The Creative Entrepreneur: Micaela Hoo of Fruit Salad & Co-Founder of Drifter Organics Skincare
Micaela Hoo is a lifestyle entrepreneur with a mindset on wellness, skincare and nostalgia and passion for fruits. Her motto is to make your own salad that she equates with having a fruitarian diet mixed in with an overload of creativity, which really sounds like the ingredients to a sweet, fulfilling life. Working from her home in Oakland, California, we visited the headquarters for Fruit Salad and the skincare line, Drifter Organics that she runs with her mom Dawn.
Styling by Alexa Wilson, photography by Alexandria Yip
If you had to describe your lifestyle in 3 words?
🍊 Unpredictable, creative, and holistic
The name of your site Fruit Salad derives from your personal health issues and how your nutritional diet had to change for the better. For new readers, what’s the ongoing theme for Fruit Salad including how you’ve had to input wellness into your daily life?
🍊 The name Fruit Salad has special meaning to me on various levels. I have a truckload of gut issues and eat a mainly fruitarian diet. One afternoon, while I was cutting up fruit, the name for my brand came to me: Fruit Salad! Fruit Salad has meaning to me because I pretty much eat fruit salad every day and my thoughts are very creative and scattered, like a fruit salad, but mainly sweet and positive — only occasionally do you run into a rotten piece with mold. My momʼs specialty for any dinner party is fruit salad, so some of my earliest childhood memories were spent in the kitchen with her helping her carve a watermelon basket to make a fancy fruit salad. The Fruit Salad tagline is “Keep it sweet and make your own salad.” We all have our own thoughts, dreams, and aspirations. That’s what makes up our salad — and we should be keeping things sweet, or, in other words, looking at our glass half full. If we live for othersʼ dreams, weʼd be eating their salad which isnʼt polite now, is it? Through a thriving blog, YouTube channel, and Instagram platform, I strive to help hundreds of thousands of millennial women get in touch with their life, style, and mental health by producing daily content within the genres of fashion, beauty, health, wellness, and lifestyle.
You’ve been blogging since 2008. How do you think blogs have changed the last few years and how have you changed with the landscape?
🍊 When I first started blogging, it was more of a place to share random thoughts, pictures, and anything I came across on the Internet I thought was interesting — like a digital scrapbook. Now that social media has taken the role of sharing curated content, the need to create original content is more necessary than ever to stand out. Bloggers have had to up their game with creating professional level content. Video is becoming increasingly popular and it's very common to see a video accompany a blog post that in years past would have been only rendered in images, like a recipe or room makeover. I've had to learn about photography, videography, lighting, color theory, styling, and editing. With the market being saturated with so many bloggers, it's more important than ever to brand yourself and create a personality people can identify with. In addition to the pretty pictures, people want to see the in real life behind the scenes vulnerability of you as a person.
Being a “veteran” blogger, what are some misconceptions that people may have about a full-time blogger?
🍊 The #1 misconception I get is that it's easy. Sure, everyone with an Internet connection and opinion can be a blogger, but if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. It's not easy and it's not for everyone. I've had to pull many all-nighters and it's not uncommon for me to pull an all-nighter at least once a week — especially with me having started my YouTube channel this year. Behind a blog post, there is storyboarding, planning a photo shoot, in some cases, getting a team, shooting, sometimes reshooting, editing, and posting. The editing process alone can take me days to finish. A lot of full-time bloggers have teams who help them create and publish content at a faster speed than they could accomplish on their own.
What did you study at SCAD and any advice for a graduating teen about to enter a creative education/art school?
🍊 I am actually still in school! I'm finishing up my BFA in Graphic Design next year, but I'm a part-time online student which enables me to have a flexible schedule with my schooling. My advice for any graduating teen about to enter a creative education/art school is to use the school to your advantage. This is a unique time in your life when your job is to learn. Take any classes that remotely interest you — you may be surprised to discover a hidden passion or you may find you really really don't like a certain field of study. When I was in high school, I took a bunch of pre-college classes at a local art school and it was such an invaluable time for me to learn what I liked and didn't. I see so many students shell out beaucoup bucks to attend art school and they don't even scratch the surface of using everything the school has to offer. Network with your professors, collaborate with your peers, and reach out when the school offers portfolio reviews and internship opportunities. You truly get what you put into it, so make it worth your time and money.
Being in a family business w/your mom, how is the work and responsibilities divided?
🍊 I focus on the more creative end. I am responsible for all the social media, photography, and newsletters. My mom creates the actual product and recipe develops when we're coming up with a new product. Of course, since we're the only people behind the business, the roles often blend together and we help each other out.
*MICAELA WEARS OWN TOP, PANTS BY FIRST RITE, DAWN WEARS TOP AND PANTS BY FIRST RITE
Drifter Organics focuses on cruelty free ingredients and everything is handcrafted in your own apartment. Do you think people are starting to become more curious or shifting towards more mindful, organic products, especially for skincare?
🍋 Yes, definitely. With more awareness being shed on food allergies and intolerances, people are learning that your skin is a mirror to your gut and if you wouldn't eat something, why would you feed it to your skin? After all, your skin is the largest organ of your body and absorbs everything you put on it. Due to health issues, I need to use only organic, natural skincare on my body. However, we find a lot of our customers don't have any health issues, but still don't want to rub chemicals on their skin because... gross!
What are some harmful ingredients that people should look for in labels and why are they bad for you?
🍋 We wrote an ebook all about natural skincare vs. commercial skincare, essential oils, and DIY recipes which goes very deeply into this topic, but some ingredients to look out for are parabens which are chemicals that are used to prevent bacteria and act as a preservative but can also mimic estrogen in the body and are linked to breast cancer and phthalates which are chemicals used to help products stick to our skin but are linked to cancer and birth defects. Both of these ingredients are banned in Europe.
For those with severe autoimmune conditions, what are a few ingredients that are key to their skincare regimen?
🍋 Some of the most effective, benign ingredients I've found that worked wonders on myself are shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil, and sesame oil.
These days everyone’s either bullet journaling or vision boarding, how does someone like yourself who needs to be creative and an entrepreneur all in one day manage to stay inspired, motivated and how do you organize your daily hustle?
⚡️ There needs to be a good balance of consuming and creating. There is so much content out there to get inspired, but if we spend too much time as a consumer, we can get trapped in analysis paralysis. If we do nothing but endlessly create, we can easily get stuck in a rut and will probably burn out. I feel like looking at other people's work for inspiration is often equated with copying, but there's a difference between blatantly copying and putting our own spin on whatever we're inspired by. For how I organize my life, I just made a video about how I plan my week. I'm a very visual person, so being meticulous about writing down all of my tasks, meetings, ideas, and other to-dos is imperative for my sanity. I don't use a bullet journal, but I absolutely love ban.do's planners.