To the Point with Pai Skincare founder Sarah Brown
Why this all-natural brand is worth buying, especially if you have sensitive skin.
When in her mid-20s, Sarah Brown went through a stage where her skin was hyper sensitive and hyper reactive. She started relying on hypoallergenic brands, but her skin didn’t react with positive change. So she dove head first into creating her own line that was organic, and made for easily irritated complexions.
With the goal of regaining confidence in her skin, as well as helping others, Pai Skincare was created, just over 10 years ago. The brand recently launched at thebay.com, so we spoke to Brown about how the industry has changed in the past decade, which products she loves the most, and where the brand is going next.
*How has the beauty industry changed since you launched 10 years ago?
In a decade there have been profound advances in natural skincare. Gone is the misnomer that you can’t get performance with natural.
We formulate and manufacture our own products and have seen a huge increase in organic cosmetic ingredients — with astonishing remedial properties and backed up with efficacy data.
There has also been a seismic shift towards a wider interest in wellness in the beauty space. It’s not just a trend, it is being driven by a whole (younger) generation so it is here to stay. We feel very proud to have been at the forefront of that movement. Encouraging customers to look beyond their moisturiser (and deep within) for solutions to their skin challenges. Products are just one piece of the puzzle.
*Do you think there is more of an awareness at the consumer level re: organic ingredients?
The organic and natural cosmetics market is in its seventh consecutive year of growth. That’s a huge indicator of increasing customer awareness and education.
Greater access to ingredient information online and via social media has played its part here. And has meant customers are better informed than ever, and much more discerning in their purchasing decisions.
Customer scrutiny has thankfully made it much harder for companies to green-wash and get away with it. As a certified organic brand who puts our money where our mouth is, that’s a really positive step change!
*What have been the challenges of creating your own brand?
Choosing to manufacture our products in-house and scale up as we grow has been challenging. Most companies our size outsource both the formulation and manufacturing of their products.
We’ve been a product led business from the outset — at one point we had three chemists in the business and not a single sales person!
Manufacturing in-house was a non-negotiable for me to ensure we protected the ingredients and their properties, and maintained the overall quality and integrity of our products.
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*What have been the highlights of launching Pai Skincare?
It was our 10th birthday last year, and it gave us the opportunity to look back at how far we’ve come. We don’t stop and celebrate the successes enough.
There have been some amazing milestones, including acquiring some VIP fans (Natalie Portman, Emma Watson, Alicia Silverstone) and going to Buckingham Palace to receive our Queen’s Award for Enterprise.
The biggest highlight continues to be helping people with their skin challenges and empowering them to take back control of their skin.
Tackling my own skin issues is how Pai came into being and it remains our steadfast focus and raison d’être today.
*It must be like choosing which child you love more, but do you have a favourite product at the moment? Do you have different favourites at different times of year?
Our Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil — it’s my desert island product. I love its simplicity and purity. We are unique in extracting the whole rosehip (not just the seeds) and we don’t dilute the oil.
Its regenerative properties are nothing short of magical and it just sings on the skin. It’s great on scars, persistent blemishes, pretty much anything — I use as a daily facial oil.
It works throughout the seasons, but in summer I add a couple of drops into our Comfrey & Calendula Calming Body Cream as after-sun care.
*What do you see in Pai’s future? You have Pai Skincare and Petit Pai, are there any other areas of beauty that you would like to explore?
This year has already been busy with the launch of our new Back to Life Hydration Serum and, of course, launching in Hudson’s Bay!
We’ve also been working on kitting out a brand new manufacturing facility. It means that we can scale up our production to help us meet growing demand.
Next on the agenda: Christmas. We have some irresistible sets for the holiday season, but I can’t reveal any more than that just yet!
Photography by David Pike.