#INDIALOGUEWITH TATA HARPER: EMBRACE YOURSELF AND THE OFFERINGS FROM NATURE

Nature is the best healer, isn’t it? Imagine you are walking slowly in a forest, bathing in the morning sun through the canopy, or sitting on the grass in a garden in full bloom, or strolling along a beach where the coastline extends as far as the eye can see… doesn’t it just fill your heart with peace and joy? Environmental psychology has proven that indeed nature has wondrous healing power: studies show that our nervous system performs at its optimum when we find ourselves in a forest. We all have an innate bond with nature, deep rooted in our genes. Frank Lloyd Wright, one of the greatest American architects, once said “Study Nature, love Nature, stay close to Nature. It will never fail you.”

This admiration for nature reminds us of someone in the beauty industry. If you are familiar with green beauty, you must have heard her name: Tata Harper, a Colombian entrepreneur who has set her mind to eliminating all harmful chemicals from her skincare products. The brand that shares her name has become the most sought-after green skincare line among the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma Watson, Anne Hathaway and Stella McCartney. Its genesis came after Tata’s stepfather was diagnosed with cancer, when she realised that many toxic and harmful ingredients were lurking in everyday products. From here she struck out on a journey to research and develop a revolutionary skincare collection, starting from the very beginning: from the ingredients themselves.

Nature is like an attentive mother who always responds to our needs. Tata Harper owns a 1,200 hectare, certified organic farm in Vermont where she grows her own ingredients. Contrary to the popular belief that “less is more”, Tata believes that complexity equals efficacy and more ingredients equal more results. Thus she works closely with her team of scientists to develop the Complex Formulas, packing in the most ingredients possible at the highest levels of concentration available to deliver maximum results.

Tata considers female entrepreneurs to be much like her products: they harness multiple rare qualities that we are all proud of. “I think men and women have different skill sets,” she says, “however, what many people view as characteristics that might hinder a woman from being a successful entrepreneur, I actually believe are very helpful, particularly in the beauty industry.” Elaborating, she continues, “Women are more connected and in tune with what other women are looking for in their beauty products, and this is just a particular advantage that women will always have over men. Moreover, I see the modern woman as someone independent and empowered; they absolutely have what it takes to take on multiple roles in life.”

When asked what is considered beautiful in Colombian women, she says those who know how to celebrate themselves are the prettiest. “Beauty for a Colombian is all about embracing who you are, learning to take care of yourself from a young age, and simply working to be the best version of yourself,” she says. “I think that women are the most beautiful when they are comfortable being natural and spontaneous,” she adds reassuringly. “I also believe that an emotional and spiritual connection allows a woman’s inner beauty to shine.” As an entrepreneur and a mother, switching between the roles has given Harper a new perspective on beauty. “Before I had kids, I had so much more time for myself. And then all of sudden you have kids and it becomes harder to incorporate the things that you love to do for yourself. I’ve tried to create beauty rituals that I can do with my kids to teach them ways in which they can also take care of themselves.

Tata Harper is not only concerned with skincare; through her brand she wants to inspire more women to be independent and embrace a healthier lifestyle. “I love teaching and inspiring others to embrace their individuality as their own beauty, so that they also look to beauty as a way to be the best version of themselves. In essence, the entire concept of my brand was based on my philosophy that you don’t have to choose between your health and beauty. I wanted to create a brand that was high performance and delivered incredible results, without the compromise of having to use synthetic industrial chemicals that contribute to your toxic load. Our brand proves that you don’t have to compromise; you can actually have it all.”

And she thanks her mother for being the most inspiring women in her life. “My mum was also an entrepreneur, and actually one of the first women to graduate from college in Colombia. She was a major inspiration for me in proving that we don’t have to accept the typical stereotypes of women in the business world – something I always bear in mind.”

“Albert Einstein once said ‘We can’t solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.’”

——Tata Harper

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