Co-Creative Director of N-DUO, content creator, and art enthusiast Anum Bashir has amazing skin. No, like really, superlatively amazing skin. She credits a lot of that glow to a cult skincare brand that is so exclusive that it only makes two products: Vintner’s Daughter. Over the years, Bashir went from a superfan of the brand to the real-life friend of its owner April Gargiulo. In this exclusive interview, conducted for Savoir Flair, Bashir lends her insights as a fan of the brand to the interview process and speaks to Gargiulo about what makes Vintner’s Daughter such a smash success.
Skincare in all its glory is something I’ve fervently pursued since the ripe old age of about 15. For me personally, morphing into a young adult meant doing well in school, never missing tennis practice, keeping my crushes on the DL, making the right friends, but also eventually finding my way in this world, with flawless skin of course. Growing up, I distinctly remember my mother’s complexion being a thing of envy. She NEVER had a pimple, ever! The vivid memory of her driving me to our local grocery store on a particular occasion is something I will never forget. I was finally going to be afforded the ability to buy some (what I perceived at the time as) “big girl” products. Brands like L’Oreal, Neutrogena, and Freeman seemed like such a coming of age acquisition, or almost like an induction of sorts. I was now a teenager with a beauty regimen, and it felt great.
Fast forward nearly two decades, and here I am, sat cross-legged, on my green velvet couch, just as committed, if not more, to maintaining my visage. After all (aging gracefully aside), who really wants to usher in wrinkles? Surely not me. As a soon-to-be mom in her early 30s, I’m more than willing to keep aging at bay by using the right products from the best brands, and continue to avail the treatments and facials that are specifically targeted towards my skin’s needs. That’s right folks, I’m here to confess to being a total bandwagoner when it comes to beauty. There’s almost nothing I won’t try at least once, and especially when it comes to cult beauty brands.
A couple years ago there rang a lot of noise about a single-product brand named Vintner’s Daughter. Celebs, editors, and influencers alike all swore by the ‘Active Botanical Serum’. Vintner’s Daughter was fast gaining cult status, and I was curious to know what all the hype was about. I mean, if it’s good enough for Gwyneth, it’s good enough for me. I googled the brand with one intention only: to figure out how fast I could have this delivered to my doorstep. Hail the logistical gods, and thanks to Net-a-Porter, my first first order of that prized little bottle arrived three days later. Fast forward two years, and I’m still a loyal consumer of Vintner’s Daughter products (that’s right, plural). The brand added a second product equally as potent and powerful as the first, which combined have worked magic on my skin ever since. In fact, I even rub that hella expensive serum all over my burgeoning baby bump. Anything to keep stretch marks at bay.
I’m also extremely grateful and lucky to regard the brand’s founder April Gargiulo as a friend, whom I’ve enjoyed getting to know over the last few years. April and I hopped on a fun call back in 2019 while I was strolling around the cobblestoned streets of Soho, New York City. We vowed to keep in touch ever since; a pact neither of us have broken, so it only seemed fitting that I share with you all my love for Vintner’s Daughter by interviewing the woman behind this cult beauty brand.
Anum: What made you start Vintner’s Daughter? When?
April: My background is in the fine winemaking world of Napa Valley where my family still makes wine today. It was growing up there that informed my deep respect for the land and the level of care and attention that making the finest of anything requires. I also had cystic acne and hyper-pigmentation all my life and then as I grew older all the fun stuff that comes along with that; fine lines, loss of elasticity, etc. I became more wary of trendy ingredients or products that promised results but never really worked. I wanted products that had such a deep connection to my skin that they would amplify its own powers of renewal, balance, and radiance. I wanted skincare that was built on the same philosophical foundation of quality and craftsmanship as the winemaking world I had come from. This was the inspiration for Vintner’s Daughter and our nutritional, whole plant skincare. Our products offer timeless results to all skin because they are made from the same nutritional building blocks as skin.
All start-ups face challenges, what were yours?
We were the very first company to have only one product. It has now become somewhat of a trend, but we believed in fewer, but better from day one, and backed it up with serious results. It took major convincing for retailers to understand why one product could do the work of five. We grew 100% by word of mouth. To this day, we have never done any marketing. I also had incredible challenges finding a lab in the beginning. 99% of products you use today are made in six hours or less. Our formulas take three to five weeks of active formulation time. I was turned away again and again and told that ‘this is not the way you do it. You should use this extract or synthetic. It’s faster and cheaper.’ I was lucky that I come from the wine world where it takes three years to make a bottle of wine. Three weeks felt like nothing to me to make the very finest skincare in the world. I feel grateful to have had that context or I’m not sure I would have been able to stay true to our whole plant vision for true connection to the skin.
Three weeks felt like nothing to me to make the very finest skincare in the world.
How are you setting your products apart from lead competitors?
Uniquely, we begin every formulation with the world’s most nutrition-dense whole plants to create our proprietary ‘Phyto Radiance Infusion’. Our ‘Phyto Radiance Infusion’ is a weeks-long gentle, temperature controlled process whereby we capture all of the critical plant nutrients and actives to deliver to the skin. This is how we are able to have such a profound effect on the skin; because our formulas speak its language versus the majority of products that are made in a few hours using cheap, low quality synthetics and extracts. What we are doing is radically different.
Walk us through your brand ethos.
We believe that fewer products made from the very finest, multi-beneficial ingredients in the world service not only the skin better, but also our planet.
What are the immediate benefits of using VD products? And the long-term benefits?
The immediate benefits are an evening of skin tone, greater radiance and resilience, lifting, firming, and balancing of inflammatory issues like redness, acne, rosacea etc. And just like when you provide the finest diet to your body, you grow stronger, healthier and more resilient over time, so does your skin when on our whole plant nutritional skincare.
Tell us a little bit about your day! As a founder and entrepreneur, I’m sure you’re always on the go?
I sleep as late as I can which is normally around 7:30 am. I have two young daughters so my mornings are centered around getting them organized and ready for school. I then sit down for one of my favorite moments of the day, and that is my first cup of tea. It is a meditation of sorts because it allows me to connect to myself and the natural world through the tea leaves. It sounds a bit ‘woo woo’, but I really cherish this time each day. The rest of the day is a dance between emails, meetings, calls and dreaming. We have vegetable-forward family meals almost every night together and then games and bedtime. As you can guess, my bedtime routine is quite simple. I cleanse, apply ‘Active Treatment Essence’ followed by ‘Active Botanical Serum’. In these two simple, yet powerful steps I know my skin is receiving all the hydration, moisture, nutrition and plant actives it needs to be its best. After, I sit in bed and do my Lyma laser or micro current while reading.
Do you have a favorite product? (Considering the brand only comprises of 2, might be hard to choose)
That is impossible to choose. ‘Active Treatment Essence’ and ‘Active Botanical Serum’ are like two sides of the same coin because they complement one another so perfectly. ‘Active Treatment Essence’ delivers deep hydration and the very best water-soluble whole plant nutrition and ‘Active Botanical Serum’ delivers the complementary opposite, nourishing moisture and the most skin beautifying oil-soluble nutrition. They are the yin and yang in almost every way; hydration and moisture, water-soluble and oil-soluble, cool and warm. You cannot have balance and health without both. This short 3 minute article explains it even better.
Have your product formulations changed at all over the years? Same ingredients from inception?
Our formulas, percentages and ingredients have not changed at all since day one.
Are you looking to add more products to your range?
We have extraordinarily high standards around product introductions, and are able to uphold them because we are not a revenue-driven company – we are a skin-driven company. This means that we do not have to create new product introductions to drive sales or press. We only introduce products that will dramatically improve the skin and lives of our customers. It is a very high bar and one that we take seriously.
We only introduce products that will dramatically improve the skin and lives of our customers.
You are a very conscious brand. What does that mean to you?
We exist to not only impact your skin in the most beneficial ways, but to have a positive impact on the world. Social and environmental responsibility are infused into every aspect of our business, from ethical sourcing and recyclable and biodegradable packaging to carbon credits, voluntary green certifications, and donating 2% of revenue to charities benefiting women, children and the environment. This is a more costly and time consuming way to do business, but we believe it is the only way to ensure a beautiful future for our plant.
What’s fun fact about you no one knows?
I despise the term anti-aging. I think it’s antiquated and only serves to create fear and insecurity in the minds of consumers to encourage purchasing products that will never heal that wound. From day one we have chosen very deliberately to stay away from these kinds of words and to celebrate the privilege of aging. We want to create joy and a deep connection to our beautiful selves and our world.