Easing Stress and Beautifying Life with Silk and Lavender
In the late 1990s, Joanna Weakley became quite privy to how the fast-paced world can take a toll on our wellbeing. “I could clearly see how stressed people were getting with the arrival of the internet and excessive travel for work,” she tells us. At the time, Weakley was living in London and working as a buyer for one of the first shiatsu chair massage emporiums. Part of her job was sourcing eye pillows to help treat anxiety and insomnia, as well as to use during yoga. But, as she tells us, everything she found was either too loud, uninspiring, or made from cheap materials.
This lack of options compelled Weakley to create her own. So, in 1999, she founded Holistic Silk, a boutique brand that offers self-care items as "an antidote to the fast pace and stress of modern life." Weakley's first launch, and one of her star products, is the Lavender Scented Silk Eye Pillow—a luxurious, gently weighted, decadent silk pillow to place over the eyes for instant bliss. The Silk Lavender Silk Eye Mask, which is an absolute favorite here at Atelier Lan Jaenicke, soon followed.
Over the last 20 years, Weakley has grown Holistic Silk to provide more products, all of which are consciously designed with longevity and self-care in mind. We recently asked Weakley about how her Eye Masks can improve our day-to-day, why she loves working with silk, and the simple ways we each can take better care of ourselves. In all that she does, Weakley says she aims for Holistic Silk to give people “a little inner peace and harmony."
A Conversation with Joanna Weakley
You describe your products as being able “to make a 10-minute break seem like an hour." Will you elaborate on this?
Something we forget to do is to simply take time out of our busy lives for ourselves. Our Lavender Eye Pillow is the perfect example of how our products can encourage us to do this and enhance wellbeing: Laying still with the weighted Eye Pillow stimulates your acupressure points, induces relaxation, and allows the chatter of the mind to slips away. So having just 10 mins with this product in the middle of the day can feel like you have had an hour’s rest. Also, you can include our Eye Masks in your sleep routine, as sleep is a highly neglected yet really important part of our lives. Blocking out all light and drifting off with the gentle aroma of Lavender increases the quality of our sleep.
You have experience in the textile industry. How does fabric inspire your vision?
I trained at Chelsea School of Art as a textile designer and then moved into textile design after graduation. Textiles are a passion of mine and experiencing the variety, tradition, and history they bring excites me, be it the metallic laced weave of Japanese Brocades, the finish of Indian Silk, or sumptuous fabrics from French weaving houses. One of the joys of my job is exploring fabric retailers and selecting designs for our limited-edition collections. This allows me to express my creativity and work with what I feel is current and relevant. This coming season we have decided to develop an Eco Collection, delving into our archives and repurposing all the remnants of our beautiful fabrics from previous collections.
What do you love about silk?
The rich history of Silk has always intrigued me. It is believed to be one of the oldest fabrics known to man and is steeped in both trading and mythical history. This beautiful natural fibre is known for its lustrous sheen that adds that extra bit of luxury. At the same time though, it is not as delicate as you might think. It is, in fact, a robust and multi-purpose fabric. We believe it to be a very holistic fabric – good to look at as well as being good to touch which ticks all the boxes for me. There isn’t a fabric to match Silk: No wonder it is called the Queen of Textiles.
Self-care can sometime feel so elusive. What are some simple, accessible wellness practices that we can incorporate into our days?
Try to commune with nature as often as you can. And, most importantly: breathe! A few deep breaths in through the nose and out through mouth and long slow exhalations work wonders at any point of your day, especially if you are operating at a fast pace. Taking time out to walk and breathe in the fresh air usually works for me, as well as a mindful meditation session, whilst braving the elements. Another simple tip is to lift and drop your shoulders.