Can you please share with the AILLEA audience a little background about yourself, both personally and professionally?
I was born and raised in San Francisco, California and trained as a classical ballet dancer for eight years. I ended up leaving the dance world to go to college where I studied environmental politics then earned my Master’s Degree in Business Administration.
I knew that I wanted to start my own business one day. I love to learn, create, and take on new challenges. Skincare has always been a passion of mine since my early 20s. I took classes in aromatherapy, soap making, and even dabbled in making my own skincare. In those early days I wanted to become a licensed esthetician so that I could create my own skincare line, but opted instead to go to college.
In 2013, I took a leap of faith and left my corporate gig as an Operational Risk Manager at a bank to open a skincare spa with my sister. I also became licensed as an esthetician. We started by offering sugaring hair removal services, which gave us the competitive edge. Then I started experimenting with creating my own sugaring paste formula. I went to school to get licensed as an esthetician so that I could better understand skin, touch skin, and eventually create my own skincare or sugaring line.
While in esthetics school I fell in love with the chapter on ingredients and committed myself to learning as much as I could about formulating skincare.
What was your inspiration when initially launching the Free + True brand? Why was creating a clean / conscious beauty line important to you?
My undergraduate degree was in environmental politics so I always knew that any business that I would start would always be viewed from the lens of social and environmental consciousness.
I used my experience launching my sugaring line to get Free + True skincare off the ground. When I opened my skincare spa in 2013, clean beauty was still in its infancy. It was difficult to find eco-conscious, quality skincare, and hair removal alternatives, so the creation of my products grew out of need. I remember bringing in lines like Kari Gran and Ilia when they were still up and coming brands. I wanted to provide our clients with cleaner, natural beauty alternatives. By engaging with our customers, my understanding of skincare began to evolve, inspiring a deeper definition of beauty that connects purpose-driven work to self-care and healing through nature. Influenced by the treatment room and my own active lifestyle – I set out to develop an inclusive skincare collection for those with limited time for complex rituals, but a demand for high performance results.
What is your personal favorite Free + True product?
They are all my favorites but I would say that the products that I reach for the most are Ramblin Rose Hydrating Serum, Bright Side Vitamin C Serum and Marigold Morning Creamy Gel Cleanser.
What are some of the hero ingredients featured in the Free + True collection?
The raw honey featured in our Raw + Wild Honey Illuminating Honey mask is sourced locally from a beekeeper and from my own hives. Also about 90% of the botanical extracts used in our formulas are grown locally in the San Francisco Bay Area by small growers.
Your Raw + Wild Illuminating Honey Mask donates $1 from every sale to organizations fighting to save bee populations; can you share why this cause is important to you?
Pollinators are absolutely critical to agriculture ecosystems, our food supply and surrounding landscapes. These creatures fly from plant to plant, carrying pollen on their bodies and depositing it on flowering plants in a vital interaction that supports and sustains the plants’ reproduction. These plants bear the fruit and vegetables that we eat, provide over half of the world’s oils and fibers, prevent soil erosion and increase carbon sequestration.
I wanted to bring awareness to these critical issues as our pollinators are in danger due to heavy pesticide and loss of plant diversity. As a company we strive to make a positive net impact on the planet. That’s why we donate a portion of sales to the Pollinator Partnership,
a non-profit that promotes the health of pollinators (like bees, birds and butterflies) through conservation, education and research. In addition, I am a backyard beekeeper!
Without pollinators, our ecosystem as we know it would collapse. Their conservation is critical to the health of this planet.
Are there any new products that you will be launching soon? Can you share any details?
We have a new body product launching soon and it’s going to be game changing for the skin on your body!
What are your favorite non-Free + True products or brands at AILLEA?
I am a big fan of the Ilia Limitless Lash Mascara! I also just started using the Plumscreen SPF for face by Le Prunier. I love that it does not leave a white cast on my face! It’s so creamy and applies well under my no make-up, make-up daily look.