As a devoted regular of Taryn Toomey and her class, I have met a group of tremendously talented and incredible women. One of them, is Larissa, who just started Onda, a store that sells natural beauty products. She has incredible taste and has curated the best assortment of products currently on the market. She is incredibly thoughtful, knowledgeable, and is a walking encyclopedia on every item — Enjoy!
I am so excited by your new company, Onda. First of all, what does the word “Onda” mean?
ONDA is spanish for wave, or flow, a flow of energy or events. I was walking down the beach in Tulum Mexico about 2 years ago when I saw a sign that said ONDA. I liked it immediately — the shape the letters made graphically, the sound of it — and when I found out what it meant it made sense to me. My life at that point really seemed like a wave or flow of energy and events that continued to move forward. Creating ONDA, and watching the natural beauty segment growing, expanding, always in motion, moving forward, all felt like a natural flow to me.
How did you start your company? What inspired the transition from fashion business to wellness beauty products?
I was in the fashion magazine world for 24 years. I started when I was in my early 20s and, well, you change a lot in your 30s, 40s etc. I knew eventually I wanted to do something completely different but I wasn’t sure exactly what. I had always been interested in leading a healthy life and as the wellness category started to grow so did my passion for it. I knew when I left magazines that I wanted to do something in wellness but it didn’t come to me right away. About 4 months after I left Conde Nast I was up late one night researching natural beauty ingredients and shopping natural products when it literally hit me all at once. The whole picture of what I wanted to create and how I wanted to do it. Those moments have happened to me before in my life so I had learned to trust them. That was that. I started working on it step by very small step the following day.
How do you find your products?
I have been looking for and testing products for 2 years now. Sometimes it’s a website I’ve found or a store, sometimes a blog or instagram post. Sometimes word of mouth. When you’re interested in something your radar is up and what you’re looking for is everywhere around you. ONDA only stocks products I have personally tried and love. And I have not loved everything.
Why is it so important to use natural skin products vs “normal” ones that are more commonly available?
I wouldn’t call beauty products sold in drug stores and department normal as much as toxic or chemical-based. We support natural, non-toxic beauty product because your skin is your largest organ and 60% of what you put on it is absorbed in 26 secs. If you are focused on eating clean and using green cleaning products then not using natural beauty undoes all that goodness. Also, the natural beauty products we stock can work for any budget, and so if there is an alternative that is affordable and delivers better results and is better for you and the environment, why wouldn’t you make the switch.
There’s an energy in each of the products we sell that goes beyond the ingredient list. Each is made by a small batch manufacturer, most often a woman, who believes what she is doing is for the greater good. Experiencing natural beauty product made in this way means you get so many added benefits beyond glowing skin! I offer everyone personal recommendations to help make the switch, and that’s something I get great pleasure from doing.
What are your three-to-five favorite products that you sell and that you cannot live without?
It’s hard to just name 3-5. I love everything we carry. I’ve created a number of kits for people who are new to natural beauty and aren’t sure where to start.
One thing I couldn’t live without is a natural deodorant, and I really love Agent Nateur’s Holi-Rose. The Goe oil is also a staple in my life and most people I have recommended it to feel the same. It smells like the beach and has such a luxurious texture. We have so many beautiful and active skincare lines but right now I am using Marie Veronique and I find their products to be incredibly effective and advanced. I particularly love the Gentle Retinol Night Serum. Reverie hair products are amazing and smell like heaven! I use the shampoo, conditioner and the styling products. I don’t go anywhere without a lip balm, right now its the Butter Elixir.
What do you think is the future with natural beauty products — that they become more mainstream? Other products stop selling?
Yes, I would like to see it become the norm. My hope is that more and more people become educated about what is really in their personal care products and that they come to realize through places like ONDA that there are better, healthier, more effective and responsible choices available. It is no longer necessary to give up luxury or efficacy when using natural. You can have it all and more.
Likewise, what do you think is the next step with your business, Onda? You are opening a store downtown (when?), any other dreams and hopes for the company?
We are really excited to open our Tribeca store. We will start renovation on the space next month and be open by late spring. My dream for the space is that it feels more like a destination, an experience. When you walk through the door your stress level immediately comes down and all your senses are effected positively. It should feel a bit like you’re on vacation and you don’t really want to leave. We have started working on our first ONDA brand product so we would like to keep expanding our own line of products and hopefully open more stores as well. I hope people seek us out as the go to destination for natural beauty and more. I cant really divulge all the ‘more’ to come. Not yet 😉
In addition to using natural beauty products, what else do you do for a natural lifestyle? And how do you see its effects?
I think natural beauty is really a holistic approach to your life. Our family eats a mostly plant based diet. We try to eat organic and local whenever possible. I think the right kind of exercise is really important. I do The Class by Taryn Toomey frequently because you’re not just working the physical body but the emotional body as well. I meditate whenever possible and I see a healer who has helped me move through so many challenging aspects of my life. And of course we literally try to spend as much time as we can in nature itself whether at our home on the Delaware river in upstate NY or at the beach in Shelter Island or traveling. Being surrounded by nature is grounding and a good reminder to slow down and look around. I guess what I’m saying is my belief is you need to feed and nourish all aspects of your life naturally. Your body. your spirit, your mind and your soul. I have seen incredible effects with all of these things. Mostly in the 2 years since I stopped working in fashion and really started to look at who I was and who I wanted to be and how to create a healthy, joyful and balanced life for myself. I have been working a lot on all of it, and I don’t think I will ever really stop. It’s an endless journey for me to try and evolve and be the best version of myself that I can be. And I look forward to always learning new ways to do that.
Thank you so much, Larissa! I look forward to every email blast from your store and all your recommendations — you are a source of knowledge and inspiration! Everyone, check out the website here. Follow on instagram here.