Giovanna Campagna of Joaquina Botanica is a New Yorker with Columbian roots who grew up between both worlds. Visiting Columbia multiple times a year meant that Giovanna was exposed to the deeply rooted beauty rituals that South American women nurture amongst one another and cherish. It was that love of heritage and a deep desire to expose more people to the artisanal ingredients from Latin America that led her to embark upon creating a product that features native botanicals that nourish and plump your skin. Her signature Hydrating Glow Oil smells like a vacation in a bottle and slips on your skin with warmth. It’s luxurious, nourishing, and feels connected to something fresh and exciting, just like Joaquina Botanica.
Melissa: Spring is finally in the air! What are your plans for spring? Do you have any trips planned?
Giovanna: Right now, I have been taking advantage of getting outside as much as possible. I have a 10-month old daughter, so we go to the park a lot with her. We are trying to do everything possible to get to the beach soon–either to Jamaica or to Columbia, where my mom is from. I usually go to Columbia six times a year with work.
Melissa: Tell us a little about the line and how you created it? Why did you launch this specific product?
Giovanna: I started my career in the fashion world, I worked at Vogue and W magazines here in NYC. I would go back to Columbia very often with my family and ten years ago, I noticed that there are an amazing amount of fashion designers starting to emerge. There is incredible craftsmanship there—the taste levels are amazing. I started an agency based here in NY that discovered and launched amazing Latin American designers. I really got in touch with my roots. It started to click that I wanted to share all the incredible fashion talent that the region has to offer. Beauty was an untapped and there was whole realm that I felt that people in the US were not seeing. Latin America has so much to offer, it is the most biodiverse region in the world. On top of that, the women have such a deep-rooted beauty culture. It has always been a form of self-care and it is done as a way of nurturing—enjoying your unique beauty. I started to formulate this idea three years ago, and I thought that there were two elements we could share: the natural ingredients and beauty philosophy. We launched with our first product which is the Hydrating Glow Oil. I started with the oil because it is the most direct and concentrated delivery of these incredible ingredients. In oil, you can really deliver these high percentages of extracts into the skin. Soon we will be launching the ‘Essence’. It is inspired by home traditions that I learned growing up. The essence will enhance the benefits of the oil. It is a soft diffused mist. With the way of dispensing, it you can liberally use it as a booster throughout the day–it gives a great burst of freshness.
Alma means soul in Spanish. The goal is to create a platform where we are sharing beauty secrets and traditions. Voices and tips from all women.
Melissa: Amazing. How do you use your products? Do you use it twice a day or once a day?
Giovanna: I use the oil twice a day, in the morning and in the evening as a primer. I wear SPF every day. I find the oil makes SPF more pleasant to wear–and I mix the two together. It melts in and leaves a glossy, not sticky canvas on the skin. I then apply my makeup on top of that. I love creamy makeup products and I find the oil is the perfect primer for that. In my evening routine, I use it with moisturizer. The oil has a blend with natural botanicals, and it is boosted with an oil-soluble form of Vitamin C which penetrates the skin very well. The oil packs a lot of punch and targets the three main concerns for me–hydrating, brightening, and plumping. The oil is very well-rounded. We don’t use any fragrance or parabens–the scent comes from the ingredients themselves.
Melissa: How long did it take you to finalize that specific product? What is the scent if you could describe it?
Giovanna: It was two years of formulating. We were playing with ingredients that were not commonly used together – understanding how they would react together took a long time. Finding the right texture took a while also, some oils are heavier, and others absorb faster. Achieving that perfect balance took a while. The scent is a sweet fruity, nutty smell…almond with a sweeter touch.
Melissa: How does sustainability play a role in your product and company as a whole?
Giovanna: We work with suppliers that are doing incredible work in terms of sustainable growth while having a positive impact on their communities. Cacay is one of our key ingredients in the line and it is wild-harvested from Columbia. The supplier who I am so inspired by has been reforesting the Amazon by the cultivation of Cacay. The trees grow for 80-100 years and flourish all year round, giving a lot of work to indigenous communities who cultivate them. It also provides an alternative to working in elicit crop cultivations. We chose to work with glass which is the most recyclable material— there are trade-offs as it is more expensive—but I felt that if I was going to create a product it could not be with plastic. We try to scale everything to be as small as possible. We also use sustainable tape to wrap on our packages – which is less toxic for the environment. Our formulations are so clean, we are also able to avoid more damage and toxicity through water systems etc. Having our social impact in mind and since we draw so much from Latin America – we’ve committed a portion of our product sales to donate to a foundation called Glasswing International. The foundation focuses on mental health programs for kids in Latin America and their other efforts this year is getting kids the materials they need to learn remotely.
Melissa: Have you been working from home this entire time?
Giovanna: Yes! The wonderful thing about working from home is being around my daughter all day. It also is the hardest, because it is hard not to feel guilty when she is in the other room. Overall, we never would have this time with her in a normal situation so we are focusing on the positives.
Melissa: What is your particular style? What are you looking forward to wearing again?
Giovanna: I like to be minimalist, but I love color. I have a few things that I love that I can easily slip on and not worry too much about. I have gotten really into patterns and colorful dresses. When you are an entrepreneur you make so many decisions during the day, so it is nice when you can reduce one or two decisions in a day. I see the effect on my mindset when I am dressed in real clothes. It puts you in more of an ‘on’ mentality you hold yourself differently.
Melissa: Tell us about the journal that is housed on your website? How did you start that? Were some of these woman people you know or are they people you have discovered?
Giovanna: Alma means soul in Spanish. The goal is to create a platform where we are sharing beauty secrets and traditions. Voices and tips from all women. We feature women from all different backgrounds –some were friends of mine from my work in the past, some are living here who are the second generation. The goal is introducing people here to those women–to crowdsource their secrets and philosophies. Today we did a great profile on a model, and she has a great beauty philosophy and great tips. There is so much knowledge that I wanted to share with others.
Melissa: I love that! Beauty is engrained at such a young age and becomes such a part of life. What are some of the things you wear all the time? What are your particulars?
Giovanna: I will show you some of my favorite things. I love Mochila bags; I wear them all over Manhattan. They are my staple. In terms of personal care, I love candles. I have one always burning. The necklace I am wearing is from a Columbian brand, it is modeled from an old, gold artifact. Indigenous communities would carry them around their necks and they would keep crushed cocoa leaves in them for energy on long hikes. I wear the necklace all the time. In terms of skincare and beauty, I cleanse with an oil cleanser because my skin gets really dry in the winter. I then use my oil and I layer it on. I love lip balm from Lanae – it is a beautiful clean brand. I love the body balm from Osea, it is so hydrating and goes on super smoothly. I am also obsessed with turtlenecks, I wear them all the time.
Melissa: So many great products and recommendations! My last question is, what is your favorite meal?
Giovanna: Pasta. There is a lot of Italian influence in my family. I love a great homecooked spaghetti.
Melissa: Yummy! Thank you so much for your time today. Loved chatting with you.