There is an inherent beauty in simplicity; and this simplicity has given Trice Angie Christiansen her inspiration when it comes to her own organic skincare label. Already living a clean and healthy lifestyle, one unfortunate experience with synthetic luxury beauty products was enough for Trice to swear off chemical ingredients for life; and inspire her to create her own beauty brand. One that celebrates the healing power of nature in all its raw glory.
RAAW by Trice is not your ordinary beauty brand. Trice keeps the formulas simple, and lets mother nature do her work — no false marketing. While she began her organic skincare line by hand- making the products herself, she now produces her range in a solar-powered small run lab in upstate New York. Not only is Trice involved throughout every step of her supply chain, she also ensures that every step is as sustainable as can be, from using organic locally sourced ingredients, to rejecting plastic packaging altogether. According to Trice, “You don’t need forty ingredients in a product for it to be efficient," and we couldn’t agree more. Clean, natural, and with a minimal carbon footprint — what more can you ask for in a beauty product?
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background? What inspired you to create RAAW by Trice?
It all started when I moved to New York. I was living a healthy life, ate organically, and took good care of myself — except when it came to the beauty products. I assumed that I was pampering myself with good quality products every day. For some reason, I never thought about all of the harmful chemicals they contained that actually go straight into our bodies. One morning I woke up with a horrible rash on my face; and it came from an expensive high-end brand that I trusted. The skin around my eyes was purple, wrinkled, and flaky. It was horrifying. In that moment, I decided I would never put any harmful chemicals on my skin again.
I wanted a beauty routine that was good for my skin, my body, and my environment. I began studying herbal medicine and the healing properties of plants and herbs, as practiced in traditional Chinese and eastern cultures. I created a product that healed my eczema right away; and my skin looked even better than before actually! That’s how it all started.
How does your own holistic lifestyle inspire the ethos at RAAW?
Less is more. I strongly believe in eating clean and simple, and not using too many ingredients at a time. It’s easier for your body to digest and benefit from the vitamins and minerals when you keep it simple and don’t mix it up. The same goes with RAAW. I try to keep the formulas as simple as possible, to get all the benefits from the essential ingredients. Fact is — you do not need 40 ingredients in a product for it to be efficient!
Tell us about your Palm Tree logo and its symbolic significance to your brand?
It's a very personal story actually. My father passed away too young, but had the stories from a long lived life. Creating and recreating stories and moods on film had taken him to every corner of the planet and left him full of memories. Big candles burned like a melting forest on his Hollywood Hills terrace, and in the flickering lights he told me about his adventures.
We shared many stories and memories as well as bottles of wine, while we mixed the fragrances to his latest and more stationary passion — handmade scented candles. Every smell had a story or a mood. His wish was to create a series of candles, fragrances, and perfumes after his passing, I knew it was the right time for me and for RAAW to adopt his vision. I chose the palm tree as our emblem because it gives me a feeling of home. There was a beautiful palm that lived just outside my dad’s place, and it became part of our daily ritual. So many moments, stories, and potions were all created while staring at that palm tree, so it seemed fitting that it be the emblem of the brand. That exact palm tree represents a very special time in my life as well as my father’s vision.
What makes RAAW different from other mainstream beauty brands?
I started RAAW because I needed a clean, efficient, and simple product. I couldn’t find it in the market at the time. Out of a passion for skin and a clean lifestyle, I created an organic line of skincare — no false marketing. In the first few years I was hand making the products, but as the brand grew, I knew I had to find a manufacturer. After interviewing forty-two manufacturers, I finally found the one. A small-batch sustainable lab in upstate New York, owned by a 70 year old french man. I had finally found someone who was just as passionate about ingredients and “the power of nature” as I was! Someone who didn’t try to thin out my formulas with cheap oils and water, so they could make more money. I never compromised on quality or pricing when it came to ingredients and production. RAAW started as my hobby, not as my business. I have been hands-on with every little step of the process, from testing every ingredient, designing the packaging, and talking to my customers. I don’t think most mainstream brands are part of every little step in the same way as I have, especially as RAAW is a more personal brand.
RAAW is committed to creating holistic chemical free beauty products. How important is sustainability to your production processes?
Sustainability is very important to me. I source my ingredients and packaging locally, my lab is solar-powered and we only use glass bottles and jars. I do my best to make every step of making the product sustainable.
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?
The beauty industry is starting to make a little difference. Many brands are switching to recycled packaging, and using renewable energy. Some manufacturers are investing in solar-power now, which is a huge step!
No matter what physical product you decide to create today, you should consider it deeply before going into production. I think that goes for every industry and it finally seems to be happening a little more now than it did a few decades ago. RAAW, as a company, has had that mindset since the early stages of production. Throughout our growth, we constantly aim to create better solutions and products that fit this thought. Sustainability should, in this day and age, be the norm.
As consumers, how can we make a difference in protecting the future of our planet?
It’s a good question and there are so many things I could mention here, but an important rule is:
We all vote with our money!
Read the labels and avoid toxic and unsustainable ingredients for the environment, such as micro- beads, palm oil, plastic, etc. Most people don’t think they can make a difference, or that it’s too overwhelming. BUT if we all put our money into organic sustainable brands and support the locals, eventually the other brands will sense the trend and change their way. Your money, your choice, our future.
RAAW BY TRICE
Interview by Hannah Tan-Gillies
Portraits by Curtis Gibson