Saturday, January 16, 2010

An interview with Tira, CEO of LUVU Beauty

Here is the interview with Tira from LUVU Beauty that I promised you. If you missed the posts about toxins in cosmetics (including a Buyer's Guide with a downloadable wallet insert), click here and here to view them. Read on, be inspired, and enjoy. Tira's a great gal!

{Tira Wootton}

Tell us a little about LUVU - describe what you do….I mean, you’re so much more than make-up! You’re a designer, a visionary, a mom, a creator, a researcher….

First I would like to tell everyone that I am a real person, just like everyone else. I am a daughter, a mother, a wife and of course a “girly girl” (ok almost everyone else). I have a beautiful and supporting family that has helped me every step of the way.
I crave researching. I love to explore LUVU’s horizons and to expand my knowledge to pass onto to my clientele. After all, my belief is to treat every single one of my customers as if they were my only one. Each person has individual needs and expectations when it comes to their health and beauty. If I don’t have the answer, I will sure find it, whether it be through my personal research or with the help of my fellow cosmetic inventors, estheticians, doctors or herbalists that I converse with.

Now that we know what you do, do you mind sharing how you got started? What was the seed that became LUVU?

It really started when I got diagnosed with cervical cancer when I was 21 and then again when I was 23. I started to research the “whys” and what I could do to prevent a third diagnosis. I was literally sick to my stomach on what I found. At the time I started my research quest, there wasn’t much information on chemicals (at least public information), especially what's found in our daily products, but what I did find was heart wrenching! I wanted to help myself, but most importantly help others. I think this is where my quest began. I wanted to educate the population on what they had to look for and why.

When I created LUVU, there was only a handful of natural/mineral makeup companies out there, but very few had a purpose and passion like mine. I am proud to say that I had a helping hand in incorporating natural and organic living from a trend to a way of life.

Looking back, I’m sure you can see how LUVU has changed. What is your vision for the future of your company?

I have many visions for the future. I think my main vision is to educate - I'd like to build an educational institution to train cosmeticians with the right tools to pass on to their clientele, eventually conquering chemicals and putting every woman’s health first!

Something I find really inspiring about you is that you’ve built a successful company from scratch, but without having gone to business school, etc. Our world is overrun with overqualified people doing menial things, so I love finding people doing great things on their own, and inspiring others to do it too. Has the journey been difficult, or does your passion fuel your work? What would you say is the best advice you could give about starting your own business?

I think my heart has kept me straight. Don’t get me wrong, there has been a lot of long nights and difficult days! But, if you don’t believe in failure, then the only option is to succeed!
The best advice I could give someone is to never give up, think of their business as a child; there are a lot of bumps in the road, but the end result is what makes it worth it.

Back to your make-up…why, in your mind, is it important for women to know what they’re using on their skin? What are the best ways for them to educate themselves?

Let’s paint a picture. The average woman applies over 120 different chemicals to their skin daily. The largest human organ, skin absorbs all these chemicals which in turn flow through the blood stream. With these 120 chemicals, at least 80 of these will be linked to many different cancers, illnesses and imperfections that most women complain about. Now, what would you rather do? Flip the product over and read the ingredients, or put these harmful chemicals into your system?

The US and Canada regulate the cosmetics industry very loosely, so the only way you will know that you aren’t putting carcinogenics and other toxins into your body is to know how to read labels and research ingredients. I find the website Skin Deep is a good first step. They list many different ingredients and chemicals and rate them from 0-10, which in turn makes your job easy enough to not have excuses.

Remember, what you put on your skin is just as important as what you put in your mouth!

What are the top five toxins to avoid?

#1 Definitely any kind of Paraben. I do not allow anything with a paraben into my house!
#2 Propylene Glycol- Everyone likes putting antifreeze on their skin don’t they?
#3 Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - This ingredient is used in engine degreasers (along with other harsh detergents) Are you degreasing your face?
#4 Formaldehyde – This ingredient speaks for itself!
#5 Synthetic Fragrances – These fragrances can actually contain hundreds of chemicals. Be aware though, because of the lack of regulations, companies only have to claim these as a fragrance on the product label!

How to you find non-toxic ingredients for your makeup?

I spend many hours researching suppliers. MSDS sheets are requested for each ingredient. These sheets provide all the hidden information, such as what processes the ingredient has gone through, as well as the purity of the product.

So, you have a pretty solid product base now…what’s your favourite right now? (I know, they’re all your favourite!)

Wow, this one is a hard one! I switch all the time, but right now, I would have to say my Creamy Concealers!

Okay, so assuming some of us are new to mineral make-up…what are the basics?

First thing to remember is that not all mineral makeup is created equal! Like I stated above, with the lack of regulations, as long as the product has one natural ingredient the product can claim to be natural. This is where reading your labels comes into play!
Next you will want to play, play play! Mineral makeup is the most versatile cosmetic out there. You can use any colour as an eyeshadow, blush, lip colour, and nail polish! Experimentation is the key!

Lastly (well definitely not last, but I can only go on for so long)buffing. Buffing is important when it comes to mineral foundation. This (and the brush of course) is what creates your natural, flawless look!

I know you’re introducing skin care. Tell us a little about your philosophy behind that.

When I started creating cosmetics most of my customers where still using a skin care line that contained carcinogens. I didn’t want my clients to not reap all the rewards natural cosmetics had to offer by not being able to provide them with natural alternatives for all their daily products….so the quest for creating a skin care line began! Almost a year and half later, I introduced the LUVU Beauty Skin Care line! Healthy skin is the key to any makeup look. I researched for months on prefect ingredients that would help and nourish all skin types, naturally!

So, I want to give readers a little bit of a glimpse of the woman behind the label…what inspires you? What do you love about what you do? What do you hate?

My clients are the ones that inspire me the most. I receive emails and letters weekly on how my products have changed their lives in some sort of way!

Again, it is my clients! I love making women feel good about themselves, whether it be simply by using natural products, or how they feel after they apply my products!

I have to say the thing I dislike the most is how picky I can be! I have a strict policy of product performance and colour matching. There is a vigorous procedure I follow to make sure my clients receive the best possible natural product on the market! Good for my clients, very frustrating for me at times.

Describe the perfect lazy Sunday (…just forget about the kids right now!)

Beside the fact that it is winter, I think the best Sundays are spent laying on the beach with a book. I love the sound of water and how soothing and relaxing it can be.

I also know you don’t really like to cook, but if you could treat yourself to anything right now, anything at all, what would it be?

Oh, I do like to cook…I just like it more when my husband cooks!
I don’t know if I could answer this one! I haven’t actually sat back and thought about what I would treat myself to in a very long time. I think the thing that would make me the happiest, would be my families happiness. That is the best treat ever!!!

Who do you admire? Is there anyone you look up to that helps inspire you?

I can’t say that just one person inspires me. I think that everyone that I come in contact with inspires me in their own way. Everyone has a little bit of something that fuels me, and makes me who I am.

Name one thing necessary to your happiness.

My family!

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Ireland, by far! I have always wanted to go there!

Finally, if you were stranded on a desert island, which of your products could you not live without?!

Lol, I would have to say Mineral Veil! Especially if I was stuck on an island, at least I would have some sun protection!

{Tira working her magic}

Thank you Tira for taking the time for PGD! I hope readers find you as inspiring and interesting as I do. You are wonderful at what you do.

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