Our VP of Brand, Delaney Allen-Mills, has been with Artemis since its inception in 2018. In this blog post, she describes her “conventionally unconventional” journey to the beauty and wellness industry and how she found her path by merging passion and purpose.
The decision to pivot from a childhood dream
I grew up between two continents, the child of a global conflict journalist + photojournalist duo. Some of my earliest memories involve the darkroom my mother kept in a small room in our flat. Everything about photography excited me; its tactile nature (in the days of film and print), its ability to capture moments that would never again repeat, and its form as a language through which I could better communicate and relate with the world.
In my mind, my career began at the age of 10 when I was gifted my very first camera, a Kodak 35mm point-and-shoot. I brought it with me everywhere. I became wholly convinced that my path and purpose in life was to work as a photographer, wherever that passion brought me. I ultimately followed that momentum through university, graduating with a BFA in Photography from Parsons the New School for Design in New York City.
As a lifelong learner, eager and excited by many aspects of every industry, I spent the following few years working in the art and fashion industries in various roles for many incredible businesses and individuals. Yet I still felt something was missing, a scratch I couldn’t quite itch – I hadn’t yet found my niche. I decided to take a step back from the art world, and did what most twenty-somethings in New York City must do when they are changing gears – I picked up a handful of part-time jobs to buy some thinking time (and more importantly to pay the rent!).
Aesop: A masterclass in the art of the lovemark
My introduction to the beauty industry came in 2015 when I joined Aesop as a retail consultant in New York City, one of the many jobs I held at this time. However, it soon became apparent that this role would forever change me – both personally and professionally. What started as a part-time job to pay the bills soon became one of the most impactful learning experiences of my life.
Aesop is not just a brand, it is truly a lovemark. From the time I was hired, I was fully bedded into the Aesop experience and the training I received during my onboarding process still sets the bar for quality that I use to measure success in those areas to this day.
The Aesop customer experience is memorable and meticulously crafted, highlighting the importance of sensory engagement, hospitality, and genuine human connection. I was obsessed – hungry for the knowledge that Aesop provided. I learned about every ingredient in each formulation, taking fervent notes. I also developed a mastery of the art of the consultation, how to read the unspoken needs of clients, and how to best connect with every single person that walked through our doors.
I quickly recognized that my favorite part about this role wasn’t just the incredible products (although I’m a superfan and customer for life now!) but instead the sense of passion and purpose I felt when creating an experience for a customer that allowed them to feel seen, heard, and supported.
Where the personal and professional merge to drive passion and purpose.
From the time I was young, I had been struggling with my physical and mental health. I had always looked at this as a ‘weakness’ and blocker – something I just needed to work twice as hard to push through in order to show up in the world in the ways that I wanted to. It felt like a constant invisible battle that I was fighting in isolation, something that consumed a large portion of my life and energy. Yet this personal journey was never something I considered could shape my professional path – if anything, I saw it as something that could only serve to hinder my success. Until my early 20s, the idea of “feeling better” did not feel attainable to me, the idea of “wellness” being so far from my lived experience that it felt like a mirage.
It was at that point that I took a step back to re-evaluate my journey. What I had been doing up until that point, and what needed to be done to (hopefully) change my outcomes. During this period of review, I was able to build a team of integrative health professionals around me who were able to support me in achieving the goal we all strive for, one which I had previously believed to be impossible for me – and I started to feel better.
When I started to feel better, and when I began to truly develop trust in my own ability to consistently demonstrate strength and resilience against insurmountable odds, my entire world changed. This is when I was pushed headfirst into the realization that my life’s merging of passion and purpose was to help others to experience that same transformation – to help empower others to feel better and experience more joy and fulfillment in their lives as a result.
From “starting over” to VP of a mission-driven beauty and wellness brand.
With my newfound clarity of purpose in mind, I made the decision to “start over” and go back to school to pursue a degree in health science. At the time I believed that there was one path for me to follow in order to help people, which was to pursue a career in medicine. I set out to become a licensed medical professional and help patients with complex cases like mine.
While in school, I needed to find a full-time job that would work with my full class schedule (a tall order as it turned out!) and thus turned to Indeed. I knew I wanted to be in the wellness space, and in my search, I came across what seemed to be the perfect opportunity to work for a newly opening cryotherapy and wellness business in TriBeCa. That is how I met Simon Mansell, the founder of Artemis, who at the time was embarking on his first venture into the beauty and wellness industry – a brick-and-mortar location named Cryofuel.
I helped to open that business and watched transformation after transformation in every client who walked through the door. This drove my passion further to learn about all the new modalities I could get my hands on. In September of 2017, Simon asked me to fly to Europe to receive a training on a new and promising device his wife Lauren had discovered while on holiday that he wanted to incorporate into our service offerings. It touted major beauty benefits, and to be honest, I was skeptical. But after seeing the results in client after client and seeing what an emotional impact these transformations had, I was sold not only on the value of the device, but most importantly on the intrinsic link between beauty, wellness, and how we feel about ourselves.
When Simon recognized the opportunity we had discovered with this device and how important it was to share that opportunity with other beauty and wellness entrepreneurs across the US, Artemis was born. I watched as the Artemis community quickly grew, and the life-changing stories flooded in from business owners, professionals, and clients. And there that nagging feeling was again, which I now recognize as very strong intuition! I realized that since pivoting to the wellness industry, I had developed a preconceived notion that the only way to fulfill my passion and purpose while having impact was to become a medical professional myself. What I hadn’t seen previously was how it is possible to have a wide-ranging impact, while fulfilling both passion and purpose, through so many other channels within this industry, each with its own unique facets.
I asked Simon if there would be a role that might be a good fit for me at Artemis if I decided to pivot away from my original plan to pursue a doctorate. He offered me a huge opportunity which I took with gratitude and humility, eager to develop. Now, five and a half years later, I have worn many hats at Artemis and made my way through the ownership of many functions, from Head to Director of Training, to VP of Product, and now to VP of Brand.
I can confidently say that I have grown exponentially both personally and professionally within this company and industry – all because I decided to bring together passion and purpose, take a series of big leaps, trust in my abilities (and my gut!), and shed my preconceptions about what my path “should” look like.
👉 Watch: My Wellness Journey – Glow & Tell