By now you may have figured out that Beauty Review is all about supporting the New Zealand beauty industry, and we tend to get quite excited when we come across a New Zealander who is bringing something beautiful not just to we Kiwis, but to the world. Which is why we were so very excited to meet Emma from Belle & Sage, an online natural beauty store, at a recent gathering we attended.
Belle & Sage’s focus is on natural beauty products, and Emma has an amazing background in the beauty industry, which we’ll let her tell you about…
Hi Emma, so do tell…what is your background? How long have you been in the beauty industry?
Hi! Well.. I’ve been involved with makeup ever since I was a kid hanging out in the makeup room at the TV station where my parents worked in Canada in the 80s.
Then after a few years of high school back in New Zealand, makeup artistry was the first thing I wanted to study when I left.
So with a few years of travelling in there, I started a freelance career in the mid 90’s. Over the years working on such a variety from fashion to tv, advertising and feature films.
How did the idea to launch Belle & Sage come about?
Belle & Sage started as an online personal makeup course and evolved into a store and supported by a blog.
I’ve always been passionate about health, wellness and whole food and have studied as a yoga teacher.
So naturally, I started looking closely at the ingredients in cosmetics and how they affect our health.
It really is a rabbit hole when you start looking into it. There’s so much to know and so many conflicting studies about the “safe limits” of ingredients. I wanted to provide a place where people could find beauty products that work and do no harm.
What is the philosophy behind Belle & Sage? What does it stand for?
Belle & Sage stands for Beauty and Wisdom. Having the right information about the products we choose and the way we apply them to let your ultimate beauty shine.
We stand for quality. We only choose products that work amazingly and have the cleanest ingredients possible. We have a strict list of ingredients that make a product a definite no-go, and if the function is not as good as I’d like it to be, we don’t stock it. I prefer to keep the range simple and straight forward, only stocking the best of the best!
What is the best thing about working for such a gorgeous beauty website?
The best thing about working at Belle & Sage is connecting with my customers and the ability to educate them in taking charge of their health, which then translates to beauty.
How do you choose the beauty brands you stock?
I try to stock the best of everything one should need in their beauty cabinet but I don’t want the shopping experience to be overwhelming. When I feel like there is something missing from the store, I’ll go searching until I find the best which includes function, ingredients and company ethics. Then I’ll put it to the test myself and on my clients to make sure it performs amazingly.
What is your best selling product?
Our best selling makeup product is W3LL PEOPLE Bio Extreme Mascara, it’s extremely hard to find a natural mascara that goes on nicely and stays on, so this is a favourite. And the best skincare product is Snowberry’s New Radiance Serum. It’s a highly active product, containing copper-peptides that naturally occur in the skin to promote collagen production.
What’s your favourite natural beauty product, and why?
Ooh, I have so many! I think a good foundation would be up there for me. Right now I’m loving Inika’s baked mineral foundation because they cover beautifully and still look and feel natural. And when choosing to go natural, foundation is a definite must because its worn every day and covers such a large area. But I do love a good multi stick that you can throw in the handbag and use to freshen up as a blush and a lip tint. W3LL PEOPLE do several beautiful shades.
If you could give one piece of advice to people about how to maintain beautiful skin, what would it be?
Drink lot’s of good quality water, exercise and avoid sugar. Then make sure you’re not soaking up a bunch of toxins through your skin. Ok that’s more than one piece of advice, but it’s all crucial to healthy skin (and a healthy life).
What’s the one piece of makeup application advice you wish more people knew about?
Less is more! You don’t need a lot of product to make a difference, you just need to know how to use it.
What’s been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Travelling the world for a month for a TV commercial had to be one of my favourite jobs because it was a small team and we had a lot of fun, but creatively, designing and heading the makeup department for a feature horror movie was pretty great, as it allowed my imagination to run wild.
What has been the biggest challenge you've faced?
Probably changing tack to go from freelancing to an internet business owner. Two very different ways of working. But I love that I now have a whole other field that I get to master.
What advice would you give to someone reading this who would like to do what you’ve done?
To follow your gut. If the advice you get doesn't ring true to you, put your spin on it until it does. And don’t give up, things don’t always happen as fast as you think they should but they never will if you give up!
What does a normal day for you consist of?
Hehe, normal!?? No two days are ever the same! But they always start with some yoga and meditation, then getting my two little girls up and off to school and daycare. Then I may have a freelance makeup job or I’ll get to work at the computer and get through my to-do list for Belle & Sage. If I’m working from home I’ll pick up the girls and we’ll have dinner. When they’re in bed, my husband and I continue to work on Belle & Sage and fulfil orders from the day.
How do you relax?
I try to squeeze in a Pilates or Yoga class when I can, this is a great way for me to forcibly disconnect with the website, emails, phone calls etc and connect with me.
Can you give us a hint about what is next for Belle & Sage?
Ooh, there’s definitely something brewing but a little early to say :) But in the meantime, I’ll continue to add the best of the best of natural beauty from NZ and the world, as I come across it and serve my customers in the best way I can. I’m always contactable for questions and makeup advice via the website https://belleandsage.com/pages/services.
Thanks so much for chatting with us, Emma! You've had such amazing experiences, and we adore your passion for natural products. We also can't wait to see what's brewing for Belle & Sage!
If you’re interested in becoming more conscious about the kind of beauty products you like to use on your face and body and would like to find more natural options, check out Belle & Sage.