View all Lifestyle in Issue N

An Interview with TATA HARPER

Hailed as the “Queen of Green Skincare Movement” Tata Harper’s products are 100% free of toxins, GMOs, fillers, or any synthetic chemicals. And while this is already a great feat in the beauty industry, her entire range is also fully traceable to her certified organic farm in Vermont. All this can be attributed to her uncompromising dedication to taking no short-cuts in her quest towards sustainability - and rightly so - because as Tata Harper says, “No one should have to sacrifice their health for their beauty.”

In conversation with Tata Harper we talk about her childhood in Colombia, and how a deep rooted family tradition of self-care taught her to value wellness from a very young age. Her mother and grand-mother’s “Self-care Sundays” has not only inspired a green beauty revolution, but is also a tradition that she has passed down to her own children even up to this day. And while Tata Harper is undeniably a sustainable beauty pioneer, we’re hoping her passion for the environment will have a trickle down effect to the next generation of beauty innovators as well — much like her family’s Self-Care Sundays. 

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? How did your Colombian heritage help you find your passion in beauty? 
I grew up in Portside Barranquilla, Colombia. I grew up immersed in a household of Latin women who loved beauty. We’re a total of 35 cousins and 20 of those are women, so there was a dedication to self-care. My mother and grandmother would host weekly spa parties using DIY masks and homemade skincare concoctions, and so this fostered a love of beauty and self-care in me from a young age. “Self-care Sundays” is a tradition that I’ve continued and now do with my children every week.

What inspired you to start Tata Harper? 
When my stepfather was diagnosed with cancer, I realised that our daily habits play such a major role in our health and well-being; including the products we use in our homes and on our skin. As I helped him change his lifestyle, I started to recognise that the products I was using were full of potentially dangerous chemicals, and that I couldn’t find any natural options that offered the results and luxury that I was looking for. So, I set out to create my own, because no one should have to sacrifice their health for their beauty.

Tata Harper products are 100% free from GMOs, toxins, fillers, and synthetic chemicals. What is the biggest challenge when producing natural products? 
Settling is not an option for us and we refuse to take ANY short-cuts during any stage of the process. I find the biggest hurdle for both the industry at large and our brand is packaging. Clean cosmetic packaging has a long way to go in terms of sustainability. Finding options that look luxurious and also sustainable is very hard. Things that are sustainable are not luxurious, yet things that are “considered luxury” are non-recyclable plastic and acrylics that end up in landfills and are not at all sustainable. It’s a very hard to find both. It’s been a challenge that we have been overcoming with baby steps. We are always reevaluating new bottles, pumps, etc, which is why we have to make it all custom.

On your website, you have a Made By Us feature that allows customers to trace their purchases. How important is supply chain transparency to your brand? 
Supply chain transparency is extremely important to the brand, we are vertically integrated so we formulate, batch, and fill every single one of our products in our 1,200 certified organic farm in Vermont. It’s this hands-on craftsmanship that guarantees our freshness, the purity of our ingredients, and the transparency of our process.
You’ve once been hailed as the “Queen of the Green Skincare Movement," what’s the next sustainable step for you and your brand? In terms of moving towards a greener future — what’s the goal for Tata Harper? 
We are a bi-product of the wellness movement happening worldwide. We are pioneers of this movement and 100% natural, non-toxic, and non-artificial is non-negotiable for us. I want to continue innovating and making the best skincare products for uncompromising women around the world. We are the next generation of beauty.
Today, sustainability is more important than ever, with brands becoming more and more concerned about their carbon footprint. What role does the beauty industry play in the effort to minimise our environmental impact as a species?
All brands and people have a responsibility and should be actively looking to minimise their carbon footprint. I hope for more transparency, honesty, and sustainability from all brands in this space.
As consumers, how can we make a difference in protecting the future of our planet?
I think the best place to start is with the products you use daily, whatever they are. Make the commitment to yourself that you want to do better for yourself and make smarter decisions, and everything else will fall into place. You don’t have to do everything at once; take your time finding the best things for you. It all really starts by making the personal commitment to yourself that you want to live better, and buy products that encourage that.

Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies