time to check in and nourish my body with what it’s asking for.
Practically though, I often supplement my regular meals with Apothekary blends like Mind Over Matter (if I need focus), Chill The F* Out (for stress), CBD for sleep, and then through the day looooots of essential oils to topically apply on stress points like our temples, back, neck, etc.
Favorite purchase during quarantine?
My robe and fuzzy slipper(s). I mean, nothing feels better than cozy warm slippers to keep my feet comfy all day. I’ve become such a homebody that I don’t know how I am going to go back to “normal life” when things start opening back up!
#1 tip for someone looking to get into adaptogens?
Don’t do what everyone says / is taking. I truly believe that self-care is a personal journey and you should try different herbs that go with your Ayurvedic dosha type (i.e. your unique mind-body constitution). If you tend to be a bit more fiery, try some more pacifying / calming adaptogens like Ashwagandha or Reishi. If you need a bit more fire and energy, try adaptogens that are more “uppers” like Maca, Cordyceps or Ginseng.
You can take our quiz to get a prescribed custom set of adaptogens or try out some samples. Start small, check in with yourself, and then go from there. It’s super interesting and FUN to explore a wellness routine that actually sticks!