How Two Beauty Veterans are Taking Natural Beauty to the Next Level
This isn't your everyday beauty story.
Some of today's biggest players in the beauty industry just happen to be the underdogs. Indie beauty brands are hotter than ever and our series Indie Beauties sheds light on the powerhouse women behind these under-the-radar brands. Up next, we're sharing the story of PLANTED IN BEAUTY by WELL WITHIN, a luxury natural skincare brand derived completely from natural sources that contains only the highest level or organic ingredients and no toxic chemicals. Founded by two former La Prairie execs, who are on a mission to upgrade the natural beauty game, their motto is if it doesn’t exist in nature, it’s not in the products. Scroll on for their story of friendship and passion for wellness.
What was your first job in the beauty business?
Lynne Florio: "In the late '70s and throughout the '80s, I held various positions in marketing, finance, and operations at Parfums Stern, a designer fragrance company."
Renee Tavoularis: "I started my beauty career in the beauty advisor training department at Yves Saint Laurent Beauté."
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting WELL WITHIN?
RT: "Challenges or opportunities…it’s a matter of semantics and thinking, right?
For me, one of the biggest 'challenges' was getting used to a completely different lifestyle, mindset, goal, life. For my entire career, I had worked for a corporation in an office environment. There were procedures, processes, and people, in place. There was an IT department, an Office Manager, etc. That all changes when you decide to embark on your own.
When we started WELL WITHIN [about 16 months ago], it was the two of us with this big idea that we yearned to turn it to a reality. It forced us well outside our comfort zones, and very quickly, we had to become nimble and resourceful across a multitude of tasks and to do’s."
LF: "When you spend the bulk of your career at one company (La Prairie), leading the charge there (as Global Brand President), it can be hard to separate yourself and your identity from that brand ethos, language, imagery, etc. and start anew. WELL WITHIN is a complete departure—in philosophy, product and package concept, and consumer engagement—from the brand Renee and I worked at for 20+ years.
Also, with a start-up, there is no blueprint to follow. Our biggest challenge was to have our dreams, hopes, and desires clearly articulated in every way we touched the consumer."
What inspired you to start your own company?
LF: "It’s easy to go through the motions of life, day in and day out. Then you have an 'aha moment'; for me, it was a few years ago, when I turned 60. I thought to myself, Am I happy? Am I content? Can I say I am living my best life? The answers were no. So after many conversations (with myself, with my husband and family), I left a company I had been with for over 25 years and decided to start this new business with Renee.
I can confidently say when you do something you truly love, that you’re truly passionate about, the pay off is incredible."
RT: "Lynne and I worked side by side for 20 years and had often spoken of collaborating on a business. About a year and a half ago, we decided to forge ahead with action—after all, if ever there was a time for WELL WITHIN, this is it.
WELL WITHIN is indicative of where we are right now in our lives and our wellness journeys—and it’s inclusive of all of the touch points that are important to us: beauty, nutrition, lifestyle."
Where did you see yourself at 20?
RT: "As a pre-med student, heading to medical school."
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
LF: "Wellness is a continuum so we see ourselves healthier than we are right now. We see a life that is more balanced with less stress (this is something we work on every day; maybe we will get it right 20 years from now!)
We would be fortunate to be doing exactly what we are doing now—helping wellness seekers on their own personal journey to become the healthiest versions of themselves, embracing aging…even celebrating it. We see ourselves celebrating life!"
What empowers and fulfills you as a businesswoman?
LF: "I’ve been in this industry for a long time—longer than I can believe sometimes—and yet, engaging with the customer never gets old. Hearing them tell me how a product I created changed their lives—their skin—and made them feel better…it’s so fulfilling."
What is the best business advice you've received?
LF: "Look for a white space…then fill it!"
What is the best beauty advice you've received?
RT: "The choices we make about what we eat, the products we use, and how we live can lead to a life of vitality and vigor. Skin health and wellness is holistic.
Speaking of skin health: invest in it! Sure, it improves the way you look on the outside, but it also enhances the way your body functions on the inside. Win/win."
What would you say to someone who says switching to a natural skincare routine is too difficult?
LF: "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. Renee and I talk about seeking progress, not perfection. That’s how I’d approach segueing to natural skincare. It can be done in stages, however small each stage is."
RT: "Find a brand or brands that you trust, that has credibility and authenticity. Lean on resources like EWG.org for help and guidance in reading labels and finding answers so you aren’t overwhelmed by the plethora of information available. Look for certifications that you care about e.g. vegan or Leaping Bunny.
We also have a comprehensive ingredient glossary on wellwithinbeauty.com to help users better understand what’s in—or not in—their skincare."
What is one piece of advice you'd give other women looking to break into the beauty business?
LF: "Seek out a company or a job that taps into your passion and gives you purpose. It’s so important to feel both of those, both professionally and personally."
RT: "Define what you want and why you want it and set goals to get there. This applies to business and life."
The PLANTED IN BEAUTY by WELL WITHIN line contains seven product options that range in price from $65-200 and include everything from a makeup remover to a moisturizer and eye cream. You can shop the entire collection at wellwithinbeauty.com.
What's your favorite natural beauty product? Share with us your natural beauty journey below!