I was first introduced to Nikki Reed as Rosalie in the Twilight series, which I still find myself wrapped up in during those rainy-day TV marathons—who doesn’t love those movies? Now, the actress and mom to 2-year-old daughter Bodhi Soleil keeps busy off the big screen thanks to her sustainable jewelry company, Bayou With Love, which has branched into activewear, beauty and so much more. Here, Reed fills me in on all that and more.
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NewBeauty: What inspired you to create Bayou With Love and focus on “Earth conscious” jewelry?
Nikki Reed: I was super passionate about eco-friendly/conscious consumerism for years leading up to the moment I started Bayou With Love, but I didn’t start dreaming about launching a sustainable company myself until I was pregnant with my daughter. The initial inspiration came from the fact that I couldn’t find the sustainable products I was searching for in the marketplace. If my involvement in the environmental activism space taught me one thing about launching a company, it was that it would come with a long list of challenges!
A few months after launching, we were approached by Dell about a potential collaboration, which quickly turned into the focus of the brand: creating sustainable jewelry and conscious engagement rings. I wanted to create attainable luxury, so people who were interested in sustainability but didn’t know how to make the switch could see the quality and beauty of using recycled materials, and gold was the perfect medium for that. Gold is gold no matter where it comes from, so using recycled gold from tech was a “digestible” form of sustainability for those who were curious but intimidated. My hope is that Bayou sparks passion and curiosity in folks who are excited to make the world a better place through conscious living.
NB: Why is the focus on sustainability so important to you personally?
NR: I am fueled by the intersection where creativity and innovation collide. I love challenging myself and this industry to produce better products, to push beyond what we know is immediately possible to be even more conscious. I believe wholeheartedly in the concept of for-profit entities feeding nonprofit initiatives, so the goal with Bayou is to grow to a place where I can support all of the nonprofit work and activism I am involved in through Bayou. We use gold found in recycled technology to make all of our fine jewelry, we produce locally (in LA) and we consciously source gemstones from areas that fall in line with our ethos.
For our bridal, we offer the option to choose a traditionally mined diamond or a diamond grown from a diamond seed in California using solar energy. They are molecularly identical to diamonds, meaning they are NOT fake diamonds, but they just don’t have the human and environmental toll of mining. They are the diamonds of the future. All of our new acro-wear is made from recycled materials, and our soon-to-be-launched pajamas and slips and robes are made from plant fibers and dyed with fruit.
NB: You currently have a shop inside 1 Hotels in West Hollywood, but do you plan to open a standalone brick-and-mortar store at any point?
NR: Yes! The ultimate goal is to have our own space, but for now I am so happy to continue with these amazing partnerships that are so aligned with who we are as a brand. I love the 1 Hotel and feel so honored to be a part of its space and mission. I currently co-curate the shop and help spearhead events to bring together female-founded, local, sustainable companies in an effort to shine a spotlight on the collective work we are all doing in this space.
NB: Speaking of events, some you’ve done so far include Ikebana Floral Arrangement, Candle Making, Sound Bath and Acro Yoga, among others. What does your brand community look like?
NR: The goal with Bayou was always to celebrate the work of other artists and makers. I believe we are stronger together, so when I launched Bayou, it wasn’t about just launching our own products; it was about celebrating the work of other female designers and giving them my platform. The 1 Hotel shop and events are a tangible form of exactly that. I love bringing people together to experience, learn and grow from one another, and running a sustainable business is as much about education as it is about products.
NB: You look very Zen and peaceful in all of your Instagram photos. How have you managed to adopt this way of living in such a busy, “connected” world?
NR: Ha! I am a work in progress! I am a lifelong student, not a teacher :). I am equal parts Zen and chaos, because having a toddler and running a company while also working on the strategic partnerships mentioned above and acting as an advisor to a third company has been a lot! I don’t have much time for rest, but I try to squeeze in what I can where I can, and putting down my phone is a big one for me. I have to remind myself that everything can wait, my email inbox doesn’t need to hit zero and I don’t have to reply to every text. Being present is the most important gift we can give to our children.
NB: I love that. Do you have a personal motto?
NR: Less. That’s my motto. Less things, less stress, less clutter, and more TIME.
NB: Do you have any guilty pleasures?
NR: TONS! I love a home makeover show, I’m a forever lover of chocolate and popcorn, and I can watch puppy videos on Instagram for hours! If I bake something, you can bet I’ll be the one to finish it off, and I make a damn good chocolate raspberry bark! Easiest recipe: Melt dark chocolate on the stovetop, place it on a deep baking sheet with a little parchment paper and drop fresh raspberries in. Then place it in fridge and let it cool! And that’s it!
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NB: Have you always been a yogi?
NR: I train in a sport called acro-yoga, which is a take on yoga but doesn’t follow the traditional practice. My brother is my partner, so we train and learn together. It’s been fun to learn a new sport as an adult. It keeps me grounded and present!
NB: Bayou With Love also sells beauty products. How do you curate the brands you sell? And do you plan to make any more under the Bayou With Love brand?
NR: Eventually we will create our own beauty products again, but for now I am really enjoying highlighting and celebrating other companies on our website! There are so many amazing brands out there who are working hard to run a sustainable business and I love being able to carry their work. We don’t necessarily have a checklist for carrying brands, but I do consciously select products that are female-founded, cruelty-free, organic, and sustainable.
NB: Which beauty brands do you think are doing the best job when it comes to sustainability efforts?
NR: I don’t like using words like “best” because I think there are so many challenges that come from producing this way and everyone is doing the best they can. It isn’t a competition! I love slow/conscious/steady/hand-crafted production, and I see that in companies like Earth and Element, Poppy and Someday, Natty Naturals, Plantfolk Apothecary, and Earth Star Herbals.
NB: What are your personal favorite beauty products?
NR: I love Plantfolk Apothecary’s Moon Bath, Natty Naturals Citrus + Rose Body Scrub (YUM), Earth Star Herbals Star of Bethlehem Flower Essence and Prima CBD Night Magic face oil.
NB: Can fans expect to see you on the big screen again any time soon?
NR: For now I am super focused on Bayou, but never say never!
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