An interview with Olivia Thorpe, founder of Vanderohe
I first came across Vanderohe.com when I was researching the clean beauty market in Singapore and got in touch with the Founder, Olivia Thorpe. On meeting her, I was struck by her warmth and positive energy, not to mention her glowing skin! It came as no surprise to me when Olivia launched her first Serum, Vanderohe No. 1 in December 2016.
“A Synergistic blend of the world’s highest grade organic, cold-pressed oils, enriched with 100% pure, organic and wild-harvested essential oils to transform your skin.” – Olivia Thorpe
She has received rave reviews in Grazia, Harper’s Bazaar, numerous blogs and has been awarded winner for “Best New Skincare Launches 2016/17” by the Beauty Shortlist Awards. In my interview, Olivia shares her story about how she created her brand and award-winning serum, Vanderohe No. 1.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into clean beauty?
I always thought that luxury beauty meant expensive products and glossy labels, but when I became pregnant with my first son, my doctor warned me against using any products containing strong chemicals, specifically vitamin A, as these could potentially harm the baby. I had never even considered before that what I was putting on my skin could be harmful. I adopted a new philosophy – if it wasn’t good enough for baby, it wasn’t good enough for me. And once you make that decision to follow a clean path for beauty, cutting out all synthetic cosmetics from your life and using only natural, plant-derived ingredients instead, you would never want to go back. The very smell of a synthetic fragrance now turns my stomach!
You have a website Vanderohe.com. Can you tell us more about it and how it came about?
I launched Vanderohe.com as a reaction to traditional beauty journalism in glossy magazines, celebrity cosmetic endorsements and advertising campaigns. I wanted to provide non-biased, professional-led beauty advice and insights on everything from spa retreats and treatments to makeup trends backstage during fashion weeks. My aim was both to allow readers to become properly informed about the beauty choices they were making and to showcase the unsung heroes of the beauty industry. I spent day after day interviewing the real people behind natural beauty brands – the formulators, the brand leaders, the farmers – and I learnt so much whilst doing it. I made the very difficult decision recently to put the editorial section of Vanderohe.com to bed, in order to focus solely on my own product line. It was pretty hard to do, as it was a huge investment for me – mainly of my time – and I worked on it day and night for 3 solid years. But it also felt right.
Congratulations on the launch of your new Nourishing Face Serum, Vanderohe No.1. It’s getting rave reviews! How did you create the blend for this luxurious all natural product?
I had researched the science behind oil blending since I became interested in natural skincare – the importance of synergistic reactions between ingredients, for example, and I had attended several skincare classes when I began formulating my own oil blends. I have extremely allergic and sensitive skin, so I was trying to create the best oil for my own skin, to solve my own skin issues. I reached the formula for the blend through the scent – I was pregnant at the time and my nose was so sensitive, I couldn’t stand even very simple scents. I picked up the most beautiful, calming and luxurious scent through the blend I was making and I stuck with it. When I started to use the oil, precisely because I loved the scent so much, I realized how effective it was for my skin. I like to think Mother Nature was guiding me towards what my skin, body and mind needed at that time.
There seem to be a lot of face oils on the market these days. What makes Vanderohe No.1 different?
What makes the serum different to (and better than!) other oil blends is the fact that we source all our ingredients from their native soils. Scientific research has proven that plant oils taken from plants grown in their native soils have a much stronger chemical composition and more potent effects than the exact same plant grown in foreign soils. Our ingredients are all certified by the Soil Association too in order to ensure that they have been grown according to the organic standards of organic farming.
How would you recommend we apply No.1 Serum for the greatest benefits?
Alone and whenever you need a pick-me-up. We’ve become very routined in our skincare habits, using products only morning and night. I personally use No.1 Serum throughout the day. I’ll dab some on my cheekbones before I go for dinner as a highlighter, I apply it around my eyes if I’m feeling tired and sometimes I’ll just apply and massage it into my temples and wrists to help me unwind and relax. The serum has very potent aromatherapeutic properties.
The packaging is beautiful. What inspired the design?
I always found myself reading exotic-sounding ingredients on natural products and becoming interested in them, but never really feeling any connection with them, as I had no idea what they looked like! With my own formulation, I wanted to allow the person using the serum to really understand what was in it – to know what each plant looks like. I think a lot of people forget that using a product is a very sensory experience and it involves more than just your skin feeling good. For me, the design of my product had to feel modern but feminine. Cosmetic packaging design has become very monochrome lately and I think that’s a shame. I wanted my customer to feel that they’re using something that’s really special and beautiful. I can’t personally feel that from a bottle that’s plain and monochrome.
You donate 10% of your profits to the Marine Savers Programme at the Four Seasons Resort in the Maldives. Can you tell us more about why you chose this initiative?
The Marine Savers run one of the most successful reef propagating programmes in the world – Reefscapers – and I’ve seen first hand, and contributed to, their amazing reefscaping efforts in the Maldives, building and planting coral frames that grow and flourish to support marine life. Coral reefs are some of the most biodiverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth and they help support more species per unit area than any other marine environment. They are also one of our richest sources for human medicine. Climate change, pollution and even shipping are destroying reefs around the world, causing them to bleach and die and I think causes like this go fairly unnoticed because we’re not overtly aware of the damage we’re causing to the ocean, so people don’t think about it.
What’s next for Vanderohe? Do you have other products in the pipeline?
Yes I have No.2 and No.3 ready to launch in Summer this year and I’m working on a very exciting and novel beauty concept for later this year, which is top secret right now!
What are your top clean beauty tips for our readers?
Cut out all synthetic fragrances from your beauty regime, read labels properly and become informed – you will find it extremely empowering to just understand what is good for your skin and what you should avoid. You only need a small amount of very effective products to achieve healthy, beautiful skin.
For more information visit Vanderohe.com.
Tudor Court, 137-139 Tanglin Rd, Singapore 247927
All images by Vanderohe unless otherwise credited. This article originally appeared on vanillabeige.com and may have been edited for this platform.