Having the farm came in handy when, after watching her stepfather battle cancer, and learning from his doctors about the toxic load that can build in our bodies from extended exposure to certain synthetic chemicals, Harper decided to start her own skin-care brand.
“I couldn’t find anything that was effective, made of high-quality ingredients, and pleasant to use. I knew if I was looking for results without worrying about my safety, other women must be too, so I decided to create my own.”
Harper didn’t want to just make a basic face oil or toner blend. She set out to make luxury skin care that could compete with even the most high-end, legacy products for the consumer who wants the best and the most active, toxin-free formula available. “If you’re looking for a moisturizer that moisturizes your skin in 27 ways, that’s what we specialize in. We are very different than the majority of the [natural] skin-care lines out there that are about embracing simplicity. We’re the opposite of that.”
It was a revolutionary idea in 2010, when Tata Harper officially launched. Not only was green beauty not yet a "thing," but Harper was the first to infuse natural beauty and organic ingredients with a blend of technology that resulted in products such as her Elixir Vitae Serum, which uses neuropeptide technology that relaxes wrinkles with a topical botox-like effect. “It basically works as an alternative to injections,” Harper says proudly. Innovation and science are just as important to her products as the plants she loves to grow on the farm. “You need multiple ways of producing collagen, multiple ways of producing elasticity in your skin, multiple ways of moisturizing. You need a lot of technology to be able to create products that really work.”
At first, it was a three- or four-person operation, but today, the brand employs over 200 people, half of whom work on that very farm Harper fell in love with in Vermont. “We make everything in house. We fill, we package, we ship everything from this facility, so there are a lot of hands that are needed.”
Of course, it begins with the plants themselves. Not everything can be grown on the Vermont farm, but anything that can, Harper cultivates herself, and the farm is 100 percent organic. Vermont’s specialties, in terms of herbs, are calendula, arnica, alfalfa, camomile, borage, meadowsweet, all varieties of mint, and lemongrass. “We’re all about herbs that love water," she says. "Especially on our farm, it’s all clay soil, which is very dense in nutrients.” The remaining ingredients Harper needs to create her cult-status products are carefully collected from all over the world — from a total of 58 different countries. Despite having a greenhouse on the Vermont farm, Harper recognizes that she needs ingredients that she can’t produce in North America to make the absolute best products. “Not all plants grow everywhere, that’s why different countries have their own plants of specialty, because they grow in that particular latitude and longitude, with the perfect soil conditions.”