Mindfulness is ‘in the cards’ through RESSET Studio’s best-selling resource

By Rachel Patel, Staff Reporter

Columbia students who collaborated with RESSET presented their work at Manifest and Chicago’s Technology and Entrepreneurship Center. K’Von Jackson

Surrounded by friends at a barbecue in Chicago, Schmid Etienne was taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the event — namely, kimchi-marinated steak — but it all went sour when the smell of a burnt piece of kimchi that fell into the grill transported him back in time to his deployment.

This inspired him to start RESSET Studio, which aims to help individuals pause, think and reflect on their current moment while assessing the senses they may be experiencing at that moment.

As a retired veteran and current entrepreneur and CEO, it was this exact moment that made him realize how influential the senses were to everyday decision-making.

“I was frozen in time, and I saw myself in front of her house, and it wasn’t until my friend touched my shoulder and asked me if I was okay that I realized that I was in Chicago,” Etienne said. “And that was the biggest ‘aha’ moment for me.”

Realizing how detrimental his loss of focus could have been if he had been driving or doing something that required his attention, Etienne felt a new wave of motivation come over him. Determined, he began researching the concept deeper while pursuing his master’s degree in exercise science from Northeastern Illinois University and further learned about motor control. Partnering with Lauren Ruckheim, the two created 20-minute Mandatory Continued Legal Education workshops to help professionals with focusing and grounding techniques.

The two quickly realized people wanted something shorter and faster than 20 minutes, so with the help of psychologists and therapists, RESSET’s card deck was created.

Offered in their Self-Care, Relationship and the Classic decks, these card sets all serve as easy, on-the-go tools individuals can use when feeling overwhelmed or stressed and when they may need that moment to pause and reflect.

“[People] wanted something that was shorter, quicker and more effective, and that’s where we started rethinking our process: Let’s take some of our curriculum and merge it into something that is tangible, something that is usable, something that can be used anytime, anywhere — regardless of what the person is going through,” Etienne said. “All they have to do is grab a card, and they can actually reduce the stress, which is reducing environmental stimuli, and be able to be mindful and be more focused.”

Combining the brand’s two main pillars of focus, RESSET stands for “Reducing Environmental Stimuli / Self Evaluation Time.” Etienne said beyond benefitting just business professionals, lawyers, veterans and other adults, the cards can be useful for college students who may be feeling overwhelmed or anxious and help them with endurance and retention.

Eleni Kaiafas, a recent advertising graduate felt the cards and the brand especially resonated with her when her “Agency” class at Columbia partnered up with RESSET at the beginning of the semester.

“I was personally very happy we got to work with RESSET, that was my number one [choice] because mental health is something that’s very important to me,” Kaiafas said. “And I also agree that it’s kind of a taboo topic like people aren’t really good at talking about that, and a lot of people don’t know how to get the help they need, so I think this is a really good starting point for them.”

The class presented their deliverables to Chicago’s Technology & Entrepreneurship Center on May 11, and the students also presented at Manifest, going over their entire process. Etienne said the experience working with “Agency” was “heartwarming” and that he always wanted RESSET to validate and support college students.

“The card is that essence of making things easy,” Etienne said. “Using the senses in so many ways that you can cut through the noise and try to just pause or be for that moment before you make the next decision, before you take the next action that could either be not too great or that can hurt somebody.”

People interested in purchasing the cards or learning more about the brand can visit RESSET’s website.