AM/PM: Nina Zilka of Alder New York

05.10.2023 — The Frenshe Editors

AM/PM is an editorial series where we talk to the founders of our beloved non-toxic brands. From the morning to night, we find out how they balance work with self-care. Today, meet Nina Zilka of Alder New York.

[6:50 a.m.] Waking up…

I strenuously try to avoid checking my phone. I got an Apple watch recently with the express goal of checking my phone and the accompanying social media and email less. Now when I wake up I try to focus on getting out of bed and throwing on my running clothes without touching my phone. More than half the time I’m able to get out the door and over the three blocks from my apartment to Prospect Park for a run first. I find that if I can get a run in nature, while the sun is coming up, it acts as a form of meditation, and I can sit down at my computer to start my workday with a clear head.

[7:30 a.m.] To nourish myself…

I make a green smoothie for breakfast unless it’s really cold. I usually get bored eating the same thing every day, but not with my green smoothie, which is spinach, a banana, frozen mango, a scoop of peanut butter, two ice cubes, a splash of orange juice, and water. Ten months out of the year, this sustains me; then for really cold days, I do oatmeal. For lunch, I’ll usually do leftovers from dinner the night before—we’re Rancho Gordo bean fanatics so it’s usually bean-related—and then I’ll eat an apple with peanut butter, or popcorn, or whatever weird odds-and-ends leftovers are in the fridge around 3 or 4 p.m. when I’m typically pretty hungry. I also usually drink teas throughout the day. In the mornings it’s some type of green tea, and then I switch to herbal teas in the afternoon so I don’t stay up all night. I love a giant mug of herbal tea after dinner, before bed. 

[9:00 a.m.] My favorite part of the job is when…

I focus on big-picture creative: how to best share our mission of plant-powered, science backed skin care designed for everyone, and thinking about the visuals and language around that. Unfortunately, as the founder of a small, independent business, I don’t always get to focus on this. My job is to make sure everything gets done, and  what needs to get done isn’t always the fun, creative part. But when I do get to focus on the creative—and usually this means I get to spend one-on-one time with my business partner, David, who is also my best friend—I am reminded why I do what I do. There is nothing more thrilling than creating a business and brand around your values, even if the day to day is often very stressful and a little bit tedious.

[12:30 p.m.] To focus, I…

will go for a short walk outside. Especially now that our team mostly works from home, I need little breaks throughout the day to ensure I go outside, calm down, and stretch my legs. When I can’t get in a walk, I’ll often do a quick face mist with Alder New York Cooling Mineral Hydro Mist. It’s inspired by the healing properties of mineral springs and the mineral blend combined with its minty, fresh scent gives me that same invigorating feeling you get when you’re lucky enough to be by a spring. It’s a really good pick-me-up!

[3 p.m.] I feel most fulfilled when…

I hear from and interact with our customers. Nothing makes me feel happier than getting an email or customer review from someone saying that our products changed their skin for the better. Even when you work for your own company, it’s easy to get dragged down by the day-to-day, so messages like that are the lift I need to keep going. 

[6 p.m.] To recharge for the next day…

I do something that makes it impossible for me to be on the internet/engaging with work. Sometimes that’s a hot bath with an Alder New York mud mask and a glass of wine (bless my over-the-tub caddy), sometimes it’s a knitting project I’m working on, sometimes it’s a Gua Sha facial massage. No matter the activity, it’s something that engages my hands and allows my mind to wander. The longer I run my own business, the more I learn that it’s important to allow my mind time to not think about work, in order to be my most creative, present, and focused self. 

The Frenshe Editors