Photographed by Hannah Faith Lord
Meet Cassie Ebner, one of our favorite collaborators here at DAMDAM. This one-woman show runs her own company, Palo Santo Studios, a Los Angeles-based creative agency that has a curated list of independent brands, artists, and designers under its wing. A joy to work with, Cassie’s ear-to-ear smile is likely the result of her evident passion for her job and a daily ritual rooted in gratitude. Here, she chats about the impetus of Palo Santo Studios, life as an entrepreneur, and her go-to beauty products for her sensitive, eczema-prone skin.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a Los Angeles native living in Downtown. Growing up here, I never thought I’d find myself on this side of town, but I was drawn in by the fashion district and have stayed for the blank canvas that allows artists to be themselves and be different. I’ve lived all over the East side, from Silver Lake and Atwater Village to Echo Park, but found myself most at home in my loft oasis downtown. I’m the founder & director of Palo Santo Studios, a creative and sales agency that represents designers, artists, and concepts.
“Sacred Palo Santo wood is burned to cleanse any negative or stale energy, and usher in a positive and creative flow… I’m a firm believer of weaving wellness, self-care, and a hope for the greatest good into all things I do.”
Why did you start Palo Santo Studios?
Working in the fashion and design industry for a decade, I wanted to find a niche that allowed me to root myself in creativity, art, sales and ethics. Seems like an unlikely combo, but meshed together, it created the agency I have now. I was lucky enough to work among extremely talented people who taught me a little bit of this, and a little bit of that. I merged all of my findings into one cohesive concept where we not only represent brands and designers for wholesale, but we also have the ability to take brands, businesses, and other concepts from A to Z with creative assets to support all of the sales work we do. Basically, we create everything from look books, line sheets, to seasonal campaigns, and place brands into retailers. Everything we do is with intention, and is a delicate process of being thoughtful and preparing our brands for loyalty and longevity in the marketplace, both wholesale and direct to consumer.
Although it’s easy to say “I just went for it!,” the journey to having my own business was paired with a ton of self-work, reflection, risk, and connectivity. The kindness and dedication of the people who stood by me as I transitioned from a safe salary, to entrepreneurship – with not even enough money in my bank account to cover next month’s rent! – will never cease to amaze me. My first clients were those who truly believed I could make a difference in the lives and businesses of artists and independent brands. Those clients are still with me to this day, and mean the world to me.
As for the name — sacred Palo Santo wood is burned to cleanse any negative or stale energy, and usher in a positive and creative flow. I wanted a fresh start from my previous work experiences, and felt drawn to igniting all my deepest creative effusions. I’m also a firm believer of weaving wellness, self-care, and a hope for the greatest good into all things I do.
What inspires your work?
My work is inspired by a multitude of things — the journey of self exploration, the artists who surround me and amaze me everyday. The urge to progress, to propel society towards something beautiful. I feel as if there’s a forward motion inside of me, always, pushing me towards new exciting ideas, revelations in design and aesthetics, the luminosity of creativity. It may also seem cliche, but the loved ones in my life are my muses and push me to always be better, think differently, and expand.
“The Nomad’s Cleanser is a must for the dry California winters, but my empty lip balm container says that might be my can’t-live-without product. I also love to do a face mask with every new and full moon, so the Power Mask is a fun addition to my routine.”
Do you have a morning ritual that you try to keep everyday to be productive?
I love this question! Ritual is an essential part of my life and my sanity. Every morning, I wake up and begin: I put a kettle of water on the stove, and head to my vanity where I run a towel under warm water and then press it to my face to gently awaken my skin and kindly allow myself to become present for the day. I used to use an electric kettle to boil water, and have moved to the stove kettle as it creates a beautiful structure, with the alarm-like whistle to urge me to connect with the elements.
I take my coffee to-go as I walk to a neighborhood workout (I alternate between HIIT classes, Pilates, Soul Cycle, and Hot Yoga). Doing a workout first thing in the morning makes me feel more energetic, and as if I could achieve anything today. Once I get home and shower, I use my DAMDAM cleanser and a natural shampoo and conditioner. I try not to dry off too much after the shower, as I have really sensitive, dry skin (and eczema!), so I just lightly pat and then cover my body in mixture of organic grapeseed, almond, and tamanu oil to lock in the moisture. I then use a few drops of my Lesse serum, plus my DAMDAM lip balm— and that’s it. I just let my skin breathe and brush out my brows!
I make sure to give myself enough time in the morning for my workout (even if that means a 6 A.M. class), my simple beauty routine, and then to make a light breakfast (usually a smoothie, oats or eggs, or sometimes just fruit). Don’t get me wrong – there’s some days where we have early A.M, photo shoots, or I want to spend that extra time in bed with my partner, so everything gets all turned around… but I return with heaps of gratitude to the structure of my morning routine. I cherish it dearly, and it helps maintain my strong work ethic.
It also doesn’t hurt that my office is only a block away from my loft! I love that I’ve created a life where I can walk to my workouts, to the grocery store, and to the studio, as I find a walking life is rare in Los Angeles.
My morning rituals have become even more beautifully enhanced by watching the sunrise each morning from my new space. I’m really excited to have moved into such a dynamic and creative space with my partner, where we are turning one of the rooms into an art studio to explore different mediums. We’re also excited to share the space with other creatives for photo shoots and creative endeavors. Collaborating is one of my favorite things about working in the industry!
“My morning rituals have become even more beautifully enhanced by watching the sunrise each morning from my new space.”
Favorite DAMDAM product?
The Nomad’s Cleanser is a must for the dry California winters, but my empty lip balm container says that might be my can’t-live-without product. I also love to do a face mask with every new and full moon, so the Power Mask is a fun addition to my routine.