Tatcha Founder Heaven Has Heels

Six months ago, I discovered the beauty brand Tatcha, an American luxury skincare brand, inspired by the ancient skincare secrest of the geisha. Apart from being exquisitely presented with origami-like packaging, the products are revolutionary in their simplicity, quality of ingredients and luxurious texture. It was a chance encounter by its founder, beauty industry veteran, Victoria Tsai, which set this beauty story in motion.
    “During one of my business trips to Japan, I had encountered a package of beautiful, gold-flecked blotting paper,” explains Tsai. “Later, I traveled to Japan seeking a more evolved approach to beauty. To begin, I was determined to find the origin of these exquisite papers. I was surprised when I was pointed not to a makeup store, but a gold-leafing factory. The papers are the byproduct of the gold leafing process, hence the flecks of the precious metal embedded within. I asked how the papers came to be a beauty product, and the artisans told me the geisha had discovered their benefits. I asked how the geisha knew, and the artisans told me to ask them myself.”
    The world of the geisha has always been shrouded in mystery. From their stylized routines to their iconic white makeup, their elegance, deportment and grooming have been the things of legends—and blockbuster movies. But beneath it all, Tsai made an interesting discovery. “In the Western world, we often envision geisha with their iconic white makeup,” she explains. “I was speechless when I saw one without her makeup on—her skin had a luminous glow that I haven’t seen on anyone except babies. I was also surprised at the simplicity of their skincare rituals. Asian skincare is infamous for having upwards of ten steps, but the geisha’s is three or four. They focus on cleansing oils and gentle exfoliation, rather than foaming cleansers and harsh abrasives like we use.”
    Having spent a lifetime in the beauty business, Tsai saw an opportunity to pass on these simple yet time-tested techniques and ingredients. And so, Tatcha was born. “We all have a grandmother who had beautiful skin until the very end,” she says. “She wasn’t using the high-tech ingredients we have in today’s market, like peptides and patented molecule complexes and nanoparticles, and yet people don’t look any better now than they did. I wanted something that I felt good about putting on my skin while pregnant, but didn’t love what I was finding in the “natural” area. On top of all of that, I had dermatitis, so I needed options for sensitized skin.”
    Product development lies at the heart of this unique brand and as with any start-up, the road from concept to creation was paved with hard work and dedication. “We spent years working with some of the most renowned skincare scientists in the world before launching. We created the Tatcha Institute, a research, education and development center, because we are always striving to provide the best formulas possible. Beauty companies rarely have an in-house Research and Development center, but our business philosophy is to love our customers and products more than anyone else. To me, that means owning both of those things and overseeing them yourself.”
    The investment paid off. Today Tatcha products are found throughout the United States and Asia. This summer, they release their first SPF, something they have been working on for quite some time. “It took over one hundred formula submissions to get it just right,” adds Tsai. They are the official facial for the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay and have more exciting releases penned for 2015. This is a beauty brand worth the hype.
    When asked to breakdown the three main elements of a successful beauty product, her answer is based upon the brand’s philosophy of efficacy, mindfulness, and results. Regardless of your skin type or ethnicity, Tsai has allowed us all to experience the beauty of Japan one inspired product at a time. Tatcha.com — A.G.