A Little Chat with Neada Deters
“I had adult acne and couldn’t find an organic solution for it. ...so I began creating my own - powerful, organic formulas full of transformative botanicals and antioxidants. That’s how LESSE started.”
After thriving within the fashion and media industry in New York, Neada Deters began exploring her way through the beauty industry in an attempt to find transparency and to understand the complexity of the beauty world. After engaging and interviewing experts from around the world, Neada knew that it was possible to create truly effective but also organic formulas.
Neada is the Founder and Creative Director behind the stunning brand and company that is LESSE. A company that is enriched with supporting clients in finding their ritual - a small but meaningful gesture repeated morning and night to nourish skin and reflect on the importance of small actions in the larger scope of one's life and health. Her evolved approach to organic skin care is reflected in her essential, effective products full of powerful and regenerative formulations.
Tell us about your journey into creating LESSE. What experiences or self realisations led you to want to make a change in the beauty industry.
I had worked in the fashion and media industry for several years in New York. My last full-time role there, I was the Senior Editor at a fashion, beauty and lifestyle website. We didn't have a dedicated beauty editor, so I began to explore more of the industry; I was testing products and interviewing experts from around the world. What really struck me was the lack of transparency in the beauty industry, and also the complexity of it. I had adult acne and couldn't find an organic solution for it. But from my experience writing about beauty and talking to some of the world's leading experts on it, I knew that it was possible to create truly effective but also organic formulas. And without the need for an overly complex regimen. So I began creating my own — powerful, organic formulas full of transformative botanicals and antioxidants. That's how LESSE started.
What is the favourite part of your job? How do you maintain and develop your creativity?
I find the formula development the most gratifying aspect of my job. It is incredibly challenging, creative, and exciting. Creating something from absolute scratch that can change the way people feel about themselves, and the health and integrity of their skin is such deeply meaningful work for me. I read widely, really taking time to do the research on ingredients and to think of ways in which an incredible botanical can be folded into a formula to make a product both effective and essential.
To maintain and develop this creativity, I have really had to be organised— setting aside the time to do quiet research and explore new ideas. When you're running a company, it can be difficult to find that mental space but it's so necessary to what we do.
What do you keep on your bathroom shelf?
LESSE Refining Cleanser, Bioactive Face Masque, and Ritual Serum. I also keep natural SPF for face and body, tinted sunscreen, a natural mascara and pencil eyeliner. I don't often wear makeup but it's nice to have for certain occasions. We have quite a few products in development right now, so all of the other products I can't speak to at this time but they are all samples for future LESSE products. I also use Tom's toothpaste and a HAY toothbrush.
Take us through your morning skincare ritual.
In the morning, I splash some cold water on my face or rub an ice cube in circular motions across both face and neck. Then I use an organic spritz, followed by LESSE Ritual Serum, and finally some SPF. But I love to take my time: our tagline at LESSE is Ritual, Not Routine and I truly live by that.
What do you do before bed to feel grounded and reconnected to self?
I put my phone away about an hour before bed. I really try to hydrate as much as possible and reconnect with my husband, even if it's just catching up on what happened in our lives that day. And I usually read for about twenty or thirty minutes before I finally fall asleep. This ritual, in a way, helps me to reconnect with my physical, emotional and mental needs.
Is balance in your life achievable and how do you prioritise it?
It isn't always easy and I don't always find it, but when I take time out from work to be with family and friends I am really present. I put my phone away during meals and get that quality time with people. I also try to be efficient with things; such as taking my dog for a walk in lieu of a workout. We both get exercise and some quality time together.
How do you manage female leadership and what strategies do you have for our fellow leaders?
I focus on my own self-worth and that makes every day easier. When I am in a positive mental space and know that I am both capable and deserving, then anything said or done to try and undermine me just washes away. It's only when I am struggling with it personally that it ever affects me.
My only advice for starting your own company or moving into a position of leadership as a woman is to, first, be prepared to work insanely hard. Maybe harder than you have ever worked before. And, second, surround yourself with good people — friends who you can trust and who are a constant support to you. My friends have been so incredibly supportive and understanding. Truly could not have done it without them, nor my husband who is just the most wonderful partner who is there for me one hundred percent every day.
What is inspiring you at the moment? What are you reading, watching, and listening to?
I just read Let My People Go Surfing by Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia. He and his approach to work and leading a company are a huge inspiration to me, and for LESSE. I have also been inspired for many years by artist Donald Judd. His ability to create beauty through simplicity and to think beyond the frame are ideas that I ruminate on most days.