Erica is the owner and founder of Green Grotto Beauty and Energy® where she advocates for sustainable and socially conscious beauty practices and offers everything from salon services to educational resources as well as spiritual and business mentorship. And it doesn’t stop there. Erica teaches bellying dancing and meditation, offers energy healing, henna adornment, and more. When you hear Erica discuss this work, it’s clear that her passion runs deep. For her, it’s not just work, but a lifestyle. Read on to learn more about Erica.
What’s your profession?
I am a cosmetologist, anthropologist, and mystic.
Describe a typical work day for you.
Each day is truly unique, but filled with creativity. I work with salon clients Tuesday-Friday offering sustainable hair care, head spas, and energy healing. I teach a weekly belly dance class + meditation, and offer henna body adornment seasonally. I joined Groundwork to launch the mentorship aspect of my career, so my time is spent developing educational resources, workshops, energy readings, and digital content for beauty and creative professionals.
What’s the biggest challenge you face at your job?
Perfectionism and sensory overload from a neurological condition (Visual Snow Syndrome) can slow my efforts and lead to running behind schedule. The beauty industry can be very unkind for folks with mental/physical challenges and it took years of self awareness and advocacy to find the balance that works for me to consistently maintain my responsibilities without burning out.
Do you have a morning routine?
A deep, brooding breath and a cup of coffee. As someone who’s entire personality is centered around wellness and mindset, I wish I could say that I have the “perfect” routine but I can’t for the life of me form a morning routine. Unfortunately, I think those of us with anxiety, insomnia, and depression are just lucky to get out of bed some days. On a good day I like to commit to my full skincare routine, pull a few tarot cards, and spend some quiet time outside before work.
What are your favorite productivity tips or hacks?
Cultivate a mindfulness practice & learn how to ground your energy when you start to feel overwhelmed. Slowing down feels counterintuitive, but rest can lead to clarity which results in higher quality of work with fewer mistakes. This can be through breath work, sound, music, movement, or positive sensory stimulation like running your hands under cold water. I use Passion Planner to time block my tasks & roughly plan the week ahead.
I treat task management like a menu of options which makes it feel like less pressure, even though all the tasks need to be completed. I write with an erasable pen because my energy fluctuates, but I still log what I did so I stay motivated. I use Time Timer, which visually displays time almost like a pie graph. It was designed for folks with autism, ADHD, and other learning disabilities in mind. If you struggle with time blindness (the inability to sense when time has passed and estimate the time needed to get something done) this will literally change your life.
What do you listen to during the day?
My music taste is as eclectic as my business offerings. Soul/hip-hop lofi beats fuel my writing, web design, and content creation. I prefer listening to indie folk or 90’s coffeehouse radio when working with clients at the salon or applying henna. If I’m working out or need to blow off some steam I listen to heavy metal. To get me out of my grouchy morning mood I listen to the playlist, I’m Thrivin’, on Spotify which features upbeat spiritual lyrics. Afro-Latina vibes or Arabic hits when I’m cleaning, preparing for dance class, or mixing henna paste. Celtic, Andean or Indian flute music for healing sessions.
How do you benefit (or as a new member what do you hope to benefit) from using a coworking space?
I am a new member, but I already feel right at home. I founded Green Grotto® in January of 2015 which started as a single-chair studio in Dartmouth, MA. I closed 6 months ago to slowly transition away from client work. I needed space to host workshops, film content, and remain a legitimate business identity on a tight budget. I tried working from home, but I live in New Bedford and between my excessively vocal cat and problematic neighbors… I felt my motivation and concentration slipping.
As a member of Groundwork, I have physical and mental space to produce work that I am proud of and that I hope will positively impact our local community and national sustainability efforts. I love having 24/7 secure access and all the amenities of a modern office environment.
What’s in your digital toolbox? (Favorite apps, hardware, software, etc.)
Google, Canva, Squarespace, YouTube, Circle community platform and my MacBook Air are essential to my business operations. I’ve learned about so many different apps, course platforms, video and podcast hosting etc. and got stuck in analysis paralysis. Keeping to these essentials and learning all the inside tricks for optimizing their features enables me to be more creative with my offerings while maintaining accessibility for my customers/mentees.
What inspires you?
Honestly so many people, places, and things inspire me. Nature. Anyone with a kind heart and a strong message regardless of social status. TedX Talks and contemporary art. Above all, medicine peoples of Indigenous cultures and ancient ceremonialists worldwide. We need their wisdom to plant seeds of hope for the future.
What are some of your goals for the future?
My broad life goal is to create as much beauty as I can and normalize sustainable practices through community outreach. The average career span for cosmetologists is 10 years. My goal is to double that average, which means 6 years from now I will be stepping away with 20 years of service behind the chair. This gives me time to grow my new offerings and replace that income. Although I consider the work I’m currently engaging with as anthropological in nature, I would like to work at a museum or archeological project part time while continuing to improve and expand Green Grotto’s offerings.
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