Interview with Terre Verdi founder Alessandra de Gregorio May 2020
A couple of weeks ago, I have been interviewed by Karen from Blomma for a Podcast, and below I report my answers to her questions. We are discovering how the range was started and how it came to be the brand that it is today.
What is your brand’s ethos?
I am making high quality certified organic skincare products that are highly nourishing and effective for the skin. They are environmentally friendly as well as cruelty free approved and vegan. Prices are affordable. In just a few words, I would say: organic, effective, and nourishing! This is quite an eco-luxe range, one that I initially created for me and my family to enjoy, and was happy to offer to my customers when I turned my passion into a business.
How long have you been in business?
I started Terre Verdi around the time my youngest daughter was born, 7 years ago, and it has been certified organic about 5 years ago.
Why did you start?
I grew up in Sicily, and spent big amounts of time in my father’s and grandmother’s farms. Then I spent my twenties and thirties living a fast-paced life in New York and then in London, working in the financial field for many years.
With the birth of my children, though, my love for organic food started growing, and I quickly recalled my love for all things natural and organic, for the soil, etc. From the food, I then started worrying about the cleaning products I was using at home, as well as the clothes we were all wearing, and finally my thoughts landed on the skincare products we were using.
I started making small amounts for my family, and then Christmas presents for friends and family members, and everyone encouraged me to continue. After re-training in aromatherapy and holistic skincare, I set about founding Terre Verdi. I felt strongly about this during my last pregnancy, so I felt that it was a sign for me. I eventually made the switch in careers as I wanted to be really happy about what I was doing as a job. My children are proud of what I do, and I don’t think they would have been equally understanding and encouraging if I was still working in the financial field.
How long did it take to develop your range?
It is a learning curve every day, the initial range took about a year, but it was then revised before I certified it organic after one year. The water-based moisturiser, NeroliPom, took 2 years to formulate and certify. Just this month I added one new product to the range, the CocoaBamboo Exfoliating Treatment ClayMask, which is a gentle but effective scrub for face and body.
What products were in your first range?
I had 3 facial serums in the first range, but brought that down to two now, then a body oil, a cream/balm, and a toner. I later added our cleansing oil, the moisturiser, and our yoga&sports body oil, as well as our pure oils collection.
Why was it important to you to become certified organic?
I really embrace everything that the certification is for, from the choice of packaging used to make sure it can be recycled; the choice of ingredients and exclusions of harmful ones; the making sure that there is a trace of ingredient provenance, as they need to be traced back to the source; and so on. We want for our skin to stay healthy, and that logo represents an opportunity we all have to keep safe from harmful products.
Did you launch first and certify later, or did you wait until you were fully certified?
From the very beginning my goal was to be certified organic as I strongly believed in the certification. However, I decided to launch the brand first as it would have taken a while to be certified, as well as to get some initial feedback from customers. This way, I got to know the different suppliers along the way, I received feedback from customers, which helped shaped the range as it is today.
Who are your products most suited for?
My products are suited for the family, as I created them originally for me and my family. They are therefore gentle on the skin, they are made of simple yet amazing and powerful ingredients; they are also multitasking, as well as unisex. My children love to use some of the products such as AcquaDiRosa Balancing Mist, which is pure organic rosa damascena from Bulgaria: they spray it everywhere. My husband doesn’t leave the house in the morning without the NeroliPom Moisturiser, which is a gentle yet effective moisturiser that contains anti-oxidant filled pomegranate seed oil and gentle aloe vera. The products are also convenient to share so in the case of the moisturiser, this one comes in a bottle with pump and it can be shared by partners without risks of contamination and spreading infections.
As anti-ageing for women who are my age and older, I have created the FranChouliPom Nourishing Facial Serum with frankincense and neroli, and I have been of course using it on my skin at night for years. So the family comes together in the morning and the evening and enjoys sharing healthy and safe products. It is funny to see my 7-year old daughter spreading our multitasking balm on her older brothers’ knees, she enjoys chasing them around the house holding the jar.
How do you source your ingredients?
Ingredients are sourced by suppliers that are trusted and approved by the organic certifier as well as Leaping Bunny, the cruelty-free approver. I don’t just work with one supplier or two, but with several.
How do you make the products?
The products are artisanally made and poured by hand in small batches, they are not the mass manufactured products that we are used to seeing on the shelves. Care and love is put in each and every product, and labelling is also done by hand.
How has the brand changed between the launch and now?
Since launch, I rebranded when I certified, then I rebranded again last year to really reflect the ethos of organic and luxurious on the packaging. I am now offering SPA products to practitioners as well.
What are your plans for the future?
I am planning to widen the range in the next couple of years, as at times our customers ask for this or that product, so I do not want to let anyone down and I keep adding to my to-do list! It is fun really, but also challenging, as I am not just dealing with 13 products, but also with the different sizes as well as all the ingredients. However, I love what I do, and would not change it. I enjoy spreading the message of the importance to use healthy and clean skincare products!