Rise’s Radical Renegade is a monthly series featuring interviews with trailblazing career mavens. Meet Elle Liu, founder of Eucalypso – a company devoted to creating a more comfortable, sustainable type of bedding so you can sleep comfortably every night.
Why did you start your company and what motivates you every day?
I founded Eucalypso when I was at my wits end about my cotton bedding – I couldn’t understand why I was waking up with night sweats and acne breakouts. After a lot of research, I discovered exactly how damaging cotton production was to the environment, and how cotton fibers tend to harbor breakout causing bacterias. I wanted an organic, sustainable bedding brand that was gentle on my skin and kind to the earth.
Eucalypso is organic eucalyptus bedding made for people who care about personal wellness as well as sustainable options. I’m motivated by all the positivity and kindness I’ve received. Every time I receive a review, email, or DM telling me about how much they love Eucalypso, it brightens up my whole day. Whether that’s about how the sheets have helped reduce breakouts, prevented night sweats, or just how incredibly soft they think the sheets up, it motivates me to work harder every day.
What are some of the major lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Channel your own inner strength and don’t let the haters get you down. Not everyone is going to be supportive of everything you do, and that’s fine. Most people would rather see you prove yourself and your ability to succeed before they back you up, and not everyone is going to be your biggest fan. Don’t let that make you doubt yourself or what you can accomplish. A big part of running a successful company is being determined and having faith in yourself. You’re going to have some incredibly wonderful days, and some really low days. Don’t let that stop you from pushing forward and taking the next step towards the path to success. As long as you have faith in your own abilities, it’ll work out.
Tell us about a setback you’ve faced and how did you overcome it?
I’ve learned to not be so hard on myself when I make mistakes (and trust me, that’s super hard when you’re a perfectionist), and to never jeopardize the quality of your products. One of our best-selling products have sold out twice now, because it’s hard for us to control inventory given our sustainable practices. We make everything sustainability in Austria in small batches to prevent environmental damage, which means it takes a long time to produce our products. This is especially difficult when things are sold out. I had to make the decision not to give up these important sustainable practices in order to replenish our stock quicker, because that would betray our principles. Stick to what you know, and what you feel like is right. If you always follow your north star, you’ll recover from any problems faster.
What advice do you have for women who feel stuck in their careers?
If there is something else you would rather be doing – determine your best exit strategy and pursue it. Even if it is just to test the waters, you’ll be glad you did it. Worst case scenario, it doesn’t work out but at least you gave it a chance and learned something. Best case scenario, it’s the best decision you’ve ever made. If you’re not at leisure to leave your job – look for a new perspective. So much of what you do and the happiness you derive from it is centered around your perspective. Learn to look at your career and life through new lenses and focus on the parts that bring you joy.
We all know how difficult work/life balance is. How do you draw the line to create separation in these two spheres?
I try to carve out time to enjoy my life and forgive myself if I ever feel guilty about it. I plan dinners and get togethers with my friends and loved ones, where I am completely removed from thinking about work. It’s a time to build my relationships and enjoy my life, away from the pressures of work. This allows me to live in the moment and truly enjoy my time with those around me.
We love to support women-founded ventures. Is there a company/product that you’ve come across recently that you think more people should know about?
ELMNTL is a NYC based sustainable loungewear company, and they make the softest eco-friendly sleepwear products. The founder reached out to me over Instagram, and we’ve actually become great friends. She is a really inspirational founder, and I absolutely love the products she makes.