#WCW: Meet Brook Harvey-Taylor, Founder and President of Pacifica Beauty
When I was first introduced to cruelty-free and vegan brand Pacifica Beauty, it was at a little meditation studio nestled in the heart of NYC. We were learning about the brand’s new line of crystal-infused products, while meditating and choosing calming crystals we were naturally drawn to. As I tested the Pacifica Crystal Dew Makeup Setting Spray (a product that has since become a staple in my makeup collection) to awaken myself from post-meditation drowsiness, it occurred to me that Pacifica’s message was refreshingly unique and united by a strong community of passionate makeup gurus, skin-care lovers, vegans, healers, animal-lovers and drugstore beauty enthusiasts. Rather than intimidating me with statistics and before-and-afters, I was thrust into a community that encouraged me to find my strength and empowerment. I finished up that meditation sesh wanting to learn more about Pacifica founder Brook Harvey-Taylor's story, and what inspired her to bring the Pacifica community to life. Our discussion, ahead:
Can you share the story behind Pacifica Beauty?
Pacifica was more my destiny than a business decision. My boyfriend and I were driving down this beautiful tree-lined road on the way to our favorite surf spot and were listening to Joao and Astrud Gilberto. A song came on that had the lyrics “Pacifica” in it. e both were like, That’s it, that is our name. It was as if a million moments collided together and exploded into this living thing that is now Pacifica.
I grew up on a little cattle ranch in Montana. We really lived with nature. Our eggs and milk came from our neighbors, we grew a huge garden and all of the feed for our livestock. My mom was an early adopter of natural products due to an autoimmune disease. She was a member of our local food coop, and my sister and I worked there as teens to get our discount. This was my first exposure to natural beauty — r lack of it. I would stock the shelves and think about what I would make when I had my own beauty company. This is the same reason our company does not use animal ingredients and is vegan. There was a moment that I realized I was raising and falling in love with animals that would get eaten. When I connected the fact that I was eating my pets, it changed my life.
Perfuming and my love for naturals intertwined when I was apprenticing to become an aromatherapist. I found myself obsessed with how the essential oils smelled. And while I was studying the benefits of the oils, I couldn’t help but begin blending them together as perfumes — seven of which became Pacifica’s first scents. Enter my now husband, Billy Taylor (the guy on the surf trip mentioned above). He was my biggest champion and convinced me that this passion could be a business. I created our first seven scents in my kitchen, took them to a trade show in San Francisco, packed up in our VW van. The response was incredible and we came home, set up a factory and started creating the first Pacifica products. Whole Foods was one of our first retailers. We started in perfumes (with a hidden aromatherapy agenda) and moved into skin care, makeup, hair care and sun. We have recently launched a line of beauty supplement powders in Target.
When you were developing the Pacifica brand, what were a few non-negotiables?
I made sure everything we did was vegan, even though in the beginning we didn’t message this. It was important only to me at the time, and I didn’t know that our consumers would care. It is exciting to see what a trend it has become. Also, I knew our products had to be high performance without compromising on ingredient safety. We all deserve this as a non-negotiable in all of our beauty products.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Listen to your gut always. Never take things in business personally, or really in life. Don’t hire or listen to the wrong people. Get enough sleep. Don’t eat too much Mexican food when you’re stressed out. You only get one body. Karma is real.
What advice do you have for aspiring female entrepreneurs?
The market is so much more competitive today than it was when I started. To me, this is a time to stay even more true to who you are and not to watch your competition. None of us live in a bubble but not being obsessed with things like “white space” and where you fit in might help you stay more creative.
What has been the biggest pinch-me moment of your career?
For me, every day is a pinch-me moment. I am so grateful to be alive and to be on this planet right now. Winning CEW Best Mass Fragrance was a big one. I never imagined a natural fragrance from an indie brand would win this award. I am pretty proud of that.
What’s the one Pacifica Beauty product everyone needs to try?
It’s so difficult to choose because there’s so many that I think everyone needs to try! At the moment, though, I would say the Sea & C Love Vitamin Serum. It’s a great skin-care product as we’re heading into summer because it’s multi-functional. It’s infused with vitamin C and kelp, red seaweed, green algae, hyaluronic acid, turmeric and green tea. It also protects again blue light (also referred to as High Energy Visibly or HEV light), which is known as a silent ager. Serums are typically pricier, so for this to do it all for only $16, it’s unbelievable. As for makeup, the Liquid Cover Concealer is a must! It’s buildable but can be used on its own to cover up any imperfections. It’s very lightweight and even includes hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin. It has a silicone-free formula and like all Pacifica products, is 100% vegan and cruelty-free. This product will do wonders for your complexion.
Can you share your daily and nightly beauty routine, as well as any daily wellness rituals you practice?
Honestly, I wish I could say I did yoga every day, lived this magical life and had an amazing Instagram account to send you to so you could see it all. But this isn’t my reality, so I am always looking for shortcuts to wellness because I do want to be healthy. Before bed, I always wash my face with our Coconut Milk Cream to Foam Face Wash and follow it with our Sea & C Serum and then our Dreamy Youth Day & Night Face Cream. I drink a big glass of Wake Up Beautiful Beauty Powder (it dissolves in water) about 30 minutes before I get in bed. My favorite daily ritual is driving my daughters to school. I have an hour in the car every morning where they are trapped with me and we get to talk about their day ahead. I make it a policy to ignore any incoming calls, I can’t check emails, and it is a sweet time.
What beauty industry trend are you most excited about in 2019?
The trend toward clean ingredients. I think that this has been a long time coming, and I am proud that we have been a leader in this movement for the last 23 years. I think it is the biggest change we will see in beauty for the next several years and it will not go away.
What's next for Pacifica?
We are going to continue to lead the market through innovation using the best clean ingredients. Keep your eyes open for more makeup launches. We have a new mascara launching at Ulta this fall that amazing! I’m so excited about it.