Jackie Marwah-Chow, founder of Ponytail Mail, who is also a yoga, barre and spin trainer and a cat lover, sends cute hair ties handmade with love to your mail every month! Coming from a 9-5 office life, she shared how she started Ponytail Mail, how her approach to business has evolved over the years, and what she does to stay balanced!
What inspired you to start Ponytail Mail?
It was two years ago, I had left my office job at an e-commerce agency that I only had for three months, where I was a Project Manager building Shopify sites. I have been making hair ties for myself for a number of years, and I started making them because my hair wouldn’t stay in anything else. I would give them for gifts to my friends and they loved them, but I wasn’t sure how to package them up. One of my designer friends suggested to me one day, “Everybody loses their hair ties. What if you send them in the mail?” That’s how we came up with the name “Ponytail Mail”. Overall, I started the company because I had a product, I had time, and I think it was kind of a manifestation of having energy and not knowing what to do with it. What else was I going to do with my time and energy, and why not try?
In the month of July, I said to myself I’m just going to do this. I did everything on my own, including logo, product photography, everything. When I started, I had a goal that if I sell a thousand dollars worth of product in a month, then I made it. Because I had such low expectations, my business just totally exceeded anything that I even thought was possible. A big part of my success is that I don’t take myself that seriously. I’m not trying to change the world - I don’t think these hair ties will change your life, but I’m having a blast doing what I love!
We love all the colours you have! Where do you get inspiration for your design from?
For the design of packs of five together, there are days I can sit down with a big pile of hair ties all around me and I come up with the coolest, awesome sets. And there are days where I can’t put anything together. My husband is really good at brainstorming as well. Sometimes I get him to help me and he puts colours together and I’m like, “Oh that looks so good, I’ve never done that.”
What does your typical day look like?
It usually involves three different energy directions. I have a fairly set schedule when it comes to teaching. I work at two different studios, and I also run Social Media and Marketing for one of my studios. To be honest, there isn’t really a typical day, it usually involves sweating, running around somewhere, packing orders, and making products as much as I can.
Everyday’s different, and I love that. There are some days where I don’t even touch my business. The one thing I will always do is check emails and social media, but there are days where I won’t do actual work, like sit down and strategize.
What morning routines or evening rituals do you have to help you stay balanced?
Twice a week in the morning I wake up early at 5AM, and I work at the gym near my place. I work for 2 hours, train for two hours and I’m done. I have the app “5 Minute Journal”, and for a really long time I was gratitude journaling morning and night. I definitely think evenings at home is a big deal for me. I really enjoy taking the time to have a meal with my husband and catch up on our days.
One of the things I do at night is review my calendar and agenda for the next day. So I make sure that I am fully aware of what’s happening and what time I should be up, what time I’m going to be out until. I think that kind of helps me find balance because it allows me to understand what to expect.
I also meditate and teach yoga as well. It’s interesting because I really don’t think I follow any rituals or routines. And I feel that’s part of why I sometimes feel a little bit scattered, but at the same time, it really suits my personality. I’m not the type of person who can sit in the bath for half an hour, I get bored and cold. I do a mask once a week, does that count? Haha!
It’s been really cool to see the evolution in industry,
and really great to see that people are becoming
educated in themselves and that companies like
NIU BODY are around to be accessible for people.
What’s one skin care product you can’t live without?
I think my big thing is somewhere between a face scrub and face wash - my skin is usually really good. I find that I spend so much time sweating, so a good wash or a really gentle scrub is good. I swear by my Clarisonic, which helped me really clear my skin.
My dad owns a health food store, so I’ve always used paraben-free, sulphate-free, sort of like hippie health brands. It’s been really cool to see the evolution in industry, and really great to see that people are becoming educated in themselves and that companies like NIU BODY are around to be accessible for people. One of my biggest issues with natural skincare is that it’s not accessible. And you’re like, “why can only rich people have stuff that’s not filled with toxic chemicals in it?” It’s really good for people to know what’s going into their body.
Interview conducted by Yuri Hirama