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March 21, 2023 was not only the first day of the Astrology New Year but it was also the beginning of Aries season and the day of the new moon! The new moon is a wonderful day to set intentions and to kickstart this fiery season by getting clear on your own business and what you envision for the rest of the year. A star-studded panel with brands such as Mystic Mondays, Sanctuary Ventures, AstroTwins, and Pink Moon kicked off the evening where they discussed how they’ve built their businesses and the future of the wellness industry. These brands span across entertainment, media, app, e-commerce, and beauty, covering how wellness is morphing to fit today’s modern world. From venture-backed to self-funded, these brands can speak to how they’ve built their businesses on their own terms. Moderator: Grace Duong of Mystic Mondays Panelists: Ophira Edut of AstroStyle, Lin Chen of Pink Moon, and Adam Lampell of Sanctuary Ventures Hosted at the Shopify NY space in Soho, NYC

0:00 Introduction

05:09 The Panel’s Big Three – Sun, Moon, Rising

05:50: How did your business start?

11:04 What problems is your business solving?

12:35 How do you use Astrology to guide your business?

13:59 What are some key drivers for growth?

16:19 What is the importance of connecting to community and partnerships as you’re building your business?

17:28 How do you identify key partners?

22:34 What is the vetting process like and how do you manage a large network of intuitives?

23:29 What are your self-care rituals that you do in your personal lives?

24:41 What trends do you see for the future of the wellness industry?

27:07 What’s next for your business?

Full Transcript:

00:00 Introduction

Grace Duong: Hello. Welcome everyone and happy astrology New Year. So my name is Grace Duong. I’m the creator of Mystic Mondays, a tarot deck and app, turned it into a brand and I am so excited to have you here under this powerful and cosmic day, along with this star studded panel, please give them an applause.

First, I want to introduce Laura Chung, astrologer, author, podcast host, and she’s going to explain the significance of today.

Laura Chung: Hi everyone. Who’s excited for this new beginning? Yes, so I think Grace asked me to speak today because I am a zero degrees Aries, who are fellow Aries. Yay Aries gang. So what’s the significance of today?

Well, it’s a New Moon, and on New Moons we set new intentions. But not only is this New Moon special because it’s at 0 degrees, which is a critical degree in astrology, it’s on the world access point, which means huge potential, new beginnings, but the equinox was yesterday. And with the equinox, comes more light, and we need light to grow.

So I think it’s safe to say after the last three years, especially as New Yorkers. We are ready for a big change. We are ready for a big slate. Just think about the intentions that you wanna set today because it can really take root and just think about all the things that you’ve been dreaming about that might have been put on pause for the last 3 years and look around you! I don’t believe in coincidences. We all came here tonight. To celebrate this cosmic alignment in the sky. Introduce yourself, tell people what you’re doing, Aries is “I am”, and it’s ruled by Mars, which is all about your desires. So really take a risk, share with people what you are doing, your entrepreneurship goals, and you never know, your future partner could be in this room, your business partner, your friend, and… Happy New Moon everyone, and I’ll kick it over to Grace!

Grace Duong: Thank you, Laura, for that in-depth explanation. So today is the kickoff for not only the astrology new year, but also the start of spring, the spring equinox, Aries season. And like Laura explained also the first of two New Moons in Aries this year. If you felt like the start of the year in January was pretty slow, you can take the astrology new year as a chance for a fresh start. With the help of spring, and fiery Aries, which is known for leadership and being a natural pioneer as the first zodiac sign of the season, it’s a great time to spark the visionary side of you, to get inspired and to set intentions. And what better way to get inspired than listening to the wisdom of this star studded panel here? Today, we’re gonna hear from these businesses, from self-funded to venture backed, our commonality within the wellness space, and specifically within astrology. So without further ado, I will let the panel introduce themselves and their business.

Adam Lampell: Hi, my name is Adam Lampell. I have no idea who that person is, but I’m the head of operations and business development at Sanctuary. If you don’t have the Sanctuary app, you should download it. We offer it’s free to download. There’s a lot of cool content and we offer live tax-based astrology, psychic tarot readings. We also offer mediumship, past life energy healing, and human design now too.

Grace Duong: Very cool.

Lin Chen: Hello? Okay. Hi everyone. I’m Lin, the founder and CEO of Pink Moon. We’re a self-care brand, eco-conscious and vegan self care brand that integrates ancient holistic practices like traditional Chinese medicine and astrology into our products. And these are practices that I also grew up with and that are essential to my daily self-care rituals. And so under Pink Moon, we have products for face and body, as well as daily sustainable lifestyle essentials. And you can experience Pink Moon this evening. We’re doing Gua Sha, mini Gua Sha facials in the back corner of this room, as well as hand and palm massages, and you can shop our products here today as well.

Ophira Edut: Hello, I am Ophira, Ophi Edut, one-half of the AstroTwins. My twin sister and I are the founders of the website, Astrostyle, and the astrologers for Elle. And I’m Sagittarius, Virgo (Lin), Aries (Adam). Let’s just get that outta the way because I know you want them.

05:09 The Panel’s Big Three – Sun, Moon, Rising

Grace Duong: Let’s do it. Okay. What’s your sign? Your big three. You go first.

Adam Lampell: Okay. Aries Sun, Scorpio Moon, Leo Rising. Yes.

Lin Chen: I’m a double Virgo. So Virgo Sun, Virgo Rising and Sag Moon.

Ophira Edut: Sag Sun, Capricorn Rising, Scorpio Moon.

Grace Duong: I’m an Aries Sun, Gemini Rising and Pisces Moon. Yeah, I got the most cheers and the least judgment.

05:50 How did your business start?

Grace Duong: So I wanna hear about how these ideas percolated. So Lin, I know you have a personal connection to making your brand into what it is now. What’s your story?

Lin Chen: Yeah, so I’ve been working in the beauty industry for pretty much my whole career now. It’s been about 10 years, and I built the brand after being in a series of toxic relationships. So those who’ve been in one probably know that it’s harder to leave it than to stay in one. So after the last breakup, I was like, okay. Made a promise myself to really take the next year or two to really rediscover myself, my self-love, regain my confidence and independence. And throughout this time I did a lot of things outside my comfort zone. I traveled solo, spent a lot of time alone, and really just took the time to learn how to truly, deeply unapologetically love myself.

And that also included diving deeply back into the practices that I grew up with. As I mentioned traditional Chinese medicine a lot of acupuncture, took so many Chinese herbs and also incorporated astrology back into my daily life as well. And, tried reiki for the first time and so, these practices were just so crucial to my healing journey and helped me bring myself back to a place of empowerment, of joy and self love. And so then Pink Moon was born. I just really wanted to create a company that helps to facilitate healing and teach, inform people about these ancient holistic practices that are, that were just so powerful and transformative in how to incorporate them into your daily self-care.

Grace Duong: Amazing. So I just wanna get a feel for the crowd. How many of you are healing? Yeah, raise them high. Raise them high. Don’t be shy. Okay. Yeah, I feel like a lot of businesses need you.

A lot of businesses nowadays are building off of their passion and purpose. Does that resonate with anyone in the crowd? Yes. Yeah. All right, Ophi, I will turn it over to you because I know this is definitely a passion of yours.

Ophira Edut: Okay. Well, I think I did not start out intending to be a brand. I’ve been doing astrology for half my life. I just turned 50 on December 2nd. You’re only as old as your soul is cause I just, you know, it’s a weird number. I started accidentally, my college boyfriend gave me my chart as a birthday present. It was the 90s, so we had to go to Barnes and Noble and read what everything meant out of a book that we’d never boxed, because we didn’t have any money, that didn’t change, and I worked in women’s media feminist publishing. I was working for Ms. Magazine and Gloria Steinem is, I hope. Yeah, she was a mentor of mine, but I would sneak into the back room and do everybody’s chart and one of the, editors went on to work at Teen People Magazine.

Anyone remember that one? And yeah. Okay. Well, so about 20 some years ago, they hired me and my sister to be their astrologers, cuz we can name the zodiac sign of a brief celebrity cover in the editor’s office. So, Justin Timberlake, Aquarius. Britney, Sag, my birthday. And that began a publishing career and turned into a book and that turned into a website and that turned into 20 more books or whatever, and it just keeps rolling along. But I just love that web have one, two, and three now has astrologized and just how many people know it. It’s great. So just always finding new ways to bring astro empowerment to the world and whatever they’re reading it on now.

Grace Duong: I love that astro empowerment. Let’s get that on a t-shirt. Adam…

Ophira Edut: You may do it if you want.

Grace Duong: Yes.

Adam, how did you come across to be a part of Sanctuary Ventures?

Adam Lampell: Well, I’m not an astrologer, so last personal connection, Ross, who is a co-founder and I used to work at different media companies and we got connected in 2018 and someone was leaving and the stars aligned and I joined. And when I joined we offered astrology readings only and the app was still growing. I think we started with 30,000 or so Instagram followers and quickly grew. And we now have over 125 readers who work in like a 24/7 marketplace. So, my personal connection is with the readers. I manage them. I help onboard them, and I deal with all of the craziness that comes along with it. But it’s been really a really fun journey. And it’s been amazing to be able to offer all of these different modalities in this new format.

Grace Duong: Amazing. Thank you. 

11:04 What problems is your business solving?

Grace Duong: So I’d love to hear about the problems that your business is solving. Ophi, do you want to go next?

Ophira Edut: Uh, sure. Well, I’ve become very passionate about, I guess the crossover of business and astrology.

One of the things that we created in the book about this coming out next summer is how people can use astrology without having to learn it. Cause I found that astrology people kind of divide into two categories. People who wanna know every freaking thing about it and which are probably a lot of you in this room.

And then people who want astrologers to be their external hard drives and remember everything for them so that they don’t have to. So I’m very passionate about creating astrology for both those groups and making it a tool, not a rule, something that you can use and access any time. So we have what we call our as astropreneurs, people who can meld in and just, I’d like to apply astrology and make it, it must be my Capricorn runs. I’d like to make it practical for people. 

12:35 How do you use Astrology to guide your business?

Grace Duong: Yeah. I love the use of astrology as a tool to guide your business, and I was wondering if Lynn or Adam can speak to how you use astrology to guide your business, whether in market strategy or planning for your own rituals. You know, whatever it is.

Lin Chen: So at Pink Moon I use astrology for launching products or signing agreements. I look at the dates to make sure that it’s a lucky day, not unlucky. And I also refer to the Chinese astrology calendar as well. And so I look at both calendars to decide when to launch something and when not to launch something or sign agreement.

Grace Duong: By the way, today’s a New Moon.

Adam Lampell: New Moon.

Grace Duong: Who’s launching something?

Ophira Edut: Go sign something.

Adam Lampell: We historically and hilariously have not used our own astrologers to launch new products and app releases. We tend to release them during mercury retrograde and do not pay super close attention. Although we should, and for as far as our marketing strategy goes, it’s still very dependent on the astrological calendar. Full Moons, New Moons, tend to be really big days on the app when people try to come in and figure out what’s going on in their lives. But for the company itself we’ve been pretty bad at it.

Ophira Edut: How’s that working now for you?

Adam Lampell: Yes, sorry. Yes.

Grace Duong: We need to consult someone on your app.

Adam Lampell: Yeah, we have a few. 

13:59 What are some key drivers for growth?

Grace Duong: So I’d love to talk about growth and Adam, you had mentioned your Instagram growth, and would love to hear about what was a key drivers for that growth.

Adam Lampell: Key drivers. We have an amazing graphic designer who we brought in-house. So she’s been really helpful. I think when we started the Instagram, it came along during this kind of boom post 2016 and kind of collision into the mainstream with astrology. So I think we have a very, if you haven’t seen. Instagram, it’s @sanctuarywrld with no “o” and it’s a very sort of pretty graphic design and we have a certain aesthetic. And we’ve started to work with a lot of brand partners and I think the overall vibe is one of positivity and it’s very constructive. And so I think people really responded and folks love astrology memes and send them to each other every day. So I think it’s a very easy format to get people to share and then get new followers that way.

Grace Duong: Awesome! Lin and Ophi, I’d also love to hear about some key drivers in your business.

Lin Chen: Yeah, so for Pink Moon, PR has been a huge driver in our business. We’ve gone over 300 press questions. Our publicist adhere to. If you have a small business and you’re looking for PR, especially if you’re in a lifestyle, beauty or fashion, I’m happy to make an intro to our publicist. But yeah, PR has been driving the majority of our sales.

Ophira Edut: I was gonna say, my left hand and my right hand, cause I can never end up writing more than, you know, so many words to write. But webinar has actually been a great driver for us, a free webinar. I don’t know. We’ll have, we’ll put one up in a few thousand people will sign up. And then just a great way to gather people and show them your own style of teaching and how we do astrology.

16:19 What is the importance of connecting to community and partnerships as you’re building your business?

Grace Duong: Amazing. So I know a theme here, and especially coming together tonight is connecting in community. And I’m wondering what the importance is of connecting to your community as you’re building your business. Anyone can take this.

Ophira Edut: Very important for us. Yeah, for sure.

Grace Duong: And what is some of the importance of partnerships as well?

Adam Lampell: Yes. Partnerships for us have been super important. We actually just launched our biggest partnership to date yesterday with Starbucks. Which was a cool one. There’s a cool micro site that got created and you can go search get your type of coffee from the site. It is really beautiful, so you should check it out. But that is our biggest one to date. We’ve played a lot recently in the entertainment space. So partnerships for us are a great way to reach new audiences, but also for our partners to sort of activate a demographic, which is majority female, millennial, and Gen Z. So we have a lot of exciting ones in the pipeline. 

17:28 How do you identify key partners?

Grace Duong: So Adam, I’d love to follow up with you when identifying key partners, what are some things you look for when partnering up with somebody? But also how are you pitching yourself?

Adam Lampell: So there’s a couple of different ways. Every campaign is different. For us it is, I probably shouldn’t say this, but it’s relatively easy to pitch when there are 12 signs or four elements.

So folks with different products if they have 12 products, that’s great. But there’s a lot of fun, easy ways for us to slice and dice sort of what someone’s offering. And you know, we’ve done really fun collaborations. We did, we’ve worked with Pink Moon. We’ve worked with Pizza Hut, Venmo, Away. So Luggage, that was I think one of our most commented posts because we did a giveaway for some Away luggage. But for us, you know, definitely we are looking for brand alignment and good partners. We don’t want to just work with anyone. But right now it’s sort of gotten to a point where we’re trying to figure out like how we fit it on the calendar. And we’re already planning for Q1 of next year.

Grace Duong: Getting ahead, you’re getting that Aries energy in.

Adam Lampell: Yes. Yeah.

Grace Duong: So you mentioned brand alignment. I’d love to hear from the rest of the panel what your business core values are and how you use them in the business.

Lin Chen: At Pink Moon, we value authenticity. So we partner with various bipo practitioners who educate people on Chinese medicine, astrology, reiki, and so on. And we also value community, so connecting with our customers, building our community, and inclusivity. So our line, our brand is gender equal. We’re inclusive, being multicultural, and so yeah, these are our core values.

Ophira Edut: Definitely inclusivity and fun for asterisks to, you know, creativity, enjoying the process, not just trying to get somewhere. We just, we love, you know, there’s a lot of reaction to hustle culture now, and I understand it’s part of it when it was a thing and it was fun, but I think everybody’s a little burnt out, so it’s like, I went to art school and some of my best memories were just kind of being in the school after hours where everybody was channeling whatever they were channeling and working together on their different projects. So bring that energy back. Let’s all be in art school together. I don’t know.

Grace Duong: I was in art school. I’m there with you.

What does the role of intuition, rituals, and intention play in your business?

Lin Chen: Yeah, so we’re an intentional-ran through and through. Our ingredient sourcing to our sustainable packaging, sustainable business practices, and partnering with holistic practitioners. We also just launched an astrology inspired skincare line that was co-developed with an astrologer as well. So just being intentional and authentic through and through from every aspect of our business is very important. I live my life with intention as well, so it’s important for me that it also ran through my business.

Ophira Edut: We burn things. That’s all I’m gonna say.

Grace Duong: Adam, what about you?

Adam Lampell: Yeah, intuition is very important especially for the psychics on the platform. But the majority of Sanctuary’s business is our readings business, and so as I mentioned, we have over 120 folks in this 24/7 marketplace so we can purchase readings and blocks of time. And so it’s important for us we have a very kind of strict vetting process to bring on readers as we scale and making sure that everyone is qualified. And also, for us, authenticity is important. And it’s also important that we empower people. And we all as an ethos of the company, with the readers and minds believe in free will. So I think there’s this notion when people come in for psychic readings, which historically people think of as the crystal ball, and they’re asking questions, yes or no. What’s gonna happen next month with X, Y, Z? I think it’s a little bit about education and redirecting those questions to look inward. And helping people figure out how to change within as opposed to just giving them a yes or no answer. 

22:34 What is the vetting process like and how do you manage a large network of intuitives?

Grace Duong: Totally. And to manage such a large network of intuitives, what does the vetting process look like and how do you nurture these intuitives to come onto your platform?

Adam Lampell: It is a process. Luckily we have been really blessed from the beginning with a lot of word of mouth referrals from our existing readers. I have a lot of help with some of our senior readers. We have tasks for astrology and tarot and we do a lot of zoom interviews with interested psychics on the platform. So we probably have about 50 to a hundred people email every week to work on the app. And so, we do have to balance it with supply and demand. We wanna make sure all that, all the readers we’re bringing on, like have the opportunity to read for customers and also make a living.

Grace Duong: Yeah, totally. 

23:29 What are your self-care rituals that you do in your personal lives?

Grace Duong: And I’d love to hear about your own self-care rituals that you do in your personal lives? Which is gonna be admittedly tough sometimes, but…

Ophira Edut: For me, I just go for walks, going outside. Sag gotta get out in the wide open spaces. Coffee.

Grace Duong: Gotta love coffee.

Lin Chen: For me, it’s skincare, wash soap, that you can experience in the back over here. And then, yeah, taking walks, taking my dog out, and traveling. Traveling as much as I can.

Adam Lampell: Yeah, I like to travel as well. I run, I’m a big runner, so I run like most mornings if I can. And yeah, as often as I can, I try to be outside and it’s one of the perks of remote work is that, you know, get to stretch my legs a bit and get some sunlight and fresh air.

Grace Duong: I am hearing a theme of nature, y’all nature and how we can combine that with the future of technology. Like love it.

24:41 What trends do you see for the future of the wellness industry?

Grace Duong: What trends do you see for the future of the wellness industry? This is for the entire panel.

Ophira Edut: I think that people are gonna want customized little micro experiences of almost everything. So it’s gonna get very amplified. Very interesting. I think those of us who have wellness businesses are gonna have to really cater to the individual, somehow figure out how to scale. So it’s gonna be a Pluto Aquarius challenge.

Lin Chen: What I see in the beauty industry is that a lot of brands are starting to combine beauty and skincare with wellness and turning them into rituals rather than routines. So it’s like something that, skincare is something that you do during, as your wellness, self-care ritual.

Yeah, I think for us, it’s a little bit different. We’re sort of like an Uber, Lyft of astrology readings. And so, as I’m sure most people have seen everything now, like every type of doctor app therapy, it’s all this like one-to-one sort of connection. So I think for us, I think it’s great for our business, but I also am wary of some of these other businesses, so for us it’s important to maintain like the human element and really promote that. Obviously it’s like a very crowded space in the tech world and everything’s becoming like other things.

And so I think for us, we’re gonna have to continue to find ways to achieve that one-to-one connection. I have no idea what it will look like even a year from now. I do know that. We are going to add voice readings. Right now it’s text-based only. We will probably add video at some point. But I have a feeling that most of our users prefer the anonymity that they currently get. People can come in and do readings from the bathtub, from a walk in the park, or at their office. So I think it affords folks a lot of flexibility.

Grace Duong: Very cool.

27:07 What’s next for your business?

Grace Duong: All right, last question. What’s next for your business?

Adam Lampell: Voice and video readings.

Laura Chung: What’s next? I am doing a sort of astropreneur type of program called Launchpad, a membership program. We are reopening one more time this year. If anyone wants to learn how to use their chart and hear my 30 years of business experience, soak it up for yourself. Offering ourselves as mentors.

Lin Chen: Yeah, and that Pink Moon this year is really our fourth here. So we’re focusing a lot on becoming more omnichannel, partnering with more retail partners. So currently we have about 18 brick and mortar retail partners across the states and Hong Kong and Canada as well. So this year, hopefully getting into mid-size, large-size mass retail, by the end of this year.

Grace Duong: Awesome. Well, thank you so much to our star studded panel. Please give them a round of applause.

I just wanna take a moment before we close out to remind you that today is a celebration. There is a photo booth in the corner with astrology props, so make sure to hit the photo booth up. Also check out the Wellness Marketplace from vendors like Pink Moon, AstroTwins, KeyT, and of course Mystic Mondays.

So for tonight only, we’re giving away a free mystery item when you signed up for the Zodiac Season Allowed list, which will unlock access to our next event amongst other fun surprises and remember, tonight is a powerful night. Can we give a round of applause for that?

And you all made it here, so you deserve something for yourself. Cultivate cosmic connection. Look to the person, to the right, to the left of you. You are able to connect in community tonight, so really encourage you to get to know people here. And to remember that you are exactly where you need to be in this moment, so thank you.