Trade 20 minutes of social media scrolling for one chapter of a physical book a day and even more, if you can. Studies have shown we memorize better when we flip an actual page. Additionally, reading helps boost brain power and expand our understanding of the inner and outer world.
I had the pleasure to interview Claudia Christie. Inspired by the NYC cultural backdrop, Claudia ( a certified organic and natural skincare formulator ) and her team decided to fully immerse in a world that’s usually driven by vanity and miracle products to offer something genuine and personal: A skincare line created to offer a full body experience which is effective, easy to use, and mostly organic.
Having trained extensively with the world’s leading accredited Organic Cosmetic Science School Formula Botanica, Claudia developed her formulating skills from the ground up and has comprehensive knowledge and understanding of how organic, natural and nature-derived ingredients can come together to create a harmonious solution to most skin concerns. Of integral importance to her and her team is the R&D process. All formulas must be made from scratch, laboriously tweaked, audience-tested and approved before being submitted for efficacy, challenge and compatibility testing. They don’t believe in repackaging off the shelf formulas, which is why their designs take time and also what makes them so unique. Mainly addressed to people in urban areas, all of Claudiana Beautanica’s unique formulations seek to revitalize and empower skin and senses with smart, clean ingredients, textural skin feels and organic aromatics, deliciously complementing a daily habit of self-care. Currently available from their online boutique located at www.claudianabeautanica.com.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I’m a creative who grew up between rural and urban environments in the South Pacific. While my life was always very transient, I found continuity in nature early on from my experiences living on a farm in Canterbury, NZ. From a young age, I’ve been very sensitive to natural cycles, seasons, growth and decline, and the essence and energies of life. Regardless of geography, these constants are our house. My formative years lead me into the arts, I studied performance and mixed media as a way of exploring and expressing the human condition and nature within and beyond us. All the while, I loved using kitchen sourced ingredients as the basis of my skincare routine. In particular, Olive oil, just as women of the Mediterranean have done for centuries, a practice I was introduced to by Rosa, my Italian baby-sitter when I was very little. I started to employ other ingredients when I was tall enough to reach them on the kitchen shelf.
As a lot of young creatives do, I fell upon a time of existential crisis, which left me in a depleted physical, emotional, and mental state. Therefore, I made the decision 8 years ago to flip the script, move across the globe and brave a whole new world. I was always drawn to North America, it’s difficult to explain why. Living in NYC, with all its environmental stressors, I found my heart in the creative pursuit of organic skincare formulation, which incorporates all the things I love including, creativity, nature, and holistic care.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
Not so much a story but more a series of stories related to our product test audience, which in the beginning were friends and acquaintances. When I first formulated our 002 Skin Soothe Ointment, I gave it out to people to try and the feedback coming in about how to use it was mind blowing and often comic. From retail and office workers to musicians to construction workers, everybody had a different story about how it soothed their irritations. From using it in the ears to soothe reactions to chlorine in the water (I thought What, you stuck it in your ear? Ok!) to the aromatherapeutic ‘calm the angry panda’ office go-to, to a gym guy who started using it for his hands and then tried it for his jock itch. He loved it and actually came across the gym one day to audibly tell me so! He’s still a customer. The takeaway here is that one thing that you create can reach people in various ways, so always try to do your best with it — you never know how it will be appreciated.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the beautiful things about formulating is that breakthroughs usually follow, and are often the result of, the mistakes we make. You have to mess with things and you’re never going to get it correct the first time. Throughout my formulation studies, I purchased a lot of ingredients, I mean A LOT, in order to experiment with as many as possible. Which is great from a practical education standpoint. I learned a lot about functional ingredients, which you have to, but I also believed that the more exotic and complex ingredients I could include in my formulas, the better they would be. Not so the case. In fact, I found that putting too much in resulted in less effective skincare, too much noise all competing and bombarding the skin rather than truly complimenting the skin. It took some time for me to learn how to pull back and formulate intelligently and scientifically, using synergistic principles to combine ingredients that work in harmony with the skin. I learned that simplicity is key when it comes to managing our complex integumentary system, which by and large knows how to look after itself. It needs help from us to survive our environmental conditions.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
My Mum, Katerina. She emigrated from former Yugoslavia to Australia in her teens, and helped her immediate Hungarian family to re-situate themselves in a new country. She learned to speak English and took on work whilst simultaneously studying to become an RN, which is a lot for a young Woman. Mum is very creative and always brought craft into our home with DIY projects and a flair for aesthetics. She taught me that no matter what life throws at you, you have the strength to survive the most adverse circumstances. Her innate caring nature and tenacious spirit lives in me and has helped me get where I am today.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
We work holistically to consider the health of our patrons and our environment at large. Our impact starts with small steps that have flow on effects, which ultimately seek to harmonize the way we live and the products we use in the world. We limit our ingredient list so as not to over source, and we source our ingredients as locally as possible through trusted suppliers, many who foster initiatives to improve the economic conditions of the communities who produce the goods. Since we began formulating in 2014, we’ve avoided what are now called ‘dirty list’ ingredients per the Credo standard. We use glass jar packaging, which is readily accepted in recycling centers, and we are working to make all of our packaging plastic free. All of this sits behind to our main objective, which is to help our patrons on an individual level feel more comfortable in their skin. We believe that by positively impacting peoples mood and personal comfort, with sustainably sourced, conscientiously packaged, healthy skin food, we help spread the message that we deserve to feel good in our bodies and the body of the planet, which depends on us for optimal co-existence, deserves to be healthy too. Our work is to not just produce another product that sells and makes money, but to find out how to help people and help their skin by going beyond the face and focusing on overall well-being. This is why we formulated from the ground up and through the process are trying to close the loop, and why buying into plug and play white label and tweaking a couple of things here or there and sticking our brand on it isn’t for us — real change starts from the seed and we need to be involved in every aspect from conception to ensure traceability and to fulfill our personal desire to work through all the processes so we know how to effect change. Ours is a business, but it’s not just here for profit, its primary concern is to help people.
Can you share your top five“lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
1.) Learn how to practice proper sleep hygiene. Sleep is where we truly recover our body, mind and spirit, and so many of us suffer from lack of it. A friend recently turned me onto Matthew Walkers Why we sleep, and I’ve fallen more in love with my sleep ritual than I thought possible thanks to it. Apps like Headspace and Relax Melodies also offer some great sleepcasts and meditations that help you drift off.
2.) Trade 20 minutes of social media scrolling for one chapter of a physical book a day and even more, if you can. Studies have shown we memorize better when we flip an actual page. Additionally, reading helps boost brain power and expand our understanding of the inner and outer world.
3.) Study your breathe and breathing patterns. It sounds simple enough, but there are all sorts of strange and common patterns we adopt, like shallow breathing and not fully exhaling, which contribute to increased anxiety.
4) Find time each day to have fun, or ways to bring fun into your day. We put so much pressure on ourselves and when it starts to weigh, we forget that essentially time is fleeting and underneath it all, we thrive on joy.
5.) We live in a fast-paced society, so it helps to make time to explore the non-material strivings of the soul. A slow practice that gives you space to explore your inner world, like yoga, qigong, meditation, are helpful. Try adopting one without turning it into a digital commodity. Learn from it, for yourself. Listen to music, explore art, read literature, and create rituals that nourish and nurture the physical self and make your soul feel alive and embodied. It’s ok not to share everything all the time. Your soul is hungry. Feed it first.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Not sure, but it would align with movements already in place that work to put trees back in the ground.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
I’m not sure anyone can prepare you for the obstacles you’ll face when venturing into entrepreneurship, and I feel you have to experience the very real challenges for yourself in order to grow and develop the mindset strength you need for business. One thing I would have liked to have understood earlier on is that there are plenty of people out there willing to help you, but also plenty ready to take advantage, so be careful who you trust. Also, it’s not so easy to create a sustainable brand when you are bootstrapping all the way, so focus on getting as close as you can to your ideal before launch and then adjust once in flight. You have to be in business to make changes to your business.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
They are all connected. Sustainability and environmental change begins at the individual level, and our mental health, as well as our individual beliefs around the commodity status of animals, influences the decisions we make every day, which in turn affect the environment around us. I think one of the biggest struggles people face is restricted access to healthy, sustainable goods, largely due to price, and although they want to positively participate in the sustainable cycle and eat a nutritious plant-based diet, they simply can’t afford it. Conventional foods and products processed with pesticides, fertilizers, GMO’s, and microplastics, which are furthermore packaged in more plastic, have a negative impact on our body chemistry, which affects our mental health. Yet they are more financially affordable. The economics and education behind all of these causes are the focus for me, because a global understanding of the interconnectedness of them, and actions taken based on that understanding, is how we will create a healthier planet and healthier people. A great deal of energy goes into considering all of this when formulating, because we want our products to be healthy, and accessible, and good for the environment.