Beauties, we’re passionate about supporting female-founded brands from across the world. Recently, we reached out to Greek brand Kear and their founder Ypatia Mitsatsou to talk about her clean, multi-purpose skincare brand in our latest Founders Talk interview… let’s get started!
Ypatia, tell us about yourself
I was born in Greece and graduated from the Economic University of Athens with an Economics Major. Passionate about the environment, I began my career working for Hellenic Marine Environment Protection Association-HELMEPA (a Non-profit and non-governmental organization founded jointly by the Greek shipping industry, seafarers, and ship owners), where I was inspired to create and run HELMEPA Junior, an environmental education programme for schoolchildren. The experience I gained was priceless, seeing the dedication of the younger generation to cleaner practices, and it was what gave birth to the idea of Kear and what it stands for.
I then went on to work for Promidea/I. Aravantinos LTD, an import/export business that outsourced and customised consumer gifts for multinational brands, such as Coca-Cola and P&G. After also working as a Public Relations Manager for a prominent hair salon, I launched Kear in 2018.
What inspired you to create your brand, Kear?
I’ve always loved the outdoors, nature, the sea, the life-giving sun that has a particular part in our everyday lives here in Greece. The Greek light adorns everything; it fills us with energy, encouraging action, and nurturing insight. Kear came about on a typical sunny day while walking my dog in the beautiful forest near my home. Why not “blend” all things that are Greece to me into a product? Create something that would capture and combine nature, energy, the sun, the sea, all the natural elements of Greece. Greek history as well, as it has shaped our way of living, our values, the passion we give to everything we set out to conquer, and the ethos. What better product than something so personal, such as skincare?
My goal was that when you open this product, you would “feel” Nature, the Sun, the saltiness of the sea, the positive energy all provide. Also, the values and ethos that this small jar holds; purity, simplicity, elegance, eco-friendliness, multi-use, ethical, democratic, and fit-for-all. This is our philosophy and is symbolized by the brand name itself that says it all: κέᾰρ®, meaning “heart” in ancient Greek. Our heart, our passion, my love for everything this country is to me.
You’ve been conscious about sustainability since you launched Kear… what’s next on your sustainability agenda?
Sustainability is part of who I am; that is why all Kear products are eco-friendly, packaged in glass. It is vital for me to spread the message of respecting the environment. Especially now that our country experienced the climate change consequences this past few weeks, through a persistent heatwave and the resulting wildfires. So, we are thinking of ways to encourage recycling, motivating our customers to return their used jars and bottles in exchange for discounts. Or participating in activities such as tree planting or beach cleaning. Not by becoming a sponsor, but by actually being there. Not to mention dedicating blog/social media posts to environmental protection awareness.
What is in your wellbeing toolkit? [the things that enable you to be your best you]
By nature, I am a person with a high level of stress, so de-stress is of high importance to me. A long walk in the park on a sunny day, taking deep breaths and looking at the clear blue sky, is the best way for me to relax and reload my internal “batteries.” Alternatively, after a long day, I need to “lift the weight” off my tired feet. So, after a bath, I massage Calm Revive Body Oil, with a high content in Arnica Montana, and within a half-hour, my feet are back to normal! Not to mention that the orange scent immediately transfers me to fully bloomed orange groves and relaxes my senses. Finally, in the winter I relax with a good book in front of the fireplace.
Wellbeing is a work in progress, so what would you consider to be your biggest wellbeing challenges?
Wellbeing is a part of our lives that the pandemic highlighted. That was a positive outcome because since then, it was underestimated. Ancient Greeks used to say, “a healthy mind in a healthy body,”; quote generations of Greeks were brought up with. We need products to do exactly that; promote a healthy body in combination with a sound mind. Products that would make us feel good. Kear, for example, offers two body oils that can also be used for relaxing massage, combining herbal treatment with aromatherapy. After all, body-oiling is an ancient aromatherapy technique for calming the body and bringing the element of ritual into everyday wellness and self-care. Kear encourages precisely this; the need to find the time to relax, decompress, exercise, do something that we enjoy, be with friends and loved ones, and laugh. Stick to the basics, find the “golden median,” and as our ancient Greek ancestors said, choose “quality over quantity.”
What are your favourite products from your range and why?
This is a hard choice, as each one has its own value. Yet, my favourite all-time go-to balm is multi-award winner AgeDefying Face Balm. Let me explain why; in the summer, I use it as a night cream, in the winter, both as a night and day cream/moisturiser. I even use it under eyes, on the neck and décolleté. It even does wonders to my dry and chapped cuticles during the night! (Yes, as a hand cream, and yes! in the morning, my “bitten” cuticles are softer and almost healed)!
I use Calm Revive Body Oil (read our review of the Relax Body Oil here) on tired legs after a long day; it calms them down literally in minutes. I am not particularly fond of makeup removers in emulsion form. I always preferred soaps, so I use Sage Olive Leaf Extract when my skin feels particularly oily and dirty and Mastic Herbal Soap as my regular makeup remover. For a spa-like treatment at home, I use our Exfoliating Herbal Soap with Almond Grains and Seaweed; my skin feels soooo soft afterward! I then apply either a body oil or Plant Heroes Body Balm for extra nourishment. I then relax, feeling like sitting on a rock in Paros and observing the eternal blue sea! Lastly, in my purse, there is always one SofiLip lip balm; I love cinnamon! It is so rewarding to dry lips.
What’s your favourite skincare ingredient and why?
Every Kear product provides good-for-skin benefits using ingredients such as antioxidants, vitamins, and essential oils. It is challenging to choose one over the other. But as I am always in motion, moving around, rarely staying still, I end up with heavy, sore, tired feet, and then the need for relaxation is imperative. For some peculiar reason, having sore, heavy feet affects me the most, making me cranky and bad-tempered! That is why I love a good deep-tissue massage, ideally in a place with an open horizon. Since I cannot have one every day, Calm Revive Body Oil is the best alternative! It contains only five active natural ingredients and has the highest possible consistency in arnica essential oil, with rejuvenating and anti-inflammatory benefits. Arnica is a natural remedy for bruising. It combats inflammation by stimulating white blood cells to disperse the trapped blood from the injured part and repair the damage. Not to mention that it supports healthy circulation and revives tired, overworked muscles and sore feet, literally in minutes! Does wonders for my feet… and my nerves!
What’s next for you and your brand?
Kear products are now positioned in the boutiques of five-star hotels in Greece and share quite a success. That led to discussing the production of a new line-up of Kear products exclusively for spas, such as a face mask, serum, rock salt scrubs, and detoxifying massage oils. Additionally, we are seriously thinking of adding an insect after-bite moisturising balm, which indeed offers immediate relief. (we call it “the magic after-bite balm”!)
Find out more about Kear on their website