Talk us through your career background? I was born and raised in Colombia by my mother and grandmother who were obsessed with beauty. After high school, I wanted to study fashion, but my mother encouraged me to attend school in Mexico to become an industrial engineer. Then, I took this road of being an entrepreneur in beauty. I never thought that I would be in beauty, even though I’ve always loved it. We started Tata Harper Skincare on our organic farm in Vermont in 2010 and since we launched our first product line, we have grown into a global business. From the inception of the company, I have been unwilling to compromise or take shortcuts. If I had chosen to take the easy route or was willing to take no for an answer, Tata Harper Skincare would not be what it is today. I am always striving for the best, most innovative solution to the problem, and I won’t settle for a lesser answer. We have a unique approach to formulation, grounded in the philosophy that complexity equals efficacy and more ingredients equal more results, to the completely vertical integration with zero shortcuts or outsourcing that now defines the farm-to-face movement.
What led you to explore the beauty space? The catalyst for starting a green beauty line was when my stepfather was diagnosed with cancer and I became aware of the toxins and chemicals. I couldn’t find any natural products without synthetic chemicals that gave me the results and the luxury experience I was looking for. Looking behind the curtains of the products, I was disappointed to learn that many products used ingredients that belonged in cars, and not on your skin.
You’ve always focused on natural beauty. Was this the strategy from the outset? When I started learning about the toxic load and how many toxic ingredients are in my personal care products, I was shocked to find that many brands use a fully synthetic or premade base that make up 75 per cent of the formula. Most of the time, the bases don’t do anything for the skin and are made primarily with preservatives and artificial ingredients that might make them look and smell nice, but that’s it. My goal from the very beginning has been to create products that would give me the results of the luxury skincare I was used to but with completely natural and nontoxic ingredients. For us, luxury is about the quality of our ingredients and the powerful performance of our products. We achieve that by using as many potent and high-tech ingredients as possible in every formula to make multifunctional, hardworking products that give you real results without a single drop of synthetic chemicals. It’s not the easy way, but it’s the only way we have done things and will continue to operate as a brand.
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