Written by A Wild Dove | Photographed by Caitlin Mictchell
After a 24 year career in fashion magazines, Larissa Thomson knew it was time for a change. She didn’t know what exactly, but while shopping and researching natural beauty products online one night, it hit her. The idea, the space, the feeling, the aesthetic. And thus ONDA Beauty was born. Along with partner Sarah Bryden-Brown, the pair created an all natural beauty oasis in the middle of Tribeca, where chicsters, mothers and friends like Naomi Watts (who recently came on as a partner), could peruse their 83-product assortment of clean skincare brands like Joanna Vargas, Grown Alchemist, MD Solar Sciences and One Love Organics. More so, ONDA Beauty will offer treatments, facials (starting with Angela Caglia who will fly in from LA 4 days a month), Reiki healing sessions with Mark Connolly and positive vibe-inducing programming with the idea of all natural wellness in mind. Since we are all about self-care and making each aspect of our life healthier, more holistic and better, we had to sit down with Larissa to talk the shop, her inspiration and why her son is her number one supporter.
1. So we are beyond obsessed with ONDA Beauty. It’s one of our favorite beauty go-tos and could spend all day there! Tell us, what is the philosophy behind it and what makes it unique in the beauty space?
Our philosophy is that you come on the journey I started three years ago by learning more about and then switching to clean beauty. The beauty industry is largely based on fear. Fear of growing older, fear of not looking your best, fear of what others think of you — it’s all driven by fear. Natural beauty to me is the opposite. It’s about the experience, the ritual of carving out time for yourself to nourish and feed your body with natural ingredients that will bring out the best version of you. The key word being you — not trying to be someone else. We want to help women find their best selves and educate them along the way.
2. How do you select the labels or products for the shop? Is it all science-based? Branding? Emotion?
It's a little bit of all of that. A brand has to resonate with us on multiple levels and a portion of it is intuitive. Generally I find that most founders have a unique and fascinating story and that is usually the thing that gets us first. Why are they doing what they're doing and how are they doing it. After that, does it do what it claims to do? Is the scent appealing? The texture? And lastly we do take the package design into account. The design of a product has the power to attract someone and most people want to visually enjoy whats sitting on their bathroom shelf.
3. That is totally true. We are suckers for great packaging in addition to fantastic ingredients and results. So why do you think more and more women are playing in the organic, all natural space than perhaps five years ago?
I think it’s a natural evolution that was bound to happen. First came eating healthy, organic and local, then using green cleaning products in the home. Now people are starting to become aware of what they are putting on their bodies and how important that is. There is a strong link to certain chemicals in personal care product and many diseases. But the word is spreading fast that your skin is your largest organ and absorbs up to 65% of what you put on it in 23 seconds. If you're feeding the inside of your body in a healthy manner to get the best results why wouldn’t you want to do the same on the outside of your body?
4. You are also a mother, how do you "balance" the shop with parenting?
It's not easy but my son is almost 12 and has been one of my biggest supporters. Because he is at an age where he understands what I am trying to do, we can easily talk about it. Because of ONDA Beauty, he is creating healthy habits at home and is already using some of our brands. When I come home late or have to work weekends he just says, 'It’s OK, you’re starting you're own business! You've got this!’ Then we make a plan to do something fun when I have free time. It makes the time we have together that much more connected and special. My hope is that by modeling for him what it takes to start a business, which both my husband and I have done, he will see that anything is possible if you have the passion and motivation to take a chance and go for it.
5. Love that!!! How does your love for the ‘all natural’ impact your parenting style or the decisions you make at home?
My son is creating healthy personal care habits already so my hope is that it becomes a lifelong habit for him. We have always tried to keep a close connection to nature in general, whether that means having him help upstate with our garden, eating fresh, local and organic as much as possible and just generally enjoying the outdoors no matter where we are and really observing what’s happening in those moments around us. Not to mention he's already pretty savvy at reading ingredient labels at the market!
6. What is your therapy?
Self care - in whatever form that takes in the moment. Whether it’s meditation, spending time with family, listening to music I love or getting a massage (one of my favorites). I'm also a fan of self work and the awareness it takes to always be learning and growing. Even when it’s five steps forward three steps back. Which it is often but I love the process and I love turning around and saying wow!! I would have done that so much differently three years ago! I am actually getting somewhere!
7. What makes you fly?
Recognizing that there are infinite possibilities in life and that everyone is capable of manifesting their dreams. It's beautiful.