Some of today's biggest players in the beauty industry just happen to be the underdogs. Indie beauty brands are hotter than ever and in our new series, Indie Beauties, we're chatting with the powerhouse women behind these brands to learn how they made their dreams a reality. This week, we're chatting with Shiva Rose, natural beauty lover and founder of the eponymous skin and body line.
What was your first job in the beauty business?
"I was an actress for most of my young adult and adult life, so that was the perfect training ground as far as the beauty business. Making sure that I looked my best for auditions and shoots, and learning about various looks for stage and film helped pave the way for my interest in beauty. I was using more natural products at a time when it wasn’t the norm, especially in the film business."
What was the biggest challenge you faced starting out?
"I started my skincare line four years ago when the non-toxic beauty movement hadn’t quite taken off. I remember various pitches I would make for articles or shows based on the holistic world that weren’t really understood even just four years ago. Today, the world is awakening to the wonder, magic, and power of natural beauty lines. One of the challenges was believing that a non-toxic beauty line would be desired by women. Another challenge was the packaging. At the time, I was trying to source everything locally and this wasn’t easy at all. Another issue was, and still is, making sure there are no toxic preservatives in my line. Things would be a lot easier if I used some of the more standard preservative systems that even many ‘natural’ lines use. I feel strongly that I only want to make a product that I feel good about wearing on my skin. If I feel something is safe and potent, then my customers will appreciate it."
What inspired you to start your own company?
"The Shiva Rose line came to me after a Kundalini meditation. It came as a sort of download where I felt I had to do this. Certain meditation practices open parts of your creativity and your mind so you can access information. I already started my holistic lifestyle blog, The Local Rose, and the skincare line seemed like a natural progression. I had been making a Rose Face Oil for myself for years and realized that it was something others would want as well. I also was studying and doing research on the ancient traditions of Ayurveda. This has been a large influence on my line."
You actually started your blog before jumping into products. What was that transition like?
"Yes, the blog fed the creation of the beauty line. I was always well versed in natural beauty by reviewing other lines. I was also always documenting my DIY masks and treatments and saw the hunger for powerful, natural beauty products. I began to realize the whole concept of beauty rituals and how this can enhance our radiance and vitality. The transition has been pretty seamless since the natural beauty trend is just a piece of the larger holistic movement."
You are adamant about keeping your line 100 percent toxic free and without chemicals. Why is this promise so important to you?
"I suffered from devastating autoimmune illnesses in my twenties and thirties, and part of my healing came from changing my diet, eliminating toxic household cleaners, and going to an all-natural beauty regime. I feel a responsibility to the women out there who want to enhance their beauty, youth, and vitality without compromising their health."
What would you say to someone who says adopting a natural beauty routine is too hard?
"Now more than ever, there are gorgeous and wonderful lines that make the transition so much easier. For makeup, I love the brands RMS and Vapour. Their colors and textures are just as dynamic as the toxic lines out there. For me, it makes me feel even more radiant when I know the products I am using are enhancing rather than destroying my health. My products are even more powerful than the more standard brands that use harmful hormone disrupters and chemicals. Most of the standard products use elements that end up drying the skin out in the long run. My line is using some of the Ayurvedic traditions that believe we need to support the skin and nourish it. It really isn’t too difficult when you see that, in the long run, it is so much better for us. It’s an investment in our planet, our health, and our beauty."
Where did you see yourself at 20?
"At 20, I was studying to be an actress at UCLA. I was very passionate about the arts, vintage, and politics. I suppose I haven’t changed much. That was right around the time that my health began to become compromised since I was eating lots of GMO wheat products. I think at the time, I felt optimistic and creative yet perhaps didn’t have the stamina to keep up with my mind."
Where do you see yourself in 20 years?
"In 20 years, I hope to see myself on a farm or ranch somewhere deep in the natural world. Either in Kauai, Tuscany, Oregon, or California—not sure where yet. I hope I will be growing all the plants and flowers for my line as well as all the food we will be eating. I will be surrounded by my love and my children and their children. Generations of us surrounded by trees, rivers, flowers, and the majestic beauty of the earth."
What empowers and fulfills you as a businesswoman?
"Truly when I get emails or Instagram posts from women who are so happy with the products, I feel my heart about to burst. I feel empowered when my customers feel empowered and see the magic of using non-toxic products. I also feel very fulfilled when I create a new product. It’s like giving birth to a new being. So incredible to see something in your mind and then to have it be tangible and in your hands ready to go out into the world."
What is the best business advice you've received?
"Act out from love not fear. Also to follow your intuition even when everyone around you is saying something different."
What is the best beauty advice you've received?
"Eat plenty of healthy fats like ghee, coconut oil, and hemp oil. Also to take cold showers for the organs and skin."
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
"I am really proud of how the line is being noticed in the mainstream market not just in the wellness world. I feel there are very few high end, chic lines that are good for you and powerful. I am very grateful when I see my line included among other lines that I respect and admire."
What is one piece of advice you'd give other women looking to break into the beauty business?
"I would say to think outside of the box. For example, now there are lots of face oils out on the market. Make something that doesn’t exist and is the next ‘face oil’. I would also say follow your passion. If you want something really bad that isn’t on the market, it’s pretty safe to assume others want the same. Also to start out small. I started with one product and now I have 13, but I tested the market to see what was being sought after. I would also say that the trap now is there are many alternative preservatives that are being used that may be not as bad as some, however they still have issues. Research, research, research! I have spent hours and hours researching ingredients, but this is also one of my joys."
What are the top three products from your line you can't live without?
"So hard to choose! I would say the Rose Face Oil since I use it every day at all times. The new Saffron Rose Facial Scrub because it gently exfoliates and smells divine. The Venus Body Oil or Pearl Milk Cleanser would be next. The cleanser can also be used as a mask and moisturizer it is that gentle. The pearl powder leaves the skin luminous and feeds it nutrients. Oops that’s four!"
What's next from you? What do you hope to accomplish in 2017?
"I will be launching new products soon that will be growing in 2017. These will be making the line into more of a spa experience. I also hope to be finishing my book on beauty and giving more talks on beauty rituals and why they can heal us. May we all walk in beauty."
Have you tried any of Shiva's products? Let us know! Or have any questions for Shiva? Leave 'em in the comment section!