We can still remember the first time we saw the gorgeous green bottles glistening from the shelves of ABC Carpet and Home, begging for closer inspection. What was this luxurious-looking skin care line that was all-natural and chemical free? The packaging was so beautiful to touch and the earthy, fresh scent of each of the products begged to be sampled, we had to learn more. Tata Harper has since exploded on the beauty scene and now has a cult-like following and dedication to her products that is nothing short of incredible. A mama to three, Tata turned to skincare after a family health crisis made her pause and evaluate all of the toxins that surrounded her in her life and her mega-brand was born.
We’ve had the pleasure of meeting Tata on a few occasions and with each meeting she is gracious, open and positively radiant and we are truly fans for life. Read on for more about her inspiring journey and go-to skin care regime.
We love your “pivot” story! You were formerly working in real estate and after your step-father was diagnosed with cancer, decided to dedicate your life to helping people live a healthier life. Tell us more about what that was like.
When my stepfather was diagnosed with cancer, I realized that our daily habits play such a major role in our health and well-being, including the products we use on our skin and in our homes. This was the moment that I started turning around products I was using and reading the ingredient labels. Some of the products I used to think were so luxurious were actually full of potentially toxic and synthetic chemicals. I could not find anything on the market that was all natural but also super high tech, results driven and luxurious, so I set out to start my own. When we started Tata Harper Skincare, my goal was simple: to create the best skincare for women of the future. One that was natural, non-toxic and completely non-artificial.
You grew up in Colombia in a house filled with women. What lessons did they impart on you?
As a Latin woman, when it comes to beauty, I am a maximalist and not a minimalist! I grew up in a very entrepreneurial family…my mother was an entrepreneur and my grandmother absolutely loved beauty. She would host weekly “spa parties” on weekends using DIY masks and products I helped her make in the kitchen. I loved the time we spent together creating and crafting and then having an afternoon with women. One of the most important lessons they imparted on me was to be unique and stay true to yourself. Embrace the good and the bad of my individuality. This really helped to build my confidence.
Are there any beauty secrets that your mother or grandmother passed down to you?
My mother and grandmother taught me the importance of daily exfoliation. I think this is a topic that people are still intimated by today. Using a gentle daily exfoliate, like our Regenerating Cleanser, is a great way to keep complexion radiant. I remember my grandmother used to love to exfoliate daily with very fine sugar.
In the beginning you had a lot of people telling you your company wouldn’t thrive and that it wasn’t possible to do what you were doing. How did you overcome those naysayers and what gave you the confidence to persevere?
I stayed determined and kept my eyes open and looking forward. The more research I did and knowledge I acquired, the more my resolve grew. I have this same mindset today, I don’t want to compromise on quality or experience. Ever.
One of the most important lessons [my mother and grandmother] imparted on me was to be unique and stay true to yourself. Embrace the good and the bad of my individuality.
Not only are your products amazing, we are obsessed with your packaging! The bottles feel so good to touch and scream luxury. What went into the development of your brand and were there many iterations before the one we now know and love?
Yes, we put a lot of thought and time into the packaging, because it represents the product and our brand. Not only did we do many iterations of color matching to get the right look and feel, but we also do extensive consumer testing to make sure the package functions optimally, which also continues post launch. We also choose the most eco-friendly materials to hold our complex formulas.
You are a mama to three and live on a farm in Vermont (dreamy!). How do you carve out time for yourself while being a mother and business owner?
I’ve realized that spending time managing my time is so key. Keeping my schedule organized so that I have plenty of time with my three kids and am getting everything done at work is super important. My assistant and I spend hours organizing my schedule and time each week.
As a mom running a company, what do you do to support other mamas that work for you?
Over 85% of department heads at Tata Harper Skincare are women and we have a lot of mothers working with us. Having three kids myself, I get it! I try to be as flexible and accommodating as possible. Kids are always welcome in our offices and if one of our moms needs to take some time off or be at home that is totally fine. A lot of moms carry a lot of responsibilities for the households, so I am super flexible when it comes to this…family comes first always.
If you only have 5 minutes to get your skin prepped, what are your go-to products?
Being a working mother of three kids, getting my skincare finished in under 5 minutes is a must…mornings are crazy! I save time by layering products and not waiting for each one to absorb before applying the next. I start by polishing dry skin with the Regenerating Cleanser to remove buildup…I’m a firm believer in daily exfoliation. Then I really drench my skin with Hydrating Floral Essence — I like my skin to be really saturated when I apply serum, it helps it penetrate further. Next is one of the most important anti-aging steps, serums. Right now, I’m using two serums, our Elixir Vitae and Boosted Contouring Serum on my face, neck and chest. Then I do eye care – I really like to layer on the eye area and keep it super hydrated. I start with Elixir Vitae Eye Serum followed by Restorative Eye Cream on top. Finally, I apply Illuminating Moisturizer, and finish by massaging Retinoic Nutrient Face Oil on top. When it comes to order of application, always start with more liquid-based products and move to ticker products. For example, face oil always comes last in my routine because oil penetrates everything but not everything penetrates oil.
What are your thoughts on aging and the growing trend of intervention to slow the process?
To me, it’s all about aging the best you can with everything in your life. We all want to age gracefully, with our health and happiness, doing what we love. There is an awakening around the world happening, the wellness movement and women are doing things in every aspect of their life to prolong health and wellbeing – from food, to exercise, to skincare, etc.
What is the craziest thing you’ve done in the name of beauty?
Starting this company! We did something everyone thought was impossible. It’s been a crazy journey but I feel so lucky to be along for the ride.
A lot of moms carry a lot of responsibilities for the households, so I am super flexible when it comes to this…family comes first always.
What is one dream you have that you have yet to accomplish?
Go see the Northern Lights! I promised myself years ago I would go, and I still haven’t. It’s on my bucket list.
What are your non-negotiables when it comes to family time?
My family is non-negotiable. Period. Also, taking a nightly bath is non-negotiable for me.
Take care of yourself and don’t feel guilty about “me time”. My advice to new moms is always to make time to do the things you love, see your friends, pamper yourself, etc. I think a lot of women feel motherhood comes at the expense of their personal freedom, which can be very frustrating. It’s so important to take time for yourself and make time for things that bring you joy outside of motherhood.
Realizing that each child is different and there is not ‘one size fits all’ to parenting. I try my best to cater to each one of their interests, needs, personalities, etc.
I try to incorporate my kids into things I am doing…in the office, travel, etc. As a working mother it’s important to me they understand what I do. It’s very personal for me. I try to incorporate them into business travel when it works and make them a part of it.