International Women's Day is an event that is very close to my heart... each year I love to celebrate other female founders and pioneers, so to help celebrate International Women's Day 2019, I spoke to Sarah Brown, the founder of Pai Skincare! Pai has actually been around since 2007 — more than a decade — and was created by Sarah to fill a massive gap in the market for natural skin care that was truly designed for very sensitive skin. I really wanted to share more about this amazing brand with you, so I asked Sarah about everything from her daily skin care routine to what a "dream job" means to her!
Tell us about yourself and Pai Skincare!
I'm Sarah Brown, the Founder of Pai Skincare. Our philosophy is simple. We're here to help you feel good about your skin. We're a proudly British brand but borrowed the Maori word "pai", meaning "good", as it sums up how I wanted to run the business. And to do it with integrity. Our customer is always in our hearts but that 'good' mantra stretches beyond them to how we treat our environment and local communities too.
What was your inspiration behind creating Pai Skincare?
My inspiration for starting Pai was actually a really bad rash! In my mid-twenties I developed a condition called chronic urticaria; overnight my skin went into total meltdown and became hyper-reactive. Numerous visits to hospital provided no real solution and, in desperation, I turned to natural and organic products. It proved a shopping minefield—most products weren't nearly as natural as they claimed and my skin couldn't tolerate those that were! I hit a brick wall.
I finally took matters into my own hands—after keeping many product and food diaries, I started to learn what my triggers were and how to manage my skin better. I knew there must be other people in the same boat as me, so I set about to create a line of truly organic products that was backed up by certification and underpinned by a brilliant customer support service. I started creating my own products from a converted garage. Twelve years later, here we are!
What are your top five must-have products?
My favourite product is our Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil. I just love its simplicity and purity. The ingredients are of such high quality and they're not adulterated or diluted – so they really sing on the skin. Plus it's really versatile, it can be used on all manner of ailments - dry skin, blemishes, scars, sun exposure...
What is your morning/evening routine?
In the morning I keep it quite simple, because of limited time, and because when you have sensitive skin less is definitely more. I rinse my face with water and then apply our Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream. It provides the perfect level of moisture for my skin whilst being a great non-greasy base for makeup.
I spend a bit more time in the evening. I use our Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser to remove my makeup and get rid of any other impurities. I'll follow that with a spritz of our Rice Plant & Rosemary BioAffinity Tonic - it really helps to calm and rebalance skin after a long day. Then I tend to switch between our Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil and our Echium & Aramanth Age Confidence Oil for a little overnight nourishment.
Who is a woman that inspires you?
Hard to pick one! Kresse Wesling of Elvis & Kresse is pretty remarkable and regularly tops my list. I saw her speak in the very early years of Pai and her story blew me away. She's continued to sustain a really strong social and environmental purpose and pulse to her business.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don't sweat the small stuff. When things go wrong ask yourself the following questions. Am I going to still feel stressed about this in one month's time? Am I going to remember this in one year's time? If the answer is No to either question (which, by the way, it usually is) - then don't waste another second worrying about it. Move on.
What one thing motivates you to get out of bed and into the office day in, day out?
I have two giant spurs to action in the morning. The notion that there are millions (actually billions!) of people out there who don't yet know about Pai who we could be helping with their skin frustrations and upset. As well as the thought of every one of our fantastic team at Pai - whose livelihoods I am ultimately responsible for!
What do you think makes a company 'good' to work for?
One that has a higher purpose beyond making money. Somewhere you can feel part of an authentic mission and crucially be able to see where you fit into that picture and the impact you are having. Also somewhere company owners put their customer and staff's needs ahead of their own personal interests. Who believe in the power of 'we' over 'me'.
What does the term 'dream job' mean to you?
Somewhere I feel a strong raison d'etre and where I believe I can change the world a little bit for the better. An environment where I can create, that ultimately pushes me beyond the realms of what I believe I am capable of.