Vicky Tsai: Founder of Tatcha

Episode 431

It was a trip to Kyoto in 2008 that led Vicky Tsai, Founder of Tatcha, to create a skincare brand based on Japanese beauty rituals. Vicky became so inspired by the beauty secrets and rituals of Japanese culture that she saw firsthand and how this was healing her dermatitis, so she left her job and started creating. Even selling her engagement ring to fund the launch. In 2009, she introduced the consumer to a completely different way to think about beauty, inside and out. Her journey developing Tatcha, scaling it, stepping down as CEO then coming back as CEO with Unilever, the company that acquired Tatcha is fascinating, authentic, insightful and I know that you will be glad you listened. Now on #TheKaraGoldinShow.

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Kara Goldin 0:00
I am unwilling to give up that I will start over from scratch as many times as it takes to get where I want to be I want to be, you just want to make sure you will get knocked down. But just make sure you don’t get knocked down knocked out. So your only choice should be go focus on what you can control control control. Hi, everyone and welcome to the Kara Goldin show. Join me each week for inspiring conversations with some of the world’s greatest leaders. We’ll talk with founders, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and really some of the most interesting people of our time. Can’t wait to get started. Let’s go. Let’s go. Hi, everyone, it’s Kara Goldin from the Kara Goldin show. And I am so thrilled to have my next guest, we have Vicki Tsai, who is the founder of Tatcha. And we are really, really, really thrilled. I’m a big fan of Tatcha, a big fan of her, I was finally introduced to Vicki. She is also a member of YPO. And actually, when I left my form group graduated out of my forum group, I found out that she came into the forum group, and I was so bummed that I missed her and in the process, so very, very thrilled to finally get a chance to meet her, I knew a little bit about her story, but was able to get a little more taste of her story. And now we have her here to even share even more. So very, very thrilled. And just to give a little bit of background on Tatcha for those who may not be familiar with it, it’s a skincare brand based on Japanese beauty rituals. And on a trip to Kyoto, and 2008, Vicki became so inspired by the beauty secrets and rituals of Japanese culture that she was healing her deep struggle with dermatitis with that she left her job and created a skincare brand called Ptacek. She even sold her engagement ring, which is like, I mean, crazy, crazy, crazy, so many levels in order to fund the launch. And then in 2009, Tatcha actually became the product that hit the shelves, and she is the founder or will always be the founder. She was the CEO as well for many, many years. And she can talk a little bit about that. The company was sold to Unilever. A few years ago, she was actually asked to come back in and help really build the brand inside of Unilever. So I’m really excited to hear more about Vicki’s journey as well as more about Tasha, and all she is up to you. So thank you so much for joining us, Vicki.

Vicky Tsai 2:52
It is an honor Kara, I am such a fan of what you’ve created in a hint and everything. So yay.

Kara Goldin 2:58
Thank you really, really psyched. So before we get into hearing about Tasha and your journey as an entrepreneur, I’d love to hear more about you and what you were like, What exactly were you doing before you decided to start Tasha?

Vicky Tsai 3:14
Oh, my journey to entrepreneurship was not at all a straight path. I never thought I’d be an entrepreneur. I’m an immigrant kid. My parents are from Taiwan. And I was born here in the US. I started off as a credit derivatives trader on Wall Street. And then my husband and I were at ground 09 11. And that was really an early catalyst for me to start thinking differently about how I wanted to use the waking hours of my life. And so we went from this meandering path from there to business school, business school, the general management, marketing, Starbucks, China, Silicon Valley. And then eventually, one day I woke up, I was 31. It was living in San Francisco, I had tons of business school debt, mortgage debt, credit card debt. I’d worked in big companies, medium sized companies, startup both coasts, different industries in nothing felt like it fit. It was like the three little bears. This one’s too big. Nothing was just right. But the prettier my resume got, the more empty I felt. And then one day, this other voice just came out. And I said, I choose happiness. And then it went from there.

Kara Goldin 4:20
I love that I was reading an interview that you did. And I heard you say that you started touch up because you were searching. And I think that that is a common thread amongst the best entrepreneurs that they’re searching. Sometimes they stumble upon an idea and they can’t get it out of their head. Do you think that the best entrepreneurs would say that as well as you think about entrepreneurs that you’ve met or that you’ve read about?

Vicky Tsai 4:50
Yeah, when I think about the ones that I admire most they’re trying to understand a part of themselves, but then they also have something in the world that they they want to see come Life. For me, I was searching for healing work for my butt, but spiritually. And I think that’s why I was drawn to Kyoto. Even though I’m not Japanese. I think many people throughout the world who have never been to Kyoto, are still drawn to the idea of it because it represents the center of healing. There’s over 2000 temples there. But I think that’s pretty consistent for the entrepreneurs that I’ve met, who were trying to create something of value beyond money.

Kara Goldin 5:29
Kyoto is such a beautiful place we went a few years ago, and I just fell in love. It is just absolutely gorgeous on so many levels, and really has an energy to it that is hard to describe, actually, unless you’ve been there. So what drew you to go on that trip? And actually, were you exploring thinking that you were going to potentially start torture at that point? Or were you just sort of exploring, searching?

Vicky Tsai 6:03
Yeah, I didn’t think I was going to start a company. In fact, when I was in business school, I took one of those personality assessment tests to see what like what my career shouldn’t be, since I didn’t want to do Wall Street anymore. And the thing that came up was entrepreneurship. And I was like, oh, no, that’s too much risk. Too much debt. I can’t do that. But when I said I choose happiness, at the same time, I ran out of these blotting papers that I used to get when I would fly through Japan to China for Starbucks. And I was dependent on them because I had acute dermatitis for three years prior to that. So my skin was always blistering bleeding, scaling my lips, my eyelids, I was on steroids and antibiotics every day for that time. And the only thing I could use my face was basically Vaseline, so it wouldn’t be so painful. But I look like a greasy hot mess all the time. And so these, these blotting papers in Japan were the only things I can use to sort of like slick away the grease, and then I ran out of them at the same time. So a friend of mine from Starbucks, Japan was like, well, the ones that you like, are not available in the US. They’re originally from gold leaf artists in, in Japan. And it was one of those, like, you pull a thread on a sweater and the whole thing keeps unraveling. And more she told me the more I was just intrigued. So I ended up going to Japan didn’t know anybody didn’t have any money. It was it was very uncharacteristic of me to just go. But then when I went there, I had no experience and that completely changed my life. And it was the energy there too, that you’re speaking of. And I as I came back, and I started feeling I was like I need to find a way to keep this in my life. Just desperately firstly, I need it. It’s I created tons of justice as a way of sharing these healing experiences, rituals, people ingredients, with other people who might, who might be needing some healing as well.

Kara Goldin 7:52
So I’d love for you to share that story to like, what was it when when you got there, that was just I mean, it’s a beautiful story, I’ll let you tell it.

Vicky Tsai 8:02
So my first city that I went to in Kyoto, I asked the hotel to find me a driver, so I could go see the city and take some pictures. And so they ordered a driver for me. And for the full day his name was treatise on and I was pregnant. And halfway through the day, I just couldn’t handle it anymore. It was hot. It was throwing up everywhere. It was beautiful, but I just couldn’t, I couldn’t do it. And so I told him, I’m so so so sorry, but I’m gonna have to cancel the second half of the day, I have to go lie down. He said no problem. So I went back to the hotel and I passed out. And then I think five, six hours later, I woke up and like the light was blinking on the phone, which said I had a message and the message was that there was a package for me at the front desk. And that was strange to me because nobody knew I was in Japan. I know anybody in Japan. So I went down there and instead of getting another ride for the second half of the day, he drove home, an hour and a half spent the entire afternoon burning 1000s of photos of Kyoto on the foresees printed up a picture of me that he had taken shortly after I grew up. So it wasn’t the best picture, cut them out in a circle and volume 1234 and glued them onto the CDs and then drove an hour and a half back and left them for me at the front desk. And he said since you couldn’t see Kyoto I brought Kyoto to you. And Japan’s not a tipping culture. So he didn’t do this. You know, I cost him half a day’s wage. He didn’t do this for a tip. He thought he’d never seen me again. He just did it as an act of kindness. And so that was that was when I fell in love with Japan. And what I’ve since learned is what he did is called Omotenashi. And we translate it in the US as customer service, but it’s not customer service. To me, I think it’s really about making someone else’s happiness, your happiness. It’s an underpinning philosophy to Japanese culture. And it was an act of kindness. It sort of had a butterfly effect that I hope spreads through the work that we do.

Kara Goldin 9:59
Oh, That’s so beautiful. So was this was this trip also the trip where you met the geisha? Yeah. Yes. That’s her that. I’d love to hear that too.

Vicky Tsai 10:13
Yeah, I went and I met the goldleaf artisans after that. And I asked them, Is it true that these blotting papers that I that I’ve been using to take care of my skin that they’re the byproduct of the gold leaf hammering process, but they said, Yeah, we things that are in Japan that are precious or lifting gold. And then the way that you turn gold and turn it into gold leaf is you have to hammer it. And so this is paper that we use during the hammering process, so that the gold doesn’t stick together and you don’t end up with a big gold hammer. But as a paper gets hammered, it becomes very, very thin and soft. And as a result, absorb it because the fibers spread out like that. And then we would throw the papers away. And then the geisha or Kabuki actors would come and they’d pick it up, and they use it on their skin. And so you’d have to ask them, how they figured out that it was good for skin and helping to set makeup. Last like Acacia real, they said yeah, they introduced me to one and I that was just crazy. Now I’ve studied with 15 of them, there’s one on my on my team, but it’s really, really hard to meet them. So it was definitely, you know, fate, Inner Inner intervened and made that possible for me. But I interviewed her and the things that she shared with me really changed my understanding of concepts of beauty, as well as introducing me to rituals that ended up feeling my skin. So it was it was an incredible experience.

Kara Goldin 11:30
That’s incredible. So that was was so was it at that point, the papers that were really the thing that kind of healed your skin, or were there other things that were coming up as as definitely things that you needed as far as skincare.

Vicky Tsai 11:46
So she told me where they got their their ingredients. And then you go, my translator, like wrote down on these packages for me what they word how to use them, and I use half of the wrong but they did heal my skin. What I learned was it was very, very, very simple approach to skincare. Most of the ingredients come from food, rice, green tea, seaweed, but it’s the opposite of what we’re used to. And so they wash their face with an oil, which until recently in the US was not something that we thought of, they polish their skin everyday like a jewel whereas we tend to exfoliate once a week or more occasionally the Napoli’s feeling a bit more aggressive, that can leave the skin inflamed, they use an essence every day, which can increase hydration of the skin by up to 700%, instantly. But in the US, that’s not really a big category. And then their moisturizers are very, very light because your skin is already full of hydration. And so it’s really about nourishing cocooning the skin in the end, whereas in the US we tend to use things are very, very rich, because we feel like we need to, you know, like, just live here is better. And so it’s very, very, very different approach to caring for the skin.

Kara Goldin 12:56
So you fell in love with this product and and your curiosity clearly was driving you to ask more and more questions. And you saw for yourself how it was solving the problem at At what point did you decide, okay, I’m gonna go do this, I’m going to actually bring this to more people because maybe others have this problem as well.

Vicky Tsai 13:20
When I finished interviewing that first geisha, she was walking away, and I watched her walk away on this cobblestone street, I saw the picture. And in that moment, this thing happened, that has still never happened since where this entire movie just showed up in my head, and I could see it, I could see the whole thing. And it almost felt like a download of what I was supposed to do. And so in some ways against my personality and better judgment, I was like, I have to, I have to follow this now. And so that’s when I went back to my hotel room and told my husband, I gonna start by 10,000 body papers as a starting point. But then I need to research this. And I think there’s a lot more there. But it’s so opposite of my personality. And financially, we weren’t set up to do that at all, but I felt compelled. And then for the next 14 years, anytime I didn’t know what to do with the company, I could sort of let my mind soften and go to this more still deeper place and I could see the movie and then I just do what I see.

Kara Goldin 14:27
And and so where did the name Ptacek come from?

Vicky Tsai 14:31
So first, it means nothing. It’s really made up. My co founder who is an incredible creative His name is Stanley Haynesworth. He used to be global head of creative for Starbucks and Lego. He’s used incredible. I told him that I wanted to create something that felt like an exhale like like a release and mean anything so that we can infuse it with meaning. So she came up with Tasha, and then this incredible woman named me on a Dara joined the founding team. Jean, and she’s from Tokyo originally. And she said, when I saw that word I thought of Tachibana, which is the art of a single outstanding flower in Japan. And it invites you to see the beauty of something when you strip away all the excess. And so, you know, we’re very open about it, it has really two origins. One is, one is just hopefully the feeling that you have when you just release an exhale and surrender. And then the other is the beauty of something when you strip away the excess.

Kara Goldin 15:29
It’s so beautiful. It’s when I, when I first saw it, I really did think that there was some kind of meaning behind it and maybe translated into something. So it’s, it really is such a perfect name. So it’s great. It’s really wonderful. And your packaging obviously is beautiful, too. So the the first product, then were the papers Did you only launch with that product? Yeah,

Vicky Tsai 15:56
if that was the only product for the first three years, because since I was pregnant, at the time, I had been struggling with acute dermatitis, I had worked at a sustainability focused startup. Prior to that, in Silicon Valley that was led by sustainability thought leaders, I’d become deeply aware of the environmental, personal and health impacts of different ingredients in the personal care space. So we realize quickly that if we wanted to bring these rituals to life in an authentic and sure way, we’re going to have to do it the old fashioned way, which is hire your own scientists, if necessary, grow your own plants, make your own extracts your own formulas from scratch, like a Couture dress. Most of the beauty industry is white label, there’s 1000s of brands, which there are but there’s only a handful of manufacturers, and you go and you buy a product, you put in 0.0001% of a marketing ingredient in there, you slap your name on it, you slap your fragrance in you put out the door. And that’s how that’s how people who otherwise don’t have any background in beauty chemistry are suddenly online and on TV selling 18 T skincare collections. And that’s one way to do it. But in order for us to create something that was true to our our intentions, we couldn’t do it that way. And so it took three years of r&d, and up to $250,000 per formula to ensure that it’s safe and efficacious. And we’re worthy of the people that we create them for.

Kara Goldin 17:27
I was reading an article that that they interviewed you for to where you talked about the skincare is not actually regulated by the FDA unless, you know, maybe it’s sunscreen or some of the other segments of of it, but I think most people don’t understand that and yet, it’s absorbed into the skin and, and can actually do quite a bit of harm. It’s your largest organ, right? And it’s it’s pretty interesting.

Vicky Tsai 17:58
Yeah, I don’t think anybody comes into the industry wanting to hurt anybody. But the bar is very, very low, in terms of how easily you can bring a product to market, that you can make very profitable, and not do all the steps to make sure that it’s actually going to care for the skin.

Kara Goldin 18:18
So you’ve worked in a number of different industries. You’ve talked to about a few of those, but you had never done your own company and your own physical product in beauty. And I read that you didn’t always own that you were the CEO of Tata, even though you had gone to Harvard Business School, you were, you know, completely qualified to go and and do this. Why do you think that’s the case?

Vicky Tsai 18:47
So it’s interesting, I had some background in beauty. I grew up working in my mom’s skincare store. I worked at internet, the largest beauty company in the world during business school. I studied it during business school, I did actually consult for one of the other largest beauty tech companies in the world of the board before I started teaching because I for jobs. I also did another job where I created a body Caroline, for another brand. Before I started Tasha. And so I did have quite a bit of background in beauty and business by the time that I started Tasha. And yet I never felt worthy of calling myself a CEO. I think a lot of it is because when I was in my corporate career before that, even though my results were always great. I always got these sort of mediocre, underwhelming performance reviews. And it was always around leadership. And there was sort of these subjective measures of my leadership potential, but don’t want to ask for the details of what where I could further develop my leadership, it was always an empty box. Like they never gave me any details for why they gave me low ratings. Their duty just gave me a low rating and an empty box. And it happened over and over and over again. And so of course, there was a part of me that’s like, Screw you. Yeah, we’re phenomenal. You’re welcome. But on the other side, you can’t help but internalize it a little bit and think there’s something wrong with me. And so by the time that I started my own company, particularly because as women, and then as women of color, you’re often the only one in the space that looks like you. So then you really feel like one of these kids is not like the other. So then you’re like, maybe I don’t belong here. And so you’re right, I hid the fact that I went to Harvard Business School, throughout most of my tenure as CEO of touch up because I felt that people would get turned off by that, by my ambition or my my credentials. I didn’t call myself a CEO, I call myself chief treasure hunter. When investors and others introduce my co founder, who is president as CEO and never corrected them. And I actually asked my co founder to take the CEO title, multiple times, but he refused, because he said, You’re the one who does the work. I’m not taking the title.

Kara Goldin 21:17
Wow. Amazing. So funding for a company is often tough for, especially for first time entrepreneurs, not to mention women or people who fall under the category of diverse knowing what you know, today, what advice would you give to others for funding their company, you actually had raised funding through the process. And there’s different types of funding, of course, there’s angels, there’s venture private equity family offices, but knowing what you know, today, what, what is sort of the red flag that is out there that you should just be really careful about?

Vicky Tsai 21:55
Oh, that’s many books unto itself. As you know, Kara.

Kara Goldin 22:00
You and I write the book together.

Vicky Tsai 22:04
It was so lucky, because my co founder, Brad Murray came from the private equity space, and he was phenomenal at raising money. And yet, he had to work so hard to raise money. And we did have to rely on angels, friends and family and ourselves. And it’s why we didn’t take a salary for nine years. So what I wish I knew then, that I didn’t realize until the end of my, my journey as CEO was that less than 5% of VC dollars go to women founded businesses. And less than 5% of VCs are women. I have not seen statistics about the racial breakdown. But I think it’s very likely to assume that a very small percentage of that 5% actually goes to diverse women. There was also disturbing statistic that if you have a co founder, that is male, your likelihood of getting funded, goes something goes up like 800%, something like that. And I was very lucky that I had Brad. So the odds are stacked against you, when you are a woman and when you are diverse. And I internalize that because I did not know those statistics. So every time we were turned down for funding, I assumed it was because there’s something wrong with me as a leader and something wrong with the business. Now I can look back and say it’s just it’s a completely different playing field. Once we were able to get funding, the first thing that happened was I was asked to step down as CEO. And it was almost a relief. Because I was like, well, at least someone’s finally saying out loud. I’m not qualified to do this. In retrospect, I was more than qualified, I should have never stepped down. But everything happens for a reason. And I don’t regret any of it. The company’s stronger for what we’ve been through. I’m a better leader for what I’ve been through. But I haven’t looked at I will look at board rights, voting rights, really have conversations with investors and acquires ahead of time to make sure that you’ve shared goals and visions. But even if you do that, that assumes you have options. Most of us don’t have options. So you can say, well, you can be better negotiator. But if you’ve only got one option.

Kara Goldin 24:14
Yeah, no. Absolutely. So I think there’s also even if you do everything, right, sometimes the people change, right people move and other people come in, and those are not the people that you necessarily inked your deal with.

Vicky Tsai 24:30
Totally. I self sabotaged. Yeah, the the operating partners who did the deal with us at the private equity firm, they were incredible. And they ended up being incredible and the highest integrity people I could ask to work with through the area. But when an operating partner under them, a lawyer had said to me in a very threatening way that he he felt that I should step down. I let this like middle manager at a small private equity firm, just like mansplain me out of my job. Uh huh. And I was like, okay, yeah, you’re right. But like, I have to own my side of the street on that. Why did I just roll over into your I should fire myself? Like, why didn’t I? Yeah, why didn’t I end up for myself and say it pounds. And

Kara Goldin 25:13
it’s fascinating. I was talking to an entrepreneur, a female entrepreneur the other day, and she and I were having this conversation, she’s going through a very terrible situation herself right now. And I think unfortunately, there are people that prey on people that are forget about the women and diverse and all of that for a minute. But to be an entrepreneur, you could, you’re exhausted, right? Especially after, you know, nine years, you know, 6 million vendors, whatever, you’re exhausted, right? You just feel like, at times, you don’t even know what you’re saying or do. Right. Yeah. And I think that they prey on those people, because you get the the numbers are to a certain level and, and they know who to hit. Right. And I think that it sounds crazy to anybody who has never gone through that. But I do think that there’s a you know, I’m sure if you ran a marathon, and you were getting towards the end, and you know, somebody said, Hey, do you want to ride? Sure, you know, to some people, not everybody, but I think there’s a little bit of that. Would you agree?

Vicky Tsai 26:29
Yes, for sure. For sure. And, again, I don’t, I don’t want to believe that there’s people out there who go out of their way to be predatory. But people in the investing world are in the they’re in the business of, of using money to make money. And so it’s very easy to write deal terms that help ensure you make money no matter what. Which means as an entrepreneur, you can you can lose something that you love, no matter what.

Kara Goldin 27:02
Yeah, no, that’s so true. And I think, you know, at times, you have to remind these people that they have to if you have multiple investors, even if they have a preferred rights, or they have to do what’s right for all shareholders. And that that is a really, really key point that I think one can never forget, especially if you’re on the board, and you’re a shareholder. So it’s critical.

Vicky Tsai 27:29
What are even bigger? Can we zoom out and focus on all stakeholders, which include our employees, our clients, the environment, like can we think bigger and be more responsible as human beings?

Kara Goldin 27:39
Yeah, no, absolutely. So the company ultimately sold to Unilever. You were not the CEO at that point. And so what happened in that situation? I mean, obviously, it was during COVID, when you ultimately came back into Unilever, but I’d love to hear that story as well.

Vicky Tsai 28:01
Yeah, so we brought in private equity, I was encouraged to step down to CEO. Within a few months, I realized, if I’m not going to, you know, own the company, and I’m not going to run the company, I should find a parent company, who will take care of it for the long term. So I immediately started the sale process, as chair were with the board, and sold the company to Unilever, within a year and a half of the private equity deal. And so I wasn’t the CEO going into that deal, but I was the chairwoman. So I own that. And Unilever ended up being an absolutely incredible parent company that I still do and have one complaint about to this day, which is why I continued to stay involved with the company, then COVID hit, then all other sorts of things happened. And they asked me to come back and execute a turnaround in January of 2021. And so I never thought I was going to be a boomerang CEO. And I was living in Wyoming at that point, trying to figure out how to protect my family keep myself safe. And but I never thought twice when they asked me to come back because we built companies that we love. So I was not gonna let anything happen to it. Many of my employees are API women. And so I feared very much for their safety. I feared for everybody’s safety when it came to COVID How do I protect their jobs, keep them from having to go out in public until we understand, you know, the safety of all of this. And so I just I felt my responsibility as leader really quick kicked in like a mother like the this Linus came on me and I was like, That’s it, taking care of my cubs. And it was an incredible growth experience for everybody involved.

Kara Goldin 29:48
That’s, that’s wonderful. And you’re still very involved in the company and and that’s, that’s great. It’s definitely when you grow a company. I think it’s, you don’t necessary Early after remain as CEO. But I think it’s just nice to know that you’re that you can actually bring in a team. And you can be helpful to that team, because you have been through a lot, and growing this company and you care. And there’s many years of your life, that you were working on this and you did it from a place of love and a mission. And I think it’s totally,

Vicky Tsai 30:23
I think your founders care. And you’re an amazing mother, I know. So no matter how old they get, and how much they grow up, and leave the home, leave the nest at the end, they know that they can always come back to you when they need advice, and they are always going to love them. It’s incredible.

Kara Goldin 30:39
What is the product today? You still have all of the beautiful products from from the beginning, the papers, etc. But what is the product today that you’re most excited about for Tasha?

Vicky Tsai 30:53
Oh, that’s such a good question. The one of the biggest things that I’ve learned about from studying in Japan, with scientists with Zen monks with geisha, for the last now, almost 15 years, is a connection between our mind and our bodies, particularly the connection between our skin and our mind. And so when I was covered in hives, and I had acute dermatitis, and then after that, for many years, I had eczema and hives that would cover my entire body. I knew instinctively that it had something to do with stress, but it didn’t understand how deeply tied it was. Now, we are starting to understand the body in a much more integrative way in the Western world, which has always been the case in the Eastern world, which is why they call Eastern medicine, holistic medicine, that everything is connected in the Western world has been very segmented. So you had you know, a doctor for your guts and a doctor for your brain and a doctor for your heart. Now things are starting to converge and you’ll see a lot a lot of talk, especially in Where do you live on integrative medicine. And so the idea of the connection between the gut and the mind has really come to the fore in the western world in the last decade. And so like we used to think serotonin, the feel good chemicals, you know, often the brain now we know a lot of it’s from the gut. Now they’re looking at the gut, skin, brain axis. So turns out that your your brain has been developing together since your stem cells, once your largest, you know, sensory organ, the other one tells everybody else what to do. So they’re constantly talking, and your skin both off X and reflex, your mind. And so like when you’re embarrassed you blush, when you’re in love, you glow, when you’re depressed, you turn gray, when you’re scared, you get goosebumps, that’s how connected your mind and your skin are, is. Firstly, a lot of stress for a lot of people will show up through their skin. And then the way that you care for your skin can also help you care for your mind. So we always say we’re not in the skincare business, we’re in the business of taking care of people through your skin during the trauma of COVID. And the turnaround and all that stuff that happens my entire body erupted again, in hives, it was like the whole journey restarted from the very beginning. And I was like come on Vijay, you have the tools to deal with is. And so we went back to Indigo, Japanese Indigo which samurai have long used to help protect their bodies during battle from burns and scars. It’s anti inflammatory, there’s great research out of Asia around the anti inflammatory benefits that are comparable to humans without the side effects. And so we went back to our Indigo collection to see how we can create things that are going to help people calm and strengthen their skin. But we also started introducing ingredients in there that are known to help calm the mind. So it’s called neuro cosmetics, and then also rituals around the skincare that can help really calm the spirit. And then we started putting monitors on the brain. And then also monitors on the eyes did some pretty extensive clinical testing to see how it decreased the anxiety and stress in the body. And we found that, you know, you can really really decrease your stress by using skincare as a catalyst for health and well being. So my personal favorite is the entire Indigo collection. But there’s just one Indigo overnight Recovery Cream. And I put it on my skin every night, especially if I’ve got anything that’s burning or dry or itchy. And then I also have a little meditative ritual that I do with it. And then in the morning when I wake up, I feel really settled in my spirit and my skin is really resilient and glowing again to so understanding that skincare can be a catalyst for health and well being I think it’s the biggest transformation I’ve had.

Kara Goldin 34:27
That’s amazing. So very, very excited to try that. So knowing what you know today about maybe you’ve gotten a lot of advice over the years, some good some bad, what advice would you give yourself as you were thinking about starting a company and scaling a company and everything that you’ve been through? What advice would you give yourself?

Vicky Tsai 34:50
Oh, if I could talk to my younger self again, I would say optimize for energy, don’t optimize for productivity and then Before COVID, you know, as hustle culture, we’re just trying to survive, we’re just trying to make it we’re just trying to prove ourselves, and I treated my body like a used car, like I’m gonna get another one lifetime. And I just like it, we just just ground it to nothing. So I’m telling all these messages, the right brand of being gentle with yourself and self compassion, taking care of yourself. But the truth is, I was I was grinding it out. And those 100 hour work weeks, flying a million miles, going to sleep, the sleeping pills waking up with coffee and, and just not taking care of yourself to get there’s a cost to that. But I was just trying to like squeeze as much out of my body as I could like, it didn’t matter. And then now on the other side of all of this, and like, you know, if I optimize for energy, the things that give me energy, the things that give me joy, then I’ll naturally be more productive. And then I’ll naturally have more time to get things done, and then also rest. And so I would have, I would have just changed the way that I thought about how he’s going to use my day.

Kara Goldin 36:00
That’s wonderful advice. So it was such a pleasure having you here today, Vicki, and thank you for all of your wisdom and sharing your learnings to means a lot and I know there are going to be people listening who are going to get a lot out of this. So thank you again, and thanks, everybody for listening. Have a great rest of the week, everyone. Thanks again for listening to the Kara Goldin show. If you would, please give us a review. And feel free to share this podcast with others who would benefit and of course, feel free to subscribe so you don’t miss a single episode of our podcast. Just a reminder that I can be found on all platforms at Kara Goldin. And if you want to hear more about my journey, I hope you will have a listen or pick up a copy of my book undaunted, which I share my journey, including founding and building hint. We are here every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And thanks everyone for listening. Have a great rest of the week, and 2023 and good bye for now. Before we sign off, I want to talk to you about fear. People like to talk about fearless leaders. But achieving big goals isn’t about fearlessness. Successful leaders recognize their fears and decide to deal with them head on in order to move forward. This is where my new book undaunted comes in. This book is designed for anyone who wants to succeed in the face of fear, overcome doubts and live a little undaunted. Order your copy today at undaunted, the and learn how to look your doubts and doubters in the eye and achieve your dreams. For a limited time. You’ll also receive a free case of Pentwater Do you have a question for me or want to nominate an innovator to spotlight send me a tweet at Kara Goldin and let me know. And if you liked what you heard, please leave me a review on Apple podcasts. You can also follow along with me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn at Kara Goldin. Thanks for listening