Meet the Founders
Park City, UT
What was your career path before starting AVOILA?
GOS: I spent my career in advertising and marketing—first as a graphic designer and later as a creative director. As a creative director, I worked on all kinds of brands and even spent years working in pharmaceutical marketing. I loved learning how new medications worked and I enjoyed being able to provide valuable information to the people who needed them.
KH: I realized very early on that I wanted to be in advertising. It was an ever-changing, fast-paced industry that was full of various creative types - and I loved that. While I started in research and strategy, I found myself moving into a client services role pretty early on in my career. In this role I felt as though I was the orchestrator, or conductor, of a dynamic team. I was in the center of it all which was a lot of fun but came with a lot of pressure.
Did you always know you wanted to have your own business?
GOS: After leaving the ad agency life, I continued to work for myself and help others build their brands. But, I never thought I would own my own business and develop my own brand.
KH: In my early-mid 30s I realized that being an entrepreneur was the way to go. My fiance, then boyfriend, had been an entrepreneur since I met him and the freedom and flexibility he had as an entrepreneur was something that I wanted for myself and for our family
What inspired you to create AVOILA?
GOS: I started having sensitive skin issues as a teen and young adult -- stress and anxiety brought out my eczema. One night I was so frustrated because my skin was painfully irritated, and I had nothing in my bathroom to apply that wouldn’t make it feel worse. I thought, what do I have in my kitchen? I did some quick research and decided to give my avocado oil a try. It didn’t smell great, and it definitely wasn’t luxurious…but it felt good on my skin and it actually helped! A couple of weeks later when Kristy and I were talking about clean beauty (which was barely a thing then), I told her about my new skin regimen. That was the impetus for creating Avoila.
KH: Grace’s skin situation really inspired me to want to create Avoila. I had been feeling more and more frustrated in my career and wanted to make the entrepreneurial leap but didn’t want to do so without a solid idea to work on.
What is it that you believe makes AVOILA such a great product?
GOS: When we started out, we wanted to make the best product we could. And we were very particular about our needs. We sought out a formulator to help us. And we researched each ingredient. As a result, the combination and balance of its ingredients makes it uniquely fit for most skin types. It really does support the skin so it can be its very best – even sensitive skin like mine. And the light touch of organic essential oils gives it its calming scent that turns a simple skin routine into a self-care moment.
KH: Not only did we take a lot of care when determining the ingredients we wanted to use but we also put a priority on finding the right partners to help us put the product together. As you read above, Grace and I aren’t chemists, herbalists or even estheticians for that matter so we needed to build a team of skilled professionals that could help us create a beautiful product. We’re proud of our team and the resulting product.
What’s one thing people are often surprised to know about you?
GOS: I grew up in Brooklyn in a very Italian neighborhood with all my aunts, uncles and cousins living just a few blocks away.
KH: I don’t share this with many people but I enjoy taking voice lessons. I always wanted to sing, maybe on Broadway?!, so when I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma in 2019 and started to look inward at what I could do for me, to bring me joy, singing was the first thing I thought of. I took voice lessons with a wonderful teacher up until covid and then had to put them on pause.. I’m determined to pick up my lessons again very soon!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
GOS: “Do good.” (Which I like to think is very different from BE good!) My Grandfather used to say it to me in his thick Italian accent and I always thought about what it really means to actually do good. To me it means—do the right thing, have integrity, treat others well. I try to live up to that, even when I’m not necessarily being good ;)
KH: The one thing that stands out right now is that you always have a choice, no matter what you’re faced with - you can choose how you handle a situation, you can choose how to show up and what you bring to a room or to a person. No one is making you do anything. It’s very empowering to remember this.