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Women In Wellness: Holly Harding of O’o Hawaii On The Five Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Help Support People’s Journey Towards Better Wellbeing

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Get out in nature. Exposure your bare skin to the sun. Yep, I said it. Moderate sun exposure can increase your immunity, your mood and it can kill off unnecessary viruses and bacteria that your skin may carry. What is moderate? That varies from person to person. It may be 15 minutes for some or an hour for others.

As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Holly Harding.

Holly Harding, INHC, AADP is an integrative wellness professional who helps clients be their healthiest self through whole food based nutrition and mind body alignment. After realizing there was an obvious disconnect between internal nutrition and external skincare, Holly developed O’o Hawaii as a simplified regimen to bridge that internal/external gap, specifically using Hawaii’s nutrient rich, volcanic ash grown antioxidants.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?

I started off my professional career as a classical musician playing in symphonies, chamber ensembles and all sorts of different venues. I even started my own music entertainment agency where I would book out myself and other groups for gigs all over the country. I simultaneously taught students and held down a full-time corporate marketing job. My early 20s were busy to say the least. After moving to Hawaii for my husband’s saxophone job, we started Bubble Shack Hawaii, a bath and body company with Hawaii grown ingredients. After 10 years of running that business, we sold it and I went back to nutrition school. I then started my health coaching business, The H Lyfe Method and O’o Hawaii. I’ve lived in Hawaii for almost 20 years and am an avid surfer, mountain biker, skateboarder and CrossFitter.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?

There have been so many things I could talk about here but the first thing that comes to mind is how everything in life comes full circle. O’o Hawaii is really the culmination of my entire life’s work. For 10 years I owned a bath and body company where I learned about formulation and the ends and outs of business development and operations but dreamed of starting a skincare line. When my passions started moving in the direction of health and wellness, I sold that company and began working in the health coaching field. I’ve also been very involved in animal rescue over the years. Realizing there was a disconnect between internal nutrition and external skincare, I decided to create an integrative line of skincare that features an internal dietary supplement and external skincare products and my entire company acts as a vessel to help animals.

Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

My very first business, Bubble Shack Hawaii, was a bath and body company. In the beginning I was so worried about having inventory to sell that I overpurchased lots of packaging. Over the course of the first year, we learned many things about our customers, market trends and our products and realized we needed to tweak several things within our packaging, but we had so many bottles and labels!

Lesson Learned: Start more conservatively with purchasing in the first 1–2 years and learn from the market and your customers. You’ll most definitely have to tweak something along the way.

Let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?

I believe food is life and many people, through no fault of their own, have watched helplessly as their own health has derailed as a result of basic food choices. When a person changes their diet to predominantly whole foods from nature and eats the right food for their body type, their entire life can change. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. As more and more people began to see through corporate food marketing and move towards more whole foods-based diets, the cycle connected to the breakdown of society that starts at the top with big money food manufactures, will start to break down. If you peel back the layers, food can be highly oppressive. Everything from ADD to autoimmune conditions and behavioral issues in children can be traced back to diet. There’s a really great documentary that was just released called “They’re Trying to Kill Us” that I would highly recommend checking out. It’s produced by NBA All-Star Chris Paul and Billie Eilish and really opens your eyes to just how our food system contributes to keeping the oppressed, oppressed.

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

For optimum health it’s imperative to regulate your sleep and eating. Eating meals at the same time every day along with going to bed and waking up at the same time puts your body on a clock. Having an internal clock is key for digestion and maintaining a reasonable weight. It also keeps your circadian rhythm in check. Keep your sleeping room, dark and cool is also critical for most people to enter REM sleep. On average 7–8 hours of sleep is the most ideal.

Exercise Daily. I can’t stress this enough. Exercise releases endorphins, strengthens immunity, strengths cardiovascular health and contributes to weight management. Weight training strengthens bones, increases testosterone which provides energy, helps reduce fat and also increases circulation, which can take years off of your appearance. Want to look younger? Lift weights.

Find out what foods are best for your body type. Inflammation is a buzz word these days and avoiding foods that create inflammation in our bodies is key to feeling well and fighting disease.

Get out in nature. Exposure your bare skin to the sun. Yep, I said it. Moderate sun exposure can increase your immunity, your mood and it can kill off unnecessary viruses and bacteria that your skin may carry. What is moderate? That varies from person to person. It may be 15 minutes for some or an hour for others.

Enjoy your work. If you don’t enjoy the work you are doing, which encompasses the majority of your day, you need to find a different way to make a living.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?

O’o Hawaii and H Lyfe are my third and fourth businesses that I’ve owned. So, I can tell you I’ve had my share of success and failure.

  1. Start slow and strategic. Don’t try and grow too fast.
  2. Don’t try and be everything to everyone. Find your niche and your people will come.
  3. You usually need more start up funds than you anticipate.
  4. Don’t let perfection get in the way of getting started.
  5. Take strategic risks, be yourself and be bold. Your people will come.

Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?

I’d say it’s a tossup between living predominantly plant based and mental health. I ‘m a big animal advocate and believe in protecting animals on all levels. I’m heavily involved in dog rescue and O’o Hawaii is named after the extinct Hawaiian ʻōʻō bird. We give back a portion of every sale to the Keahou Bird Conservation Center on Hawaii Island that works to protect and preserve the native bird species of Hawaii.

I also believe that a focus on mental health is more important now than ever before. With the many extra stresses people have been under for almost two years now, it’s really taking a toll on so many. Finding ways to separate from or even compartmentalize stresses can be key in being able to push through and even thrive in a challenging environment.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

On IG @oohawaiibeauty and @hlyfemethod

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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