A message from our Founder

As we come to the close of another year, we'd like to take the time to thank you all for your continued support of our little venture.

We set out to create products that infuse minimalist design with exceptional utility,  and a company that holds social responsibility at the core of who we are. We have had some wonderful feedback and thoughts shared by our customers, and most importantly, they have made clear what they value most in our business.

As such, we are taking a little break over the next few months to revisit this idea and to refine it further to better suit our customers' needs. We think you're going to be happy with what we come back with.

Stay tuned and happy holidays to one and all.

Best,

Rohini

Inner Voice

"It is not easy being green", so once said a wise frog (Kermit for those too young to get that reference).

To be different (and yes, ecologically sensitive) is not an easy thing to do. But when has anything worthwhile been easy?

To fight the good fight is not about convincing others that we are following the right path, but simply to be able to answer your own conscience. There is no more powerful motivator when you allow your inner voice to be full-throated. The calm and certitude that comes from following that quiet voice is worth the effort.

Gratitude

As we wind down the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in the US, and gear up for 4 weeks of holiday spirit, I'd like to take a moment to convey my gratitude to you, dear reader.

Thank you

For taking the time to read this blog, to spend your time connecting with me over hazy, but heartfelt thoughts.

For supporting this young business. I am infinitely grateful for every single person who has helped in ways great and small to get to this stage in my journey. It is far from over, but I am reminded everyday of achievements that have occurred only through the willing help of others

For my friends and family, all my interactions, both good and bad, have shaped me and have made me what I am. Quite literally, I wouldn't be who I am without you.

For my life, when I pause my mad daily rush for a moment, I am overwhelmed with everything that I have. It is impossible for me not to acknowledge the positives in my life and I am reminded of how frivolous most of my daily concerns are.

I came across this haiku recently which sums up my thoughts much more eloquently than I can:

Thank you seems so small
A multitude of blessings
Shower us daily...  

Namaste.

Letting go

As summer draws to a close and school comes back into session around the country, I can't help but be wistful. For lazy summer mornings, fireflies and laying on a lush lawn. Sooner than later (although I admit, with a 80 degree day and high humidity in Pittsburgh today, Fall seems eons away), the season will change, jackets and scarves will reappear and we all will have gotten a little older.

And this is what I wanted question: why is it so hard to let go of the past? 

The seasons come and go. As we go through the day, we have our moments of elation and of sorrow, but to look back at a period in time, we willfully choose to view the past through rose-colored glasses. That wonderful summer vacation in Cancun, with the warm waters of the Gulf and white sand beaches? We forget about the lost luggage and missed flights. 

This is not to say that we should be miserable. What I am suggesting is that to look on the past without clarity is to do disservice to the life we live now. I will miss the summer, but if recollecting those warm nights makes me unhappy with my lot in life during a frigid January, is it really helpful? Similarly, if I forget the bane of mosquitoes that summer invariably entails, would my eagerness for the next summer turn into disappointment when the ensuing cloud of bloodsuckers descends?

Eastern philosophy places a tremendous emphasis on living in the moment. Being fully alive to your current experience. The discipline of meditation is to let your mind refocus on the now, and what this really does is 2 fold: it helps you let go of the past, and it makes you aware of the beauty of your current experience. 

Peace and gratitude. Two concepts emphasized heavily in Eastern thought are not attained, they are experienced. And they are experiences worth working for.

As Jon Stewart would say, enjoy your moment of zen.

Minimalist tips for the Business Pro

How to streamline (a woman's) business travel

Many of us have, at one time or another, had to travel for work. And as you will attest, packing  is quite different as a business traveler vs. a personal / vacation traveler. In my early days in management consulting, I envied the polished ease of the many business travelers who crowded the fast security lanes at O'Hare on early Monday mornings. Several years of business travel later, I bring you tips that I learnt along the way to becoming a more efficient traveler:

1. Do not carry more than a week's worth of clothes - find laundry facilities for anything longer

2. Pack as many versatile one-piece items as you can, particularly dresses that can change with a jacket or accessories

3. Always take layers (even in warm climates) - they come in handy in cold offices or airplane cabins

4. Keep a pair of flats & running shoes to have a break from your heels (as well as no excuse not to work out)

5. Pack a pair of jeans to dress down a twin-set / tailored shirt for a work outing

6. Plan your accessories to add versatility to your wardrobe

7. Roll your clothes up - they take up less room than being folded flat

8. Take as many wrinkle-free options / low-maintenance fabrics as you can

9. Always keep an extra cloth bag laid flat at the bottom of your carry-on - handy to separate soiled clothes from fresh ones

10. Pack your heaviest items like your toiletries bag / shoes against the wheels of your suitcase, but keep your transparent zip-locked toiletries at the top by the handle for  easy access at security

Enjoy your next trip!

Why we chose CORD

After several months of research and evaluation, we recently reached out to Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development (CORD), whose US offices are based in California, to suggest a tie up between our organizations. CORD USA is currently discussing the opportunity with their BOD, and if approved, we will donate 1% of every Blu Salt sale to CORD to support their work in women's skills development programs.

But who exactly is CORD and why did we want to support them?

CORD was established 30 years ago through the Chinmaya Mission. As part of its work, the Mission set up CORD to help the less fortunate among us. However, unlike most other non-profits, CORD was set up with the express purpose

To facilitate integrated, sustainable social help programs in local communities and in the Indian subcontinent through processes of self-empowerment and enrichment.

The key to their approach was the emphasis they placed on helping the communities they worked with attain self-sufficiency. Over the last 30 years, the organization has adopted 300 villages around South Asia and provides skills development, health and comprehensive education programs centered around the fundamental empowerment of women within these communities.

Being under the umbrella of the Chinmaya Mission, CORD is entirely run by volunteers and so every dollar donated, including Blu Salt's future donations, will go towards the work that they do with these communities.

We have had the opportunity to observe CORD's work over the last year, and are excited the get the opportunity to support them. The centrality of women's roles in helping bring about improvement to their local communities is an issue that resonates deeply with us and our customers. 

We look forward to helping CORD with their worthy undertaking.

The Value of Less

With the beginning of summer officially upon us, we suggest a quick look in the closet to help jump start the process of living with less:

How to de-clutter your closet

We will approach this process in steps. Begin by emptying out your closet entirely and sorting clothes into piles based on their type (e.g., shirts, sweaters, intimates, etc.). For each pile, follow through the following steps:

  • First and easiest step: Get rid of everything you simply don't like
  • Get rid of all the clothes that don't fit (including the ones you are saving for when you lose weight). Not to worry - if you do end up changing sizes, you can always revisit the idea of buying something then
  • Next, get rid of stained, torn, otherwise worn out clothes that you cannot / don't wish to mend
  • Get rid of all the clothes that you have not worn in the last year (6 months if you live in a climate that does not require a wardrobe change with the seasons) - the only exception I have to this is saving a couple of items that are infrequently used but necessary (e.g., a heavy jacket that wasn't used last year because it was too warm)
  • At this point, you should be left with just the clothes that fit you, look presentable and are actually used. This is a good point to pause for those to don't want to push the process further. 
  • For others:
    •  Go back to the piles now and limit yourself to a certain number of those clothes (e.g., 7 work dresses, 4 pairs of jeans, etc.) The number you choose is entirely up to you, but should be less than the number of items you have and more importantly, should require work to attain  
    • Get rid of everything else - in the case of choosing one item over another, choose the one that you use more often
  • One of the most difficult parts of this process of elimination arises because of our emotional connection to our clothes. For the items that are not actually in use, the physical purge of these clothes also has an emotional effect because we have memories tied to them. Here's how you can tackle them:
    • Typically, we save items because they remind us of a memory or experience from the past
      • Get rid of anything that has a negative memory tied to it (e.g. clothes that remind you of an unpleasant break-up)
      • Get rid of anything that leaves you feeling bitter / wistful of the past (e.g., clothes that used to fit in your youth)
      • Get rid of anything that leaves you feeling that you are not adequate in your current state (e.g., clothes that you bought with the intention of losing weight and fitting into)
      • For all the rest of them that are associated with good memories, keep 1 valuable piece that is most representative of that memory (e.g., a college baseball cap) - everything else becomes redundant if it reminds you of the same thing
  • At this point, rearrange your closet and make sure you are excited about each of the items that you have neatly put away

We typically suggest tackling this once a year (we do it in Spring / Summer, when we put away the winter coats). The first purge is always the most time consuming and emotionally difficulty, but as with all good things, it becomes easier the more often you do it. In the end, you will come to realize that this is more a mental exercise in letting go than anything else. Focusing on the clothes being donated and knowing that they will help another family in greater need, helps ease this process significantly