Into the wild

We chat with Char­lotte Dev­ereux, co-founder of Girl Undis­cov­ered

Nadia - - CONTENTS -

Launch­ing a nat­u­ral beauty brand into an al­ready jam-packed mar­ket might seem like a crazy idea to some, but for close friends – and now busi­ness part­ners – Char­lotte Dev­ereux, Sara Orme and Philly Geb­bie it was the perfect op­por­tu­nity to com­bine their tal­ents and cre­ate some­thing wild. Girl Undis­cov­ered launched in New Zealand in 2016 and isn’t ‘nat­u­ral beauty’ as we’ve come to know it. We speak to Girl Undis­cov­ered’s co-founder and lead prod­uct de­vel­oper Char­lotte about free-spir­ited beauty, the vitality of mood­boards, the power in naivety and the won­der­ful women that help make her tick.

Tell us about Girl Undis­cov­ered and how the idea for 100% Wild skin­care came about.

Girl Undis­cov­ered is a nat­u­ral skin­care brand with an ide­ol­ogy that re­in­forces our be­lief that nat­u­ral­ness and im­per­fec­tion should be cel­e­brated. We em­pha­sise hon­esty, open­ness, re­al­ness and a love of life by shar­ing real sto­ries about real women. Girl Undis­cov­ered is for the ‘girl’ in us all, and ev­ery­one, re­gard­less of age, can share this jour­ney with us.

As for 100% Wild, it means two things. Firstly, it is all about the woman who is mak­ing an em­pow­er­ing com­mit­ment to liv­ing to­tally wild and true to her her­self. On the prod­uct side of things, our three hero in­gre­di­ents are for­aged in the wild by lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties: our thanaka in Myanmar, our vir­gin co­conut oil in Bali, and our kanuka honey in New Zealand are all as wild as they come. These three mag­i­cal in­gre­di­ents are eth­i­cally and sus­tain­ably grown with no chem­i­cals or animal test­ing.

There’s so much com­pe­ti­tion in the beauty mar­ket, es­pe­cially when it comes to nat­u­ral and or­ganic prod­ucts. How did you make Girl Undis­cov­ered stand out?

Aside from our unique pack­ag­ing which is def­i­nitely at­tract­ing at­ten­tion we are a brand that stands by our eth­i­cal prac­tices and quest for fe­male em­pow­er­ment. From day one, we trav­elled to Myanmar and Bali to lo­cate core vil­lages and providers of our in­gre­di­ents. It was es­sen­tial that we met our sup­pli­ers in per­son to form last­ing re­la­tion­ships. Eth­i­cal trade is a given for us, and the sto­ries of our sup­pli­ers are as im­por­tant to us as our con­sumers. We also cel­e­brate what beauty feels like, not just what it looks like. So rather than fo­cus­ing on im­per­fec­tions we are cel­e­brat­ing what makes you unique. We are all about the ‘make un­der’, rather than the makeover.

This is­sue of NA­DIA has a fo­cus on new be­gin­nings. What was it that set you on the path to a new be­gin­ning with Girl Undis­cov­ered?

I was in­cred­i­bly lucky to have been in busi­ness with my mother, Colyn Dev­ereux Kay, for 15 years with Egg Ma­ter­nity. When she was di­ag­nosed with Alzheimer’s and could no longer work at Egg, it was the clos­ing of a chap­ter for me.

As I had grown up in a house­hold of strong, suc­cess­ful women who loved skin­care, start­ing Girl Undis­cov­ered was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for me. The beauty busi­ness is in my blood. I was also deeply blessed to have my child­hood fam­ily friend Philly Geb­bie move back to New Zealand when her own dar­ling mother be­came sick. Here was the perfect

op­por­tu­nity to form a com­pany to­gether. Philly’s amaz­ing busi­ness ex­per­tise, our co-founder Sara Orme’s in­cred­i­ble work ex­plor­ing fem­i­nin­ity and beauty ideals and my love of cre­at­ing is a win­ning com­bi­na­tion that formed the ethos be­hind Girl Undis­cov­ered.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned from launch­ing a busi­ness from the ground up?

When I launched my first busi­ness, The Dev­ereux Bou­tique Ho­tel, I was only 24 and had the free­dom and en­ergy of youth on my side. If I had known what I was get­ting my­self into I’m not sure I would’ve taken the plunge, so I am grate­ful for my naivety in a sense and very lucky that it be­came a suc­cess. This taught me that if you have a dream, any­thing is pos­si­ble. Don’t over-think things and go with your gut in­stinct.

My next busi­ness, Egg Ma­ter­nity, I hatched with my mother. It was def­i­nitely about plan­ning as we grew very rapidly. We had 23 fran­chise stores and 60 stock­ists at one point, so growth was very strate­gic. Mum al­ways said, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” These are words that I still live by to this day.

Do you have men­tors or other women in the in­dus­try whom you look to for in­spi­ra­tion and mo­ti­va­tion?

Dr Rangi­marie Tu­ruki Ariki­rangi Rose Pere is hugely in­spi­ra­tional to me. She is a renowned Maori el­der and or­a­tor who fea­tures in a thought-pro­vok­ing doc­u­men­tary called Soul Places; she’s def­i­nitely a force of na­ture. Rose runs cour­ses in tra­di­tional Maori healing and well­be­ing that I am sign­ing up for to dis­cover more about our in­dige­nous plants. I would love to in­cor­po­rate more New Zealand flora into our skin­care and learn about tra­di­tional Maori healing.

I have be­come a bit ob­sessed with read­ing beauty and well­be­ing blogs and any­thing on holis­tic beauty. There is a wealth of knowl­edge out there. Emily Weiss from Glossier is def­i­nitely a woman I ad­mire and she’s shak­ing up the beauty in­dus­try with her fresh ap­proach.

At Girl Undis­cov­ered, you work with a great team of women. What’s your ad­vice for find­ing staff who suit your vibe from the out­set?

We do have an amaz­ing team of like-minded women at GU, all of whom came to us or we found through word of mouth. As Philly, Sara and I are very pas­sion­ate about our brand, we don’t stop talk­ing about it (which prob­a­bly drives our fam­i­lies nuts) and put­ting the vibe out there. Tell your story, share your en­thu­si­asm and the right per­son will find you.

Do you set goals for your­self per­son­ally and pro­fes­sion­ally and how do you do this?

I am very vis­ual and like to cre­ate mood­boards for in­spi­ra­tion. I am al­ways look­ing for and read­ing about the lat­est in prod­uct in­no­va­tion, but in say­ing that I am not so driven by trends. I be­lieve we can cre­ate our own trends and be­come lead­ers in our in­dus­try.

On my wall I have these words from a prod­uct in­no­va­tor who re­ally in­spires me:

> Set high goals and act on those goals.

> Em­brace the power of pos­si­bil­ity – be will­ing to cre­ate new cat­e­gories or forms that have not yet been con­sid­ered.

> Try new ex­per­i­ments.

> Turn fire into light. As in­no­va­tors, we have to ac­cept the

need for dis­course; we have to chal­lenge each other.

> Keep your eye on the hori­zon and your nose to the

grind­stone. Be dar­ing and for­mu­late.

Where do you see both your­self and your busi­ness head­ing in the next cou­ple of years?

We are soon to launch in the US, with plans to move into Europe within the next few years. I plan to con­tinue in­dulging my love of travel as we look fur­ther afield, and to be able to visit our won­der­ful women’s col­lec­tives on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. I would love my fam­ily to be a part of my ad­ven­tures, too. A health and beauty re­treat in Myanmar would be a dream come true!

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