Follain looks, feels, and smells like you wish your own bathroom could. That said, Tara Foley's Beacon Hill and South End storefronts aren't just pretty to look at: they're also homebase for Boston's clean beauty movement. It's a tough sell to convince women to give their favorite cleanser or lipstick a time-out, but the Follain team has built spaces that educate and excite Bostonians about swapping their mainstays for non-toxic alternatives. We talked with Tara about what leading a clean beauty revolution in our city looks like on a day-to-day basis.
At 6:30, I wake up to my human alarm clock—my 19 month old son Henry. Mornings at home begin with Henry babbling or crying to get out of his crib. Then we get our only precious time of the day together. We’ll play, eat breakfast, and he hangs out with me while I get ready. Spending time with Henry each morning helps me start my day with a smile and I’m a strong believer that those smiles give me fortitude to attack anything and everything that’s coming my way.
I’ll head into our office in Fenway—where our “HQ” team is based. We have 13 people on the team there now, focused on finance, marketing, merchandising, operations, stores, tech, and more. We’re growing, so most of my days lately are spent recruiting and interviewing for open roles in the office.
Besides recruiting and team-building, I spend a ton of time ensuring we stick to our mission of building and selecting the safest, most high-performing clean beauty products out there. This means working with our safety advisors to ensure we’re on top of the newest ingredients and ingredient regulation and reviewing our current and potential new brands to see what kind of innovative products and ingredients we should be introducing to our customers.
It can be a struggle to sneak in lunch so I try to bring leftovers or something easy from home. Otherwise I’m lucky that Fenway has some awesome lunch options like ByChloe, Sweetgreen, Tatte, and more. Sometimes we'll do “lunch and learn” meetings in the office, where we’ll bring in an expert to speak.
Days in the office tend to be back-to-back with phone and in-person team meetings, which gives me a ton of energy. Our teams are filled with experts in their own rights. I’m honored to work with them and I learn a ton from them daily. I also gain a ton of energy and inspiration from spending time where it all began—in our stores.
When possible I’ll try to hit up our Beacon Hill or South End store to say hi to those teams, chat with a few customers, or attend an educational event. The website gives us the opportunity to meet customers all over the country—and to thus grow our clean beauty movement much faster—but the stores are our heart and soul and where we can test and learn how to bring things to life in creative new ways.
On nights when I’m in Boston I always try to get home in time to put Henry to bed. Then I’ll try to sneak in a quick workout. Since I’m already home, virtual workouts are my new thing. I took everything I was paying for gym memberships and classes and invested in a Peloton and Yogaglo app. Both give the option of workouts starting at 20 mins (sometimes all I can sneak in on a work night) all the way to full hour workouts.
My husband James and I always sit down at the table and eat dinner together when we’re both home. Sometimes we’re really great at not talking about work, but other times we're each other’s best advisor, supporter, and outside perspective. I'm reminded every night how grateful I am for James.
Unfortunately, most nights I’ll hop back on my computer for a while longer to keep moving the ball forward (we have really big goals for this year!), but I always try to turn off my computer in time to read a chapter of whatever book I’m working on. This fluctuates from books on herbalism to books on leadership and team-building...my nightstand is pretty eclectic.
I do my most beloved (and involved) skincare routine of the day before going to bed. This is always something I look forward to for two reasons: 1) I’m usually testing new lines of products that we’re considering bringing into the portfolio; and 2) I’m maniacal about my nighttime routine—because it’s the most important! Your skin regenerates and absorbs nutrients best when sleeping. Needless to say I spend a ton of time in the bathroom before hopping into bed each night. And then it’s usually lights off almost immediately for me!
––As told to and written by Oset Babur for The Thirty-One Percent