Tatcha Vicky Tsai

Tatcha founder Vicky Tsai wasn’t so sure about the beauty industry when she was starting her now multimillion-dollar skin care business.

“In deciding to participate in the beauty industry, I had to sit with myself a moment and say, ‘how are we going to to be a part of the solution, not the problem?'” Tsai said during a conversation at the International Women’s Day Leadership Discussion virtually hosted by Room to Read on March 3.

“The beauty industry has caused damage to women and to girls in terms of their perception of self and self worth. And I struggled with whether this was an industry that I wanted to be a part of. Just like finance, it’s actually run by white men,” Tsai said.

She went ahead with the business and built in a social responsibility component via partnership with Room to Read, a nonprofit focused on girls’ education and children’s literacy in Asia and Africa. For each full-size Tatcha product that is sold, the company donates a day of education.

The same day she launched Tatcha, Tsai’s daughter was also born.

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“Her ability to read and get an education is going to change the trajectory of her life. And there are girls all around the world who look like her who don’t have that same opportunity,” Tsai said.

Tsai was one of several speakers at the event, which highlighted the role of private companies, foundations and nonprofits in advocating for women.

Nadja Swarovski, chairperson of the Swarovski Foundation; Maria Leoni Sceti, founder of Sonia Petroff; Geetha Murali, Room to Read’s chief executive officer; Lorelei Williams, senior vice president of grant programs at Red Nose Day; Lydie Hudson, CEO of sustainability, research and investment solutions at Credit Suisse, and Sonny Kalsi, CEO of Bentall Green Oak; also spoke at the event, which was moderated by Mallika Kapur, global deputy editor for Bloomberg Live.

Tsai said that starting Tatcha as a purpose-driven brand has ended up having proven business benefits, including employee recruitment and retention, as well as affinity and trust from shoppers.

“I’m in a rush to try to make a difference,” Tsai said.

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