Meet Our Makers | Valor Organics
‘Stopping myself throughout the day to “breathe” and centre myself in the present. I try to be grateful for the people and the environment around me at any given time. Gratitude and being present brings me happiness. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.’
We are absolutely delighted to share with you our interview with the lovely Victoria, who hails as the brains and beauty behind organic shaving label, Valor Organics. When a natural skincare product comes from the ‘hills behind Byron Bay’ you know it’s going to have that special something. And Valor does not disappoint!
With simple products that endorse old fashioned methodologies of brush and razor style shaving, Valor organics is tapping into a niche of natural products for our bearded and beardless men folk (and women). We loved chatting to Victoria about running a business, daily self-care rituals and what it looks like to live a conscious life.
Although, we’re also now 100% ready move to the Byron hinterland.
Organic shaving products! We love it. Can you tell us about the original inspiration behind Valor?
I had been making organic castile soap for a couple of years, for my brand Waterlife and selling at markets. I had built up a following for the shaving soap and it got me thinking how there was very little on the market for men, that was organic. Almost everything was mass produced with chemicals. I could imagine the cosmetic company execs saying, “men don’t care or notice - just give them this shit.”
My husband suffers from psoriasis and there was very little out there which he could tolerate, so I took a break from Waterlife for a year, did a life-changing business course and then created Valor; during which time my husband grew a beard and Beard Balm was developed!
We love that Valor comes from ‘the hills behind Byron Bay’. Has the environment around you influenced the ethos of Valor or how you do business as an organic brand?
We live on 50 acres, about 500m above sea level, surrounded by wet sclerophyll and rain forest, as well as some horse paddocks. We have our studio and office here, where we make everything. I love working here - I can take a break and just go and sit amongst nature or go hang with my horses.
I’m not sure that where we live influenced me, as I was already committed to using organic products and ideally local ingredients wherever possible. It does mean we pay more than if we bought cheap Spanish or Colombian olive oil for example, but that has always been a no-brainer for me. If the ingredients have integrity then the products have integrity.
You started selling Valor at local markets...have there been any memorable / funny / meaningful conversations you’ve had with customers?
So many! Even after years of doing markets, I still love the personal contact and conversations with customers. I love talking to young men and getting them onto the traditional and natural shaving and skincare path. We also get lots of older men who were taught to shave this way, but had lapsed into shaving foam and disposables, but want to get back into it because they’re not happy with how their skin feels and looks.
I always have a bowl of shaving soap that I’m whipping up during the day and it brings in men (and often women) of all ages, in to ask questions and have a “feel” of the lather. We have a Japanese Kadaoi (portable makeup box - used by geishas and maikos) which has a fold out mirror on the stand - it displays the Beard balms. Twice now, I’ve had men who were buying a Merkur razor from us, ask if they could give the shaving soap a trial run right there with their new razor…so I’ve had guys giving themselves a full shave in the mirror right in the middle of Byron market.
I once had a sweet bearded man who told me he had Trichotillomania - a disease where he felt the urge to pluck the hairs from his hair or beard. He ended up buying some original beard balm and I got a lovely email from him a few weeks later telling me that it had really helped him and his beard. Perhaps it was the essential oils having a calming effect on him or maybe the act of massaging his beard dispelled the urge to pluck.
My favourite story was from a few years ago. We were very busy, 3 or 4 deep in customers at a Finders Keepers Market, and I noticed this elderly, dapper gentleman waiting for the crowd to disperse. He had a buttoned up shirt and his face had that smooth and soft skin that granddads often have. He then stepped forward and picked up the Merkur 1904 razor (designed by Gillette in 1904) and said with a smile, “I’m 72 and I’ve had mine for 52 years!” We had a great chat and I wished I could have kept him, as his skin was a great advertisement for traditional shaving. I also imagined the huge pile of plastic razors that he would have made if he hadn’t been using a safety razor all those years.
Running a business is a full time gig! How do you like to self-nourish? Do you have any daily rituals you love?
That’s an ongoing challenge. This week I’ve managed to get in the ocean with my son four times in three days, which has done wonders for my well being! I also ride my horse up into the national parks around us weekly. There’s a Japanese term called “Forest Bathing” - where you go and be amongst trees to revitalise. That’s what it feels like to ride through the massive Eucalypt forests.
Sometimes I swim in a secret dam high on a precipice above the valley. It’s very restorative!
Was there a defining moment in your life that made you switch to clean beauty and natural skincare?
I can’t remember when I became conscious of not slathering chemical-laden products on my face. It was a long time ago though, maybe 20 years... it was after I read a cosmetic ingredients dictionary!
What does your own daily skincare routine look like?
My skin care routine is so simple. I use our Rose + Ylang Ylang Castile soap to clean my skin and have been for 10 years now. It has a high super-fat (a percentage of unsaponified oil left in it), so it doesn’t dry my skin out, but cleanses beautifully. I also love to use our Pomegranate and Shea moisturiser around my eyes and everywhere. Occasionally I do a green clay face mask too.
What is your guiding ethos when it comes to purchasing skincare and makeup?
READ THE INGREDIENTS! READ THE INGREDIENTS! And have an understanding of what they are.
What does living consciously mean to you?
Stopping myself throughout the day to “breathe” and centre myself in the present. I try to be grateful for the people and the environment around me at any given time. Gratitude and being present brings me happiness. It’s as simple and as difficult as that. Of course I find myself sometimes doing the opposite, but I’ve come to realise that it’s ok to restart again; and again. Age has given me the wisdom to know that it’s an ongoing process and practice makes (nearly) perfect.