For those of you who follow The Omm Life, you all know I’m a big fan of beauty products – and even a bigger fan of natural products. I’m also all about showcasing resources and businesses that are aimed at making your life easier. So, when I was connected with Sanja Serwa, the Founder of a Canadian green beauty e-retailer – Vossity – who’s mission is to show everyone that switching to natural products doesn’t have to be hard, I knew Sanja would be perfect to interview for Wisdomm.
Megan: How did you get started in the natural beauty business?
Sanja: I had always been using organic or “natural” products on my kids so when one of my girlfriends asked me to start a natural beauty company with her, it was a no brainer. I’ve suffered from adult acne since I turned 19 and was getting sick of the chemicals I was constantly putting on my face. My turning point was when I was using Proactiv and my friend asked me if I had ever noticed my towels changing colour when I wiped my face after. That was the first time I realized that bleach was in the products I was using and it definitely didn’t belong on my face. Actually, the majority of the ingredients that I was using on my skin and hair, didn’t belong there. When I started paying attention to the labels of the products sitting on my vanity, I realized that the natural beauty world was the only one I wanted my skin to be a part of.
When did you launch Vossity?
Vossity was launched, officially, on September 15th, 2016. We just celebrated two years! yay!
Why did you launch Vossity?
After my decision to stop using products with toxic ingredients, I realized that it wasn’t that easy to make the switch. I had to shop at little boutiques and random online stores just to put together a skincare routine that suited me. I wanted to create a place where you can get everything you need, in one go.
What does Vossity mean?
Vossity is derived from the word “vivacious” which means full of life. We want our Vossity Beauties to live life to the fullest and enjoy it. You should be able to have fun, look beautiful, and feel great without worrying about harsh chemicals. That’s where we come in!
How do you pick your products?
Initially, we started with just six brands and now we have over 25. We started by picking brands that we personally used or were recommended by friends and family. It was also important to find brands created by and run by women because supporting women is something we aim to do always. Now, brands get picked by our customers (through recommendations) or by us doing research on hot new green beauty brands and always local ones as well. Of course, any brand we bring on has to pass our green beauty test first. We adhere to the EU standards which are far superior than the North American ones. For example, the EU has banned over 1200 chemicals for use in beauty products while NA has only banned about 500. And we NEVER bring on any brands that test on animals.
Do you test them on yourself first?
Because of the large number of products we carry and how bringing them in works, I don’t always get to test the products out first. But I do use almost every single product we carry. I also tend to keep products around as long as my Vossity Beauties love them. If there is something that I get a lot of complaints about or just doesn’t seem to be fitting in with our Vossity Family, I will reconsider keeping that product around. The same also goes for bringing anything in. If an overwhelming amount of people want something, I’ll do my best to give the people what they want!
What are some of your favourite products that you sell?
It’s always so hard answering this question because the answer genuinely changes VERY often. At different times of the year I use certain products more than others. However, I do have a handful that have remained constant for a while. My top “can’t live without it” product is the Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner. This is the toner to end all toners; it’s incredible. I also really love the Evolvh shampoo, the Tabitha James Kraan 4 in 1 Conditioner, Takesumi Detox Deodorant, and the Ilia Lip Crayons.
What advice or tip can you give someone who has no idea where to start with switching over to a natural beauty routine?
We have a great resource on our website called “Ditch These Ingredients” that lists the main ingredients you should watch out for in your products. Go through your vanity, drawers, purse, etc and throw away any products that have those ingredients. Then start rebuilding your product shelf from there. I will say though, the first thing that anyone should do, is switch to a natural deodorant. Especially women!
If you’re proud of who you are and own it, you’ll be beautiful no matter what.
How do you define beauty?
Beauty is so multifaceted. It’s subjective and truly something that will be different for anyone. For me, beauty is authenticity. Not being afraid to be yourself no matter what and no matter what society tries to tell you. Beauty is being yourself and saying “this is me! And if you don’t like it then that’s on you!” Whether you like to wear makeup, no makeup, hair in a bun and sweatpants, or heels and a dress, if you’re proud of who you are and own it, you’ll be beautiful no matter what.
What does a “day in the life of Sanja” look like?
I’m usually up at 6/6:15am every day. My morning routine starts by asking Alexa to play some groovy music and then I get the dogs out and the kids up (I have 3!). Then it’s coffee (all the coffee), then it’s school drop off, followed usually by a spin class 2 or 3 times a week. It’s important for me to start my days with words of gratitude so I make a point of using my 5 minute journal every day, or at least I try to every day! Next it’s work. I love working and getting to the office to fill orders, answer emails, and hop on my Instagram stories to connect with my Vossity Beauties. And after work is done it’s school pick up and then always some activity that one of my kids has! Dinner, bed time, and then back to emails and planning for tomorrow. I’m always trying to improve my own green beauty knowledge so I’m usually reading blogs and newsletters and trying to stay connected to the green beauty world as much as possible.
What’s your go-to wellness tip?
My go-to wellness tip is to pick something, and stick with it. Commit to your own wellness journey, whatever that is for you, and you won’t regret it. Whether that’s to go work out twice a week no matter what, or drink less coffee, eat less sugar, not use any products that test on animals, whatever it is, commit to it! It doesn’t have to be “big” but whatever it is, you’ll feel so good for sticking to your goals. And of course, the health benefits that go along with it are a nice bonus.
Commit to your own wellness journey.
Do you have a favourite resource to help you stay productive and organized?
I love my 5 Minute Journal because it helps set my intentions for the day and I’m BIG in to day planners. I have a wall calendar, a phone calendar, and a physical to do list that I love from a local company in Calgary called Stevie + Bean. Apparently, I need a lot of reminders to focus and get my ass in gear!
What’s your favourite motivational quote?
“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” – Jane Goodall