Botanical ingredients are having a moment, and this is amazing news for those of us who want to nourish and protect our skin without using harsh chemicals, toxins, or preservatives. The question then becomes, are all-natural products as effective as their synthetic-laden counterparts that promise younger looking skin? This was an issue that troubled skincare entrepreneur Tata Harper who founded her eponymous business after her stepfather was diagnosed with cancer. It’s been estimated that over one in five personal care products contain cancer-causing chemicals.
Everything in the products Tata meticulously develops and creates with chemists at her certified-organic farm in the Champlain Valley, Vermont is 100% natural, safe, and non toxic. Furthermore, her mission to deliver a natural solution with anti-aging results works (just Google “Tata Harper; she’s a walking advertisement). An added bonus — thanks to the floral ingredients used, all Tata Harper products smell like a bouquet of freshly picked flowers — jasmine and roses and orange flowers.
Enjoy this 11th installment of Growing Up and Doing Business With… Tata Harper.
What kind of kid were you growing up?
I was did well in school and eventually graduated with a degree in Industrial Engineering, but I had a tendency to be mischievous; I could usually be found brewing up trouble with my sisters.
What did you want to be?
I thought I was going to be a fashion designer. My friend and I had a little fashion company when we were really little; we learned how to sew and got really into designing a few pieces.
Who were/are the major influences in your life?
My grandmother, who was very hands-on in raising me. She was a very interesting woman who loved doing so many fun things – cooking, crafting, creating things and exploring. She explained to me how the world works, and spoke openly about everything; she treated me with respect, like I was an adult, even at a very young age.
Tell me about why you started your brand.
I created my skincare line because I couldn’t find the products that I wanted to use: skincare that delivered real, visible and clinically-proven results without a single drop of synthetic chemical ingredients. I was looking for a modern beauty solution, products that met my standards for health as well as results, and it really didn’t exist anywhere in the world, so I set out to create what I was looking for.
What were the most challenging aspects of going into business?
There were so many challenges! First of all, the whole concept was new, and everyone thought it was impossible to make 100% natural products that really worked. The industry people that we spoke to really weren’t interested in this idea at the beginning, they were interested in still doing things the easy way, with synthetic chemicals. Then, formulation was incredibly difficult; it took five years to create our first range of formulas. And finally, we really had to begin at square one with educating consumers that natural, nontoxic products are really the ultimate luxury, because you’re getting the beautiful skin you want at no risk to your health. Five years ago, that was a brand new concept. Luckily, the products are incredible and people are so blown away by the results; the enthusiasm that our customer base has for our line has really been incredible.
Who is/are your mentor/s?
My mother was an entrepreneur as well, so she gave me the entrepreneurship bug and showed me the ropes. My husband, Henry, has been my other mentor; he has helped me with everything and taught me so much since the first day the idea was born.
What qualities do you most admire in people?
I love spontaneity, and I love it when people are present, when they’re really paying attention to you when you’re having a conversation with them.
What skill do you wish you possessed?
I wish I was a good cook.
What has been your greatest work achievement?
The seven beauty awards that our products have won this year!
How do you find balance in your life?
The best way for me to find balance is to be hyper-orgnaized, and to plan ahead. Things change every day and every week; if I don’t plan, I end up having a very unhealthy situation, trying to squeeze in home life and health around business priorities. Thank goodness planning is my forte; also, having a great assistant to keep all of the moving pieces together has been essential. Emotionally, the way I find balance is to exercise. If I don’t exercise, I don’t feel my best.
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
I’d like to still be living in Vermont, still making the best natural skincare in the world!
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram?
Book or Kindle/Tablet?
Favourite fictional character?
Best decade? Why?
The 20’s! I love the fashion, beauty and style of that era, and the women who emerged then as real business leaders, like Coco Chanel.
Kale Chips or Potato Crisps?
Snow or sea?
The ocean, any day!
Coffee or tea?
Chamomile or chai tea with honey and milk.
Mac or PC?
Where is home?
A farm in Vermont.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To be more patient. When I was in high school I was dying to go into college, when I was in college, I was dying to be out of it. I wish I had been more appreciative those times and transitions; there was a lot of anxiety.
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