Celebrating 10 years of Pai with Founder Sarah Brown
Sarah Brown is celebrating ten years of her natural skincare line, Pai. Her smooth, happy skin is the strongest testament to how gentle and effective Pai really is.
Made with only good ingredients, Pai products are good to the earth and good to their customers.
In her mid twenties, Sarah developed a condition that made her skin sensitive, irritable, and impatient with many products she had used before. Other products labeled “hypoallergenic” and “organic” quickly began to let her down. Worn down by mornings plagued with fear of looking in the mirror, Sarah set out to regain control of her own confidence.
That’s when she created Pai, meaning “good” in Maori. Since then, she has stood by that definition in every aspect of her business. Made with only good ingredients, Pai products are good to the earth and good to their customers.
Pai’s philosophy is simple: make products with clean, organic ingredients that customers are excited to use and proud to have on their shelves.
Sarah’s experience forced her to understand her skin better, and how to promote its long-term health. Now she is helping others do the same. Wanting to learn more about her journey, I met with Sarah at Blake’s Hotel in London to chat about wellness, beauty, and her magical city.
For creating your brand
My inspiration for starting Pai was actually a really bad rash!
Pai is everything I was looking for when my own skin went wrong. Not just products that really work, but a brand that will hold your hand through the stressful process of getting your skin back under control.
How to be an effective leader
Having a clear vision is crucial. People can only be passionate about an idea if they understand why you’re doing it in the first place.
Within the beauty industry, we’re pushing to change things for the better – not just for the sake of being different. Often it’s costly and time consuming (our organic certification requires heaps of paperwork), but we’re living proof that you can be authentic, transparent and honest in the beauty sector and still be successful.
How to stay creative
We’re always encouraging our team to challenge received wisdom. It’s an easy trap to fall into, particularly within the beauty industry where the same old tropes are repeated over and over.
Making space for creative thinking really helps, too. Whether it’s adding a day onto the end of a business trip to explore a new city or just taking your laptop to a café for an afternoon, a change of scenery can spark some new ideas. Inspiration can come from the obscurest of things and places!
What you love most
I was born in London and it was also the birthplace of Pai – so it holds a special place in my heart. I love London’s diversity, sense of history and architecture. There are never ending things to discover as it’s a sprawling city that is ever-changing.
Go-to lunch place
When I’m on the go I like LEON – particularly their Original Super Salad or Halloumi Wrap. They do mean waffle fries too when I’m feeling less virtuous!
Favorite stores to shop beauty products
We have an amazing stockist in Marylebone called Content. Every product is selected and scrutinized by green beauty expert, Imelda Burke (she has just launched her own book: The Nature of Beauty), so it’s the perfect destination if you’re looking to switch your makeup bag for cleaner alternatives that are still beautiful and luxurious.
A few purse essentials
I’m always on the go so I carry round a load of stuff. My mainstays are our Fragonia & Sea Buckthorn Hand Therapy Cream and Head To To Hero Buriti Balm, my Pacifica Persian Rose Perfume and some almonds for snacking on the move.
Also my Tile® on my keyfob as I’m forever misplacing my house keys (my toddler has a habit of walking off with them and dropping them in nearby hedges.)
Reading always help to calm me down. I also swear by Epsom salts and lavender in a warm bath.
On a slightly less tranquil note, I also love live music so try and fit in a gig when I really need to put work to the back of my mind for a bit. When you run a business and have small children it’s easy to feel like you have no life of your own!
Must-have skincare products
Our Chamomile & Rosehip Calming Day Cream or Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream; I’ve used them for 10 years, and the Geranium & Thistle Day Cream especially provides the perfect level of moisture for my skin, while being a great non-greasy base for makeup.
In the winter months I also slather myself in our Comfrey & Calendula Calming Body Cream after showering.
Favorite makeup products
My favourites are Lily Lolo mineral powder, Kjaër Weis cream blusher and Charlotte Tilbury full fat lashes mascara. I’ve yet to find an all-natural mascara that doesn’t give me panda eyes. I have dismally short lashes so need serious help amplifying them!
Pure, gentle and effective skincare is essential, but truly healthy skin comes from within.
As far as sensitive and problem skin is concerned, few people really appreciate the importance of diet. Pure, gentle and effective skincare is essential, but truly healthy skin comes from within.
I am a big advocate of high quality essential fatty acid (Omega) supplements as they keep the skin calm and conditioned from the inside. My latest fave is from Bare Biology.
Favorite London fitness activities
My main activity is running around after two frenetic children, so I stay in shape that way!
I’d like to do yoga more frequently than I do – we offer a free class to our staff every week at the Pai office.
Healthy foods at home or on-the-go
I can’t not eat breakfast as I’m always so hungry when I wake up. To streamline busy mornings, I make a homemade granola on the weekends to see me through the working week. I make a blend with loads of seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin), and I’ll also have some with banana and blueberries.
Pai just turned 10! What are the next projects?
Here is what’s next on the agenda: launching into some very exciting and prestigious retailers and perfecting two exciting new products for 2018. Watch this space!