It’s been a month since Tata Harper’s lovely products became available in Finland. How many of you have fallen in love with them? I’ve used up a tube already.
I had the honor of interviewing Tata for the blog and, as before, I will be posting our exchange in English. Tata’s replies make me super excited for the brand’s spring and summer launches. The makeup items are especially interesting, not to mention the arrival of the SuperNatural Collection on the Finnish market – from the samples I was given, I can tell you that the serums are the most heavenly luxury my skin has ever known!
I hope you will be inspired, too!
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? Where are you from and what did you do before creating your own skincare brand?
Before founding my own beauty company, I worked in real estate in Miami with my husband. I’m originally from Colombia; I grew up in Barranquilla and went to school in Paris and Mexico, where I got a degree in Industrial Engineering.
How did everything start?
Everything was born out of the realization that there wasn’t a single luxury skincare company in the world that made products that were high-performance that were also 100% natural, made without a single synthetic ingredient. Once I discovered that gap in the market, I set out to create the line I wished existed. I became interested in natural, healthy products after my stepfather was diagnosed with cancer about ten years ago; during his treatment and recovery process, doctors recommended that he take a look at the products he was using in the shower and in his home and to switch to natural ones with fewer chemicals. I was shocked – I had never thought that products we’d buy at the store could have ingredients that could actually be bad for our health in the long-term. I started to detox my products and lifestyle right away.
What is beauty to you?
To me, beauty is a mixture of confidence and poise, happiness, and of course, glowing skin!
What inspires you and how do you integrate your ideas with the brand and business?
I’m inspired by so many things – by my children, by my travels around the country and the world, by my friends and by my farm in Vermont, where I get to spend so much time out in the countryside. I sort of collect these inspirations daily – by taking photos, or jotting down notes, and then I integrate them into my plans if there’s a place for them.
How do you select the ingredients for your products? Where does all the knowledge come from and do the ideas of key ingredients come from you or the chemists?
We find out about new ingredients and natural technologies by attending trade shows and by keeping in touch with chemists and labs around the world, so that we’re staying on top of the most advanced options. The way it usually works is that we conceptualize a product first – what do we want it to do for the skin? What problem does it solve? – and then we go on the hunt for the best ingredients available to produce those results, and then our chemists and formulators get to work.
How many of your ingredients do you produce by yourself in Vermont?
We grow herbs and botanicals like borage, calendula, arnica, meadowsweet and alfalfa, which we combine into a blend called our Estate Grown Beauty Complex, which delivers nutritional and healing benefits in each one of our formulas.
What is it like to run your own skincare business? What is your average day like?
It’s exciting, amazing, challenging and constantly changing! I am so grateful for the fact that I’ve been able to create this company, to turn my dream into a reality and to improve people’s skin and therefore their lives with really healthy, wonderful skincare products. I have two types of average days: when I’m at home, on the farm, I work the full day in the office at our headquarters, usually having nonstop meetings to keep everything running smoothly, and then I head home and hang out with my kids. If I’m traveling, my days can be unpredictable – a few meetings, an event at a retailer or a spa, business development, you name it. I love traveling and being out and about, meeting new people – it’s how I gather ideas and inspirations for everything from packaging to product photography.
What has been the most challenging moment for your brand? Do you have a mentor in case you need advice?
I’m not sure that there’s been one particular most-challenging moment… there have been many hiccups along the way, of course, but I have an amazing team of managers and employees and we’ve been able to get through everything so far.
What has been the highlight with Tata Harper Skincare so far?
I have so many! I think at the beginning, when we made it into Vogue Magazine with a full two-page piece, that was amazing, but so was being featured in the J.Crew catalogue earlier this year. Also, launching our Open Lab Program with a gorgeous event co-hosted by Lake Bell, that was incredible too! And of course, each time a customer tells me that her skin has never been better thanks to our products – that’s the ultimate star moment.
How about the future plans? Are you planning to create more products?
Yes! Lots of new products are in the works. We’re expanding our SuperNatural collection, and releasing a new Body Scrub and Body Balm in the spring, and new cosmetic products in the summer. We’re always working on about a dozen new products, at least!
What is the biggest dream for your brand?
I just hope to be able to continue to provide natural antiaging skincare solutions for people, and maybe that will grow to include more makeup, hair care, men’s products – we’re not sure yet, but we’re lucky to be in a position where a lot of those options are open.
What would your advice be to people who are dreaming to run their business some day?
Make sure you are very, very passionate about the mission of your business – you need to be able to put forward excitement and enthusiasm no matter what. Your business’ purpose really needs to keep you energized!
What makes you happy?
Relaxing with the people I love – my children, my family, my sisters and parents and friends – ideally on the beach in Colombia!
Photos Tata Harper