Brand Spotlight Series: Self Love & Skincare with Victoria Ferguson, Founder of EAST29TH
Welcome to our Brand Spotlight Series! Where we get to sit-down and chat with the CEOs and Founders of some of our favourite skincare brands that we carry here at Asgard Beauty.
You’ve probably noticed that we have recently added a new up-and-coming brand to our shop, EAST29TH. An incredibly thoughtful and beautiful brand (and products) that promotes self care at its very core -- created with intention here in Canada by EAST29TH founder, Victoria Ferguson.
How EAST29TH started:
After giving birth to her son at 15, Victoria struggled with hormonal acne along with sensitive skin that’s prone to eczema and couldn’t find any skincare products that offered the care that her skin craved. This inspired Victoria to begin making her own skincare products for herself—through time, research and unleashed creativity, she finally had a skincare routine that satisfied her. Over the years of using her homemade skincare, her TV & Film clients often mistook her bare face for having foundation applied to it; which started many skincare conversations and eventually led Victoria to officially creating and lunching EAST29TH. It is through her company that she has been able to share her passion to connect, communicate and inspire self-love.
Chatting with Victoria - a little Q&A
One of the star ingredients in the Vital Serum is Lemon Rind Extract. How did you discover the benefits of lemon rind extract and what were some of the challenges formulating a product with it?
Creating in the kitchen has always been therapeutic for me. After being introduced to preserved lemons, I spent a lot of time researching the physical and mental health benefits and the variety of ways to incorporate them into my daily routine. I pursued a career as a makeup artist based on the simple notion that, as an artist, our skin is the only living, breathing canvas. I was curious to re-imagine how we could properly prep our canvases, paired with visualizing feeding the pores (as if they were tiny mouths) that deserved to be nourished like the rest of our bodies. All of these factors together, over time is what allowed me to discover the amazing benefits, and possibilities!
As for the challenges… I was juggling working overtime in the film industry and a full-time single mom. That being said, the main challenge I faced was finding the time to make it in larger quantities. The challenge was worth the extra effort! I have very sensitive skin, which is a large part of why I started this journey, so testing on myself and my eczema patches (head to toe) and watching my skin transform made this challenge worthwhile, knowing I’d be able to help so many others in similar situations. The Vital Serum is not just for your face, it’s for any area of skin.
The absorption rate has quickly become my most sought out detail when it comes to skincare, which is articulated effortlessly with the Vital Serum.
The Vital Serum has many benefits such as having exfoliating properties. Can this cause purging for blemish prone skin or breakouts to happen at first before clearing up?
Like any skincare with exfoliating properties it can, but I haven’t had anyone thus far mention it. It would depend on what kind of previous skincare products you were using before using The Vital Serum. One of my favourite parts about the serum packing in so many vital ingredients in one, is that it saves time but also adds the exfoliating benefits in when you’re not used to taking time to exfoliate daily, or you just don’t have the time for it.
When I had the vision for EAST29th, I knew it needed to be dimensionally diverse, focusing on being empathy- forward and driven by purpose—celebrating lemon rind extract and simplifying routines. Hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, lemon rind extract, vitamins C and E are an essential combination for delivering a high concentration of all-natural ingredients directly into the skin after cleansing to improve hydration, texture, and tone while also firming, promoting elasticity, and smoothing wrinkles. Replacing multiple products by housing all of them in our Vital Serum.
Clean Beauty and Green Beauty are terms that come up in many skincare products, but on your website, you seem to spend quite a bit of time defining these terms which was refreshing to see.
Why was it important to you to go out of your way to define these terms?
The skincare industry is overly saturated. What’s common is over-delivering products and underdelivering knowledge. I knew when EAST29TH hit the market we needed to help solve this problem, not add to it. I’m looking at how we can help evolve this industry.
When it comes to creating, motherhood has been the medium in which I've been shaped by. Entering parenthood before adulthood, my career as a professional makeup artist and now an entrepreneur, has allowed me to always create through a lens with a problem-solving perspective inspired by being mindful instead of having a full mind. I’m well versed in how it feels to be running on empty and struggling to find simple solutions in areas that aren’t my expertise (this goes beyond caring for our skin.)
I couldn't think of any other successful space that lacked proper education or even training to operate. Take a handful of ingredients housed in a multitude of products over the last few decades; I doubt most of us knew what they were using, what was working, or how harmful some can be. We are also so used to being over-promised results and never seeing them. Thus, creating an out of balanced and overwhelmed industry. It simply didn’t make sense to have so many products on the market while lacking availability when it comes to knowledge and education about them.
I’ve spent more years inside a makeup trailer or on set taking care of actors than in my own home (until recently.) We receive a lot of makeup/skincare products sent to us/the actors to try out. It was constantly confusing, and a revolving door of products and ingredients with sparse results. I saw firsthand where the common issues were and where I could help bridge the gap of confusion. I have also taken into consideration depending on where you live your regulations are different, since we’re made in Canada and have a lot of American customers I wanted to paint as vivid of a picture of where we stood as a brand and how we got there.
I found a new home within the pivot from creating characters on set to creating confidence off screen.
What initially sparked your interest in Clean Beauty?
Conversations between my skin and I have unfolded since identifying and removing the number one skin irritant, fragrance, which results from volatile compounds reacting (meaning it's released when certain chemicals react with each other.) Instead of trying to cover it up, I've learned to hear what it has to say. Understanding that imperfections are just natural communication between skin and self has allowed me to build the foundation of where skincare should be, non-toxic. As soon as I viewed my pores as little mouths that needed to be fed, I knew it had to be clean. I wanted to be knowledgeable about the products I used on others as a makeup artist, so I studied ingredients heavily. I’ve ensured all of our ingredients are clean. Clean beauty is synonymous with non-toxic beauty. With the environment always in mind, I use my empty Vital Serum bottles to propagate my plant's trimmings.
Did it make creating EAST29TH products more challenging?
No. I think if I had previously launched and tried to change formulas to fit this mould it would have been. But this was part of the core or EAST29TH. It goes back to treating others how I’d want to be treated, and I knew how I’d want my skin to be cared for.
Has skincare always been part of your self-care routine?
I haven’t had one moment in my teenage years or adulthood that didn’t lack a lot of me-time. Skincare became the only time I allotted towards self-care. It was the 3 minutes in the morning and 3 at night where I looked at my reflection and decided to make the most of those few moments. It’s evolved to be the most essential me-moments to this day; it was a factor in creating this whole brand.
There have been a lot of ups and downs to create my current routine, and I think that's important to make a note of. It's become my safe space, where textures are felt emotionally, mentally, and intellectually instead of physically. I have a diffuser with essential oils in the bathroom since my products are all fragrance-free. Texture and tone worthy of celebration.
Some of the essential parts of my skincare routine seem to focus more on the second half of the word.
You’ve recently started a Podcast “Empathy Everywhere”. Please let our readers know a little bit about the discussions you have on there and where they can find it!
Yes! We launched the Empathy Everywhere Podcast, which is the self-care portion of East 29th. Episodes will include mental health, trusting our intuition, healing from trauma, internal imbalances, body positivity, understanding empathy & how we can lead from a human-first perspective in our personal & work lives.
I set the tone with Episode One by opening up about my journey of becoming a mother at 15 years old, spending the better part of a decade with a career as a TV/Film Makeup Artist, and my decision to make the shift from having a hand in character development on-set to creating natural confidence off-screen. Episodes that follow will range from skin to self through the lens of mental health & wellness with like-minded individuals. Season One is fully aired, with nine episodes and I’m currently working on putting together season two. You can also find on our website transcribed episodes to reference back to!
You can find us:
Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts, PodChaser, Deezer, PlayerFM.
A huge thank you to Victoria for taking the time to answer all my questions!
And to our Asgard Beauty Peoples --- Thanks for reading and don't miss out on some of our beautiful IG photos (follow us both: @asgardbeauty and @east29th) along with special videos of the lovely Victoria that have been kindly created for this Spotlight Series: Self Love & Skincare.
I hope this piqued your interest in EAST29TH and answered your questions about the brand and Vital Serum (we've been getting a lot!). You can check out the EAST29th Vital serum here and don't forget to sign-up for our Asgard Beauty newsletter to stay in the loop for when another EAST29TH product joins the Asgard Beauty Fam!
Until next time,
Much love to you all!