CEO Neal’s Yard Remedies
TO ASK LISA A QUESTION, EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org
SARAH PACINI raw edge knit tunic length turtleneck sweater with front slit in grey, $465
PAIGE Hoxton ankle peg skinny jeans made of luxurious TRANSCEND fabric in denim dark wash, $335
BIKO Rock crystal loop spike earrings metal in oxidized silver color, $60
JOANNA MAXHAM Element Two Tone Leather cross-body Bag in black and white, $675
THIERRY RABOTIN pull-on ankle heel boot with neoprene fabric opening and back button detail in burgundy, $735
MARIE SAINT PIERRE Eboli jersey long sleeve tunic with sleeve bow details in black, $620
MARIE SAINT PIERRE Ludo pull-on skinny leather pants in chai, $1590
SHEREEN DE ROUSSEAU long one strand necklace with crystal quartz beads and sterling silver pendants, $370
PAPUCEI Dazzle sculpted front ankle boot with side zipper in anthracite leather, $350
PARKER Preston leather moto vest with zipper details in aqua, $648
PARKER Lacey long sleeve shirt dress with pleated fabric detail in reef madras silk, $398
BIKO Athena collar necklace multi strand in oxidized silver metal, $200
STUART WEITZMAN Broom pointed pump with flared block heel and studded tassel in grey suede, $575
We meet exceptional women every day.
Girl Bosses is our chance to share a few of their stories, their memories, their advice and their humour. Please enjoy.
What is the best advice ever given to you?
I live by a couple of key philosophies in my life. The first is the Law of Attraction; like attracts like and that by focusing on our positive thoughts we attract positive energy into our lives. I've brought some amazing things into my life by putting positive thoughts out to the universe... sometimes the universe even brings me coffee right when I need it!
Another important piece of advice that my parents ingrained into all of their kids is that you have to love what you do. There are three pillars in life - career, financial and personal - and each pillar needs to be balanced in order for us to function at the highest level. If one pillar is weak, it puts added pressure on the other pillars. So, find a way to do what you love, even if you have to start small!
I feel especially grateful that every day I go to a job I love and that job is to make people feel beautiful!! I love that Neal's Yard Remedies enables people to live happier, healthier lives by not only creating products that make people feel beautiful every day, but also by respecting the planet and its people in making these products.
Looking back, what is the best advice you would give to yourself at age 25?
I would say to myself, "Lisa, you are not as old as you think you are and you don’t know it all! Slow down. Listen to your intuition and it will take you where you need to be. Believe in yourself. Oh, and smile at everyone you meet."
Who have been the influential people in your life?
My parents have been major influences in my life, not only for fostering a happy home, but for instilling strong values and creating a sturdy balance of career and family time. My Granny was also a major influence, teaching me to love unconditionally without judgment (not to mention the cookies in her cupboard when we were kids!).
Over the years, I've also had some friends stand up as significant influences, my cheerleaders in the background. They support me by shopping in my stores, sharing my story with their circles and some even put my name forward for media opportunities! I don't ask why they support and love me the way they do, but I sure am grateful for them and the motivation they bring, helps me hustle every day!
What are your favourite qualities in another person?
I love authenticity. We are all uniquely beautiful and I think what makes someone shine is their ability to be true to themselves. When we are authentic to ourselves, something that is hard to achieve in a world where we can compare ourselves to the world at the touch of a finger via social media, we allow ourselves the space to be real.
I believe that authentic people are real people. They act with integrity, they demonstrate compassion, they are courageous and they are confident in themselves.
What is your idea of happiness?
I believe that happiness is something we choose. It's sometimes easy to forget how lucky we are to live in a land of freedom and choice, where most of us have shelter over our head, clothes on our back, food in the cupboard and people to love us.
For me, happiness is in the small things! It can be waking up to a beautiful blue sky and a hot cup of fresh coffee. Or the anticipation of an upcoming holiday. Happiness can be cuddling up in front of a warm fire, going for a walk with my dogs, or sharing a savoury meal with amazing company. And today, happiness includes my new Smythe blazer from BLU'S.
I have to add that being asked to be a BLU'S Girl Boss made me extremely happy! It made me feel really amazing that they want to share my story to inspire and motivate other Girl Bosses out there!
What is your idea of misery?
Routine! One of the things I love the most about owning a business is the flexibility and diversity in my days; I can say with 100% certainty that no two days are the same! On days when I'm at the store, I love helping our customers with their skin concerns, which may range from chronically dry skin and concerns about aging all the way to internal digestive issues. At Neal's Yard Remedies, we believe in beauty from the inside out so we always try to get an understanding of our customers' lifestyle and help them create a bespoke skincare routine to live the happiest, healthiest possible life. You can imagine that just like our fingerprints, no two problems are the same and I love the diversity that this brings to my day.
On my non-store days I'm focused on growing the business beyond our two retail stores. I might be in the office with my team brainstorming new ideas, promotions or partnerships. Other times you'll find me in meetings all around the city with bloggers, other business owners or colleagues. I love a new challenge and I especially love meeting new people!
What was your most regrettable fashion purchase?
Remember the velour tracksuits that were popular in the late 90's... Yeah, regrettable.
What talent would you like to be gifted with?
I would love to have the talent to quickly learn all the languages of the world. Imagine walking off the plane in any foreign country and being able to instantly converse with all the locals! Oh, the possibility for adventure...!
If you could be any historical figure who would you be?
I had to spend a long time thinking about this question! There are so many inspirational historical women figures. I thought about Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Coco Chanel, various Queens of England, Helen Keller, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks... but I finally settled on the Greek Goddess Athena.
As the Goddess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, strength, justice and the arts - doesn't that sound like the perfect balance of peace and power and of beauty and strength? Plus who doesn't want to embrace their inner Goddess?!!
Make three predictions about the future.
It is obvious that we live in a culture of connectivity where things change faster than the blink of an eye. Even just in the years since I got my drivers license the cell phone has gone from something used primarily for phone calls in an emergency to a camera, GPS, telephone, search function, connector, calculator, measuring device, heart rate monitor, music player, television, book and newspaper all in one. In the future, I see the disappearance of more every day devices, but the optimist in me sees people going back to our roots and remembering that there is no substitution for real in-person connections. After all, life isn't complete without a good hug.
I believe that future generations will see health and lifestyles more holistically and thus will demand transparency - transparency in everything from a company's values, to its manufacturing processes, ingredients and supplier relationships. The foundation of transparency is currently being set to evaluate businesses from a triple bottom line perspective rather than simply on its cash flows and net income (there's the accountant in me coming out!). This puts the onus on companies today to evaluate the changes they need to make to align themselves with future generations' values. Our every day environment has the tools we need to create beautiful skincare, clothes, homes, furnishings and food while using and respecting the planet and the resources available.
My third prediction scares me slightly and mostly because I don't know where it will end! I foresee artificial intelligence becoming more and more prominent in our everyday lives, likely eliminating many of the traditional jobs we know today. Likely, humanity will face a difficult adjustment period as the nature of the jobs available will change. But as individuals we will find ways to earn a living by creating our own jobs that we are passionate about and fostering the growth of a localized economy!
I also think that Nike will make the self-lacing shoes from Back to the Future. Oh wait...
What is the dress code for success?
How important is image?
Given that 80% of communication is non-verbal, I think image is an extremely important tool in expressing ourselves! Our image is the non-verbal communication we make to the world about who we are. Our personal style including how we dress, style our hair, the make-up we apply, the smile we wear and the face we put out to the world every day are all part of the statement we make about ourselves before we even open our mouth.
I lived in London, England for a few years and that experience really helped me appreciate the importance of putting yourself together every day. To me, that means wearing colours that bring out my best features (clearly, anything that brings out my blue eyes is a must!), dressing to the occasion (occasionally Lulu's and a hoodie are ok, other times.... not so much), and wearing clothes that flatter your body type. We don't have to have super model figures to be beautiful. Embracing my features helps me to feel happy and comfortable in my body leaving me more time to focus on the things in life that really do matter!
Beyond just clothes I think our skin communicates much about of our image, particularly as it relates to our health. Our skin tells us when we are stressed, when we are not consuming foods that nourish our body, when we aren't sleeping enough, how old we are and more. The skin is the body's largest organ and we know that what we put on our skin goes in our body, so we need to nourish our skin with the best possible products the same way we need to wear clothes that bring out the best in ourselves and eat foods that nourish our body.
Lisa Costello qualified as a Chartered Accountant with EY in Calgary, Alberta in 2009. Shortly thereafter she relocated to London, England to continue her career providing leadership, strategic and operational insights to multi-nationals and small and medium sized entities. She has worked on four continents leading teams up to 30 people.
Lisa has always been passionate about health and wellness and environmental sustainability. It was this passion that attracted her to Neal's Yard Remedies, a UK based manufacturer and retailer of natural and organic health and beauty products. In 2013 Lisa dove into the entrepreneurship world by combining her diverse business experience with this passion and brought Neal's Yard Remedies to Canada. In the last three years Lisa, as CEO of the family business has built two retail storefronts, an e-commerce business and a wholesale distribution business.
Lisa considers it extremely important that we think about the impact we are making on the earth and hopes that elevating awareness about the quality of natural and organic products will change our purchasing decisions in favour of more sustainable products.
Lisa believes in giving back to the community and sits on the Board of Directors for REAP, the 4th Street BRZ and the Calgary Chamber's Finance & Audit Committee. She also actively donates her time to other charitable causes including the Rotary Club of Calgary, the Calgary Food Bank and student mentoring.
When Lisa is not busy running Neal's Yard Remedies and volunteering in the community, she enjoys running, cycling, snowboarding and discovering the world. She has travelled to 77 countries to date with plans to reach 100 by the time she turns 50.