The first time I met Lynne Florio and Renee Tavoularis we decided on a lunch at Divya’s Kitchen, an East Village vegan restaurant that serves Ayurvedic cuisine. I knew my philosophy on skincare matched up with their own as soon as they started a discussion on certifications. After years of working for a high-end skincare brand, La Praire, the pair was armed with beauty industry know-how and so they decided it was time for a lifestyle do-over. The industry veterans launched Planted In Beauty, a skincare brand with overall health in mind. Lynne and Renee have decided to detox from the corporate world with a brand new philosophy on life. Renee has since become a certified Integrative Nutrition® Health Coach. She lives what she preaches, which is how we ended up at Divya’s Kitchen. Planted In Beauty is as much about nutrition, as it is skincare. Their outlook on skincare the whole body into consideration and our skin is the body’s largest organ.
I have become a fan of the two entrepreneurs and their candid view to beauty. They have even managed to influence the way I approach my own wellness journey. Continue for Q & A with the Founders of Planed In Beauty.
What was the pivotal point in your careers?
We had a long history together, working side by side for 20+ years at La Prairie (I functioned as Global Brand President; Renee was Global Vice President E-Commerce and Digital Marketing). Between us we had incredible milestones and successes in business, but that came at a price. Our lives lacked balance; we lacked time for self-care and well-being (ironic considering we were in the beauty industry!). We had often spoken of collaborating on a business, and we said if we were to do that, it was crucial that it fulfilled a passion and a purpose and spoke to where we were currently in our lives ~ and that very much included wellness.
Our own personal desires and goals to be “well within” ourselves served as a catalyst to create our business platform. We both approached an age of reflection (albeit 10 years apart), and the concept of beauty and how it relates to health and wellness became increasingly important. Our thinking was that it was due time, if not now, then when?
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced launching a natural and organic product?
The entire collection was difficult to develop because we were uncompromising in our criteria- 100% natural ingredients, highest possible level certified organic materials (if an organic certified grade existed, we wanted it, regardless of the cost), natural preservatives and not alcohol and natural fragrances. We insisted on a 30-month shelf life, sensual textures and pleasant fragrances. So, you can see that we were a consumer’s dream and a chemist’s nightmare.
The next challenge was that we were developing a regimen and not a single product. Products needed to be applied seamlessly and absorbed synergistically for an immediate experience and long term benefits.
Finding a name for said brand! We had two challenges. We needed a name for the broader platform, an online digital content brand where one would find plant-based solutions in the areas of Beauty, Nutrition and Lifestyle and a name for our skincare brand. After hundreds and hundreds of submissions, we took a step back and said, what do we want for our consumers and ourselves? Our answer was simple: To be well within our mind, body and soul. That WELL WITHIN our product line, you will discover natural, organic, plant-based, non-toxic beauty solutions you need for optimal skin health. Those two words said it all. As for Planted in Beauty – are there better words for a plant-based skincare line than that?
Your customer has an interest in holistic health and healthy aging. How is this reflected in your ingredients and range of products?
Beauty is certainly more than skin deep. Of course, skincare is thought of as a topical application, but 60% – or more – of the products we apply topically onto our skin have the potential to be absorbed in the bloodstream and circulated to our cells. With that said, it was paramount that we developed a brand that was always natural, always safe.
For PLANTED IN BEAUTY, we sought out the experts in the natural ingredient industry, chose ingredients that have been sustainably grown and harvested and tested for performance and efficacy to ensure we were offering consumers the absolute best in plant-based skincare.
100% of our ingredients were from natural origin – that includes plants, plant-derived ingredients, minerals, vitamins and water. As well as top level, high functioning organic ingredients that nourish the skin with the healthiest available ingredients free from toxic pesticides and chemicals.
With PLANTED IN BEAUTY, we are very much of the mindset that true wellness and beauty are created from the inside out and outside in. We borrowed from the nutritional expert’s belief that eating a full color spectrum of fruits and vegetables promotes internal and external wellness, so our skincare products provide a wide variety of high functioning ingredients. We strongly believe the key to achieving healthy, well-balanced skin is to nourish the skin with natural plant-based ingredients that are rich in beneficial phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals, and free from toxins and chemicals.
Your brand’s philosophy is one where skincare, nutrition and lifestyle are all linked. How do you live this in your everyday life?
Clean Eating! Follow a whole food, plant-based diet by making sure to eat a wide range of varied, colorful plant-based foods (you’re providing your body with a broad range of antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins and minerals that help protect yourself against inflammation, chronic disease and the effects of aging); Renee is vegan; Lynne follows the 80/20 rule.
Go with your Gut – focus on your gut health: Feast On Fermented Foods. They contain beneficial bacteria that populate the gut and help it thrive. Drink plenty of water, green tea, probiotics and supplements. Get enough sleep, exercise and fresh air every day. Keep stress in check. We find ways to relax and decompress on a daily basis which include Meditation. Yoga. Pilates. Lynne – daily dog walks. Cooking.
And lastly, something that we’ve both been experimenting with.. Start to Declutter your life. It is like detoxing. It offers a way to remove the excess and clear any obstacles so you can move through your life with ease. When you make space in your life (physically and energetically), you also make room for new ideas and opportunities to flourish.
What advice would you give to young women starting their own wellness journey and plant-based lifestyle?
Start small, and do what works for you! Someone else’s path is just that – someone else’s path.
We are all on our own individual skin health and wellness journeys; there’s no one size fits all approach. Seek progress, not perfection. It can be done in stages, however small each stage is.
Live a life of purpose and passion
What is the mission behind your brand?
Our mission is to offer consumers information, services and products to support their skin health and wellness journey. The WELL WITHIN philosophy embodies a holistic approach of plant-based solutions in Beauty, Nutrition and Lifestyle. Today’s consumer knows the connection between the products you put on your skin and your personal nutrition and lifestyle choices is integral to your skin health and overall well-being.
WELL WITHIN BEAUTY offers everything needed to help take the absolute best care of yourself, from the inside out and outside in. It is also the showcase for our skincare collection – PLANTED IN BEAUTY and our ingestible supplement, INSIDE OUT SKIN WELLNESS.
What certifications do you have, and why did you choose to pursue those in particular?
Our commitment to create the highest quality natural, organic non-toxic products is demonstrated by the 4 independent certifications we proudly hold. These voluntary processes reflect our passion to go above and beyond what is required, by offering complete transparency and assurances to our customer.
Ecocert for Cosmos Organic Standard
The very first certification body to develop standards for natural and organic cosmetics, in consultation with other European certification bodies, has developed the new Cosmos Cosmetics Standard. It provides assurances that our brand is in compliance with highly rigorous standards established by an independent 3rd party. Its certification verifies natural and organic ingredients and percentages in the formula, that the products are chemical and toxic free, the use of eco-friendly packaging and ensures respect for the environment by auditing sustainable practices around ingredient sourcing, farming and manufacturing. Certified by Ecocert represents a guarantee of integrity and safety for our consumer.
EWG VERIFIED mark means that the product has passed strict criteria for transparency, healthfulness and safety. These criteria include the avoidance of ingredients that authoritative health bodies have flagged for potential health concerns, full disclosure of ingredients, confirmation that the products are adequately preserved and free of contaminants and follows good manufacturing practices.
The Corporate Standard of Compassion for Animals, which administers the Leaping Bunny Program for cruelty-free products, is a single comprehensive standard with an internationally recognized Leaping Bunny logo. The certification requires that no animal testing be used in any phase of product development by the company, its laboratories, or ingredient suppliers.
The Certified Vegan Trademark provides a 100% guarantee that each product is vegan, contains no animal ingredients or animal by-products, uses no animal ingredient or by-product in the manufacturing process, and has not been tested on animals.
How important do you believe certifications are to the consumer?
Extremely important. Credibility is crucial, so we sought out independent third party’s to ensure an ethos of transparency to our consumers.
Where do you see the future of green beauty headed in 5 years?
This segment will continue to grow as consumers become more: health-conscious, well-educated and savvy in the well-being space. Consumers will be focused on being well and staying well rather than fixing sick, conscious of their choices and actions, knowing how they impact themselves, family, communities and the environment.