STORY BY RACHEL SCHWARTZMANN – Shop Peet Rivko – PHOTOS BY BRIDGET BADORE FOR THE STYLE LINE
Johanna Peet is setting a new standard in modern
beauty. More specifically, Peet Rivko – her plant-based skincare line – is leading the charge in shaping the way we think about wellness on a global scale. In doing so, Johanna has worked diligently to create Peet Rivko’s first Essentials Collection. Currently, this assortment boasts a thoughtful edit of products including a moisturizer, a cleanser, and a body and face oil – all of which meet the brand’s criteria of providing something for everyone.
Built upon the pillars of minimalism, transparency, and sustainability, it’s safe to say that the newly launched brand is already making waves amongst those looking to simplify and solidify their long-term skincare regimen. While we were excited to find that Peet Rivko delivers on its promise, we’ve also loved learning more about Johanna’s story and mission to cater to real life demands through a beauty lens. As the newly minted entrepreneur mentioned in our interview below, “Peet Rivko is trying to show the way by being a design driven company that produces incredibly high quality and nourishing skincare and wears our values on our sleeve.”
That brings us to today’s story with Johanna, who in the spirit of Peet Rivko’s plant-based approach, kindly met us at our favorite New York-based plant shop, The Sill (revisit our recent collaboration with them here). During our time together we chatted more with Johanna about the initial inspiration behind Peet Rivko, the brand’s involvement in the conversation around real beauty, and what she’s learned from the entrepreneurial journey so far. Without giving too much away, rediscover our fun, foliage-filled visit featuring exclusive photos captured by Bridget Badore for The Style Line.
Hi, I’m Johanna. I’m the founder of Peet Rivko and
a proud Delawarean. Before starting Peet Rivko, I was in graduate school studying law and business (thought I was going to be a lawyer… that did not happen) and before that, I worked in foreign policy and government in DC. Outside of work, you can find me cooking, eating or talking about food. I’m Sicilian and food is definitely how I (and my family) show and share the love.
For me, a perfect afternoon or evening is cooking and sharing a meal with close family and friends. I also love to spend time outdoors – nature is very grounding, almost spiritual. New York can be so chaotic and overwhelming, and I find it really important to make time for walks in Prospect Park or hiking trips to upstate to get away and connect with something bigger than yourself.
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How would you respectively define beauty and wellness and how would you say Peet Rivko is at the intersection of the two?
For me, beauty and wellness are really about self-care and taking time for yourself on a daily basis – whether it’s by using clean products to take care of your skin or having a cup of tea at the end of the day and taking a moment to reflect. At Peet Rivko, we are all about a holistic approach to beauty and wellness and stay away from the gimmicky or “too good to be true” noise that is a real distraction. We try to be honest and transparent with our customers while also making it easy for them to have a clean, non-toxic skincare routine. We’re all about minimalism and creating simple, thoughtful well-designed skincare that is safe and works. A sense of humor doesn’t hurt either (the comedic genius and my dear friend Aubrey Plaza is our brand ambassador).
How would you describe Peet Rivko’s involvement in the conversation around real beauty and how do you hope the brand fosters this idea?
I love that the conversation around beauty is changing and you’re seeing more diverse faces and bodies in both fashion and beauty. It’s so important and absolutely reflects our values at Peet Rivko. We see ourselves as part of a generation of companies across a range of industries that values authenticity and challenges many of the traditional narratives or norms that have characterized retail and in particular the beauty industry. As a skincare company, it’s important that my customers can see themselves in my line – that they believe we are speaking to them and not just pedaling some idealized, sanitized, retouched or unattainable notion of beauty. It’s about real people, real life.
My hope is that we can create an inclusive space to talk about taking care of your skin and having a balanced approach to self-care. We’re all about simplifying, demystifying, and delivering for customers a better experience and being honest about what works, how we operate as a company and the ingredients in our products.
What role do you think beauty/wellness plays in personal style and what has been the biggest evolution in your own personal style as a result of launching Peet Rivko?
My beauty routine has evolved significantly since starting a natural skincare line. Growing up, I was a tried and true product junkie. I loved going to Sephora or Blue Mercury to try the latest lines and trends. In my 20s, out of nowhere, my skin started to become increasingly sensitive and reactive. I began to educate myself about what I was putting on my face and what was in the products I was using. It was fairly shocking to discover that most products and brands I loved growing up were actually full of toxins and the beauty industry itself is essentially unregulated. I always share two facts with friends: there has been no major federal legislation regulating the beauty industry since 1938, and while the European Union bans over 1,400 toxic ingredients in personal care products, here in the US, we ban 11. Just 11 – It’s crazy!
To deal with my sensitive skin, I began making my own simple skincare products and that’s how Peet Rivko was born. These days, in addition to using our products, I also only buy or wear natural, non-toxic makeup. Some products were hard to replace – like a really great, waterproof mascara – but by and large, I’ve been so impressed with the natural alternatives out there (shout out to RMS and ILIA) and my skin is much happier too.
What is Peet Rivko have a position on sustainability?
Yes, sustainability is huge for us. For me, part of the excitement of starting my own company was imagining a beauty company that prioritized sustainability and giving back. Our products are all manufactured at a wind-powered facility in California and we constantly seek to minimize our environmental footprint, using 100% recyclable materials for all packaging. We’re also a member of 1% For The Planet, donating 1% of sales to local environmental non-profits. We’re proud to be part of a community of companies that understand the power of collective action and that we all have a responsibility to protect our planet.
Our friends at The Sill constantly remind us that plants make people happy – how do you hope Peet Rivko’s plant-based products make people’s skin happy?
We love The Sill and we love plants! Natural skincare has come a long way over the last few decades, and it’s a really exciting time to be part of the green beauty movement. There are so many awesome independent brands emerging and you can really find natural skincare that is effective and catered to different skin types.
At Peet Rivko, we’re all about ultra-gentle skincare. Our approach centers on plant-based formulations that are gentle, calming and soothing with fewer steps and fewer ingredients. We take a minimalist approach to skincare that we call “skincare simplified” – our products are all free of toxins such as parabens, sulfates or silicones as well as potential irritants like essential oils, fragrance, and nut oils.
We designed the line for both men and women of all skin types with the idea being that these are daily essentials. They work, they’re safe, and they look good on your bathroom shelf – as simple as that.
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How do you think creativity contributes to some of the world’s bigger conversations and how do you hope Peet Rivko is playing a role in this?
I think creativity needs to be a bigger part of our larger conversations. We need to find ways to breathe new energy into difficult, intractable problems. In our own way, Peet Rivko is trying to show the way by being a design driven company that produces incredibly high quality and nourishing skincare and wears our values on our sleeve. The beauty industry can literally be skin deep and we’re trying to push it to be more socially responsible, inclusive, and transparent.
How would you advise the next generation to leave an imprint in the world simply by doing what they love?
My best advice is: don’t give up and don’t forget why you started. If you have a vision and a dream or passion for something you love, go for it and don’t let fear of failure hold you back. It will be hard. You will face many obstacles, letdowns, and difficult moments along the way, but I truly believe that if your head and heart are in the right place, good things will come. For me, it’s also been hugely beneficial to build a community of like-minded friends, doers, and adventurers who can support you and understand the challenges of a more creative or entrepreneurial path.