DiFerdinando and her staff at the Wumaniti store on Ledoux Street near the Taos Plaza.
Bros. has no connection with Taos Mesa Brewing, which her husband, Dan Irion, helped found almost a decade ago. The rich offerings of the Taos landscape are not limited to food and drink. When Krysia Boinis launched Vapour Organic Beauty in 2008, she was ahead of the trend with her all-natural cosmetic line. Vapour Organic Beauty is committed to creating healthy cosmetics and maintaining environmental accountability, beginning with design and throughout the manufacturing and product life cycle. Vapour Organic Beauty cosmetics contain only natural, healthy, minimally processed ingredients—mainly organic, with the rest made up of natural pigments and essential oils. The company manufactures all of its products in Taos and currently employs 30-plus locals. “My business partner, Kristine Keheley, and I were both diehard Chanel makeup junkies,” Boinis says, “but we realized there was this real dichotomy—the idea that you’re trying to eat well and live a clean life and minimize your carbon footprint, but you’re slathering yourself 78
TREND 20th Anniversary Summer 2019
with chemicals and parabens. The regular beauty products contained all sorts of dangerous stuff, so we decided to make our own, safer products instead.” Boinis and Keheley were far from alone in their skepticism toward conventional makeup and skin care. Over the past few years, a natural beauty industry has exploded alongside the traditional one, with a message that has caused radical upheaval in the cosmetics industry. Natural products were a specific niche that used to be sold exclusively in health food stores and at farmers markets, but they are now sold across the market. Sleek new brands like Vapour Organic Beauty that are positioning themselves as “cleaner” alternatives to the mainstream makeup are creating a buzz unforeseen by the large beauty corporations. Loved by makeup artists and their celebrity clients for its signature “glow from within,” Vapour Organic Beauty blurs the line between skincare and makeup, combining custom-blended pigments in a concentrated, moisturizing base. “We were voted ‘Best of’ in two cat-
egories in Allure Magazine’s Best of 2018, as well as receiving the Reader’s Choice Award,” Boinis notes. “Coming from what I consider to be the ‘beauty Bible,’ that’s not bad for a natural cosmetic line made in Taos.” The Wumaniti Earth Native Sanctuary is a local grassroots nonprofit with locations in the heart of downtown Taos as well as the Santa Fe Place Mall. The locally grown and made organic CBD bodycare and oils, Wumaniti Hemp clothing line, medical marijuana, and Hemp Heroe Protein Bars are sold at the sanctuary. Most products can also be found in several locations in Taos as well as at Wumaniti’s Ledoux Street location. “We educate and promote the healing properties of hemp,” says founder Kristin “Gemma Ra'Star” DiFerdinando. Wumaniti Earth Native Sanctuary offers tours of the sanctuary hemp fields to educate people about the plant and its many uses, along with outdoor equine activities and therapeutic classes. “We offer membership and grower certification,” DiFerdinando says, noting that proceeds from each purchase go toward building sustainable communities. The natural products industry has always been mindful of the impact their businesses can have on the environment, but with the help of social media, this idea is quickly going mainstream. Local natural businesses are consciously shifting their practices, not only by accelerating sustainability efforts, but also by radically changing their business models to be mission-focused. These companies are all making meaningful changes by growing their own and/or finding ingredient suppliers who care about regenerative agriculture and fair pay, getting involved in policy, and making brave social and environmental commitments. This new movement of activist brands here in Taos is about doing—not merely supporting—in order to catalyze community-driven change. R We were saddened to learn of Tre DeCosta’s passing shortly before press. Our condolences go out to his wife, Lizzie, his family, and those who loved him.