Leadership & Life Lessons From The ‘Queen of Green Skincare’ Tata Harper
The natural-beauty entrepreneur, Tata Harper, shares some of the secrets to her success.
Tata Harper
If you love natural beauty products, chances are you love Tata Harper’s products. Nicknamed the ‘queen of green skincare’, natural-beauty entrepreneur Harper is the founder of an eponymous skincare and make-up line she runs from her 1,200-acre property in Vermont in the US. Since launching the company in 2010, she’s transformed the former dairy farm into a state-of-the-art facility from which she’s introduced more than 60 products, overseeing every aspect of production on-site. Today, the brand keeps expanding and, delivering its promises: eco-conscious, 100% natural and non-toxic, but most importantly, effective beauty products for every woman who takes green seriously. Here, Harper shares with The Suite some of her life and leadership lessons.


FAMILY IS EVERYTHING: “I was raised in Barranquilla, Colombia along with my 34 other cousins, 20 of them being women. Every weekend, my grandmother would invite us all to her house for spa parties featuring her own creations like body scrubs and hair masks. I loved helping her make these products using local Colombian ingredients that came from the earth. I would watch her teach the women how to take care of their skin and noticed how much more confident they became as a result. These are the types of memories I hope to provide for my own children as they age. I cherish every moment I get to spend with my kids.”


NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF THANK YOU: “I’m a very hands-on leader and work with our in-house team on every step of the process, from conceptualisation to formulation to packaging, to create all of our products. It is very important for me to communicate with my employees and make them part of the big picture. I try to be transparent and honest and promote a positive work environment. I never underestimate the importance of saying thank you. Employees with positive attitudes are valuable assets for the success of the company.”


DARE TO BE DIFFERENT: “I admire anyone who dares to be different and I love people who are unapologetically themselves. I also admire anyone who is making a true effort to make other people’s lives better. The heart of our mission at Tata Harper is to create products that improve the lives of others, so I admire anyone else who is trying to do the same.”


Tata Harper
Tata Harper, shot by Alexi Lubomirski, on her farm in the summer of 2021.


SURROUND YOURSELF WITH POSITIVITY: “Much of my inspiration and vision for our business stems from how I grew up and the experiences I had in Colombia. I have always been motivated by the women around me and I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that we have without our strong female team.”


DO ONE THING A DAY THAT YOU LOVE: “My mom taught me beauty is not a chore, it’s about self-care. Even as a busy mom and juggling a million things, it’s important to always try to have some time for myself. It helps me to reconnect and slow down so I am ready for whatever the day brings. While it might be hard to carve some time out, I always try to do at least one thing a day that I love – whether it’s meditation, a short walk, or even just unplugging from technology for a few minutes. Oh, and I like to treat myself to dark chocolate, not once but twice a day.”


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MAKE SELF-CARE A PRIORITY: “I grew up in a beauty-centric household surrounded by women who loved their self-care, so beauty, health and wellness have always been a large part of my life. Self-care is so critical to being and staying centered, strong and focused. I like to ease my stress through meditation, aromatherapy, and, of course, my skincare ritual.

As I’ve gotten older my skincare routine has shifted to include our more age defying products, specifically the Elixir Vitae Eye Cream and Serum that are like injectables in a bottle. My eyes are a personal area of concern for me, so I’ll also apply a thick layer of the Boosted Contouring Eye Mask while travelling or before an event to reduce the look of fine lines and minimise puffiness, signs of fatigue and dark circles.”


MAKE BETTER CHOICES TO BETTER YOUR LIFE: “Exercise has always been an important part of my wellness routine and I consider it my most effective stress reducer. When I was younger I loved to run and play sports for exercise but as I’ve aged, my workout regimen is now centered around building strength, both mentally and physically. Right now, I see a personal trainer at home and focus on core strengthening exercises. I don’t exercise to be fit, but to be my most balanced, level-headed self. As for diet, the older I get, the more conscious I’ve become about what I put in my body. I don’t have any strict dietary restrictions, but I try to eat organic, whole, nutrient dense foods as much as possible and drink plenty of water. For me, wellbeing is an art of cultivating our own sense of self and it all comes down to evaluating your daily habits. Wellness is about making choices to better your life and improve your wellbeing which encompasses everything from nutrition to sleep to beauty to exercise.”


Tata Harper products


ALWAYS STRIVE TO BE BETTER: “I’m incredibly determined. Tata Harper Skincare was created because of my own dissatisfaction with the beauty industry. I was shocked to learn of the harmful chemicals and toxins that were in the products I was using every single day. I looked tirelessly for effective, natural products that were suited for a serious skincare client like myself and found none. This inspired me to create my own line that was safe, natural, and sustainable without compromising luxury and results. I am constantly striving to improve and create the most amazing products possible for our clients that are also sustainable. Currently my team and I are working to develop refillable packaging for our entire product line to minimise consumer waste and extend the lifespan of our packaging. We just recently launched our second refillable product, the Refillable Restorative Eye Créme. Developing refillable packaging systems comes with unique challenges, but to me, the future of sustainability is reusable packaging and refillable products so we can put an end to single-use plastics. It’s an uphill battle, but I will continue to work towards our goal of becoming 100% sustainable.”


CREATE YOUR OWN MOLD: “We’re a relatively young business, and we’ve faced challenges at every stage. When we first started, formulating high-tech, ingredient-packed products with exclusively natural ingredients was a challenge. Then, once we launched our first products, the challenge we faced was overcoming this old misconception that naturals weren’t effective. Now, as we continue to grow and are more focused on international expansion, we’re facing new challenges that come with scaling a vertically integrated business. It has also been challenging to design luxury packaging that is sustainable. We’ve had to create our own molds, rethink conventional packaging practices, and spend years researching. It has come a long way, but it is still a hurdle.”


Tata Harper, shot by Alexi Lubomirski on the farm - summer 2021
Tata Harper, shot by Alexi Lubomirski.


Take Five With Tata Harper

Best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Have a clear vision and be different. Truly think about creating something that will make people’s lives better and not just more of the same.

The one thing about you that would surprise people? This probably isn’t too surprising because I’m Columbian but I love to dance and would take dance lessons everyday if I had the time!

What’s your morning ritual? Recently I’ve been meditating for about 15 minutes before I fully plug-in to checking my emails and my to-dos for the day. I’ve found that practicing breathing exercises has really helped me feel more centered and focused throughout the day.

What was your dream job as a child? I wanted to be fashion designer and even ran a fashion company during my last three years of high school! I planned to study fashion in college, but my mother encouraged me to pursue a degree in industrial engineering instead. Although I chose a different path, fashion is still such an important part of self-expression for me.

Final question – do you have a life motto you live by? Love yourself, love the planet.


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