Want to know what it's really like being a woman at the top? We sat down with our founder, Alyson Hogg to find out how and why she decided to start Vita Liberata.
Why did you decide to start Vita Liberata? It started from an idea that maybe I could pull together many benefits into multi-tasking products. That was at the very beginning. After a couple of years, my assistant Cherith asked me to make her a better tan than the one she normally wore. This scared me! Cherith was an amazing young woman, but every morning she would appear in work a rather odd shade of orange. She challenged me to make a better kind of product for her translucently pale skin, and that is essentially where it all started.
How did you take it from being just an idea into the operation that it is today? At the start, I tried to visualise where I would or could be in five years and then worked out the steps towards that. I built a strong team of highly intelligent, committed people (mostly women) who were passionate about both the business and the product. It's a bit like a game of chess - two steps forward, one back. But if you stick with the programme, and know you have something extraordinary to offer, if you think through the choices, aren't daunted by the setbacks, embrace the challenges and opportunities, and of course are fortunate enough to have all the amazing support that I have been so lucky to build around the business, then it is certainly possible to do surprisingly big things.
What is your ultimate mission? To provide a real alternative to sun exposure that is completely natural. I believe in making no-compromise products and only create skincare that is non toxic, organic, cruelty free and free from parabens, alcohol and perfume.
What's the first thing you read every morning? My emails! Then Instagram, then headlines from CNN and the BBC.
What's your best advice for a productive day? Identify your goal for the day. Work out what you need to achieve and stay focussed!
What does a typical “day at the office” involve? There is no typical day! When I am in USA I do UK business from wake-up till midday. In America - from midday until about 8pm. I'm often on calls back to back. The majority of my job is to be there for guidance and to give advice to my teams. That entails a lot of phone calls.
After a busy day, how do you like to spend your evenings or weekends? I am rarely not working, but when I do get time to relax, I look forward to spending time on the boat. This is my happy place. It allows us to sleep in the same bed every night but still keep exploring and discovering and be inspired by the myriad cultures and people we see along the way. However, the boat is only a few weeks each year and maybe a few weekends in winter.
What's your skincare regimen? I drink lots water to stay hydrated and eat kale - this is packed full of L-Lysine which is a great anti-ageing ingredient. I spritz our Skin Plumping Peptide Mist in the morning and again in the evening before applying my night cream. I’ll also spritz through the day, especially before touching up my makeup to help it hold and boost the mineral benefits.
What are your three ultimate beauty must-haves? My favourite product is our Skin Plumping Peptide Mist - I absolutely love the soft dewiness misting gives my skin. I never travel without my Self Tanning Anti Age Serum - it goes everywhere with me! It is perfect for achieving a natural, healthy glow and also smooths fine lines and wrinkles. Perfume-wise, Oud Oriental by Versace, and Rose Nobile by Acqua De Parma - I love to mix them! What is your definition of beauty? Confidence and a smile! And healthy, glowing skin, of course.
If you could give one piece of advice to anyone starting their own business, what would it be? When you’re considering starting something new, or you’re uncertain, it’s easy to be dissuaded by fear. Whether you’re thinking of starting your own business, making a career change or taking a leap of faith to pursue your passion, it’s perfectly normal to have doubts. But if you spend all the time considering your options and waiting until everything is perfect before you take action, you won’t achieve anything! And here’s why. Because the world is not a perfect place. Get used to it!
Where do you look for inspiration? I love being on the boat. Surrounded by water. I love its life-giving force, its light, its ebb and flow, its magnificence - which pales all else into insignificance and gives true perspective to the undoubted issues that always swirl around a business (and a life) such as ours.
What is your proudest achievement so far? I have struggled so hard to answer this and I couldn't understand why. Then it just occurred to me... as the child of an ulster presbyterian family (not too far removed from quakers) pride is a sin. There is no space in this world to sit back and congratulate oneself, this would be the road to rack and ruin. Pride makes us weak, self congratulatory, and lazy, pride stops us striving and encourages us to be complacent, and complacency is the root of failure. So, I have no answer to this other than I am so honoured to have such wonderful children and such amazing people who work with me. But those aren't so much achievements as sources of joy, and the good fortune to be blessed with such people in my life is a gift for which I will always be truly grateful.
What is the secret to your success? Pay attention to the detail, embrace the joyful and remember to be brave. There are no knights in shining armour coming to save the day. But that is OK. Because the warrior you are looking for?… It’s you.