In the blitzing heat of New York City, we got on Zoom with Haley Newman Founder and CEO of HALES BTY, perked up at the idea of speaking to a living legend (whether she knows it or not). Pothos Beauty is a revolutionary platform built around a sense of community and focus on returning to oneself.
Every founder on Pothos has a mission and hell bent on leaving the beauty and wellness space better than it was before. How often do we get to peek into the minds of beauty’s next juggernauts?
Who was Haley before the brand? (Hobbies, Interests, Fav Color?)
Before I started my company, I was someone who came to New York to study fashion design at a very young age. I basically graduated high school early when I was 16 years old and attended Parsons School of Design. I’m a creative. I’m right brain dominant. I’m left handed. So I’m really good at multitasking. When I was at Parsons I studied knitwear. Which is basically, in my opinion, an innovative textile. It breathes with the skin, it’s ergonomic.
As someone who wants to see the world in a better way, I’m sort of an idealist as a creative. I’m always drawn to innovation. How I can create a holistic or creative solution to something that is dense and not working anymore.
I wanted to apply this towards luxury, jewelry, and the everyday life. As a teenager in college, think about the frontal lobe not being developed. I was a wild child at Parsons, ask everyone. People were saying I was too young to be in school and that kind of environment. It just morphed me into the person that I am today. It’s a very conceptual school, Parsons School of Design.
Being in that environment shaped me to sort of think in a very abstract way that is subconsciously applied to everything I’m doing now. My relationships with work and how I see the everyday world. I always like to tell people, they sort of taught us how to be creative directors, rather than just you know, brick and mortar, industrial, technical thinkers in terms of design. Fashion design itself is so amorphous and when you break it down, it is pretty much engineering for the body.
I’m subconsciously drawn towards luxury or towards wellness. Or towards living a good life and sharing that with people. I just found myself working in fashion, interning at school and working in luxury houses. There was a disconnect in the mind and body with people working in that industry. It’s also sort of a domino effect, how it affects people and the economy.
As someone who moved here when I was a teenager and just being in this very aggressive environment, I sort of view life as bootcamp for growth and expansion. Manhattan's an energy vortex for sure.
So for me, I kind of just found myself living a lie. I was being hired to work in luxury with a design degree that was basically not mobilizing for good.
Let’s fast forward to where we are now. It’s 2021, we’re going through a global pandemic. I don’t want to say this is the new norm, but this is an every day. I’m 27, I graduated from fashion school in 2014. That was 7 years ago. I feel as if I’ve sort of, holistically, have gone through a death and rebirth, basically in the past 7 year cycle. Of how can I take my skills that I’ve learned from my childhood, from my college years, and implement it into the foundation that is going to invoke the economy in a better way.
I found myself in my early 20s, just trying to tread water. Just doing my deeds, like taking the assisting role, and doing the grid and grind. Coming from a conceptual design school, it was very hard for me to sort of split my brain and get into being practical and rational.
It wasn’t until my mid 20s, I was working in luxury advertising. I found myself really fully disconnecting from: Okay, even if you’re working for a luxury fashion house, or the top media publication, [am I still] still sort of implementing some sort of subconscious lie? But say, okay, be practical and get a job, do whatever.
I just found myself gravitating towards a very holistic lifestyle that was very, basically, the pure contrast to my corporate job. And saw how through the influence of me taking action, empowering or prioritizing my self care in an environment that is corporate. I just found there is power to doing your own thing and seeing how that impacts people in an influential way.
Long story short, [I’m] basically redefining the concept of luxury through self care and empowering your self care, [yours] to reclaim. I just wanted to be more of a role model. Like basically, my coworkers started using my products I formulated. I formulated my creams for a wellness center. Again, I was living a dual life. Going to yoga, and the sauna and the salt rooms, etc.
My friend owns a wellness center in Manhattan. This is the foundation of HALES BTY. This is the reason why I’m still building this company, because she sort of blossomed herself. You know, I never thought coming from a design school that I would be building something so earthy and grassroots and indie.
That was like going through the dialogue of teenage years to early 20s to the ego death. Basically building something through the roots of authenticity. That’s the bloodline of my company. There was naturally a high demand for my product, specifically. It invokes: Oh, I don't have to stay linear to this design/art director life. I just went through this phase of being in love with nature. Nature grounds me. I’m burnt out from New York City. In the corporate world, all I do is work. I found myself evolving at a different level.
How would you describe your brand/community?
Holistically, my brand community works with the natural algorithm, I don’t do marketing for my company. A lot of my sales are from word of mouth. From people who actually use my product. Again, I’m the kind of person who did not foresee myself ever building something like this. I foresaw myself having some sort of fashion line by now. My brand is catered towards people who want to heal holistically in layers.
My products contain hemp and CBD. My goal is to help people tap into their own homeostasis in the physical and metaphysical so it becomes a quantum, mind-body experience. To help expand your mindset about your body and what goes up. What is applied externally and internally. So, that community is growing and just expanding from word of mouth. I’m really excited to be launching with Diamond (Founder and CEO of Pothos Beauty)!
*What does the phrase “bolder than youth” mean to you?
I’m, again, very conceptual and very abstract. I like to look at things and words as encryptions or anagram codes. I’ve always been sort of geeky, I grew up with tech savvy brothers. Playing video games, like creating codes and HTML. Really applying this ying yang life, being in the tech world, but also being holistic. Living in Manhattan but being grounded. My house is full of plants.
I didn’t want my name. This company came into my life and it sort of bursted like hey, build something that’s not Haley Newman or fashion. There is an anagram inclusion, HALES is an anagram for heals. And BTY is an abbreviation for bolder than youth. To remind you that you are not limited by your age, prime or feeble. It's all about the mind. I didn’t want to launch just HALES BTY. I want my company to be very dimensionally ambiguous, that way it’s for all genders and everyone, you know? I always have been very intuitive my whole life.
I got this LLC back in 2019. This was before the pandemic, so this validates why I’m building my company and why I’m so invested in her and why I really cherish where it’s going.
So yeah, on the quirk side, HALES BTY is also an anagram for Haley Behind The Scenes. I always like to have this approach to things. That’s just authentically who I am as a person, as a creator and an innovator.
Why did you build it? What was that burning moment you knew you had to do it?
I basically found myself approaching many dead ends in the corporate world. Just found myself wanting to take more risks. Half my coworkers were using my products and they’re like "Hey, I don’t wear foundation anymore. It's healing my eczema and it’s helping my inflammation." This was before the pandemic.
I’ve always felt very, somewhat in the future. It just feels necessary to go in this direction. To dissolve these paradigms around beauty and wellness and luxury, you know? Going through the pandemic, everything is being forced to change. We’re going through a global reset. This validates why I’m very passionately building this.
*What is HALES BTY to a makeup girl?
I’m all about being symbiotic with people’s lives and taking a hybrid approach to things. Like, I wear makeup, I’m wearing mascara. I’m not wearing anything on my skin. I am wearing mascara, though. So basically, I’m not saying Oh my God! Everyone needs to detox RIGHT now! It’s just too aggressive. If we’re going to mobilize for good, and we’re going to communicate with the masses, it has to be sort of gentle. Like, a circular approach. I’ve never been drawn to makeup, I’ve worn foundation and stuff but it just makes my skin break out. I just don’t feel good when I wear it energetically or electrically, but that’s just me personally.
A lot of makeup fanatics love HALES BTY as sort of an end of the day antidote. Not even to whatever cosmetics that may be causing them inflammation or hormonal imbalances. When you experience the products with a holistic approach, you get closer to homeostasis, or your own internal balance. They contain cannabinoids (CBD) that calms your nervous system and reduces stress.
I’m just taking note of what kind of world we live in today where there’s a lot of fear infiltrated all through the news and everywhere you go. Even to enter a store without a vaccine. My motivation and intention with HALES BTY is to help people find harmony and equilibrium in a state of chaos.
What is something you’ve been super interested in or loving? This is a judge free zone. (A book, a color, a dish, a culture, anything)
I’m going to be honest here, just fixing my life and just getting organized and downsizing. Because I’m going through a rebirth, I’m evolving and I’m in my late 20s. I’m ready to start shifting. Meticulously going through my stuff from the past decade, preparing for the next wave.
What’s one thing the world doesn’t know about you?
This is totally subjective. A lot of people are always shocked when I tell them that I’m half asian. My mother is Chinese. So again, I’m a hybrid. Taking a hybrid approach to everything, like my life. With HALES BTY I want to start merging the east and the west together. Chinese medicine, ancient knowledge. Merging this with cannabis, basically. I feel very genetically relevant. Like, you need to start normalizing: hey, let’s bring together different cultures. Let’s normalize diversity, let’s stand in solidarity to a lot of people who are mixed and also just ending systematic racism.
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty to me means being balanced internally, because that will present itself externally.
Pothos Beauty is home for innovation. For taking beauty up a notch. With Haley, we learned that seeking balance isn’t something that starts and ends with checking off the boxes individually. What we work on the inside will always find a way through to the outside.
We want to take a moment to thank Haley Newman for sitting down with me, and Pothos Beauty for being a home for innovation and beauty, harmoniously.
*this interview has been edited for brevity and flow*