Alessandra de Gregorio is an explorer in every sense of the word. A globe-trotter balancing work and family life with a keen sense of observation and a curious mind. Terre Verdi, her skincare line shows her dedication to providing the finest quality with a touch of elegance and simplicity. Now based in the UK, Alessandra continues to develop Terre Verdi, which we have no doubt about it, will conquer your heart – and skin.
What’s the most rewarding aspect about creating your brand?
For me, one of the most rewarding aspects of having created Terre Verdi has been the smile on my children’s faces when using our ArganShea Multitasking Cream and smelling it on their skin; this is their favourite product. Our girls love to cover their hands and arms in cream, and I am reassured that I know exactly what it contains and that it is organic and all the ingredients are certified as well. In addition, I, as a producer, am very careful about my suppliers. Being organic certified reassures me that all my suppliers are monitored and checked just like I am, so that I am able to offer my customers a final product which is just as I want it to be. A product that is purely organic is more nutritious by a very big percentage versus a non-organic product, so not only there are no synthetic ingredients, as widely used in the cosmetic industry and which can be harmful, but the skin is more nourished. It is very rewarding to reach a wider audience, such as the growing vegetarian and vegan population, those with sensitive skin, pregnant women or moms who are looking for a simple yet effective solution to their needs.
But the most rewarding aspect of all is the connection we have with our customers, who love our products and provide invaluable feedback for us to perfect our existing products and create new ones!
What is the most challenging aspect?
The most challenging aspect for a small business is to convince prospective customers that we have an affordable product of superior quality. I love the aspect of coming up with a new formulation and get it ready and available to be sold, which could even take a couple of years to accomplish. However, this is only half the work that I am faced with, as the second half relates to promoting our products.
Terre Verdi is also a reference to your Italian roots and family values, are there any beauty secrets that were transmitted over the generations? If yes, can you share one with us or can you give us one beauty tip that Italian women follow.
The best beauty tip that was passed down to me from my mother has been consistency. No matter the time of night, or whether there is a feeling of tiredness, sickness, etc. she would always go over her skincare routine as if it was a ritual: cleansing, toning, moisturising…without changing her routine much, or trying many different products, so without exposing her skin to possible ingredients that could develop in new sensitivities. I would often find myself conversing with her during this routine. She would also massage her feet every evening, and her hands before going to sleep. I think this routine was also very therapeutic for her and kept her going during the day, knowing that she would find her space again in the evening. I also need some me-time every day, and I usually take a few minutes every day to massage the body after the shower. This energizes me, lifts up my mood, and I feel that both skin and soul have their daily treat, which keeps me going.
You are based in London, but you also lived in New York, what are your tips to protect the skin from environmental pollution?
I normally do not use an SPF, nor make up, including foundation. I found out over the years that all make-up clogs my pores, even now that my skin tends to be on the dry side. When I used to work in an office in the city, I used to use all those things, and the more I would use, the more I would need to cover up the damages. In addition, it is extremely difficult to get a perfect matching colour foundation for our skin, so the final look is often quite fake. My secret is to cleanse really well at night, tone to rebalance the PH of the skin and take off the excess make-up and dirt, and then moisturise well with an oil-based serum. In the morning, I do not use any washes or hard cleansers like soaps, just rose water is fine for me, as the skin is often stripped off unnecessarily and left ready for pollutants to attack it. A good moisturiser is also key in the morning, to be able to attract moisture and create a barrier. For instance, in our NeroliPom Moisturiser, we use an emulsifier which is olive oil-based and has the ability to attract and hold moisture for a longer period. If no make-up is used, the skin can be easily moisturised several times during the day (always with clean hands of course), with either a moisturiser or a spray floral water.
How do you stay energized and focused?
The focus comes from scheduling abilities I think. Being quite busy between family and work, I schedule my time down to the minute, and my long daily to-do lists keep me focused. A freshly squeezed lemon in the morning, then herbal tea with a bit of honey, keep me going.
During the weekends, we will most likely find you…(you can share if you have a routine or anything you enjoy to do on weekends)
I dedicate the weekends to my family. I like to cook; at times, our children help us with a recipe or two, and this adds to the fun and confusion. We go out for a pizza on Sunday and spend time at the park with the kids. I try not to work at all during the weekend, also because I believe that our mind needs rest to regain the energy. I notice that actually, though, the mind never stops working, but it can do it silently, and on Monday when starting to work again, all the new ideas come to the surface. The change of focus and environment is necessary and important.
Can we expect more products in the future or are you focusing on your current collection for now?
I am focusing on the current collection but also experimenting with new ideas. Every product in the range has been well thought through and tested, and customer feedback is always important. I am currently formulating a scrub which should be coming out in 2017.