Sodashi founder Megan Larsen isn’t one to blow her own trumpet, but she can’t deny the fact that her natural skincare range is fast becoming one of the most sought-after lines in the world. Destinations caught up with Larsen to discuss the secret to the skincare’s success, the importance of humility and how to create a positive dynamic in the work place.
Produced in the company’s laboratory in Fremantle, Western Australia, Sodashi is currently being used in more than 70 luxury day spas and is adorning the shelves of health and beauty shops in 25 countries.
The range, which boasts over 100 natural skincare products for both men and women, was founded in Larsen’s kitchen in 1999. An owner of a natural health store, she was dissatisfied with the natural skincare products on the market at the time, finding them ineffective, so she decided to experiment with essential oils after finishing her aromatherapy studies in the south of France. During her time abroad, Larsen had become fascinated with the healing effects of essential oils and their potential to repair and regenerate skin cells and slow down the aging process. She recalls, “I became really excited about this idea, so when I got back to Australia I decided to have a play in my little kitchen.”
Larsen’s aim was to “bring about a product that was not only natural and felt nice on the skin, but was high performance and anti-aging.” It didn’t take long for word to get out about Sodashi, named from the Sanskrit word meaning wholeness, purity and radiance. Larsen remembers people consistently approaching her to ask what she was wearing, and “I had to say it was my own product.” By the time Larsen sold her health and beauty shop, she was selling up to 200 jars of her homemade face moisturiser per week, with customers travelling as far as 30 kilometres to get their hands on the product.
Larsen explains that people turn to natural ingredients for two main reasons: “allergies, or the passion and love for natural skin care products.” Larsen says the secret to the range is in the natural synergy of the ingredients. Each Sodashi product contains up to eight active ingredients, which have been blended to form something more effective than a single essential oil. Larsen warns that carelessly blended oils can actually cause the skin to have a negative reaction: “the secret is to blend them into a really powerful synergy, which means they are really gentle on the skin.”
To ensure the synergy and the quality of each product in the Sodashi range, Larsen exclusively sources ingredients from two suppliers in Europe. One supplier is a co-op which sources flowers and essential oils from all over the continent, while the other is a dear friend who she met during her time in Provence, France. Apart from the technology used to determine the quality of the ingredients, “You can just smell it… I have a really good nose, so if it’s not right I’ll be able to smell it from a mile away,” states Larsen. In this way, “We don’t use the lab to recreate anything…we just use the pure source.”
Larsen suggests one of the key components to Sodashi’s success is the positive, caring and nurturing environment the skincare products are produced in. Larsen likens the manufacturing process of the brand to cooking a meal: “Whatever energy you put into it is what people are going to feel… in and out of consciousness.” To this end, everyone involved in manufacturing practices Transcendental Meditation. Developed by Indian yogi Maharishi Mahesh, the technique works by promoting positive energies to detach oneself from a negative state.
Larsen believes that encouraging her staff to practice the technique once a day ensures a more positive and healthy working environment. “It has been clinically proven to be a great anti-aging technique and has the ability to lower stress levels,” proclaims Larsen, who has been practising Transcendental Meditation for 20 years and wrote a column last year for The Huffington Post on the benefits of using the technique at work. In addition to contributing to the positive dynamics within the company, she believes the practice has also helped her develop richer connections with business partners and clients.
The Kiwi expat gives a lot of credit to her amazing team: “It’s just my face that gets to talk about it. There are a lot of people who are hugely responsible for the great success we’ve had.” When it comes to achieving business success, it is important to know when to be humble and when to promote yourself as “humility goes a long way.” Larsen observes that “There are a lot of incredibly successful Kiwi entrepreneurs. I grew up appreciating the importance of humility… but you need to be able to promote who you are and what you actually do. However, do it in a way that motivates and inspires people.”
Apart from looking to expand into new markets and continuing to strengthen Sodashi’s foothold in the United States and Japan, Larsen’s main goal from here is to nourish and grow the relationships which have been supporting her for the last 16 years, as well as to encourage others to follow their dreams: “It is rewarding to know your story may inspire someone else to embark on a journey they have always wanted to undertake.”
Sodashi treatments are available at Spa at the Pullman, Auckland, New Zealand
For more information on Sodashi, please visit sodashi.com
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