Before Vicky Tsai knew it was time to leave the corporate world, her skin knew: “I gave myself acute dermatitis from working at a big global beauty company by testing too many products on my face,” explains the founder of minimalist skincare and cosmetic company, Tatcha.
Add to that the general burnout she was experiencing from a decade on the grind, and Tsai was primed for fresh inspiration, which she found tenfold during a trip to Japan circa 2008. After meeting a modern-day geisha in Kyoto, Tsai started to learn about long-standing skincare techniques, and was eventually so convinced by the results on her own skin that she quite literally went all in:
“I was already in debt from business school at that point, so I sold my engagement ring, my house, my car, and anything else of value to bring Tatcha to life.”
A decade later, Tatcha is transformed into a much sought after brand with products that revolve around what the company refers to as the “trinity of anti-aging superfoods born from the Japanese diet, and the basis for the original geisha beauty rituals: green tea, rice and algae.”
Today, Tsai continues to travel back and forth to Japan to source ingredients and find ways to keep innovating with the ingredients that have made Tatcha the darling of glossies and beauty bloggers alike. But of course, maintaining a work schedule that consistently incorporates international travel, in addition to raising her daughter, isn’t easy.
Here’s how Tsai keeps it simple so she can ensure she’s practicing self-care and staving off the burnout.
“If it were easy, everyone would do it.”
“Being an entrepreneur often means creating something from nothing. It’s often difficult and trying. I remind myself all the time, though, that if it were easier to build a brand, scale a company, lead a team, and create formulas that have never existed before, everyone would have done it already. And where’s the fun in that?”
Skincare Essential: The Silk Canvas
“This is our newest addition to the collection, which I’ve actually been using for a couple years. My skin tends to eat makeup and used to get congested as result. This formulas has been a game changer for my skin; ever since I started using it, my skin has been ultra smooth—no more clogged pores from makeup.”
Favorite Podcast: Girlboss Radio and Fat Mascara
Happy-Place Outfit: A silk blouse
“I love mono-dressing. Whenever I am allowed, I wear a uniform of black leggings, a silk blouse, and our Kyoto Red Silk Lipstick.”
Currently Reading + Listening To:
“I just started reading John Wood’s new book, Purpose, Incorporated. He’s the founder of Room to Read, and we partner with them to fund girls education in low-income countries. The book is about building purpose into your work.
I’ve been listening to a lot of Imagine Dragons, since it’s my daughter Alea’s favorite band these days. We have a long commute together, and I’m just grateful we’re not listening to Kidz Bop anymore.”
Productivity Hack: Doctor On Demand
“It’s an incredible app where you can FaceTime with a doctor any time, anywhere, and it saves the time and hassle of visiting a doctor’s office.”
Most-Opened App: Snapchat
“It’s my favorite way to connect directly to our clients.”
Good Hair Secret Weapon: Drybar’s Triple Sec
“It has a gorgeous scent and gives instant volume and texture.”
Flats, sneakers or heels:
“I’ve had my Fendi boots forever. They are dressy enough for meetings, but comfortable enough to run around New York City or the cobblestone streets of Kyoto.”
Self-Care Method Of Choice: Meditation
“Creating, leading and inventing all require lots of decision making and creative thinking, which is taxing on the brain. It’s why decision fatigue leaves us feeling drained by the end of the day. Meditation is like a reset button so you don’t fatigue mentally as easily.”