I had been introduced to Pai Skincare a number of months back. I first tried out their Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser and their Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil and instantly absolutely loved them both. My skin can sometimes be a bit sensitive and can get red and irritated but both of these products were so calming to my skin. I also loved the texture and smell of both of them, if you’re into skincare like me, I’m sure you know what I mean.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting the founder of Pai Skincare, Sarah Brown last month when she was visiting Toronto. We sat down for a Q&A and here’s what she had to say.
1. When and why did you decide to start your own skincare line?
I decided to start Pai thanks to a really bad rash! In my mid-twenties I developed a condition called chronic urticaria; overnight my skin went into total meltdown and became hyper-reactive.
I turned to natural and organic products as a solution. It proved a shopping minefield—most products weren’t as natural as they claimed. I hit a brick wall.
I finally took matters into my own hands—after keeping many product and food diaries, I started to learn what my triggers were and how to manage my skin better.
I knew there must be other people in the same boat as me, so I set about to create a line of truly organic products that was backed up by certification and underpinned by a brilliant customer support service. I started creating my own products from a converted garage in West London (UK). Ten years later, here we are!
2. What are some of the challenges of starting your own business/ beauty line?
I’d say choosing to manufacture our products in-house, instead of outsourcing. I did it against all advice but it’s been the best decision I’ve made.
Scaling up has been challenging but we had to keep that connection with the product and maintain control of the quality. We are one of only a very few brands left manufacturing our own products – sadly, it’s all contracted out now.
We also choose to invest in beautiful organic ingredients because it’s the right thing for our customers with sensitive skin. The products are therefore harder to formulate, and definitely more expensive to produce.
3. What would be a piece of advice you’d give to someone wanting to start their own business?
Do something you are passionate about – you have to be driven by a burning raison d’etre or you’ll fall at the first hurdle. Running a business can be brutal at times and requires major stamina.
Be prepared for a slog. Most entrepreneurs are successful because they persevered for long enough and were too stubborn to give in!
4. What are 3 of your favourite products from your line and why?
Our Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil is my desert island product because of its simplicity, purity and versatility.
It’s a 1-ingredient product, with a 100 different skin uses. There’s no dilution and no fragrance added.
We are unique in extracting the whole hip – the seed and surrounding fruit so it’s the most concentrated rosehip out there! Hence the amazingly vivid colour!
I have a new-found love of our latest launch, the Back to Life Hydration Serum. It’s like a glass of water for your skin. I really wanted to formulate a serum for people like me, who can’t usually tolerate serums. That’s what this is – it provides a major hydration hit without any irritation.
Our Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser is an absolute staple for me and the product I always get customers to try first. A lot of skin issues come from cleansing with the wrong product – this one has no hidden detergents, so never strips the skin and gets it back into balance. When your skin is balanced, everything else falls into place.
5. What would you say to someone wanting to switch their skincare to Pai / a natural skincare regimen?
We use organic ingredients because we believe they are best for sensitive skin. So if sensitivity is your primary concern, start by substituting the products in your regime that don’t sit comfortably on your skin.
If you’re more motivated by the health and wellness benefits of going natural, then instead start with the products that i) cover the largest surface area of skin and ii) are absorbed in – so a body cream for instance over a wash-off product.
6. What has been the most rewarding part of starting Pai?
Helping people take back control of their skin and seeing their skin confidence grow.
I love being able to try out and learn about new skincare and beauty lines. I truly love Pai Skincare and if you end up trying it out I hope you love it as much as I do. As always, thank you for reading and if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment or DM me @TaraLeydon XO