Material Girl: the process of seeking
Founder of EoA, Melanie Maslany, talks about her inspiration for the next edition of ALEA's Visioni Magazine.
After a decade in high-tech apparel design, Melanie Maslany changed direction to create Elements of Aura, a metaphysical wellness brand inspired by a personal thirst for growth and adventure.
I created my first product at 5 years old. Plucking every single rose petal in the garden, I collected them in a bucket, filled it with water, and mashed them with my bare hands. It was my first product – Rose Perfume. I sold every single mismatched jelly jar to all the ladies in the neighborhood. Hyper-locally sourced, organic, handmade, female-run business. I didn’t have these marketing terms back then, but I was 5 and I had dimples. I learned to create for my audience.
For 11 years, I worked for a rogue division at adidas tasked with designing ultra-functional apparel embedded with electronics. We began as a start-up and were fully absorbed by the multinational corporation within just 3 years. My group was responsible for developing next-level technology in training apparel for consumers as well as teams in nearly every major sport in the US and Europe. As a design engineer, I was able to travel the globe with my curious eyes, brainstorm with brilliant minds and bring lots of wild ideas to life. However, fulfillment is a personal and mercurial emotion. I learned that no matter how incredibly cool my job was, I had an undeniable need to connect with the universe in a deeper way.
I tasked myself with mastering one new skill each year and planting seeds for an adventurous future. I studied Permaculture Design in a rainforest in Costa Rica. I completed 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training in Bali, Indonesia, in a shala surrounded by expansive rice fields. I bought a large plot of undeveloped land in my favorite country, Nicaragua. I joined a female tribal dance group and danced around fires wearing the fiercest face paint while banging a hand drum. I took breath work and women’s studies courses, attended lunar phase workshops and earned crystal therapy certifications with teachers who wrote the rules on their individual fields, literally. But the biggest shift happened when I read Body of Work by Pamela Slim. I learned that the fulfillment I was seeking was simply the process of seeking.
My metaphysical wellness brand, Elements of Aura, was born from this seat of discovery. Having opened myself up to learning all that I could absorb, I answered a universal call to leave the corporate world and concentrate all my various experiences into making beautiful, functional products that create space for connecting to oneself, and to the greater spider web of cosmic connection that links us all together.
As a company, Elements of Aura operates like a series of discoveries which turn into product, or potentially not. It’s boundless and completely freeing. We experience and experiment with what interests us in the moment, and expand from there with extensive product research, market analysis, rapid prototyping, and small batch production. Developing product this way is remarkably fluid; being able to share my learnings in creative ways presses my “fulfilled” button daily. On our cutting table at the moment are prototypes of a meditation mask featuring a crystal nestled into the third eye. On the white board is a rough timeline for a Law of Attraction (Abundance) workshop I plan on co-leading. But one of the most exciting is a beauty product line inspired by hyper-local, fresh botanicals sourced and sold at our urban farm. My prior expertise in plucking rose petals has come full circle - and that’s what this business is all about.