Fact #1: I see MANY beauty brands everyday.
Fact #2: A very small number piques my interest.
Fact #3: “Obsessed” describes pretty accurately how I feel about the one I’m about to introduce you to in this post.
CÉLA has a bit of a peculiar story. Its creation was kind of coincidental, with no real initial intentions of becoming an actual brand. Let me explain.
Celine Tadrissi, founder of the super popular Hammam Spa in Toronto, started mixing her own concoctions about eight years ago, “in her kitchen” she jokes, in hopes of bringing together all the best properties from the products she was carrying at her spa. Five years later, with tried-and-tested basis and a clientele with skin softer than ever, she officially embarked on the CÉLA adventure. Her inspiration? Canada, the land of extreme climate conditions, where she sourced six potent botanical extracts (blueberry, elderberry, evening primrose, juniper berry, rosemary, and lavender) all across the country to be used in her products.
I had the chance of meeting her in Toronto a couple of weeks ago and, WOW, I officially have a girl crush. Sweet, ambitious, creative, and inspiring (FIY: she had three kids in the first years of launching her spa and, in the meantime, she also found time to launch her own skincare line. If you don’t think that’s impressive…), she openly answered my questions, from motherhood to coming to terms with our physical insecurities, while sipping on some mint tea.
First things first, let’s talk about CÉLA’s gorgeous packaging.
We’ve been seeing all of these indie brands pop up in the last five years, with all black and white packaging, very minimal. At first, it was great, but eventually, they all started looking the same. I wanted something different, an object that would look beautiful on my vanity. My husband is an architect and interior designer, so he really was involved in the whole process. We wanted to tie in the nature of Canada, so we started looking at topographical views of the terrain and we created all of these patterns.
I always find it inspiring when I see women being successful in their career while also embracing motherhood. How has motherhood affected your career and vice versa?
I was pregnant with my first child when we opened the Hammam Spa. It was quite an adventure! I was the first on in my family and group of friends to have a baby, I didn’t really know what to expect. There’s so much pressure on women to be amazing at everything and that just doesn’t happen. It’s always a challenge. Whatever I’m doing or wherever I am, I just try to be present in the moment and not worry about things that I can’t change at the moment.
When I’m at home, we all make a policy that everyones puts their phone away when they come through the door, so we can engage and have dinners together. My husband and I both work a lot, so we really value our family time. Our date nights are actually all of us together! We also try to involve them as much as possible, now especially that they’re older. They grew up here [at the Hammam Spa], so they always kind of know what we’re doing.
Did the fact of being a mother of three affected the ingredients you chose to include in your products?
That was part of it. I wanted products that I would feel comfortable for them to use. I’m not by any means a purist, but when I started looking more into what’s in most products that we use, it was kind of shocking. For example, the Face Cream we just launched took eight trials, back and forth, with a month or two between each new reformulation, before we got it right. It would be too sticky or it wouldn’t absorbed. So I went to my technician with my favourite moisturizer from another brand and asked her if she could recreate the same consistency. She replied “Every single ingredient in your cream is part of the Dirty Dozen you don’t want to use”.
It’s about finding the balance between making a product that works, that is sustainable, and that won’t go rancid.
The beauty industry most often taps into our physical insecurities in order to sell us products. How can we pamper ourselves not from a place of not feeling enough, but from a place of self-care?
It’s really interesting topic which is quite sensitive to me. My whole love of the beauty industry started when I was a preteen and now I see, especially having three daughters, the amount of pressure bombarded at women daily. I personally love makeup, beauty products, fashion, and all those things, but I also try to take everything with a grain of salt. I don’t focus on the negative, but rather on what makes me happy with my appearance, but it’s not always easy. It’s something I’ve always had a struggle with. I was really overweight as a teenager and very shy too, so being able to come out of that shell and be comfortable with myself was a process, but I’m happy with where I am right now.
With my daughters, I really want them to feel confident and have those moments where they feel beautiful and not always second guess themselves. There’s nothing better than having a day when you feel confident. We should keep enforcing those positive thoughts and practices. And I approach my beauty ritual the same way; it’s almost therapeutic to me. It’s something I enjoy.
Speaking of ritual, what is yours like when you need to wind down?
I love taking baths with candle lights and essential oils. I have a lot of circulation problems , so I do tons of dry exfoliation with a dry brush, doing upward motions. I also use scrubs, my favourite is our Seed to Skin. I find it really takes off a lot of the dead skins and gets the circulation going.
What is THE product from your line you always carry around?
Our Balm. Right from the start, when I started working on my skincare brand, I knew I wanted something like this. I’ve come across many balms over the years, but I never found the perfect mix. But that one is! It’s in a tube, I can carry it in my bag, I can use it during a flight, if I have static in my hair, for my cuticles, etc. In the winter, since I have very dry skin, I’ll put it all over my body. My husband also uses it for skin irritation, like razor burns and things like that. During the summer, when we’re travelling, I’ll put it on my daughters if they get a sunburn or a bug bite. It really works amazingly!
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