Gara Post, Co-Founder + Creative Director, The NOW
In order to keep up with the hectic buzz of any big city, it's necessary to find respite. It's even better when you don't have to book an Airbnb and flights 2500 miles away to achieve inner peace: The NOW massage concept studio in Los Angeles has answered just that kind of city-dwelling prayer. Gara Post, the co-founder and the creative director of the Californian sanctuary, created a nature-fueled space with a range of massages that foster escape and heal, among the constant stimulation.
NOW's the perfect place for a friend date, a solo treat, or your monthly wellness non-negotiable. Created with efficiency in mind and Gara's own demanding life and schedule, you'll be in and out without wait, but it's impossible to resist lingering over the highly curated retail selection filled with items Gara has handpicked, from travels around the world and yearly visits to the gem show.
We stopped by her beautiful home and chatted about the power of a weekly massage, what it takes to curate a shop with the locals in mind, and she let us peek into her extensive art collection (that cement slab in her backyard? That was an original piece of the Berlin Wall!)
When leaving Gara, we were struck by a few things. First, how incredibly welcomed we felt, how relatable, thoughtful, and empathetic she is, and how much she values hard work. Born + raised in New York, she does everything with intensity and commitment, but she now includes the California influence of remembering to always take a breath to be in "The Now".
P.S. You can shop Sakara Life Clean Boutique items at all NOW locations, because what's better than remineralizing your water and popping a gut flora-balancing chocolate after a life-changing massage?
The NOW is often cited for its dreamy, natural aesthetic - how did design become such an important piece of the experience you create for your clients?
From the start, the design plan was essential and plays a large role in our success. When people want to unwind, they turn to the outdoors, and the interiors are inspired by nature and our travels to amazing beach locales around the world. We craft a feeling of vacation in the city; your refuge without paying a premium.
The items in your shop are all special and unique, how do you curate the selection?
We strive to make each massage boutique feel connected but unique in its own way. Similar themes in all stores, but different products based on what the space dictates. We feature more retail in Silver Lake because there is room for it. In Santa Monica, there are more hand-dyed Turkish towels because we are close to the beach. We take into consideration who the locals are, the neighborhood and what the vibe is. Of course I’m also always looking for what is new in the marketplace, the latest technology and advancements. I am constantly discovering product lines and researching merchandise through my travels and look to our leadership team to test the products as well. Branding is important. Ingredients and quality, equally important. Effectiveness and results are key.
You are an entrepreneur, a mom, and a jewelry designer - what is a non-negotiable that keeps you healthy + well?
Exercise and endorphins every morning, no excuses. Meditation. Time with my family and dogs to keep me grounded and emotionally fulfilled and caffeine to keep the machine going.
You started meditating shortly before opening The NOW. How has it helped you be better in your many roles?
My husband and I trained in Transcendental Meditation, ironically, right as we were opening The NOW. I have to say it has served me well throughout this process. I am committed to at minimum 20 minutes in the morning- I try to make time in the afternoon as well. Weekends, I always do twice a day. I have found it healing, like a daily mental cleanse. It is helpful in keeping me centered while providing a much needed quiet space in my brain. It’s important for stimulating creativity and managing anxiety and stress.
Massage is a tool to help you be in “The Now” - hence the name. When did you discover massage as a powerful modality for you personally?
I have always had a weekly massage - prenatal through my pregnancy, deep tissue, and beyond. As a child when I would travel with my family we would get massages, and although it was a luxury I recognized it had healing benefits. When the concept was brought to my husband, we saw the need for an affordable wellness destination. We live fast paced, stressful lives trying to balance work and kids and we wanted to create a haven in the city for people to relax and restore their energy.
You’ve been an entrepreneur for many years, first with your jewelry business and then as Co-founder of The NOW. What was an unexpected business lesson that came with opening [The NOW]?
Every business has its unique evolution and challenges, no matter how smooth things look on the surface every start-up has its struggles. You can’t control what life brings you but you can manage how you react and respond - learning how I manage stress and conflict has been a lesson for me in all my entrepreneurial endeavors. Also, finding the right team and support system is key and having patience is essential.
LA is a hub for health and wellness, do you have any go to recommendations?
Aside from The NOW, the below is a list of some of my favorite health and wellness experts.
Place 8 healing for Crystal Healing: Azalea Lee works with fine & rare metaphysical crystals during her transformative crystal readings. Leaving, you feeling inspired and ready to tackle the world (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Chiropractic Healer: Dr. Tim Barreto is one of the best human energy healers I have ever been to. He isn’t conveniently located but I can tell you he’s well worth the drive.
Yoga Sculpt: Sara Boutine teaches the most incredible yoga sculpt class around. She brings so much heart and soul and knows exactly how to keep me engaged cell phone free for the entire 60 mins. Extra bonus, her playlists are top notch.
Dancer + Choreographer Whitney Shannon teaches a dance inspired workout that both tones and strengthens every single part of your body.
What was your journey toward realizing the importance of intentional self care?
I grew up in New York, super fast-paced, watching my father in fashion and mom run her own beauty business. I balance that pace which is inherently in my DNA, with self-care and lots of grounding techniques. I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to the most innovative wellness through travels and of course living in the health epicenter that is LA.
Who are you inspired by right now?
This is a very exciting time for women and I am inspired and excited for the changes that are taking place and the women leading the charge. As a female business-owner and mother I look forward to seeing all the advancements that are coming our way and will hopefully benefit my daughter and generations to come.
What does legacy mean for you, what is the mark you want to leave on this planet?
As a family we are involved in a variety of charitable organizations. Service and giving-back is important to us, as well as working hard and self-care. Ultimately, we strive to be well-rounded individuals and hope that we are inspiring others to care for themselves so they feel energized and want to pay it forward.
Book or Podcast you’d recommend?
Oprah Super Soul Conversations for emotional inspiration
Girlboss Radio with Sophia Amoruso- when I want to connect with other women entrepreneurs
How I Built This with Guy Raz - for professional and work related inspiration
Your LA happy place?
We are lucky enough to have a gym at home and I love spending time doing yoga, running or meditating there. Also hiking in Laurel Canyon is special for me. I love to hike with my friends and kids when I can get them to motivate.
Depending on my mood. If I want a cleansing reset I will reach for the detox bar but if I need a midday boost I will grab the energy bar.
Both- I LOVE anything chocolate!
Coffee (or tea, or smoothie) Order?
Juice- all green veggie juice at Erewhon after a workout.
Coffee- in the colder months, my go to is a hot americano and in the warmer months I throw it over ice. Always with 2% milk and a sugar in the raw.
Wine (or cocktail) order?
I love a great red wine when I want to relax and unwind after a long day with my husband. My go-to drink when I want to turn it up a notch is a vodka with a splash of soda and a lemon.
What do you recommend for a first timer going to The NOW?
I would recommend our signature massage because you can never go wrong, but definitely explore the enhancements. From heat and deep tissue, to beauty sleep and aromatherapy- you can customize your massage to whatever your body needs NOW. ;)