A former lawyer, Wellingtonian Sarah Bacon, 46, is poised to launch her natural oil-based skincare range, Velletà. She tells Lee-Anne Duncan that her Sundays are full of rugby and regattas, with very little relaxation, and haven’t featured brunch for 17 years. If I’m lucky my Sundays start a little later than my 6.30am weekdays, but not much. The dog, Tommy, needs his walk up Seatoun’s ridgeline. It’s lovely to get out in the bracing wind, with a bit of sun, sea and heart-pumping action. There’s always something for Tommy to roll in and make the house smell disgusting, which he seems to enjoy enormously.
I’ve got three boys, so I haven’t been for Sunday brunch since my eldest was born. They’re really sporty kids – they sail and play rugby – so Sundays usually involve some sort of sporting activity.
In terms of Sunday style, people tend to wear sailing clothes to regattas as many parents go on the water. I get seasick so I stay firmly on shore (I’d be no help to anyone on a boat). Honestly, style wise, I think I’m on the side of a rugby field, in a nice hat and jacket. Yes, maybe a puffer, but a stylish one!
I used to having a feeling of impending doom on Sundays when I was young – I must have hated school – but I don’t have that any more. Aside from going to sporting events, I use my Sundays to get organised for the week. Like making sure there’s food for lunches, and washing bed sheets – which I hate doing but love to lie in – and setting up my week’s appointments.
I’m a trustee of three not-for-profit organisations, and the founder of Forward Gear, which donates clothing to children in decile one schools. Sundays are a great day to pack donations for those kids. I might also put on the facemask from my Velettà range and walk around the house scaring my children.
My fantasy Sunday would be to wake up in a different country. I get travel obsessions. At the moment I can’t stop thinking about Japan and Morocco. I love the idea of waking up in a riad, surrounded by orange trees, then going to off to a souk.
I stopped being a lawyer in 2011 after 17 years in the same job. I’d just turned 40 and a friend said that’s a good time to evaluate if you want to do the same job for the next 20 years. I’d never considered I wouldn’t want to, so it was a shock to discover I didn’t. I gave a year’s notice and left to do an MBA, which was a nice segue into something else.
That turned out to be developing my skincare range. I wanted to build something, create something, and I love skincare so it was that. For launch, Velettà includes a cleansing oil, a rejuvenating oil – the hero product – a purifying mask, and a nourishing moisturiser. For about two and a half years I played around with facial oils to find the right carrier oils and essences. The moisturiser took over a year to perfect.
It’s halal certified and vegan because I wanted everyone to be able to use it. The Muslim market is really underserved. The halal certification means it has nothing harmful – haram. No alcohol, no animal products. And, of course, it’s cruelty free because I don’t understand why you wouldn’t be.
The oils are based on avocado oil, with other oils I really like. They include jasmine, rosehip, argan oils and frankincense, which are all really antiinflammatory, anti-oxidising and hydrating. As our skin gets older, that’s what we all need. It evens out skin tone and gives you a glow. My family and friends have loved testing it. I knew I was on to a winner when they kept asking for more.
It took a long time to get the design and packaging right. I wanted the bottles to be something you’re proud to put on your vanity. The bottles are gorgeously decorated and have droppers that go right to the bottom of the bottle – it does my head in when they don’t.
“I used to have a feeling of impending doom on Sundays when I was young – I must have hated school.”
I’m fascinated by social media influencers – it would be great if one picked up Velettà. However, it’s slightly disturbing how much influence they have. I read that 30 per cent of US consumers said they have bought something in the last year because an influencer told them to. I think it’s because they’re more “like us” than a celebrity – people can look at their Instagram post and think, “I could do this – this could be me”.
If I was to choose two celebrities to endorse my range, I’d choose Emma Watson and Susan Sarandon. Women who promote other women and do things for charity are fantastic. I’m a big believer that everyone with good fortune has a duty to help others.
The one beauty thing I definitely wouldn’t do is plastic surgery. I watch shows like Botched, and see how painful it is and how willing they are to do that. It’s gobsmacking. For me, everything about beauty should be uplifting. I like rituals and I love treats – that’s my idea of skincare.
When Sarah Bacon turned 40, she decided to do “something else”, which turned out to be developing a range of skincare.
Tommy the dog expects his early morning walk.
Bacon spent a long time on Velettà’s packaging.