Sara Weinreb, Writer, Strategist and Sustainability Expert

Wellness and sustainability expert, podcast host, and an herbalist-in-training, Sara has many talents (she also used to run her own ethical fashion retailer!).
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Sara is what you would call a multi-passionate person. When she signs up for something, she goes all in, and the rest of us are lucky enough to learn from her along the way. She's a serial entrepreneur and also has the heart of an adventurer, making her an excellent person to go to for recommendations. Read on for a bit more of her background, and her tips for supporting ourselves and each other during this trying time, below.

From working at a nonprofit, to starting your own ethical fashion retail business, to pivoting into writing and leading design thinking workshops (not to mention hosting your own podcast). What an amazing path! How did you decide to pivot at each stage, and what about it felt right?

While now I am much more aware and intentional about it, I think I really just followed my intuition. At my last full-time job, I realized that I had maxed out on what I wanted to learn and give, and what impact I could make, so I left to start my ethical fashion store, IMBY. I wanted to solve a need I was experiencing as a consumer having difficulty finding ethically and sustainably made clothes. 

About two years into that business I received a life-changing health diagnosis that helped me to admit what I was feeling-- retail just wasn’t for me, and my brand wasn’t the way I saw myself making an impact in the world, despite loving the offering, relationships, and mission I had built. So I pivoted to still focusing on mindful, intentional living but through my writing, podcast, newsletter, and teaching-- continuing my mission in a business model that feels much more in alignment. I also help entrepreneurs and small businesses integrate these values into their work--from mindfulness to sustainability and beyond. I continue to follow my curiosity, what excites me, and what lights me up, holding my intuition as the most important marker of how I spend my time and what I do and do not take on.

You have some amazing herbal recipes and tips that you share on your Instagram. For the uninitiated, give us a bit of background as to the world of herbalism.

Thank you! Oh wow, where do I begin? Herbalism, the study and usage of plants as physical, emotional, and energetic medicine, has been used for thousands of years in nearly every culture across the globe (to put it super simply!). Long before we had pharmaceutical labs, we had the plants growing around us to turn to for emotional, mental, and physical support. While herbalism is now trendy and there are tons of expensive and fancy herbal-based products on the market (some, not all, of which are lovely!), at its heart, herbalism is simple and inexpensive. Some of the most medicinal plants can be bought in a bulk for a couple of bucks an ounce to make into tea, or you can even pick the dandelions in your front yard-- so many plants considered “weeds” are truly amazing medicine! Herbalism speaks to me so deeply because, to me, it fundamentally connects our health and wellbeing to the health and wellbeing of nature, living synergistically with the plants. I could make herbal teas, honeys, elixirs, and concoctions all day in the kitchen and be the happiest.

“Herbalism speaks to me because it fundamentally connects our health and wellbeing to the health and wellbeing of nature.”

You’re a native New Yorker but live in Denver now. What’s been the most fun part about getting to know a new part of the country, and a new city?

Other than attending college in New Orleans, one of my favorite places on this fine planet, New York was my home for my entire life! Moving across the country to Denver has been a learning curve for sure, but I really appreciate the slower pace here, the deeper connection to outdoor activities, and the space. I live in a house, which is a crazy to me, with a yard and a patio and a garage! I appreciate the ability to truly slow down, have room to breathe, grow a garden, and more. 

We loved watching your solo trip to Bali from afar. How did you discover all the amazing places you went? What’s your typical approach for discovering new spots to explore?

Bali is such a mystical and magical place-- the culture is so beautiful and intentional, the healthy food bountiful, and the massages… oh so affordable! Before I left I read a lot of blog posts, asked friends who had traveled there, stalked some Bali hashtags on Instagram, and scoured the internet for thoughts. Then when I arrived, I wondered! I love using a combination of stumbling upon things, which admittedly I am an over-Yelper, and doing research using online tools. Also just being present, taking recommendations from locals and the people next to me at yoga class, listening to others chat about places they love, and more.

You’ve always had a mission-driven focus, but these days, it feels more important than ever to help those in need. What advice do you have for those looking to help during this crisis but don’t know where to start?

I’d look at it as concentric circles. First, check-in with your loved ones-- friends and family. Send them a text or offer to lend a hand if they need it. Then, check-in with your favorite local businesses and see how they are doing, and how you can best help support them during this challenging time. Keep your eyes peeled for opportunities on Instagram or Twitter or local community boards. Follow your curiosity, passion, expertise, and intuition. And don’t forget, you can only give and serve from your own stores of energy and wellbeing. Take care of yourself too, which sometimes feels selfish, but it’s not-- it’s paramount for your ability to serve others.

“You can only give and serve from your own stores of energy and wellbeing. Take care of yourself too, which sometimes feels selfish, but it’s not-- it’s paramount for your ability to serve others.”

Thanks so much, Sara! Your list of COVID-19 resources has been so helpful.

Discover Sara's Lists in Compell'd
April 1, 2020

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