of the essence: an interview with april gargiulo

 

Last week, April Gargiulo, founder of the cult-favorite beauty brand Vintner's Daughter, sat down with our Director of Marketing Annabelle Gould to talk about her new product Active Treatment Essence, which is now available in our beauty section starting this week. 

For five years, the original Active Botanical Serum was their one and only SKU, but with the highly anticipated launch of the Active Treatment Essence, it's found itself a holy sibling.

Sold out practically everywhere, the new Essence serum boasts serious results at a sustainable cost. Read ahead for Annabelle’s interview with April:

 

Tell us a little bit of background on Vintner’s Daughter. When did you start, and what was the inspiration for the brand? 

 

I come from a family of winemakers in Napa Valley, which opened my eyes to the transcending experience that can occur when high-quality ingredients are paired with exacting formulation methods — to me, this is the truest of luxuries. After I became pregnant with my eldest daughter, I realized that my “luxury” skincare products were packed with low quality and unsafe fillers that were not serving my skin well. As a result, I was inspired to create our first product, Active Botanical Serum, a face oil that delivered powerful, multi-correctional performance, uncompromising quality, and serious safety. My background in fine wine-inspired my unwavering commitment to world-class ingredient-sourcing and meticulous formulation methods. Active Botanical Serum was the first product to bring to life these extreme principles of quality and efficacy and Active Treatment Essence is the second. With it, we have double-downed on our commitment to deliver transformational results through the world’s most active botanicals and time-honored formulation methods. 

 

You have a cult following of beauty aficionados who devote themselves to your product. How have you evolved since creating the brand? How has this changed with your rising popularity?

 

We continue to be driven by the same commitment to unparalleled efficacy, uncompromising quality, and 100% safety. This is the same north star that we have had since day one. It does not change no matter what bright and shiny objects come along. There is a discipline you must-have when you want to achieve the very best. This is something we undertake with equal parts of joy and rigor. 

 

Tell us more about Essence - this particular product has been sold out across the country so how does this launch differentiate itself from the prior releases?

 

With Active Botanical Serum I sent an email from my personal account to 130 friends and family members. That was the full extent of the “launch”. Still today, we have never paid for any marketing and have gratefully grown solely on the strength of our products and word of mouth. With the launch of Active Treatment Essence, our mailing list had grown considerably and press attention had as well. We were lucky to have been featured in Vogue, Elle, Goop, Bazaar, Glamour and so many more incredible magazines, websites, and blogs. Since our launch in March Active Treatment Essence has sold out 3 times. We are having a hard time meeting demand because of our sourcing and production methods. Every bottle of Active Treatment Essence takes 35 days to produce which does not include the months of sourcing we go through and the weeks of testing we do to ensure our standards of quality are met. It is an incredible time-honored process and one that we lovingly refer to as moving at “The Speed of Quality.” Selling out is a champagne problem to have I realize, but it is something we are working on correcting - without compromising any aspect of our formula of course. 

 

Tell us more about the ingredients in the Essence product - a lot of our followers are mindful of sustainable practices. How does this product work within those practices?

 

What could be more sustainable than to use less? This is one of the ways we approach caring for our planet’s resources. We believe in fewer, but better quality and better crafted products that do more. Additionally, Active Treatment Essence, like Active Botanical Serum is made from 100% natural ingredients that have been sourced from conscious growers and producers around the world. We aren't only thinking about the environment when we source, but we are also thinking about our product's impact on the communities where we source. We want to make a positive difference in all the lives we touch. 

 

Which skin types is Active Treatment Essence good for?

 

Our nutritional skincare is good for all skin and all people. Just like all of our different bodies thrive off the same nutrients, so does our skin. By focusing on the foundation of skin health, nutrition, we are able to create universally effective products that everyone can benefit from. Active Treatment Essence delivers complete water-soluble nutrition and Active Botanical Serum delivers complete oil soluble nutrition. Together, they provide optimal nutrition, deep hydration, and multi-correctional moisture. This is how all skin becomes its most balanced, healthy and youthful. 

 

How do I use Active Treatment Essence in my routine? Can you walk us through what you recommend?

 

Morning and night, after cleansing you will apply ⅓ of dropper to the face, neck, and chest using our Push/ Pat Method. Follow with 5-6 drops of Active Botanical serum. Voila! In two simple, yet powerful steps you have given your skin everything it needs to be it is very best. 

 

What products can Active Treatment Essence replace? 

 

I love this question because this single product can replace so much and also deliver so much of what you didn't even know you needed. It is your complete water-soluble nutrition, your deep hydration, Hyaluronic, Vitamin C, Plant Stem Cell (collagen production), Pre/Probiotics, Exfoliator, Antioxidant, and toner. And all of these incredible performance-driven actives are in the formula in the most optimal percentages to drive transformative and lasting results.

 

shop active treatment essence

nyfw favorites: part 2

we're continuing our spotlight on nyfw with favorites from zero + maria cornejo and veronica beard. 

see below & shop current collections from each online & in store now!

 

shop current season from zero + maria cornejo 

 

shop current season from veronica beard

nyfw favorites: part 1

new york fashion week has begun, and we're already coveting pieces from some of our favorite vendors. see below & shop current collections from each online & in store now!

 

ulla johnson 

  

shop current season from ulla johnson

  

r13

 

 

 

zimmermann

 

shop current season from zimmermann

 

spotlight: marla aaron

Marla Aaron recently moved from a home office to a space in the Diamond District on 47th Street—where she used to spend her lunch breaks.

 

While Marla Aaron was still working as a global communications executive, she would come to 47th Street, also known as the Diamond District, during her lunch breaks to feed her jewelry passion.

 

At the time, she was collecting antique jewelry and starting to make some of her own pieces. Fast forward to 2019, six years after she left her previous career to launch her eponymous line in 2013, and she’s recently moved from a home office on the Upper East Side to 47th Street, where she’s no longer a lunchtime hobbyist. She has a studio and showroom and has almost finished securing a third space to house her rapidly growing brand. 

    

New Marla Aaron pieces made from Fordite, pictured over a chunk of the material, which consists of layers of solidified automotive paint. 

 

“It was all terrifying—that I was going to throw away my 25 year career to pursue my dream,” says Marla, “but a passion for something can carry you a long way.”

 

 A self-described lifelong “frustrated product designer,” Marla makes jewelry that is both formally beautifully as well as fully functional—from her original lock design to her Gimmel rings, which feature interlocking bands that separate to reveal a hidden, inscribed message. “When I saw that I could morph the lock in a lot of ways, I knew there was the possibility to do a lot more,” Marla says of her signature lock design that launched her company, which now includes over five-hundred unique pieces. Recent iterations of the lock include one made using Fordite (layers of old, hardened automotive paint from Ford factories in Detroit, pictured above) and one featuring stones gathered from around New York City.

  

Marla pictured in front of her vending machine at the Brooklyn Museum.

 

There’s a warm ethos that surrounds everything Marla does.

 

Since 2016, she’s run the #lockyourmom project, which sends special edition silver baby locks to single mothers just before Mother’s Day. As Marla explains on her site, "We do this because I was a single mom when my son was small. Then I met my husband and together with our children we made a family. Being a single mom was the most difficult time in my life . . . I remember that feeling and I want to give back in a small personal way."


There's also the Marla Aaron vending machine (which is exactly what it sounds like). It's traveled to the Brooklyn Museum and the William Vale Hotel, and most recently, it was in residence at the MZ Wallace store in SoHo this past February. The machine’s monitor played a special film Marla produced for Valentine's Day, featuring children collaboratively reading Shakespeare's Sonnet 130. Marla also traversed the city with several members of her staff, handing out copies of the sonnet printed on small sheets of paper. All of this was done with refreshingly little branding and simply in celebration of love—no jewelry is featured in the video, and it was a last minute decision to even include Marla's logo on the back of the printed poems. 

 

The Regular Lock in Yellow Gold with Diamonds and the Star Lock in Yellow Gold.

 

Since the brand’s inception, Marla has used the verbiage of "jewelry and objects,” and while she has yet to offer any objects that aren't meant to be worn, this pursuit seems to be on the horizon—no doubt they will be equally as gorgeous and functional as all her current offerings. 

We love Marla’s line both for its its unique, thoughtful craftsmanship and many customizable combinations, as well as the spirit with which she does everything.

 

Shop a selection of Marla Aaron online now

and visit us in store to see more. 

 

 

Of Rare Origin

 

 

Of Rare Origin is a family affair. And this isn’t just due to the fact that a mother-daughters team—Leslie, Octavia, and Thea—run the entire operation.

Every aspect of the company’s world—from the initial inspiration (their Armenian matriarch) to the manufacturing process (intimate Italian workshops) is suffused with familial joy and whimsy. We sat down with the spirited trio to talk a bit more about how their quickly coveted, artisanal jewelry came to life just a little over a year ago and which just recently landed at Scarpa this season. 

Leslie’s history in the jewelry world laid the groundwork for Of Rare Origin.

Working as a consultant for several high-end jewelers, she traveled throughout Italy, France, and India, discovering and sourcing specialized manufacturing techniques from small, family-owned workshops. Growing up, Leslie’s daughters would often accompany her on these trips. They kept in touch with the families who operate these ateliers (many of them had children the same ages as Octavia and Thea). They maintained pen pals and more recently, they've attended each other’s weddings. Some of these peers are now the owners of their family’s businesses.

Back in the states, Octavia and Thea’s maternal grandmother (of Armenian descent, born in Geneva, raised in Brussels and moved to NYC in 1945) was a formative presence in their lives; together spending a lot of time in their Montauk home. They all lovingly recall their grandmother’s singular spirit. Thea recounts their grandmother’s favorite garment to wear to parties in her later years (she lived well into her 90s): a Jean-Paul Gaultier blouse, with a subtle, yet suggestive pair of entwined lovers embroidered on the front and on the back in bold red letters: Liberte, Egalite, Sexualite.

 

 

 

As the story goes, their grandmother made it a habit of daily feeding the birds her leftover crumbs after breakfast.

“Every day the cardinals would come, and we would tease her and say, ‘When you die, you’re coming back as a bird.’ She loved that idea,” Leslie recalls. When her mother passed away a few years ago, Leslie found a trinket in her belongings, which inspired Leslie to create the first pair of aviary-themed earrings. 

After giving the earrings a test run, where the response was overwhelmingly positive, Leslie, enlisting both the help of her manufacturing network and Octavia's communications background, swiftly developed their first full-fledged collection. All of this happened just over a year ago, and since then, Octavia, who was working full time at Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects, now splits her time between the firm and the family biz. Thea joined the team just 8 months ago, and while all three wear many and interrelated hats, presently, Thea has taken on more of a creative role with her mother in the design aspects of the company, while Octavia spearheads the structuring of the business as well as relationships with retailers and press. 

Reflecting on her experience so far, Octavia notes, “I didn’t realize how proud I would be to be in a woman-owned business—that’s taken on such an essence for me, [as has] the fact that we’re manufacturing something hand-crafted, something artisanal.” She acknowledges not only her mother’s remarkable network (“Lovingly, we call her the jewelry hustler.”), but also the increasingly rare talent in that network, “There are not so many people who do these techniques any more.”

 

  

 

How the Of Rare Origin jewelry comes together is perhaps as elaborate as the finished product itself.

It’s charmingly impossible to trace the process in any linear sense, but it involves some combination of: sourcing a wide range of stones and materials, 12-hour days visiting one of many workshops (punctuated, of course, by a quick Aperol Spritz) where Leslie, Thea and Octavia will sit with the craftsmen as they work, and in between these visits, countless shipments of prototypes back-and-forth to ensure all components are perfectly balanced and the creation is beautiful on, lightweight and comfortable. A single pair of the Aviary Classic earrings could contain up to 5 different materials, likely fashioned on different benches in different towns, and multiple moving parts (for example, not only does the cage swivel, but the bird perched inside will swing, as well), which all coalesce into the striking final result.

When we spoke with Leslie, Octavia, and Thea at their self-titled “messy office” on Madison & 66th, spread out before them were samples from a new piece in development: the same, small element carved in no less than eight different materials, each considered for its weight and durability, as well as its more formal characteristics, such as texture and color. No doubt other parts were already taking shape in any number of towns in Italy, where Leslie and Thea were headed back just several days later.

We’re thrilled to bring Of Rare Origin to our shelves, not only for its rare beauty but for our fondness for the women behind these magnificent creations, as well.

 

 Shop Of Rare Origin