Tara Foley launched Follain in July 2013, as the healthy beauty retail alternative, and a catalyst for cleaning up the U.S. beauty industry. Before Follain, Tara researched safe and sustainable skincare, apprenticing on an organic lavender farm in France, and with a private label skin care company in Maine. With degrees in public policy and in business, Tara’s vision, passion, and activism fuel Follain’s growth, and its mission of improving the health and lives of others. She is a new mother and with a new shop which opened in NYC pre-holiday season, Tara has a lot on her hands.
We caught up with Tara to learn a little about the new store, motherhood, and some of her favorite products!
Tell us about the new space and how birthing Follain NYC is a baby of it’s own.
It’s a huge risk. It’s an emotional roller coaster. No matter how much I prepare and work to make it perfect, there are serious curve balls daily. And I learn SO MUCH with each of them. I’m exhausted, yet filled with more joy and love than ever before. ALL of this–and more!–can be said for having a baby and for the process of opening our NYC store! I’m not sure how this all happened the same year, but it did…and I’m more confident than ever that growing a business while growing my family is the best thing I’ve done yet. I’m laser focused, and I’m learning more than ever about myself, my skills, and my endurance. I’m even more obsessed with educating on the benefits of safer skincare alternatives. It’s pretty amazing.
What led you to open in NYC?
I actually came up with the concept for Follain while living in NYC five years ago! An activist at heart, with a public policy degree in tow–my day job then was working at a law firm, but after hours I researched and blogged about clean beauty. The blog was my personal outlet, and when I noticed there was no single, expert beauty retailer of clean beauty products–not even in NYC!–I left the city to learn about the skincare business–working for a private label skincare company, and on a lavender farm–then opened four Follain stores, where I experimented with everything from the store size to the merchandise selection. Once we nailed down the details, we felt ready to return to NYC! And five years later, we’re so excited to be back!
How is juggling new motherhood and this business?
Honestly, it’s impossible at times! This is Follain’s busiest and most important time of year AND we’re working on big developments for 2017. I have my hands full, but these days, who doesn’t? I’m beginning to realize what women mean, when they say they work more efficiently as new Moms. It’s TRUE! All of a sudden, I ruthlessly prioritize during my day. The time with little Henry is so fulfilling…silly…and amazing! Oftentimes I hop back on the computer after he goes to sleep, but if I’m really good–I’ll take the time after bedtime for myself. I’ve learned that without that occasional, forced “me time” I’ll decombust!
What mama and baby products should we look out for in 2017?
My favorites in that section remain the pregnant belly oil by Soapwalla and Erbaviva’s bath sachets for baby (or Mom)…but Mama and baby products don’t always live there at Follain! New Moms love our gentle and safe skin and body products. Some favorites are the moisturizers with fewer essential oils, like Ursa Major’s Golden Hour Recovery Cream and SW Basics Cream. We’re constantly on the hunt for safe and effective skincare for highly sensitive skin. Stay tuned for lots more options there next year!
If you’re gifting someone else or yourself, what’s in your Follain gift guide?
If it’s Follain’s guide: here are the links to some of our curated sets. I can build out a longer, better guide if that’s what you want.
If it’s my own personal gift guide: 1) Our awesome masks (they’re perfect to do in the time while nursing or pumping!) like my favorite Manuka Exfoliating Mask and Hydration Mask! 2) More Coyuchi linens for me, and for baby Henry — they’re organic, respectful to the environment, and also just lush and sophisticated. When you don’t get to spend a whole lot of time in bed, you want to make it count! 3) More No6 clogs and Chuck All Stars — because I’ll literally wear them all! 4) Lip scrubs — One for every bag! They’re the only thing that really repair my dry cracked lips in the winter. I always keep this one by Ilia handy, but want more around–like this Stewart & Claire goodie! 5) Gift certificates to my favorite daily hot spots, like spinning studios, but also to some new ones I’d like to try while visiting NYC–like MNDFL, the meditation space in NYC. 6) A great new diffuser. I’ve always loved the look and compact size of the ones by Page Thirty Three! 7) More Blue Cocoon! Always. 8) Plants! — Love everything curated by Niche in Boston, and by The Sill while in NYC.