Hello my name is Gabrielle the Founder of FIFTY 7 KIND. As a sponsored athlete (Mountain Biking & Adventure multi-sport racing) for many years my passion was entirely wrapped up in that persona. I worked full time in a Design Studio for a Publishing Company and loved my job. I slept / ate / trained / worked / trained / ate / slept / traveling at weekends to events and racing. Repeat. My life was all about nutrition, training, rest and recovery and being the best I could be for my team, my sponsors.
To help my body I was a huge fan of complimentary health like Massage Therapy, Naturopathy, Acupuncture, and Aromatherapy, Yoga, Pilates along with eating a mostly plant based diet. For a while I studied nutrition in my spare time to further improve my knowledge and how to get the best out of my body.
Who I was - was what I did
My entire identity of who I was, was what I did, I was the mountain biker and adventure racer, I eventually ‘retired’ from competitive sports at a high level and was taking part in Triathlons for fun, one day while training a car hit me. I had fractured my lower back, sustained soft tissue and nerve damage and I have to this day not been back on a road bike. I mountain bike at times for the joy of being on the trails but Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has kept me away from cycling on a road. For along time after this accident I was in crisis, my joy and passion in life of being able to exercise had gone - while I recovered from my physical injuries, little did I realise it was the mental trauma that was my biggest challenge.
By this time due to my passion for natural therapies I had become a qualified
Remedial Massage Therapist and loved all the additional modalities, Lymphatic Drainage and Aromatherapy being my favorites. I worked in day spa's and enjoyed the scalp to toe treatments, worked with a Footy Team, Alcohol & Drug Rehab Centre, Spinal Unit Recovery Centre and eventually ran my own successful practice. I loved skin and came across all types of issues and conditions, I enjoyed incorporating aromatherapy (Essential oils and plant oils) into my practice and developing my own blends to help soothe and calm client’s bodies and minds. My passion for the natural healing powers of botanic oils, essential oils and butters along with aromatherapy has never left me and I was, by this time making skincare products - for my own reactive skin.
THE END OF LIFE AS I KNEW IT WAS MY NEW BEGINNING
My drive to start my own plant-based skin care brand began after I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). From that moment I absolutely knew I had to overhaul every single aspect of my life in order to recover both my physical mental health, and my quality of life. This diagnosis followed on from having Adrenal Fatigue and Glandular Fever both often pre-cursers to full blown CFS. It has been a roller coaster journey back to health, CFS is not unlike grieving a death of a loved one, in a way I had died, I was not me anymore, I could no longer trail run, climb mountains, go to the gym, swim, kayak, cycle, enjoy pilates or yoga. I had hit the wall at high speed and my entire identity of being a happy, bouncy and active person died.
Depression set in which was further compounded after being diagnosed with Post Natal Depression (PND) following the birth of my son. When my son was 2 years old my father died and within 6 weeks my adored pooch too. He had been by my side for almost 11 years living in 3 different countries; my faithful and the most loyal companion a woman could ask for, died in my arms. I was a broken mess, with my son to care for, physical day-to-day support from my family was not possible due to living in different parts of the world - I live in Australia my family in the UK, Spain and America, fortunately I had wonderful GP and local daycare centre for some much needed weekday help.
WHAT IS CFS
It is a biological illness; researchers have identified distinct immune changes in patients diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, known medically as myalgic encephalomyelitis or systemic exertion intolerance disease. CFS leaves its sufferers exhausted after even the smallest activities. Even walking around the block may be enough to make a CFS patient bedridden. Often people with CFS were once fit and active. So finding even small tasks so draining becomes frustrating and aggravating and often makes the person feel helpless and depressed.
FIGURING IT OUT
I had to make the choice to be angry (and I was for a long time) or to go back to basics, start again and rebuild my health and along with it my life. I was raised an ‘organic’ child, in the English countryside, vegetables and fruit were grown at home and mum cooked with raw ingredients, from scratch, she taught me how to grow and gather herbs and use them as skin and hair care products. It was a beautiful childhood and one I wanted to recreate for my own young son. I had lost my way in this world, strayed from my truth and my connection to nature. I asked myself what excites me, what is my joy? Health and wellbeing. I had to get back to nature and let it nurture, hence FIFTY7KIND - be human, be kind, be you. I worked on what I could put into myself rather than what I could get out of myself.
POWER IS KNOWLEDGE AND KNOWLEDGE IS POWER - BUT ONLY IF YOU IMPLEMENT IT!
I started eating only organic, and locally grown, seasonal food, including eggs, fish and occasionally chicken, raised ethically and cruelty free / free-range / wild caught fish. I removed wheat and dairy and many lectins from my diet - this was the final piece in the jigsaw puzzle for regaining my health. I have now moved away from meat and eat mainly vegetables and some wild caught fish, free-range chicken occasionally, because this is what I feel like what my body needs.
I implemented slow juicing of organic vegetables (mostly) and some fruit (as a supplement to my diet) going to bed early and making sure I had 8 hours sleep. In short I educated my self and I changed my life by making better choices and very importantly taking ownership of my choices.
CFS I believe saved my life, because of it I learned to practice self care and love myself, I was beyond amazing at showing and giving love and care for others but ultimately at the cost to my own health; understand that fear does not keep us safe - it keeps us small, love is what truely keeps us safe, we make better choices when we value ourselves and accept ourselves for who we really are.
“I believe in challenging the status quo, in thinking and dreaming differently, outside of the box because that’s my authentic self. I challenge the status quo by creating products to support skin health, not ‘skin types’ that are safe for the skins’ microbiome and environment, I celebrate gender fluidity by offering non-gendered, beautifully designed, plant-based products, that just happen to be exceptional.” - Gabrielle, Founder of FIFTY7KIND
However my skin is pretty darn close! I have always had reactive and allergy prone skin, and struggled with which products my skin could tolerate. I am happy to report, since using my own products it is smooth, blemish free and positively glows! Loosing your health is a great leveller, put's life into perspective and challenges you to make a change. I decided I would now follow my true passion with FIFTY7KIND and share my first product TANU | Cell Affinity Coactive Serum (November 2019) which was re-worked over the years as I gained new knowledge and learnings (undertaking formal training in both a Certificate and Diploma in Organic Skincare Formulation) to further educate myself.
ALIVE AGAIN - Building FIFTY7KIND entirely alone has provided mental stimulation and helped alleviate the pain [mental] from being unable to exercise. Slowly recovering from CFS by the end of 2019 I was about 90% back to full, vital health and able to exercise again, less than before but daily 10k walks and runs were back in my routine along with yoga and mountain biking.
2020 - The year that changed everyones life
So much stress, so much uncertainty and fear of what now? Homeschooling here in Victoria Australia the State that had the largest uncontrolled out-brake of Covid19 cases meant much of 2020 was spent homeschooling, while trying to navigate the challenge of trying to keep Fifty7Kind alive and my partner building a new business due to his 'normal' profession no longer was viable due being unable to fly internationally.
Our entire family income disappeared overnight in March 2020. I lived in a constant state of stress. By May I was starting to notice unexplained pain in one foot, by June my left hand and wrist, by August my right shoulder and come September my right hand and wrist... I pushed on and managed to explain it away until finally by October I resorted to going to my GP (Doctor) at this time I was struggling to walk, and suffering from broken sleep due to being in constant pain.
After specialist appointments I was diagnosed in March 2021 with Rheumatoid Arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body's tissues. There is no known cure only medications to help lessen further damage and control the pain and inflammation. I have been almost pain free since Mid March 2021 and feel like I am beginning to recover day by day and my quality of sleep has improved.
My immune system is now suppressed by the medication but I am willing to explore all my options. I have undertaken 3 month exclusion diet and now follow an inflammatory diet as well as intermittent fasting. These lifestyle adjustments have helped greatly - I do believe in and wholistic approach not just in my skincare formulations but my life style choices too.
NADI WAS MY SAVIOUR - During 2020 due to my life circumstances I found myself reaching for my Calm Balm as NADI has been known for years! When my last batch ran out I couldn't find my original formulation, (guilty of the hand written notes on paper in my early formulation days! I found it by the way when I tidied up my office and put it aways safely).
I made a new batch from memory and started to play a little... by this time I was working with The Boxwalla on a future collaboration, I sent Lavanya the Co-Founder a sample to try, much to my surprise and joy she loved it.... A few more tweaks and NADI v.20 was born! I had 21 version but version 20 was the chosen one.
My something wonderful to share born out of the complete chaos of 2020. To help calm and soothe stressed skins and minds, it brings me such joy to see the incredible response there has been worldwide to NADI | Innate Flow Quell Balm including winning not 1 but 2 International Beauty Short List Awards for 2021!
WHY ORGANIC & WILDCRAFTED
FIFTY7KIND skin care products are produced in micro-batches in my own Lab. My products are thoroughly assessed (externally) in order to guarantee that they are compliant with the standard requirements. I choose to formulate with organic, biodynamic and [sustainably] wild harvested ingredients.
Organic / biodynamic crops are up to 60% higher in antioxidants (along with other skin calming and protective properties) compared to non-organic crops.
You'll discover minimalistic inspired products with maximal benefits - multi-functional with synergistically blended, co-active ingredients. Supporting the health of your skin, and the bodies own innate ability to repair and heal - known as homeostasis.
An ingredient which is certified organic, means that it cannot contain potentially harmful pesticides, you can trust safety always comes first.
Be human, be kind, be you