Sophtyo’s brand tagline is “Not all organic skin care products are created equal.” And I couldn’t agree more. In fact, it’s something that I often discuss to anyone willing to listen. You can slap an organic label onto something, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s made from the best stuff available. So when a brand share’s my organic ideals, I know its worth further investigation. Sophtyo is the world’s first professional grade certified organic skincare range licensed by the UK Soil Association. With an average of 95% certified organic ingredients, the products are specially formulated to be healthy for the body and the environment. Plus, what I think is really cool and unusual, is that the products have a three-year long shelf life unopened without any unnatural preservatives whatsoever! Intrigued and anxious to learn more, I went to the source: Sophtyo founder Karen Sinclair Drake:

What’s your approach to organic beauty?

Support the skin’s natural functions by keeping it simple yet effective.

Instead of ‘time travel in a tube’ Sophtyo focuses on the ‘feel good factor’. What does this mean and how does it benefit the skin?

Sophtyo bridges that gap between organic and professional. So now health conscious consumers don’t have to compromise on performance to get the results they want. The feel good factor is referring to the fact that we have taken out all of the worry. We covered everything we felt would concern green consumers so they truly could have their organic cake and eat it too.

Why was it necessary and important for science to play a large role in creating the formulas for Sophtyo?

Producing a certified organic range that could stand up against mainstream brands truly required some pretty complex green chemistry applications. Working to Soil Association’s health and beauty care standards was technically challenging so it forces you to look in other areas where you wouldn’t normally look for answers. But it did bring forth some amazing innovation, particularly in our preservative system. It’s part food grade and has a three-year shelf life unopened, which has never been heard of before. Plus, none of the products need refrigeration, which is not conducive to a commercial environment.

Do you think using premium organic products improves one’s quality of life? How so?

Interestingly enough we have captured the attention of some high profile integrative doctors because their work focuses on treating the cause, not the symptoms – much the same as Sophtyo. Once a patient has detoxed, one of the most important aspects in recovery is based upon keeping toxicity levels down to prevent fatigue, illness etc. So for anyone who is looking to reduce chemical intake, then I would definitely say that using organic products help support this. You need to deal with toxicity from the inside out for optimum beauty benefits.

How is Sophtyo environmentally responsible and why was this important to you?

Sophtyo totally supports the agricultural industry as opposed to the petrochemical industry—evident from our exceptional high levels of certified organic ingredients, which average 95%. Plus our five production sites, four in the UK and one in Italy, under went exhaustive individual assessment and licensing for organic handling, packaging, manufacturing and waste management. Sophtyo’s eco-efficient systems are implemented by simply utilizing fewer resources that create less waste and pollution. For example; waste generated at the UK facilities consists mainly of biodegradable materials that are composted. Oxygen levels and temperature can be monitored and managed to ensure wastes are sanitized and odors contained. All material is composted to meet BSI PAS 100 specification. The end result is a compost product used as a soil improver, topdressing or is blended with soils for use in agricultural or restoration projects. It’s not just about talking the talk. You have to walk the walk if you want to be taken seriously as a green company.

How did your background as a spa owner influence the line?

I wanted to create a range that didn’t require buying tons of products… that is not at all sustainable. By creating a range that is multi-tasking and self-adjusting you can successfully reduce the need for lots of different products. We also recommend manual lymphatic drainage with every spa treatment because it is so beneficial at shifting toxins out of the body naturally.

How did your design background (Karen went to design school) influence the line?

As a designer in my previous life, I wanted Sophtyo to have a unique branding image that was far removed from a lot of stereotypical ‘organic’ and natural products. Our products are exceptionally high in bioactives, running into the hundreds, so I wanted to reflect this life force by utilizing vivacious colors. I wanted people to feel energized and happy when they looked at the products, not blah and boring. It was once said to me by a traditional Chinese medicine doctor that our products are highly energized as opposed to chemical laden products, which he categorizes as de-energizing. I always think of that when someone asks me about our formulas.

The brand concept has a ‘60’s influence’ and utilizes bold color choices. Why do you feel this pairs well with the line?

For me Sophtyo represents many aspects of that era— wanting to stand up for our beliefs and promoting women and men who choose to display their own individuality. Organic is not an exclusive club for fresh faced, just stepped out of the wilderness types. It’s a far-reaching lifestyle that all women and men from different walks of life are embracing. Green is the biggest trend that any of us have ever seen. It’s here to stay and is proliferating at an amazing pace.

The feedback, both from consumers and the industry, has been overwhelmingly positive. How important is that to you?

Extremely important because the general perception of organic is “nice and natural but does it really work?” The key to longevity is it must do what is says it does. If it doesn’t, you’re going to sink fast. Consumers can be very loyal when it comes to their cosmetics. So getting these positive reviews is pretty major because it shows they are drawn to the range for other reasons than it just being certified organic.

What do you think is the brand’s biggest achievement?

Being the first professional certified organic range in the marketplace, having dermatologists, integrative doctors and even neurologists use and recommend Sophtyo is confirmation that we succeeded in the area of efficacy.

What do you have planned for Sophtyo’s future? Are these products the beginning of a much larger line or do you plan on keeping it small?

We have quite a few other products—some for the body—that we’ll be introducing during the course of 2008. Innovation is very important to us. It’s key to the survival of our precious environment and health.