This Is What the Founder of Vitamin Brand GEM Does to Start Her Day

What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning? A well-rounded morning routine sets the tone for the day and gets you prepped—both mentally and physically—before diving into a packed schedule filled with emails, chores, happy hours, workouts, and more. Our series Morning Person profiles those who have mastered the art of the morning routine. Tune in every Monday morning here and on our Instagram to learn exactly how the pros get it all done before the sun comes up, from their go-to breakfasts to their a.m. workouts.


(Image credit: Sara Cullen)

Being a founder and CEO of a company is no easy feat. And accomplishing a whole series of tasks before even hitting the office? Now that's just showing off. But Sara Cullen, CEO of a newly launched vitamin brand called GEM, has more than enough reason to. Besides being an entrepreneur, Sara earned a degree in international agricultural development studies and previously worked with women farmers in sustainable networks around the world. So it's no surprise she's felt the need to curate a solid morning routine: "My mornings are my sacred time to preserve somewhat of a daily routine because after 8 a.m., the day becomes hectic and completely unpredictable." Keep reading for what being a Morning Person looks like for her, in her own words…

5:30 a.m.

I usually start my day around 5:30 or 6 a.m.—I always set an alarm, though my body naturally wakes me up a few minutes beforehand. I try not to check my email first thing, but I will admit I often do a quick scan to make sure there are no fires to put out. The first thing I love to do is move my body. Usually I like to get out in nature, whether that’s a run, a hike, or a surfing session. I take my daily GEM right before I work out; it’s designed to give prevent the nausea that often results when you take a capsule on an empty stomach, and it provides a great boost of energy to get me going.

6:30 a.m.

I’m not fussy when it comes to getting ready, so I’m usually in and out in less than 30 minutes. After a shower, I must moisturize my entire body (as of late, I’ve been loving this body butter from Primally Pure). My go-to essentials for daily face cleansing and moisturizing are nontoxic, algae-based OSEA products. For beauty, my routine is super-minimal. I wear a touch of mascara, Glossier Boy Brow, and a tinted moisturizer from Laura Mercier.

7 a.m.

Now I’m in the kitchen making a cup of coffee on my Bialetti. With it, I love to start my day off with some kind of fruit. My go-to breakfast is a smoothie bowl filled with berries, spirulina, adaptogenic herbs, and non-dairy milk. I like to mix it up and I enjoy the experimentation, so there’s never one way I make my morning bowl.

For the milk, I try to make my own, since so many of the almond milks on the shelf are filled with binders and preservatives. Homemade almond milk can go bad quickly, so it’s hard to prep. I love leaving a batch of almonds soaking in water throughout the week; then I take a portion as I need it. (I use a fine single-mesh strainer; it’s easier and cleaner than cheesecloth.) Sometimes I add a dash of cinnamon and vanilla extract for added sweetness.


(Image credit: Sara Cullen)

I then take 15 minutes during breakfast to sit down and journal. Pen to paper, whatever comes to mind. I find journaling first thing helps clear the cobwebs and calm the mind. It gets your worries and anxieties out of the way so you can focus on the day ahead.

7:30 a.m.

I live close to our office, so it’s typically a short 10-minute commute. This is usually the first time I listen to music (unless I go for a run in the morning), and what I listen to during that commute really depends on my mood and my intention for that day.


(Image credit: @daily_gem)

7:45 a.m. 

More often than not, my meetings start at 8 a.m., so if I can, I love to get to the office at least 15 minutes beforehand. My office rituals are short and include making tea and turning on our Vitruvi diffuser. We love the peppermint or lemon essential oil blends—a great way to elevate your morning and keep you in a good headspace for the rest of the day!

Next Up: Here's How Pilates Instructor Bailey Brown Starts Her Morning in Bondi Beach


This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used in the place of advice of your physician or other medical professionals. You should always consult with your doctor or healthcare provider first with any health-related questions.