We had the good fortune of connecting with Karalani Cross and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Karalani, what is the most important factor behind your success?
The most important factor behind the success of mist & sea is personal fulfillment in what I do! I spent over a decade of my life working towards other people’s goals, living by the external world’s version of success (money, power, a “stable” job, having a nice sounding job), but to my dismay I was absolutely miserable. So, over a period of years I crept up to the idea of creating my own job with autonomy, moving towards doing things that I actually enjoy doing! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t know if there’s a job out there that’s an absolute walk in the park and perfect every day, but I’m talking about that overall ultimate fulfillment of saying, I love my job. In terms of mist & sea, success comes back to my products’ intention — to help others find peace within themselves through tapping on our spiritual connection to nature. We find our deepest, spiritual selves in nature, the part of us that is reached when our mind is clear and free of the distractions of the modern world. Many of us are growing up (even as adults) in a world of things beeping at us all the time, alarm clocks, cars, phones, we go to work which is often in an office building, or lately it might be working from home. That’s most of the week that we’re spending at home, at the office, or even in a car if you have a long commute like I did. We spend so much time disconnected from nature that we forget how healing it is, how good it feels to be around trees, to see flowers bloom, to breath fresh air; it’s healing, rejuvenating, soul-fulfilling. The intention of my air plant and crystal pieces is to bring the majesty, beauty, and peace of mother nature to the places we spend the most time, which are often lacking in nature. I chose to work with air plants specifically because of the absolute awe I was in when I got one as a gift for the first time. And to be able to share nature’s magic, that feeling of wonder with other people is really cool.
What should our readers know about your business?
One thing that really sets us apart is that we are crazy committed to being as environmentally sustainable as possible. Every single piece in each package is mindfully designed and chosen. “Eco-friendly” is such a buzz word these days, but it has been THE driving factor behind my business from the start, and always will be. In fact, I held off for a year on pursuing this business because I didn’t think I could pack and ship products without creating a bunch of waste. That was the first challenge to starting a business, which was before it even started! Buuuut I really wanted to figure something out, and as an entrepreneur I have to believe that everything is figuroutable. If I didn’t have that believe first, logic later mindset when starting my business (which was very hard for me coming from a science background), I probably would have never decided I wanted to become a business owner. Entrepreneurship is generally not for the stability only, low-risk types, but I decided that joy for life was worth risking a stable job. To be totally transparent with the folks who are interested in starting their own business, I could afford to take that risk because of money that I’d saved with that job (a few months worth of living expenses), as well as the peace of mind that my parent’s house was always a backup. So, (drum roll please) I made sure that one hundred percent of our packaging materials, from stickers to tape, are made of recycled materials. Protecting the Earth is something every production-based business needs to be mindful of today. We’re fortunate that there are so many packaging companies out there to supply us with recycled materials. Our dream for the future is to become zero-waste, and we will keep supporting companies who help us move towards this practice!! Not even my magical air plant pieces are a substitute for walking through the forest or on the shoreline, so get out there and find your nature walk!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oh my gosh! This one’s a tricky one because my life has become reclusive with the pandemic. So pretending we’re post-COVID, I would have to take them for a mandatory beach sunset (so cliche!). There really is nothing quite like it though. For food, we’re talking the WorldBeat Center’s Cafe for some vegan international soul food! Get the combo plate please. And while we’re there, let’s take a nice stroll through my favorite place in San Diego — Balboa Park. If it’s Spring look out for baby duckies!!! Also, if the Museum of Photography is having a poetry night, I’m entering the contest (I won some 50 bucks last time for my vocal skillz). Another day, let’s do Trilogy Sanctuary Cafe in La Jolla for some yoga and craaazy good food. Get the Enticing Eggplant plate (your welcome). My mouth is already drooling so I’ll stop there with the food. While we’re in La Jolla, let’s go walk to the cliffs and say hi to some seals by the tide pools. Most of my business pictures are taken in La Jolla because it’s otherworldly gorgeous there. Okay, one more food place — cookies. Maya’s Cookies. Get one of each. Also, all of the above is vegan (I’m going on 13 years vegan!). We’ve gotta work off that food somehow, so on Sunday, we’re going to The Om Experience’s outdoor yoga class with live guitar. That’s my jam right there. Also, let’s go hike in the mountains — the Laguna Mountains are only an hour drive away!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
To the first person who told me that I could be what I want to be — Wendy Kim of Beyond Blending In, my business and personal coach.
Celi photography for beach shots.