Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The SOF Scoop: Willa Doss

No doubt you remember Willa Doss, the amazing pint-sized powerhouse behind the brand Willa Skincare that actually understands and meets the needs of the pre-teen set - although, just about everyone else is using these incredible products, too, from yours truly to moms and more! We've been hooked ever since we attended the line's launch at Henri Bendel and heard the wise-beyond-her-years skin care maven dish on all of the products. So, we're very honored she cleared some time in her busy schedule to answer some questions!

SOF: What motivated you to start the line?
W: I was taking a bath four years ago and I didn't want to keep using my little sister Julia's Johnson & Johnson  "No More Tears" so I asked my mom if we could go buy skincare products for girls like me.  So we looked.  We went everywhere, from Target to department stores and Duane Reade, and we found nothing...except pink bubblegum-flavored products made in China that my Mom would never let me put on my skin.  Seeing the need motivated us to do something about it.

SOF: Are you involved in every step of the process, from creating a problem to packaging? What is your favorite part?
W: I am involved in every part of WILLA from deciding what products we develop, to the packaging and product names, to the design of the website and all of our social media.  I love it all, but I guess my favorite part is product development, because, as a girl, I have a pretty clear idea of what other girls want.  When we develop a new product, we do focus groups with other girls to get their feedback and they are part of every step.  It isn't a quick process because we all have pretty high standards and the product has to be AMAZING or we won't ever use it again.

SOF: What was the first product you created? 
W: The first product we created was Start Fresh Foaming Face Wash.  That is something every girl should be using, but from our focus groups we found that only one in ten girls was washing their face because they didn't like the way products in the marketplace felt, or products irritated their eyes, so we want to start with a product they should absolutely be using everyday.

SOF: What makes Willa different from every other brand? 

What makes Willa different is that it's made by girls for girls.  WILLA wasn't developed by some big company trying to reach us. It is us developing the products so they turn out exactly right.

SOF: Were you always into beauty before you had the idea to start the line?
W: I don't think taking care of your skin is a 'beauty' issue.  I see it more as being about your health.  My mom had really bad skin when she was my age and she said it was really hard being a girl with bad skin.  And she also told me that right after I was born--when she was 29--she had her first of three facial skin cancers and had to have surgery.  She didn't want me to repeat her story, so I guess you could say I was motivated to have healthy skin from an early age.

SOF: What's your beauty/skin care routine? 
W: I think it needs to be simple.  It’s about taking care of the great skin we have.  So when I wake up, I use my mom's Clarisonic brush with our Start Fresh foaming face wash.  Then I put on Willa Face Friendly clear face moisturizer, which I love because it goes on clear and isn't greasy.  Then I put on the Face the Day SPF 30 cause my mom is kinda intense about the importance of wearing sunscreen every day of the year, rain or shine.  I don't mind using sunscreen now because WILLA sunscreen makes my skin look really good and it isn't sticky or greasy.  It is my favorite product, which is kinda weird because I have always hated sunscreen.

SOF: What's next for Willa, where would you like the line to go? 
W: My hope is that girls around the world fall in love with WILLA.  But for now, we are focused on building the brand in the cool stores we are in now like TARGET, J.CREW, HENRI BENDEL and now AMAZON...that is really cool.  We are also working on a natural deodorant and some other cool products that I'm sworn to secrecy about until they are ready.

SOF: What is the last thing you bought? 
W: The last thing I bought was a Polaroid camera.  I have been saving up for it for a long time and I just like capturing moments with my friends, and it is retro, which makes it cool.  I just wish it was purple.

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