Women Who Inspire: Katie Brindle

by Amy Nicholson

Women Who Inspire: Katie Brindle

After a car accident that ended her dreams of becoming an opera singer, followed by complications around fertility, stress, depression and daytime fatigue, Katie Brindle channelled her struggles into a modern day solution for thousands of people around the world.

Inspired by Chinese medicine, Katie Brindle founded the Hayo’u Method to enable people to master their health. Hayo’u is not only the culmination of Katie’s career, but also her life and personal health journey. We wanted to find out from Katie first hand, what inspires her, how she found confidence and why you shouldn't be so hard on yourself.

The beauty industry is constantly evolving, tell us a little bit about your background... 

Hayo’u is the culmination of a journey I started in 1992. I was training as an opera singer, when I had a car accident that gave me whiplash and left me unable to sing.  A year later, I was still in constant pain. Because Western medicine wasn’t able to sort out the problem, I found myself drawn into the world of alternative therapies. After much searching and further health issues, Chinese Medicine finally nailed the issue once and for all. I was amazed by how, with the right kind of help and correct information, my body was able to heal itself. This was the turning point for me. I decided to leave my job and start a degree in Five Element acupuncture.

I haven’t looked back. I read voraciously and I travelled to Asia where I met some of the masters of ancient medicine. I’d talk to anybody who was interested – dinner party guests, supermarket checkout staff – absolutely nobody was immune! They’d invariably tell me about their health and I’d give them some basic tools to help. Every time I saw their eyes light up as they understood how to take control of their own health, I’d just get more convinced that this really was the way forward.

How to convert that experience into a brand however was no easy task.  Chinese medicine is expansive and profound and at times overwhelming, not to mention there is prejudice and misconceptions about what it is and how it works. So my idea was to start with something simple but enormously effective, something that everyone could benefit from in just one minute – and that was the jade gua sha tool.  Having opened the market to the transformation possible in just one minute we were then able to develop further tools and deepen the experience. I am ambitious for Hayo’u and will be looking to deepen our range to enable people to treat themselves better from head to toe. The beauty market is always evolving but these ancient techniques have stood the test of time and I’m delighted to be bringing them back into our lives.

 Chinese medicine is expansive and profound and at times overwhelming, not to mention there is prejudice and misconceptions about what it is and how it works. So my idea was to start with something simple but enormously effective, something that everyone could benefit from in just one minute – and that was the jade gua sha tool.

Creating not only a brand but rejuvenating an ancient technique and tool is really impressive. What inspired you and gave you the confidence to do it?

Chinese Medicine was what inspired me wholly. And the confidence came from firstly my own experience of how Chinese Medicine changed my life exponentially for the better and provided the solution when nothing else could. Secondly from seeing how my patients responded as well – and how it helped so many people with such varied problems.

In terms of beauty products, what impact do they have on your life?

The whole approach of Chinese medicine is that beauty is the exterior manifestation of interior health. The reason I love the Beauty Restorer is that it’s the first of its kind. It gives you radiant skin, but by working from the inside out – which is a massive sea change to the beauty industry. I feel like for so long a large part of the beauty industry has played on insecurities. This is a one-off purchase that offers you genuine beauty – and isn’t polluting the sea. I’m proud to be part of a movement that is empowering women by making active choices – we need to buy products that are going to answer our wider environmental questions and allow us to reduce our carbon footprint.

For anyone who is interested in healing crystals, how can Jade benefit them?

Chinese medicine has a rich tradition of using crystals as medicine. The philosophy is that gemstones can support our jing Qi (life essence), blood (circulation) and fluids (lymphatic drainage).

I chose jade because this was what was traditionally practiced by the empresses of China. Jade is the empirical beauty crystal. It’s been used for thousands of years, because it is the ultimate balance of yin and yang. It has remarkable cooling properties, is great for reducing inflammation and puffiness – and it’s really gentle, so suitable for everyone.

Jade is the empirical beauty crystal. It’s been used for thousands of years, because it is the ultimate balance of yin and yang. It has remarkable cooling properties, is great for reducing inflammation and puffiness – and it’s really gentle, so suitable for everyone.

Research studies show that, when heated, certified jade radiates healing far infrared rays. It also produces negative ions. Negative ions are commonly seen in nature, being abundant in a waterfall and on the beach. When you get positive vibes while out in the great outdoors that is because of negative ions. Jade has a high output of negative ions, and this help to regenerate cells.

Do make sure you are actually using jade though. If it’s cheap, it’s likely to be a composite or coloured glass. Our Beauty Restorer is made from 100% Xiuyan jade. It is a type of serpentine jade that comes from a region of China renowned for the best quality jade in the world. 100% jade is much rarer than composite. You can tell it’s real because it is really smooth, it will differ slightly in colour as its natural, it is cold to touch and doesn’t break easily.

What other crystals or stones do you recommend and why?

Jade is the empirical beauty stone so that is where we started. We are researching other crystals at the moment – and its looking very exciting! I’d always advise starting with jade though, because its suitable for everyone and because of its composition you can file it into different thicknesses of tools - which have a different benefit on the skin.

If you could give one piece of advice to your 18-year-old self, what would it be?

Be patient about your own journey and don’t compare yourself to other people and when they achieve. It took me until I was almost 30 to even start my journey. I’m now approaching 50 and have only just started to accomplish what I have set out to achieve, so just stick to your own path. Be kind to yourself along the way. Don’t be judgemental of yourself or others around you.

Be patient about your own journey and don’t compare yourself to other people and when they achieve. It took me until I was almost 30 to even start my journey.

How would you define success and what are your secrets to it?

Success for me is a balance of many components, it’s not just about financial success. Taoism (the Chinese philosophy that Chinese medicine is based on) is all about balance, so success is about that – and ultimately about giving more than I take. I want to look back and have contributed more than I’ve taken.

Can you talk about one woman who has positively impacted your life?

Amanda! Who is Amanda? Well, she doesn’t have a job title because it’s impossible to articulate all the things she does…  Something I always discuss with female entrepreneurs with a family is the guilt we all feel by working at the expense of our children. I personally have always felt this guilt and it’s something I struggle with constantly. I also sadly lost my mum after birth of my first daughter and don’t have large extended family to rely on. So, I’m extremely lucky to have met Amanda - who manages a large amount of my domestic life. My children love and adore her like a second mother – which enables me to work and fulfil my business life. Knowing that I have this person I can unconditionally rely on means the world to me.

Something I always discuss with female entrepreneurs with a family is the guilt we all feel by working at the expense of our children. I personally have always felt this guilt and it’s something I struggle with constantly.

What are the biggest challenges you face at work? And how do you overcome them?

There are so many! It’s really hard having a start-up and a vision, you have to take a lot of risks and have a lot of faith. The path to business success feels like the crystal maze. It’s littered with booby traps and pitfalls that need navigating every step of the way. Having had no business experience whatsoever and trying to convert my expertise as a practitioner was a real challenge - as mistakes are very expensive and you are painfully aware of that. Equally, good things do happen if you persist and are relentless with your vision. Strokes of luck come your way to offset the inevitable mistakes.

It somehow balances out. Also, it helps to find a team of people who you can trust – and make sure you celebrate those who stick with you through thick and thin. You become very appreciative of the good people and the good fortune that comes your way. I believe in universal energy – I’m religious about giving back more than I take at every step of the way. Setting intention is very powerful as well. When I hear from customers who email in and tell me their health issues been transformed by the deeper Hayo’u Method, that is everything.  What keeps me focused is the higher purpose of the brand – it really gets you up in the morning! I want to help people with their health and also their relationship with the world around them, which is fundamental to Chinese philosophy.

The path to business success feels like the crystal maze. It’s littered with booby traps and pitfalls that need navigating every step of the way.

In 10 years, how do you think women's beauty routines will have evolved from today?

Beauty routines are moving much more towards pleasurable tools that work from within, rather than injectables and creams that can only penetrate skin deep. I’d love to see this interest in ancient techniques increasing – and I really feel like it’s going to be absolutely huge. When I first created the Beauty Restorer, there was nobody else in the marketplace doing this – and nobody had heard of facial gua sha – now it’s everywhere. And I’m so proud to have been a part of that. There are so many more amazing techniques I’ve learned about from my masters. And I’m planning to draw these into the brand over the next ten years. I am convinced that people will be just as excited to adopt these new, amazing, environmentally friendly techniques as they’ve been about our jade gua sha tool.

Beauty routines are moving much more towards pleasurable tools that work from within, rather than injectables and creams that can only penetrate skin deep.

If you were on a desert island, what 3 beauty products would you take with you?

I have to say the Beauty Restorer! But also, Alexandra Soverell’s Angel Balm and a parasol – staying out of the sun is really important to me.

What’s the best piece of beauty advice your mother gave you?

Sleep. Which is why the Hayo’u Method focuses on sleep in a big way.

How do you find balance with your work and personal life?

I don’t think anyone ever manages this perfectly! I try and switch my phone off when I’m with my kids – it’s about managing your time and being strict about boundaries. I’m disciplined and boundaried about everything I do. I work hard and travel a lot, and that’s hard on my family and myself, but we have lovely holidays and I tell my kids I love them every day. Facetime is a life saver. And not much social life at the moment, unless its family orientated!

Shop Hayo'u here

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