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After learning of the concerning and sometimes harmful chemical ingredients found in most top selling commercial fragrances, lifelong friends Anna Weatherlake and Kate Macdonald were on a quest to find a 100% natural fragrance that was as sophisticated and long-wearing as their synthetic luxury favorites. When they couldn’t find anything on the market that fit the bill, they decided to team up to create the fragrances they wanted to buy and thus Váhy was born.
We recently chatted with the pair and got down to all essentials: the motivation behind their start, the daily routines that propelled them forward, and, even some fun bits.
Morning Routine in 5 Words:
Kate: Early start, toddler cuddles, coffee!
Anna: Light, dogs, exercise, cold plunge, coffee!
The best product you use in the morning:
Kate: I have two: Baume 27 to refresh my skin and Váhy Isle of Blanc to take me on some sensory level before I've left the house.
Anna: Biologi Luminosity Serum and Váhy Ember Haze is on high rotation at the moment.
Who you spend your evenings with:
Kate: My beautiful little family. I am very purposeful to carve out 4-6pm every day to spend intentional time with my two boys (ages 1 & 4). It brings me more joy than words can describe. Then after their bed time and our respective work commitments, my husband and I try to always eat together.
Anna: My partner, my computer, and you won't believe it, my dogs.
Favorite Work Outfit:
Kate: I'm a bit of a diehard for Scanlan and Theodore workwear. However, I've also been getting into Another Tomorrow recently. I just adore their sustainability focus.
Anna: Really depends on my daily movements. If I'm on the road heading to our warehouses, I'm in activewear. If it's a usual workday, I'm in a midi skirt or tailored pants and a nice shirt.
Go-To Coffee or Tea Order:
Kate: Long black with a dash of Oat Milk.
Anna: Filter coffee, all day.
The tv show or movie you always recommend:
Kate: My all time favourite movie is the Italian film Life is Beautiful. Such a beautiful reflection of the human spirit. In total contrast, TV wise I watch absolute junk like reality TV so I won't inflict my recommendations there!
Anna: I am terrible. I never turn the TV on, I never watch TV. But, I did recently read Where the Crawdads Sing and saw the movie - loved it!
The takeout dish you can't live without:
Kate: Sugarfish Sushi Trust Me boxes. So delicious!
Anna: A side of fries with everything, thanks.
Bedtime Routine in 5 Words:
Kate: Night rituals, bedtime stories, and work.
Anna: Tea, shower, dog cuddles, consume content!
The best product you use at night:
Kate: I’m a big fan of Kailo Nutrition supplements in the evening (delicious and filled with all
the vitamins and minerals I need) and Dieux Skin eye patches, they’re sustainable and I can change up the treatment I use on my eyes.
Anna: The Secret Skincare Night Cream is my go-to and I’ve recently read Breath by James Nestor, so my new nighttime essential is mouth tape. It’s been an absolutely game changer.
The Special Days:
Favorite Vacation Destination:
Kate: My all time favourite vacation was where my husband and I got engaged. Mwiba lodge in Tanzania. We’d just climbed Mt Kilimanjaro then arrived at this absolutely stunning location, filled with awe inspiring wilderness with a box seat to the great wildebeest migration. It fills me with such happy memories looking back on it.
Anna: Italy. I can never go past it. Anywhere in Italy. The food, the people, the culture. My favourite. I also love the vibes in Mykonos – such a fun place.
Favorite “Fancy” Look:
Kate: Style wise I am more understated than fancy. However, if you want to go fancy and well made stunning gowns I could not more highly recommend Kyha Studios – there is a brown sequined gown in their latest collection that is to die for.
Anna: I am big on the jewelry. I am vegan, and don’t wear leather, silk, wool, or any other animal-based materials, so I tend to channel my splurges to jewels from the likes of Kallure Jewellery or Anton. Like Kate, I tend to be more understated with how I dress, but if I’m going somewhere fancy, I’ll always wear Kyha Studios or Chosen by Kyha.
Favorite Show / Concert / Performer you’ve seen:
Kate: This is going to date me but the best performance I’ve seen was Prince at Coachella. It was beyond belief and such a fun time.
Anna: Kate and I are quite Yin and Yang here. Mine would be one of Avicii’s last ever concerts in Ibiza. It was incredible! Or Kygo. I love Kygo. If you’re reading this Kygo, please call me.
Favorite way to celebrate yourself:
Kate: I don’t get to find time often to do this with how busy life gets but my favourite way to treat myself and also switch off is having a massage at Aire Spa in New York.
Anna: Weekend getaways! No better way to recharge the batteries.
The best gift you’ve ever received:
Kate: This is hard, I’ve been lucky to receive so many thoughtful gifts! I think my favourite is a gold and diamond Victoria Tryon necklace pendant which has my son’s profile on it. I wear it almost every day.
Anna: Mine would also be jewelry. My partner has bought me many beautiful pieces over the years, and only because he’s too scared to buy me anything else in fear of getting it wrong. Nick, if you’re reading this, I’m also open to overseas travel.
The Funny Bits:
The best prank you've pulled:
Kate: My favourite type of pranks to pull are the low commitment dad joke style ones. Not sure if it was the best prank, but one of the more awkward ones I can recall between Anna and I were a series of parcel mails to each other that got out of hand. When I had to send her Vahy parcels for various things I would put the ‘from’ sender as things like ‘Meat Lovers Anonymous Group’ (she is a lifelong vegan). One time she returned the favour and sent me some bottle prototypes from something like ‘Extra Large Sex Toys Corp’ however accidentally sent it to my neighbour. I went to pick it up from him and he was with a group of 6 or so friends and they were all laughing a lot (too much) when I picked up the parcel. It wasn’t until I got home that I read the back of the parcel and realised the joke. Super awkward every time I ran into him thereafter!
Anna: Kate and I are good at pulling pranks on each other. We are really showing our maturity levels here! This might not be very PG, but another one I have pulled is when I was living in London in my late-teens, three friends and I decided to go on a trip to Morocco for a week. Unbeknown to one of my friends, we had hidden a giant wooden penis in her carry-on luggage, which when she went through security, it showed up on the screen. She was pulled off to the side be security and asked if she had packed her own bags etc, the usual security questions, to which she responded yes to all, and when they opened her bag to have a look inside (from memory she had a liquid), they opened it to find a giant timber penis sitting under the first layer of her clothing. She was mortified!
Your Real Housewives Tagline:
Kate: 100% natural, authentic and transparent, and that’s not just her fragrance.
Anna: Clean, green, and loaded with caffeine.
Your most particular particular (the little thing you’re pickiest about!):
Kate: I have two, bad smells and coffee! Can’t handle bad coffee – Melbourne has worn off on me. Smells, from pregnancy onwards I developed a really strong adverse reaction to overpowering synthetic smells, they give me headaches and make my stomach turn. If I get caught in a lift with someone wearing an overpowering synthetic scent I have to get out early – it’s that bad!
Anna: I’m with Kate here – walking through a department store and getting pounded in the face by the overpowering smell of synthetic fragrance. Gives me a shocking headache! Or the butcher. The smell of decomposing animal makes me feel physically ill.
Where We Can Find You:
Socials: IG @vahy.co
Current Location: Kate in NYC, Anna in Melbourne
Favorite Spot to Consume Content: Kate: Living room, by the window with a cup of coffee.
Anna: Ashamedly, in bed as there are often not many other opportunities to do it!
Where You Work: Kate: Home Office in NYC (along with meetings across the city) Anna: Brighton, Melbourne
More from Kate & Anna:
I love your tiny travel size sprays and always keep one in my carry-on. How do you think travel influences people’s fragrance preferences?
We think people tend to plan and pack a scent (or scents) to travel with, much like one would pack their outfits; matching their scents, and outfits to the destination and its atmosphere. If you're heading somewhere warm and poolside, you'll probably opt for a lighter, summery or invigorating scent with notes such as citrus and coconut. On the flip side, if you're heading on a wilderness adventure, you might pack something a little more earthy and grounding, with bold base notes such as velvety woods and spices. Scent is tied so strongly to memory, so whichever scent you decide to make your travel companion, you can be sure that upon your return, that scent will always transport you back to those special moments in time.
How do you see trends in the fashion, food, and interiors spaces making their way into fragrance?
We love seeing people using fragrance [much like style, culinary adventures or the space they immerse themselves in], to create a certain mood, atmosphere, or unique identity. Fragrance is such a powerful tool for self-expression, you can really make a scent your own. Whether it's through layering scent combinations to create something completely different (and unlike anything anyone else will wear), exploring various scents to match your mood or outfit, or finding your home in one special scent that people distinctly recognize as yours over time.
You probably don’t like to play favorites, but which fragrances you find yourselves choosing for regular work days and special nights out?
It is honestly so hard to choose a favourite as we've painstakingly crafted each and every one of our fragrances, and each is so perfectly unique. Having said this, on a day in the office or when we're on the go, we opt for something uplifting and invigorating, like our newly launched Isle of Blanc fragrance. It's a really refreshing oceanic scent with notes of citrus, marine and salt. For a special occasion or night out, we love to layer Ember Haze and Tarkine. This duo is not only deliciously balanced with complimentary notes of velvety woods, warm amber, vanilla and smoke, but it will move with you all night long as it's incredibly long lasting due to its rich base notes. (Perfect for a night out on the town!)
Who are a few women entrepreneurs who inspire you? Whose careers and businesses do you love to follow?
Kate: Jo Horgan who founded Mecca is a huge inspiration to me. I adore her focus on providing best in class services and products along with her belief that education is of paramount importance, it really aligns with my values. Outside of this, Sheryl Sandberg is someone who has done a lot for female entrepreneurs embracing their ambitions with her book Lean In.
Anna: I have always admired Stella McCartney and her approach to cruelty-free and sustainable fashion. I think Whitney Wolfe Herd is pretty incredible as well. There are so many incredible female entrepreneurs, it’s hard to choose just a few!