Every time we’ve had the pleasure of catching up with Anna Lahey, it’s hard not to notice her fresh, naturally glowing skin—and quite frankly, we want what she’s having.
Lucky for us—we can.
As founder of Vida Glow, Anna is living proof of the benefits of marine collagen, first discovering it on a trip to Japan where it’s all about collaged-infused everything. She was amazed to see that Japanese women all have beautiful skin and was curious to learn more.
After a lot of research (which included chatting to chemists and nutritionists) and toying with a fab business idea, she just knew she had to make this magic ingredient easily accessible in Australia and the rest of the world.
Fast forward a few years and Vida Glow now offers a range of ingestible beauty supplements which include marine collagen powders as well as natural beauty blends and bars and collagen h20. They’ve also recently launched a line of collagen-based cosmetics including a cleanser, moisturiser and serum amongst other products that Anna herself swears by.
Here, we sit down with the Queen of Collagen to find out a little more about life behind the beauty brand, juggling everything as a busy mum and how creative visualisation helps keep her on track.
What were you doing prior to Vida Glow? Have you always had a passion for beauty,health and wellness?
I studied at The University of Sydney, with a double major in International Business and Political Economy. After finishing university, I worked in the apparel business, mainly in licensing with brands such as Disney and AFL. I really had no idea what I wanted to do as a career, but in hindsight, my degree served me well and it “bought” time to allow me to navigate what areas were of interest to me.
Yes, I’ve always been interested in health and wellness, throughout university, I worked at a gym where I was surrounded by health tips on diet and exercise and was able to witness people transform with the help of their personal trainers and dietitian. It was inspiring. It also meant that I had a “free” gym membership and I enjoyed those endorphins post workout.
In terms of beauty, yes I’ve always been ‘into’ beauty. Largely thanks to my mum, who is such a glamorous woman. I loved watching her get ready, we would have girly days doing our hair and nails and I loved going through her makeup and products. I’ve always done my friends hair and makeup for events, and advised them on which products to buy. I love all things beauty.
How would you describe the start of your business journey?
Did you experience any self-doubt and if so, how did you overcome it? The beginning of our business journey was overwhelming, my husband and I had no experience in bringing new products to market. Luckily our business partner offered a wealth of knowledge and expertise, and together the three of us were able to make our idea a reality. We all worked our ‘proper’ jobs whilst we were starting Vida Glow. There was a lot of unknowns. Marine Collagen didn’t really have presence in Australia and we weren’t sure how people would receive it. Although, I completely believed in what we were offering, I knew we had taken a huge gamble. There were no guarantees this was going to be a successful business and yet we had to keep investing. It was hard, and yes there was a lot of self-doubt. I suppose what kept us going was the real belief in the products we were offering, we knew these products were of exceptional quality with visible results and when positive reviews started coming in from our first customers, that kept us going.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who was it from?
“Marry the right person, it will determine 90% of your happiness or misery…”I read that in high school on a list of ’21 keys to success’ that I somehow stumbled across, it was the number ONE, top of the list. For some reason it really stuck with me.
Having had my share of average relationships, where two people were happy sometimes, with a lot of issues mixed in, and both of us “settling”—to now being in a deeply fulfilling relationship—I can see why it did.
It’s not about marriage, as I understand marriage is not for everyone. But I do strongly believe in having values that are aligned and that being happy most of the time in a relationship is extremely important. It trickles down and affects every part of your life. I treasure the stability of my relationship, the unwavering support, now more than ever with two little ones under two.
What does a typical day look like for you now?
With a newborn and a young toddler there is NO typical day. It’s more of “let’s try and do this today” knowing it most likely won’t all get done. I’ve surrendered to this with our second child. I struggled with it more with our first.
I’m not as operationally involved in our business post having my first baby 20 months ago, and I’m not in the office everyday. I’m our brand’s spokesperson. I head all the product training and education whether to new staff members, media, PR or distributors. I’m also very involved in new product development. I love the research aspect and am keen in learning about formulations. I am in charge of content for all products so having a very clear understanding is important to me.
I feel I’ve been very active in my last pregnancy, attending a lot of events, public speaking, training and representing our brand here in Australia as well as overseas. It doesn’t feel like “work” though, I’m proud of and passionate about Vida Glow. These are products I believe in and personally take on a daily basis. I feel very blessed to be able to do what I do, and add value to our business in a way that other people can’t. The founders have different roles and different skills, and together with our amazing staff, we all make Vida Glow a success.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My husband, our director. He is the hardest working person I know. He never complains and has no interest in the limelight. He’s always happy for someone else to take centre stage, and takes a back seat behind the camera or in the audience. All the while managing his time to be present with his children, as well as approachable and hands on with our staff. I feel that the word “integrity” gets thrown around a lot. However, he is one of those really rare people that actually has integrity. His positivity, and solution based approach to everything inspires me.
We’ve read that you have a ‘creation journal’. Can you explain what this is and your overall approach to visualisation?
I believe in the power of creative visualisation and gratitude, the notion of “where focus goes, energy flows”. My journal is not a “dear diary” kinda thing. It’s a bit like a vision board, in a journal, because it has to be portable. I take it everywhere with me. It’s magazine cut outs of pretty things or beautiful destinations. It’s full of places I’ve been to and would like to go to. Handwritten quotes from books I’ve read or philosophers I respect (i.e. Emerson). I list things I’m grateful for and glue in pictures I’ve taken.
I look, read or add to my journal everyday. It’s my daily reminder to be observant of my thoughts. To be conscious of my inner talk, of what my mind and imagination are focused on, as I believe we become what we think about. It’s not all wishy washy self-help stuff, it’s quantum physics. In the words of the great Einstein, “Logic can take you from A to B, imagination can take you everywhere”.
What is one other thing people may not know about you?
I’m a hardcore Monarchist! I’ve read many books, biographies and watched soooo many documentaries on the Royals through history. I’m absolutely fascinated. I think we’ve done Queens better than Kings.
You’ve just had your second baby boy, congratulations! Did your beauty routine change at all during your pregnancy?
No, not really. I use Vida Glow Cosmetics and continued using the products throughout pregnancy. I cleanse morning and night with our Gentle Antioxidant Cleanser. In the morning, a simple once over and at night I do a double cleanse if I’m wearing make up or sunscreen.
I use our Active Vitamin C serum every night, it’s great for clearing and brightening the skin. It’s also very effective for pigmentation, which I do have in pregnancy. Our Vitamin C Serum is my favourite product in the cosmetics range. Two to three times a week I cleanse and exfoliate at night, then apply the Vitamin C Serum, followed by the Hydration Mask as a leave in night mask. The skin looks amazing in the morning!
Apart from the benefits of marine collagen, what other beauty secrets do you swear by?
Vida Glow’s Beauty Greens, drinking plenty of water, sleeping on a silk pillow case and a facial with Omnilux light treatment.
How do you find balance amongst it as a busy working mum?
For me, it’s the village. I’m blessed that my parents are full time grandparents, and they love it. So whenever I’m working, my 20 month old son Edward, is with my parents, who he adores. He will start pre-school when he is three, but for now he enjoys activities with his grandparents.
My new baby, Henry is two weeks old and breastfeeding on demand. So he will tag along with me for a while. I try not to express until six weeks to allow my milk supply to regulate. The balance is hard, I want to be as present as possible when I’m with them. Mother’s guilt does creep in and there are days when I feel like I’m not doing enough at work, or not enough at home.
Being the face of our business is demanding, and having two under two is demanding. My priority is my children. So it’s a constant juggling act. I do enjoy my “work” and the mental stimulation. I know “balance” is something all working mums face, and all mums work. Stay at home mums work just as hard as the mums that leave home for the office.
What are some of your favourite ways to relax and unwind?
A facial and massage, in one treatment. Two hours of pure bliss, where I switch off and I find it extremely relaxing.
Can you describe for us your typical day on a plate?
Breakfast: Smoothie with banana, berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), handful of baby spinach, Chocolate Beauty Protein, Beauty Skin with almond and coconut milk. I sometimes add a spoonful of peanut butter. Delicious! Snack: Fruit… I’m currently obsessed with pears. I do also love fresh berries and mangoes and I’m indulging in Lactation Cookies too. I love the Franjos Kitchen choc chip cookies, they’re delicious, nutritious and vegan. Can you tell I have a sweet tooth? Lunch: I love large juicy salads with nuts and pulses as the weather warms up. Dinner: My husband does most of the cooking. We usually do fresh veggies or salads with protein. Currently we’re loving Organic Village’s Tempeh, marinated in tamari, lime, paprika and turmeric.
What does your exercise routine currently look like?
I will get clearance to exercise at six weeks post-partum. Once I have that, I’ll train with my friend Bec Chidiac from Peaches Pilates. Peaches do specialised programs for new mums, their studios are in Bondi and Maroubra. At the moment I’m doing a lot of walking and stretching.
Are there any other specific health and wellness practices you follow?
I do love yoga and I can’t wait to get back into it.
What is your ultimate holiday destination and what’s next on your bucket list?
My favourite holiday destination is the Côte d’Azur, the French Riviera. Next on my bucket list is Bora Bora.
What’s next for Vida Glow? What can we look forward to?
2019 is going to be bigger than ever for Vida Glow. We will be launching our hair and body ranges along with a number of innovative and first of their kind ingestible beauty products as we strive to be at the forefront of the ingestible beauty category. Visit vidaglow.com for more.