In a world where the beauty industry is a whirlwind of options, Nataša Tavčar, CEO of GalBaia, Natural Dermathecary, stands out as a beacon of innovation.
With an unwavering passion for the power of nature and a background rooted in scientific exploration, Nataša has carved a unique path in the natural beauty landscape. Her journey takes us through the
crossroads of nature and science, leading to the creation of a high-performance natural skincare brand that’s a true embodiment of sustainable luxury.
In this interview, Nataša reveals the remarkable benefits of silver fir extract, her wisdom for aspiring business owners and how she sources a fusion of ingredients from opposite ends of the globe.
Sublime: For those who do not know what GalBaia, Natural Dermathecary is, and what it’s about, tell us a bit about you and your brand.
Nataša Tavčar: It’s all about my love of nature really. It’s where I draw my energy and my inspiration from. And I was quite young when I first felt the urge to research how the power of plants can affect people’s skin health and general well-being. In high school, I started playing around with the first creams, for my own use only at the time, of course, but this paved the way for my study course and my future career. Fast forward to a Master’s in Cosmetics science, obtaining a diploma in organic skincare, and acquiring a certificate in organic anti-ageing skincare from the prestigious Formula Botanica.
I was lucky to be part of a panel researching the effects of a rather unknown substance, the extract of silver fir from the deep forests of my native Slovenia, which turned out to be this incredibly effective anti-ageing wonder. My research didn’t end there, curious as I am, I started putting together my first product, and in the process encountered active ingredients from Australia. It was then that the story of GalBaia began.
S: What sparked your interest in wellness to the point of establishing a business?
NT: The more knowledge I had about all the good that plant-based ingredients can do for the skin and the more time that I spent researching them and the synergy between them, the more I realized that there is so much good I could share with the world. In the world of cosmetics, there are so many options to choose from and truly every person can find a product that suits them. Still, I had yet to find one that would have so many beneficial properties and such wonderful youth-preserving effects on people’s skin as the one I was working on. It was a no-brainer: I knew exactly what my next step was going to be. Founding my own business was a huge challenge, surely, but such a rewarding one. And I never once found myself regretting the decision.
S: With so many products on the market – how can consumers find the right products for their skin type?
TN: It’s not easy, it’s really not. It helps if there is a brand you know you can trust. But still, as with every other thing in life, you just have to do your own research. Begin by carefully examining product labels. Look for key ingredients that are beneficial for your skin type, and be wary of any potential allergens or irritants that might be listed. Additionally, research the brands themselves to understand their values, principles, and commitment to producing high-quality products. Understanding your own skin type is fundamental. Educate yourself about the different skin types and common issues associated with each one. This knowledge will empower you to choose products that cater specifically to your skin’s needs. Know that patience is essential when trying out new products. Don’t expect instant results. It is advisable to use a product regularly for a few weeks to assess its impact on your skin. If at all possible, opt for organic products. Why organic? Apart from the fact they are better for the environment and quite often follow the ‘cruelty-free’ guidelines, they are gentler on the skin and less likely to cause irritation and adverse effects.
S: What makes your products different?
TN: If I must sum it up, let me list my today’s selection of the top three aspects. Firstly, GalBaia brings together ingredients from two ends of the world. On the one hand, there is silver fir extract from the purest forests of my native Slovenia – a lesser-known ingredient yet proven and patented as one of the most youth-preserving. And then there are the amazing Australian active ingredients derived from plants that have naturally adapted to resist the ageing effects of the sun.
A unique blend of carefully selected ingredients that work hand in hand to give the best possible result for healthy and beautiful skin. GalBaia is a proud holder of the CosmEthically Active certificate, which puts a seal on this fact. That’s two. And thirdly: our sustainable and omni-friendly approach. From water conservation and reusable and recyclable packaging, to always keeping people, animals, and the planet in mind, we bring our pebble to the mosaic of the world we want to pass on to future generations.
S: Silver fir extract is native to Slovenia; can you tell us some of the key benefits of this wood extract?
TN: Slovenia is an emerald in Europe’s jewellery box, glittering green with natural forests. Third most forest-covered country in Europe, as 60 percent of its territory is covered with forests. The Kočevje forest is one of the most unsullied parts of nature in Slovenia, and my silver fir wood extract comes from its cleanest, most powerful depths, from its very heart. For my Master’s thesis, I researched silver fir extract and formulated a cream based on it. I was amazed by the extract because analyses conducted at the Faculty of Pharmacy in Ljubljana, Slovenia, showed that it contains large amounts of low-molecular-weight polyphenols. These are antioxidants that, because of their small size and other properties, can penetrate the skin more easily and show their beneficial effects on the skin.
My research demonstrated a number of these. Wrinkles, skin moisture, elasticity, and skin microrelief, all improved significantly. These results provided the basis for a patent application, which I co-authored, and, moreover, encouraged me to develop my own cosmetic line based, among other things, on silver fir wood extract and the findings of this research.
S: What sets this cream apart from others in the market, in terms of both its colour and scent?
TN: Unlike many others on the market, this is 100% natural. There are no added colours or synthetic fragrances. Crafting a cream with a universally pleasing scent is a challenging task, as individual preferences vary. It’s very difficult to achieve a persistent and “pure aroma” that everyone will like. However, the combination of the gentle woodiness of silver fir and lavender essential oil and the fresh note of the bright, energizing scent of sweet orange essential oil and immortelle create a warm scent that will lull you into a warm embrace of nature.
S: What role does sustainability play at GalBaia and why is it important to you?
TN: When I think about sustainability, what I have in mind is sustainability in all we do and all we consume. I believe that we must all implement sustainable practices in all areas of our lives. That’s why, wherever possible, I try to create products with sustainably sourced ingredients. This sustainability mindset also fuelled my decision to avoid small bagged samples of products, which have, sadly, been shown to end up, way too often, discarded by the consumer.
Sustainability is now without a doubt top of mind for beauty brands. When it comes to the products people buy, consumers are and will increasingly be adopting a green mentality. Natural and organic ingredients across product categories (e.g., organic skin care) are becoming more popular for their positive health and environmental impacts. Which is what I have been striving for all along.
S: What changes and trends can you see happening in the natural beauty industry in the next few years?
TN: I see it expanding. People are choosing natural more and more. They are increasingly demanding products that are more environmentally friendly, more animal-friendly and more skin-friendly. Not going to lie here, I love that things are taking this turn. With this growing demand, companies are obliged to deliver, and they do. Of course this also means fierce competition – more challenge for those providing the products, but more options for the consumer to really pinpoint the product that sits well on their skin and brings the benefits they seek.
S: What advice can you give to any new business owners out there in the natural beauty industry?
TN: Never give up! If you are starting a business, you must already have a passion. Build on that. It’s going to be hard, there will be challenges and obstacles, but you must keep going and follow your dream. It pays off to have a clear vision, a story, and most importantly a good product. Then build your brand, make it visible, take it out to the world. And don’t be too proud to ask for help. Because you’ll need it, you’ll need all you can get. Keep pushing forward and believe in yourself. You’ve got this!