At Home in the World

Aurora James crafts a life of luxury and intention — cultivating a sense of harmony that starts on the inside

For the next installation in our Curator series, RODIN olio lusso partnered with Aurora James to share how she embodies the brand's values of indulgent self-care and intentional wellness as she grows her brand and her life.

Aurora James, founder and creative director of Brother Vellies clocks a fast-pace with her business that takes her across continents—but she slows the world down to check in with herself and drink in traditions that lead to her inspiration. As she redefines luxury through thoughtful pieces for her brand that link traditional styles and techniques from North Africa to Mexico, she is also carving out a home for herself, anywhere, through a grounded sense of intention and care.

Here, she shares her beauty philosophy, her love of craftsmanship, and how she is creating a sense of home and belonging everywhere she goes. 

What is your beauty philosophy?

How I approach every element of my life is with as much care and compassion as possible. So when I talk about skincare and about beauty, it really has to boil down to health and strong ingredients. Taking time to find products that are right and then using those products in a really thoughtful and mindful way is paramount to me.

I'm not one of those people that can handle having a 10 step beauty routine. I'm a one, two, or three and done kind of person. My ideal day is being able to just get out of the shower and go. I use eucalyptus every morning when I bathe—having that steamy, meditative moment and then coming out and using just one quality oil, like RODIN olio lusso’s Jasmine and Neroli Body Oil, is perfect. Because I don't love wearing makeup, I'm able to feel my best without wearing it by really making sure I put my skin care first.

How does that philosophy work within your overall approach to wellness and self-care?

If you're taking something that you're doing for yourself, like your self care routine or your beauty ritual, it's important that when you do those acts of self-love, and you really are performing acts of self-love, that you are as present as you can possibly be. Asking what are all of my senses that I want to involve in this process? And, for me, scent is a big one there. So I really want to take time, and breathe in what I'm putting in my body.

I think that everything you do, you have to do with intention. You have to be present in the process. I think that's why I'm always acutely aware of what the products I use smell like. When I breathe in the botanicals in RODIN olio lusso, I feel the same sense of care and intention that I bring to my own life. Because in my practice of being present I try to involve, or be aware of, all of my senses as much as possible in moments in life. And what I like about RODIN olio lusso is that it’s not just about a product, it’s about a philosophy.  And it’s the same with Brother Vellies and that’s why I resonate with this brand.

What does your approach to beauty look like when you’re traveling between continents?

I definitely switch it up when I’m in different places — whether that’s South Africa or Los Angeles or New York — or depending on what my skin is telling me. With RODIN olio lusso, there'll be certain days where I'll only use the Luxury Face Oil. And then, if I'm traveling and I know I'm going to be on a plane, it's about using the Luxury Jasmine & Neroli Face Oil, the Face Cream, and the Eye Cream. And then there's another day where I look at my skin and maybe if I feel it's not as bright as I would like it to be, then maybe I’m only just doing the Luxury Face Cream, and the Illuminating Eye Cream. It always has to start with asking myself, and my skin, what I need.

Both your brand and RODIN olio lusso place a value in craftsmanship, how do the artisan traditions that are behind Brother Vellies still inspire you as you continue to grow the brand?

Tradition is incredibly important. It's something that has to be actively preserved in people in order to continue on. I've always been really inspired by it and continue to be inspired by it. [Brother Vellies] started with the South African vellie and that was my first ever shoe and a bestseller for a long time. Last summer, our best seller was the traditional Mexican huarache. And I think it says something that traditional things really resonate with different groups of people. Preserving culture, and preserving tradition is really special, they’re these things that make people feel at home in different moments. I know that when I see a Moroccan babouche [a traditional slipper] on the street, a part of me will tingle a little bit and it'll take me back to the souks and evoke that memory in me.

The RODIN olio lusso Luxury Face Oil has North African orange blossom in it and when I rub it in and smell it, it also takes me back to North Africa. All of these different triggers for us can take us back to different places in time. And ultimately, with my customers, when people say ‘what do you want them to feel from Brother Vellies?’ The number one thing I want my customers to feel right now is at home, especially considering so many of us feel displaced in our own countries. It's critical to me that it's really welcoming and that we're really embracing all sorts of different people--really everybody. I want to speak to as many people as possible with the brand and that means embracing as many different traditions as I'm able to.