Though having grown up between Naples, Florida and laid back Napa, California, Vintner’s Daughter founder, April Gargiulo, exudes a fast talking, bursting at the seams, candid energy one can only attain from years living in New York City. (The skin care founder moved readily to Manhattan after college, pursuing a career in design before returning to wine country to join the family business.) We chatted with the lively beauty about the launch of her wildly acclaimed Active Botanical Serum, marrying wine making ethos with skin care and what she hopes to teach her two daughters about beauty.
Active Botanical Serum
“I was raised in a wine making family. The kind of wine we make is for collectors; wines that are meant to stand the test of time. For us it’s about quality in every decision and every step. That’s what I know. That’s how I grew up. So that’s what I applied to the formulation of Vintner’s Daughter. When you set out to make anything of the highest quality you have to start with the finest ingredients. There are twenty-two different active ingredients in our Active Botanical Serum and we gather those ingredients from all over the world. We aren’t working with huge big conglomerates. We are working with family farms. We test everything that comes to the lab to make sure it passes all of our tests. Sometimes it doesn’t and we have to wait for the next batch, but once we have all of our raw materials it takes between 8-10 weeks to create the Active Botanical Serum.
“The reason it takes so long is because we use an ancient technique called enfleurage. Enfleurage is a method of infusing our foundational oils, which are powerful on their own, with nutrients from other plants. It’s very time consuming, very expensive. It’s error prone and that’s why nobody else does it because it’s a little bit crazy, but it results in something vastly different in quality and efficacy. Finding a lab to make our product using enfleurage was really difficult. I got turned away by so many labs. Many believed there are a million shortcuts you can take to get to the same end. They would say, use this extract or use this powder, instead of going through the process of taking whole plants and macerating the entire plant to get the nutrients. But I don’t believe you can take shortcuts to make something of the very finest quality.
“I knew where all of my food came from, coming from an agricultural family, and I realized the organic products I cleaned my house with were cleaner than what I was putting on my face.”
“I was somebody who never had great skin, so skin care was a very big part of my life; it had to be. I was always dealing with acne and discoloration from acne. And as you get older you’re dealing with fine lines and clarity. When I got pregnant, I started to read labels on my skin care products. I knew where all of my food came from, coming from an agricultural family, and I realized the organic products I cleaned my house with were cleaner than what I was putting on my face. I went in search of skin care in the natural world that could address my skin issues and I couldn’t find anything. I realized I did not want to compromise efficacy for a natural product and I did not want to compromise natural for an efficacy product. I believe you shouldn’t have to choose; women deserve both and so that’s what I set out to create.
“The Active Botanical Serum was developed to be profoundly multi-correctional and have the penetration of a serum. I knew right away that it was genius for my skin; I wouldn’t have accepted anything less. I passed it out to my mom who is in her sixties and my little sister who is in her twenties; both of them clearly dealing with very different skin issues. My mom’s friends started asking her what she had done, saying her skin looked so good, and my sister who had been dealing with crazy cystic acne finally had this beautiful, bright, clear skin.
“Early on, it was really a powerful moment when I started receiving emails from customers about the dramatic changes they were seeing in their skin. Women who have struggled and tried everything were telling me they finally found this one product that worked. When we got the review in Into The Gloss, naming us “The Face Oil to End All Face Oils” that was sort of a big big moment for us.”
CEO & Mom
“Balance is something that is really important to me. I focus on it and put a lot of intention into it. A perfectly balanced day doesn’t happen often. However, if I look at it over the course of a week, then I can come close – I’ve spent time with my two girls; I’ve spent time with my business and moving it forward; I’ve spent time with my husband and my friends; And possibly, had some time alone, which always seems to be the one that’s least on the priority list. Juggling it all is hard. My advice is to be intentional about balance and don’t judge yourself too harshly.”
“When it comes to skin care, I’m really simple. It’s one of those things where I want my products to work triple time. I have no time for a ten step program. Many mornings I just use Nuori Vital Foaming Cleanser to wash my face, Biologique Recherché P50 exfoliator, and put Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum on. My makeup is so minimal. I use a little mascara, RMS Living Luminizer and a stain stick for my lips. If I need a little bit more polish, I put on Sun Tegrity’s tinted sunscreen. Thats really it.”
What do you hope to teach your daughters about beauty and skin care?
“I think about it a lot. I want them to be deeply comfortable in their own skin and I want them to know that beauty is truly a light in the heart. It comes from within and the most beautiful girls are the happiest girls. And I hope that I’m a walking example and embodiment of that because actions speak louder than words. It’s very important for me to walk my talk and not obscure myself with a whole bunch of things that don’t make me look like me; or that I’m trying to be somebody else; or I’m trying to attain this idea of perfection that doesn’t really exist. I try to just be confident and really, truly happy in my own skin.”
-as told to BOND EN AVANT
Photographs of April Gargiulo provided by Vintner’s Daughter
Photograph of product by author