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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.