Kate O’Brien always understood that what you put in your body affects your health. As a wife and mother, she fed her family organic produce and tried to limit the chemicals in her home. She knew that things that came directly from nature were the best choices for her family.
But in 2004, Kate’s mother had become ill and it was weighing on her heart and soul. At this very tumultuous time, her teenaged daughter Sara was becoming interested in wearing cosmetics. As she studied the ingredients of the fun, sparkly cosmetics that her daughter wanted to wear, Kate thought of her own mother and wondered what little factors had contributed to her illness. She recognized that our skin is the only barrier between our inner world and the outer world and that, just as what we put in our bodies makes a difference, what we put on them also matters. So she searched for cosmetics with natural and organic ingredients--ingredients that she knew would not impact her beloved daughter’s health in 20 or 30 or 40 years. The safe cosmetics were out there, but as Kate looked at them through her daughter’s eyes, they seemed so boring and brown; so washed out. She couldn’t find the colors and textures that Sara craved and the ingredients that she felt good about in one package.
Kate found herself asking, why do natural cosmetics have to be so boring?
She began, in her spare time, to research mineral ingredients and then to hand-craft batches of makeup. As she created, Kate discovered that natural cosmetics do not have to be boring! They can be sparkly or satiny, vivid purple or soft beige, and still be completely free of parabens, talc, chemicals, gluten, dyes and nanoparticles. And Kate wanted to share this good news with all women, because she believes that EVERY woman deserves safe beauty products that allow them to express their individuality with joy.
Alima Pure was created so that all women can play with color and texture, and enhance their natural beauty without worrying about the effect it may have on their health. Today, Alima Pure is sold around the world, and Kate has the distinct pleasure of working every day with her (now adult) daughter, Sara.
To wrap up our first full year of Naturally Gorgeous models, we are featuring the two naturally gorgeous women who are responsible for the existence of Alima Pure! As is our habit with our models, we asked them a few questions so that you can get to know them better!
Kate: I love gardening, travel, yoga, cooking, hiking and hanging out with friends. And I’m in a book club with some old and new friends up in Seattle.
Sara: I love making things, working with my hands, baking and spending time outdoors. And I promise, the rain and drizzle grow on you.
AP: Do you have any children or pets?
Kate: Two children, a handsome son and a beautiful daughter; and a geriatric chihuahua.
Sara: Not yet, but hopefully very soon. I am obsessively refreshing the Humane Society web site!
AP: What inspires you?
Kate: Nature, art and the generosity and graciousness that is present in so much of our everyday life—in our everyday interactions with clients and coworkers.
Sara: The world around me, people who are invested and intentional in their life and living it with love. And I have to say, most of my design work for Alima would not be possible without Ellen Show clips from youtube. She kills me.
Kate: Women’s rights, environmentalism and social justice.
Sara: Small acts of kindness and the ripple effect they have.
AP: What scares you?
Sara: Not taking life seriously and having it pass before me unlived. When our common humanity is overlooked or ignored. Open water – this is a somewhat secret fear.
AP: What surprises people about you?
Kate: That I don’t scare easily.
Sara: Most things! I’ve been told I’m unpredictable.
AP: How do you define beauty?
Sara: That’s a tough one. I think it can encompass many things.
Kate: I love the French concept of beauty that is expressed by the phrase “ bien dans sa peau,” that is about feeling comfortable in your skin. There is something so beautiful about an innate naturalness, and the radiance of being comfortable with yourself.
AP: What makes you feel beautiful?
Kate: Being with friends I love, doing yoga…and a little makeup always helps!
Sara: Self acceptance.
AP: What have you learned from creating and running Alima Pure?
Kate: That there is no such thing as a setback, only surprising and unanticipated opportunities!
AP: What do you love about running a cosmetics company?
Kate: I love the amazing people I work with and our interactions with our terrific customers.
AP: What do you NOT love about running a cosmetics company?
Kate: The initial surprise of those unanticipated opportunities!
AP: Do you have any advice for mothers and daughters working together?
Kate: No, just blessings.
Sara: I try to remember that even though we see each other every day at work, it’s still really nice to spend quality time together outside the office.
AP: What book are you reading right now, or if you prefer, what is your favorite book ever?
Kate: I’m currently reading The Importance of Being Seven. It is very, very light, but charming!
Sara: Bunny Bunny by Alan Zweibel is one of my all-time favorites. Such a beautiful and heartwarming story of friendship. I cry every time I read it. And laugh out loud.
AP: Who would you invite to your fantasy dinner party?
Kate: My grandma, Nelson Mandella, Audrey Hepburn, Paul Newman, Abraham Lincoln and Dorothy Parker.
Sara: Beloved friend who have moved away and I miss dearly. One is back in town for the holidays. Looks like one of my fantasy dinner parties will be happening in real life very soon!
AP: What one Alima Pure product do you wish every woman could have?
Kate: A foundation that matches her skin perfectly!