Hello Sacred Woman,
We’re excited to share another installation of Lifting the Veil, our interview series introducing you to the women who inspire us.
We’re always curious about the people behind the brands we love. Who are they? How did they get started and what motivates them? How do they spend their time?
Our intention is to connect on a deeper, more personal level, which is the backbone of our company; to have deeper, meaningful relationships with each other. Feel free to reach out to us anytime, we’d love to hear from you!
This issue we're thrilled to introduce you to Eileen O’Dea - entrepreneur, innovator, maker and owner of The Wooden Palate, co-owner of Studio E&R, and co-founder of Creative Business WMN Collective. She’s a powerhouse! Dynamic and very inspiring, we hope you enjoy learning about her.
Eileen moved from Seattle to Los Angeles at the end of 1999 looking to make a life change. The transition was smooth, and things seemed to unfold naturally for her. She took her first job at a software company, the field she worked in Seattle, which lasted about a year.
In her very first yoga class in 2001, the yoga teacher told her about a new store opening in Santa Monica. It was a Canadian brand that we all know well now, Lululemon, but at the time it was an unknown brand looking to expand to the U.S. Eileen interviewed and was hired on the spot; it was a great opportunity for her, not only was she able to create her own position within the company, there were amazing opportunities for personal growth. At that time Lululemon offered their employees a stipend to be used for yoga classes of their choice, they had a library of personal development books available and encouraged study and exploration, as well as ongoing workshops.
She wanted to buy a house in Long Beach which was too far to commute to Santa Monica. As luck would have it, Lululemon was opening a store in nearby Newport Beach and Eileen was given the opportunity to continue to work for them by going to yoga studios introducing the clothing line and hosting focus groups for brand feedback.
It was through this work that Eileen met an instructor at a Pilates class who asked if she’d ever considered teaching Pilates and encouraged her to take both Pilates and spin training. This was the beginning of a new direction for Eileen, she took both trainings and began to teach a variety of classes at Bally’s Fitness Center, while at the same time continued with ongoing trainings to broaden her knowledge. From this foundation she built a successful private training business, eventually opening her own studio.
At the time, Eileen had just gone through a divorce from her first husband, which would be the catalyst for another big life change. She continued to ‘work her ass off’ as she describes it, doing very little dating but in typical Eileen fashion, when she felt ready to find ‘mister right’, she took action and did just that.
There was an instant connection with Ryan Silverman, her current husband and business partner in The Wooden Palate. On their first meeting, they talked for hours, he too was a dog lover, maker, self-starter and business owner. This first meeting lead to both a beautiful marriage and a business partnership, here’s a peek into how it came to be.
Eileen has always been a maker. In addition to being a personal trainer, yoga, Pilates and spin instructor, (did we mention personal chef? – Renaissance woman!), she also makes jewelry, paints and is an amazing interior designer; her sense of style is impeccable. She used to host an annual holiday boutique with all her maker friends. A month after her first date with Ryan, she mentioned to him she wanted to make wooden salt cellars with custom salt blends. Ryan, a master woodworker, had recently purchased a large quantity of vintage, reclaimed Atlantic City boardwalk wood, and suggested she use it for her salt cellars. These salt cellars would turn out to be the start of a new and very successful business, The Wooden Palate.
The Wooden Palate creates luxurious heirloom-quality wood products, including salt cellars, cutting boards, bowls, serving trays, and rolling pins, plus stunning furniture, and wooden jewelry. All their work is made from sustainably sourced wood. One of our favorite things about The Wooden Palate and their design studio, Studio E&R, is that in addition to using sustainably grown wood, they use locally fallen trees or wood from trees that have reached the end of their life and need to be removed, such as a beautiful 250+ year old black walnut tree that died and became a threat to the owner’s home. You can watch the video about this majestic tree’s chance at a second life here. It’s such a beautiful story!
Eileen has always been entrepreneur at heart, starting her first business at eight. She continues to grow and expand and has become a mentor to other women business owners; It was from a desire to help other business women succeed that led Eileen to co-found the Creative Business WMN Collective, an LA-based group focused on mindful connections, support and inspiration for female business owners. Eileen’s next dream is to be a shark/investor for female businesses, and we have no doubt that she will achieve that goal too!