Gaux Girl - Giovanna Campagna2021-08-31
There's no doubt that Gaux Girls are passionate. Whether it's about an idea, family, or a cause they champion, each is uniquely driven by a flame that burns too hot to not do something about. Our newest Gaux Girl Giovanna Campagna is inspired by all of that in the biggest way possible. You see, the thing driving her spans seas and oceans and thousands of square miles. It's Colombia, the home country of her mother and the place where she spent weeks every year as a child.
The country and its artists and culture have driven her working life, first via CREO Consulting, an agency she started with a cousin to help Latin American designers break into the American market, and now with Joaquina Botánica, a clean skincare brand that harnesses the power of ingredients indigenous to the area. (Its debut product, the Orquídea + Vitamin C Hydrating Glow Oil, uses an extract of orchids, Colombia's natural flower, to maintain firmness and elasticity.)
It's easy to see the importance of family both when studying Giovanna's CV—Joaquina was named after her great-great-grandmother who founded an early Colombian apothecary in 1875—and her Instagram feed. Her daughter turned one early this summer, and her regular, cherubic appearances are a must-like.
Here, our conversation on building a business, Colombia and New York City, and her three top beauty rules. Enjoy!
You launched your latest business, Joaquina Botánica, in January. What have been the most challenging moments? And the most rewarding?
The biggest challenge so far has been simply getting to launch despite COVID’s delays, shortages, and supply chain roadblocks. But I’ve come to realize that business and the creation process is basically just constant problem-solving—it’s best to get comfortable with that up front!
Since launching, a major highlight was when the New York Times' T magazine named our Hydrating Glow Oil one of the best face oils on the market. And something I personally find so rewarding is when customers tell me that they love its scent! I was determined not to use "fragrance" in the formula, so it took months of testing with our chemist to create the scent experience I wanted. The result is a sweet, buttery scent that comes from the natural ingredients themselves. I love hearing that people are enjoying it!
What experiences did you bring with you from founding CREO?
The mission of CREO was to discover and propel the best of Latin American fashion onto the global stage. My experience building Latin American fashion brands—and proving that they are just as luxurious and desirable as those from Europe, the USA, and any other part of the world—is what led me to realize that I wanted to do the same in beauty.
I knew that Latin America is the most biodiverse region in the world, making it an endless resource for natural ingredients. And from firsthand experience, I can say that arguably no one knows, or cares, more about beauty than the Latin women I’ve been surrounded by throughout my life. They unapologetically take pride in maintaining their skin, hair, and nails, and truly find joy in it. I think that spirit is what makes them seem youthful at every age. Yet virtually no skincare brands had been tapping into all this that the region has to offer. So I set out to do it myself. Our formulas feature powerful, untapped botanicals that you don’t find anywhere else in the world and is guided by the approach to beauty I learned from my Latin roots.
So much of your work has been tied to Colombia—can you explain why that's been an important part of your career journey?
My mother is Colombian, and while I grew up in New York, I feel a strong connection there thanks to my large extended family. I always wanted more reasons to travel there and get closer to my roots, and I found a way to do that through my work. Because I am between both worlds, I get to constantly learn and discover more about Colombia—and then share all that it has to offer with the world here. Ultimately, that is my passion at the root of what I do.
What are the parts of Colombian culture you're most excited to share with your daughter? And what parts of New York City can you not wait to show her?
I am so grateful that she will experience the emphasis on family, the beautiful nature in everyday life, and the culture of celebration we have in Colombia. When I am there with my family, even the most simple family lunch entails getting together with 20+ cousins for a delicious meal and a live guitar trio!
In New York, I can’t wait to take her to see the Nutcracker one day at Lincoln Center. I actually performed in it when I was young, in my past life as a ballet dancer!
What are your three most important beauty rules?
- Good skin starts from within. Eat clean, and limit sugar and alcohol.
- Wear SPF every day, indoors and outdoors. I wear it even when I am just at my desk all day—don’t underestimate the rays that come through the window!
- Wear our Hydrating Glow Oil every day! Oils have been used for millennia for their healing properties, and I truly believe there is nothing better to keep skin youthful, plump, and healthy.
What does being a girl on the gaux mean to you?
Being someone who loves what they do. Someone who wants to feel chic, comfortable, and like themselves while out in the world pursuing their dreams.