Zara Beigi is the creator of Elysian Theory; a beautiful, highly curated e-boutique showcasing some of the most sustainable, ethical and high-performance products within the self-care space. "We want to create a space that educates and engages our community whilst bringing together the most exceptional beauty and lifestyle brands. Those that are at the apex of sustainability, luxury and performance".
We are absolutely thrilled that d'still is amongst the brands she has chosen to stock at Elysian Theory and so we virtually set down with Zara to speak in depth about the journey to creating the company, her self-care rituals and to hear what she thinks of the d'still collection.
Zara Beigi creator of Elysian Theory
Elysian Theory is such a gorgeously curated online destination. Can you tell us a little bit about the company and how you came to launch your beautiful e-boutique?
Thank you! I’m so pleased it’s finally come together and that I can showcase the best independent brands in my store. I actually started the process of setting up in late 2018, as I felt there was a real lack of exciting stores that relayed clear and non-confusing information. I also felt that natural and organic beauty brands were being really underestimated, so I wanted to showcase how many amazing, high-performing products there are. I was planning on launching the store in 2019, but my plans were put to a halt shortly after becoming pregnant with my son. I always intended on launching the store before giving birth, but my pretty consistent morning sickness throughout my entire pregnancy made it difficult to achieve this. I couldn’t even look at a screen without feeling dizzy and sick, so as you can imagine, I had to put the plans of Elysian Theory on hold, until last autumn, where I picked up where I left off.
I actually came to be interested in natural and organic skincare and beauty products by chance. I admittedly had no real skincare routine - it was just a wash, slap on moisturizer and go deal for me. One day a friend of mine asked me what my skincare routine was, and that was the first time I realised, I don’t really have one. And since I was slowly but surely approaching my 30s, I thought I better upgrade the current “routine” that I have. I went and purchased the obvious brands, including ones inspired by the sea, without naming any names, and I was pretty underwhelmed. I don’t know what I was expecting, but certainly for my skin, I didn’t see any real changes or improvements in comparison to what I was using before.
One evening when I was running low on the skincare I was using at the time, I remembered that I had a natural and organic facial oil that I’d received as a promotion, in a healthy meal subscription service, sitting at the back of my shelf. It was at the back, because natural skincare wasn’t really something that I paid attention to. I didn’t believe it would perform as well and underestimated its capability. So, when I finally did try it, I was pretty stunned. This worked! I could actually see real results that I wasn’t seeing from using my previous products. And so, an interest and passion was well and truly triggered.
I started educating myself and trying many different products, and recommending friends and family to try them as well. I became the go-to person when they wanted recommendations and alternatives, and so I started daydreaming about curating my own store with all the best high-performing products one day. And here we are!
What is the story behind the name Elysian Theory?
I’ve always liked the word Elysian, and when I started thinking about what to call my brand, I kept coming back to this word as it seemed the most fitting for what I was trying to create. The meaning of the word Elysian relates to characteristics of paradise, and the adjective describes a blissful state: An environment I wanted to create for our store and community.
A feeling of bliss and ease, where the products are powered by nature, where we are mindful of the environment and ourselves, where the information is clear, there are no unnecessary ingredients, no misleading jargon, just a place of trust, providing confidence. Clear. Conscious. Confident. This general principle, the theory of a paradise-like environment with paradise-like products, is what I wanted to put into practice: hence Elysian Theory!
Elysian Theory carries some stunning brands, can you tell us the things you look for when introducing a new brand to your e-boutique?
When we source and ultimately choose which brands to stock, we really look at the brand and product as a whole experience. We are an online retailer, so we really have to connect and “feel it” through our screens. Not only that, but this feeling I’m talking about has to be consistent from start to finish. The start being: connecting with the brand, what it has to offer, the branding and story, and of course having confidence in the quality and capability of the product. And the finish being: testing, experiencing and using the product.
Our ethos has to align with the brands and their founders, so transparency is a key factor as well. It is one of the foundations of Elysian Theory, and what creates that feeling of ‘elysian ease’. When we receive the samples, we look at everything, the packaging, the vessel, it’s look, the materials that are used and its recyclability and end-of life disposition. Of course, ultimately the decision falls on the quality and how well the product performs. We only stock products that “do what they say on the tin.”
Running your own business can be an absolute joy, but there are indeed times when things can feel overwhelming and extremely stressful. How do you relax and wind down after a busy, stressful day?
Yes, absolutely, couple that with juggling being a parent to a one year old, and relaxing and winding down becomes an art, I’m still truthfully trying to master! This is where I hold self-care rituals so dearly, as it becomes a precious moment of calm to myself. Having an intentional routine that I look forward to, where I use premium products with high quality ingredients that nourish my mind, body and soul.
After a hectic day, going into the bathroom, closing the door behind me, and doing my skincare routine is the first step to winding down. These days my routine has to be quick, so I truly appreciate the holistic properties our selection of products have, where their texture, feel and smell support relaxing and winding down, quickly! Following that, I usually, curl up on the couch or in bed with a hot herbal tea, and either read or watch something to switch off. I’m also getting re-acquainted with my piano!
What do you enjoy most about what you do at Elysian Theory?
The community and connecting with wonderful people. I love helping people find products that they love and that actually works for them. Part of our job is to continually educate ourselves, as our industry is ever evolving. So when we do come across new and interesting information, we like to share it with our community. People are looking for easily digestible information from a trustworthy source, and we really enjoy being that for them. We’ve received such great feedback on this. Our customers often reach out to tell us how much they appreciate our honest and open approach, and the wealth of information we have on our site and next to every product. Knowing that this work we put into Elysian Theory is so well received, makes it really rewarding.
At d’still, self-care and self-love is at the core of everything we do. We know the wonderful effect that slowing down, breathing deep and taking the time to reconnect with ourselves can have on our overall wellbeing, which is why we place such an emphasis one ritualising the act of applying skincare… do you view your skincare routine as a ritual?
Absolutely. I love having a skincare ritual. I live in central London, and don’t often get the chance to connect with nature in a true and meaningful way, so having a routine, where I know that these beautiful products are awaiting me, is so grounding to me. It’s an indirect way for me to connect with nature while directly connecting with myself, all while being intentional. We often go about our day on autopilot, so to intentionally take time to take care of yourself, where you are manually placing products on your skin, and seeing the benefits, which are not just skin-deep, is pretty powerful. And quite frankly vital in any day, but especially these days!
Spending quality time in nature and reconnecting with the essential is becoming more important than ever in our hyper connected world. Can you tell us some of places you like to spend time in nature?
The parks in London are pretty effective when I feel I need to be surrounded by nature. Richmond park is really special, it feels like you’re somewhere else.
I grew up in Hamburg, Germany, and when I visit my parents back home, I get the chance to be closer to nature. We live by the river with a sand bank, so it feels beachy there, and I adore the feeling of serenity that water brings. It’s a very relaxing place.
We are thrilled that you decided to stock d’still in your gorgeous e-boutique, can we ask what were your initial thoughts of d’still when you first received our collection?
I was really excited about your collection and I have to say that I had high expectations. Judging by the INCI, I knew it would be special, but you really just never know until you have the products in your hands and are trying them out for yourself. Truly, from start to finish, you lived up to, and really exceeded our expectations. You could see the amount of thought that went into every single product, from the outer packaging to the vessel and the formulas. You’ve truly created something special with d’still, and we are so proud to be stockists and part of your exciting journey! ☺
Do you have a favourite product from the d’still range?
Well, this is a hard one, because each of your products are phenomenal. They each hold their own in a ritual and are stand-alone star products. My skin is on the drier side at the moment, so all three products support my skin really well. If I have to choose one however, I think that for the moment, where my to-do list is a little overwhelming, the Calming Cleansing Balm is a great support. I look forward to it greeting me at the end of the day. It’s such a multi-sensory experience, and a pleasure to use. It leaves me with a calm, balanced, hydrated skin and a calm mind.
Finally, with Spring just around the corner and lockdown restrictions beginning to ease, what are you most looking forward to doing as soon as you are able?
I’m looking forward to visiting our families, as soon as it is OK for us to do so. Both mine and my husband’s parents are first time grandparents and have had such little time with our son, due to covid and travel restrictions. I’m really looking forward to seeing them enjoy their roles as grandparents and to watch them all interact together.
I’m also looking forward to having spontaneous day’s out as a family, like driving somewhere scenic and having a picnic. Just creating memories, that feel different to the repetitive everyday at the moment.