Around these parts, we like to learn about and from people who are running their own businesses – business we love and admire, and the women who are running shit behind the scenes. This week’s interview is with Lisa Costello, who distributes Neal’s Yard Remedies beauty and skincare products throughout Canada. She has a passion for ethical and healthy beauty and skincare and she’s sharing that passion with us. Read on to learn more about this excellent skincare company, why working with your family can be awesome, and Lisa’s advice to “jump in 100 percent” with your goals.
milieu: Tell us a bit about Neal’s Yard Remedies and how you brought the company to Canada.
We’ve been in Calgary for about a year and a half, and it came out of a desire to respect the planet, and help people think about what they’re putting on their skin. I had been living in the UK and using Neal’s Yard Remedies, and when we came back to Canada we couldn’t find anything similar, so I approach them to distribute their product across the country.
Neal’s Yard Remedies was created in 1981 by a woman using essential oils to develop products that would address both internal and external concerns – now these products are sold in 20 countries worldwide.
I’m new to the beauty and skin care industry; I’m a chartered accountant, which is actually great for starting your own business because you understand your numbers! I come from a family of entrepreneurs and they’re all involved in the business in some way.
milieu: How have you been promoting your company?
The best way to convince people to try Neal’s Yard Remedies is to put one of my family members in front of them! We’re all so passionate about the products. For us, it’s mostly word of mouth, and we’re active on social media and we like to partner and work with like-minded groups. Some of our biggest and most loyal customers are through friends who referred people to us.
milieu: Green, ethical, sustainable beauty is a growing niche – what makes Neal’s Yard Remedies different?
Neal’s Yard Remedies is unique because we have the experience; we’ve been around for a while. We have a passionate workforce that believes in the company. And we keep building on what we know with clinical testing and new product development. It’s the art of herbal science: every ingredient in every product is there for a reason.
As a global population, we’re becoming more aware of our choices and the impact we have on the environment—our impact on the earth and each other. We are more worried about long-term health and companies like NY provide some easy steps to help with these concerns. Neal’s Yard Remedies is my way to provide people with the tools to not compromise on the quality of their skincare. It’s all about making people feel good, and making people feel beautiful. We all want to feel beautiful without compromising our beliefs.
milieu: looking back at the process of starting your own company, is there anything you’d do differently?
There are probably 100 things I’d change in hindsight! The hours you agonize over the little things: the design of our apron, for example. I always remind myself that the most important thing is providing the best service for our customers—and to follow your gut, because you can always go back and change things if you need to.
milieu: Any expansions or new products you can tell us about?
We’re always looking at expansion. We just launched the frankincense eye cream and we’re launching a mixed-berries complex powder, an internal product to add to your smoothies that’s full of antioxidants and vitamin C. That’s launching in January.
milieu: what are your favourite products?
It’s hard to pick a favourite but I’m loving the entire frankincense line, the concentrate and the essence. I also love the wild rose beauty balm: it literally does everything. Use it on your hair, skin, cuticles, you name it.
milieu: What advice do you have for anyone who wants to get into business for themselves?
My advice is to jump in 100 percent. It’s such a phenomenal, empowering experience to provide a service to others that you feel strongly about. If you can be an entrepreneur, do it. And communicate! Talk to people, connect, network as often as you can. If you can’t talk about yourself and your work to others, no one else will do it for you.