Throughout her career as an RN, Aishleen O'Brien has worked at hospitals across the country as a travel nurse, caring for patients from all walks of life. She has been surrounded by hardworking nurses who dedicate themselves to providing excellent care, but has often noticed that nurses sometimes don't get the opportunity to take care of themselves. This is how the idea for her gift box business, Nightingale Express, came to fruition.
Nightingale Express was created to show that special nurse just how much they're appreciated. These one of a kind gift boxes have been thoughtfully collected with pieces that are meant to pamper and provide a serene sense of calm relaxation.
We had the opportunity to chat with Aishleen and find out some of the details about what it takes to grow a business based on self-care from the ground up.
What made you want to start a business that focuses so much on self-care?
I loved the idea of helping my coworkers and peers take care of themselves. Working at hospitals all over the country as a travel nurse has really opened my eyes to the dedication and passion that nurses everywhere bring to their jobs and patient care. Self-care often falls to the wayside with understaffed units and stressful patient assignments. It seems obvious that in order for nurses to care for others, they must also care for themselves, but sadly this is not always the case.
What is the most challenging part of starting a company by yourself?
With a background in nursing, it was most challenging to simply figure out the basic ins and outs of starting a business. I needed to learn about a DBA vs. an LLC, tax laws, retail guidelines, how to create a website, and more. It has been an amazing learning experience and I have been extremely lucky to have invaluable resources along the way. My best friend is a graphic designer who has helped me design much of the company’s branding material and website.
Have you found the endeavor changing how you manage your time to ensure that you still have a chance to relax and take care of yourself?
Effectively managing my time has definitely been a work in progress. Striking a perfect balance between full-time nursing, Nightingale Express, self-care, and a social life is an exciting and sometimes stressful challenge. However, having a business that is constantly promoting self-care has allowed me to keep that message in mind for myself.
If you could give advice to anyone who is thinking about starting a company or brand what would you tell them and why?
First, I would tell someone who is passionate about their business idea and message to go for it! As stressful as starting a business is, seeing it come to fruition has been extremely rewarding. Second, don’t be afraid to ask questions or reach out for help. There were (and still are) so many things to learn. Early on, I was sometimes too timid to ask what certain things meant, to find a better way to do something, or be assertive on getting a better price for a product. However, once I gained more confidence these issues became easier to solve and I found that fellow business owners were very receptive to answering questions and providing advice.
What are some of your favorite items that Nightingale Express offers that are great to use to pamper yourself?
Having tried and handpicked each item for Nightingale Express I am a fan of everything! I would have to say that I love the cozy socks by This Night (featured in The Clara), Glint candles (especially Hydrangea + Hyacinth for the summer), Grit body scrub by Willow + Honey (The Walt), and Handmade La Conner lotion. Starting in late April, I am very excited to start including linen/room spray from Happy Spritz, Rx Bars, Moon Valley Organic products, Living Royal socks, and more!
Aishleen O'Brien is the founder of Nightingale Express. A travel nurse with over 5 years of experience in the field of pediatric cardiac critical care, she currently resides in Seattle, WA.