I'm Kate and my three big loves are pizza, early 2000s R&B, and skincare. This love of skincare was ingrained in an early age from my mom and my grandmothers. I was born in the Philippines, grew up in New Zealand, and spent my adolescent years in Chicago. After graduate school, jumping around New Orleans and Nashville, I finally landed in NYC and couldn't be happier. I'm an epidemiologist by training and I work in informatics. Simply put, a huge chunk of my life is dedicated to researching how data can be 1) more useful and 2) user-friendly. By day I'm a researcher, and by night... still a researcher... but of beauty products! Funnily enough, my training in research methods actually shaped a lot of how I first started VELVET.
What inspired you to start VELVET?
I have a public health background and I really wanted to create something that could give back in one way or another. I've always loved beauty, and particularly skincare, so it felt really natural to focus my energy on learning about the industry and the product development. I have allergies to pretty much everything and they only got worse as I got older. As a result, I had to pay more attention to the types of products I was using on my face, but also the ingredients in them. I think I'm like many people who decided to take the initiative and research everything for big beauty and skincare purchases. I followed skincare hashtags on Instagram, researched ingredients on PubMed, and have found myself in a few too my Reddit blackholes. Once I started to piece together that creating a skincare line was something I was deeply passionate about, I wanted to make sure the brand stood for something bigger than itself. It had to be inclusive, fun, and also give back to the community. Right now we're working on partnering with other female-founded organizations and non-profits for 2018!
Why did you feel it was important to have another plant-based skincare brand in the beauty market and what makes VELVET stand out from other brands?
Making skincare science more appealing and easy to understand was a huge goal for me. I think many people get easily intimidated by a ton of technical jargon and even on the plant-based, natural side, it can still sometimes feel sterile and impersonal because everything is "clean" and no nonsense. Don't get me wrong, I love skincare (and makeup) that are more on the minimalist side for ingredients. But I wanted the brand itself to have a little more attitude, something that was more fun, playful, and approachable. I think when something speaks to you and your idiosyncrasies--all the things that make you unique--it becomes easier to integrate it into your life. I wanted people to look at VELVET and instead of saying "I wish I could be that", they'd say "ha! That's me!".
Photo by Dylan York
What are some benefits of the natural ingredients you use in your products?
Camellia seed oil was one of the ingredients I love so much because it's moisturizing but has a "dry" feel so it doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy. German chamomile is another ingredient that I love because of its anti-inflammatory properties. This is in our Plush Hydrating Melt, which I use whenever I have bouts of rosacea or whenever my skin starts to feel itchy and red. Baobab oil is incredibly hydrating and has tons of antioxidants. The baobab tree can live for up to 2000 years! It's called the "tree of life" and it's aptly named since it feels like it is literally giving my face life.
Who are your products targeted towards/who can benefit from them the most?
VELVET is for all skin types, probably for those under 40 who don't need intensive retinols or peptide treatments just yet, and want a more streamlined approach for skincare. The Clutch Collection especially is a set of products that can be easily integrated into the routing you already have and love. They're multi-functional, plays well with what's already on your vanity, and are gentle enough for sensitive skin.
Photo by Dylan York
What's your favorite product on the market now?
That's such a hard question! But, I've recently been using the Lapcos Milk sheet masks and they're the perfect hydration product after exfoliating. I use it after I do a wash-off acid peel and it instantly brightens and plumps up my face. Bonus: buy them at Anthropologie and you will probably also buy yourself a candle that smells bomb, too.
What do you think the future of beauty products looks like?
I see a few big trends that I hope will become more ingrained into our everyday lives. I love that we're becoming more mindful of products we use and what the brands stand for. Millennials are hyperaware of doing good for people and the planet, and that kind of transparency in beauty brands is really important and will probably continue into the future. The other things are integrating technology and personalization into our beauty products and routines. I love the idea of creating something that's especially for you!
Don't forget to use code PARTBFF at VELVET to get $10 off your purchase! Thanks, Kate!
Photo by Ben Grad