Meet the Makers: Elina Lampaki, Co-Founder, Vivaiodays
With a combined 20 plus years in the global personal care industry, it was destined that husband-and-wife team Marios and Elina Lampaki would end up creating their own line of products. But what they created was so much more: a legacy that celebrates nature, sustainability, ancient remedies and organic ingredients all rolled into a perfect edit of products designed for the most sensitive of skins – children’s. Here, we talk to Co-Founder and mother of two, Elina, about creating change, working with your spouse, and why the future is all about education.
First things first… what does VIVAIODAYS mean?
It’s a combination of VIVAIO (vee-vi-oh) which is nursery in Italian and has two meanings; it’s a place where young plants grow and it’s a place where little kids learn as they grow. The days part is related to our School Days program.
Tell us a little about the VIVAIODAYS ethos...
We not only create products that are the best for our consumer (clean, safe, efficacious, multipurpose, pleasant to use) but also good for the earth – and for future generations. Here are some of the ways we do this:
We are a “Leaping Bunny” certified brand. We do not conduct, commission, or be a party to animal testing of any of our products including, formulations and ingredients.
Our products are vegan certified formulated without animal or animal-derived ingredients, with the exception of our sunscreen and lotion, which contain beeswax. However, we only source our beeswax from cruelty-free sources.
We use 100% recyclable sugarcane bottles and tubes. Did you know that for every one ton of sugarcane plastic used for VIVAIODAYS packaging, 4.6 tons of CO2 are extracted from the environment? We think that’s pretty sweet! Each product sold happily funds the School Days program for aspiring students somewhere in the world.
Why children’s and baby products specifically?
Each VIVAIODAYS product is inspired by a proven, centuries-old remedy, recently rediscovered somewhere in the world. They’re crafted with the best quality super-ingredients, enhanced by organic science and this results in a safe, pure, effective and pleasant-to-use organic certified product. All our products are also dermatologically-tested and approved for sensitive skin. So, when you create such a safe and pure collection of products you want to offer it first to the ones with the most sensitive skin – children!
When creating products for such delicate skin, what was most important to you?
All of our products are Certified Organic and dermatologically-tested and approved for sensitive skin (some of them are also ophthalmologically tested) in order to be sure they are clean and safe even for the most delicate skin. There are no specific ingredients we want in our products, but we have the protective properties of turmeric from Borneo and the emollient benefits of apricot oil in India and the healing properties of olive oil from Greece. Marios and I have both personally witnessed the strong healing powers gifted by nature and wanted to include these in our products.
How do you decide on what ingredients to use?
We work with a plant hunter to rediscover proven old remedies, then our marketing department cherry picks the ones for potential development. After that, our formulator takes the lead and develops a formula inspired by the rediscovered remedy and enhances it using organic science. It’s not as easy as it sounds – sourcing the right ingredient in top-quality and certified organic form, and achieving the sweet balance of organic integrity and stability with a pleasant application, is a Catch-22. For every launched product there were at least a couple of others that were dropped for various reasons.
What would we never find in a VIVAIODAYS product?
Gluten, wheat/nuts, allergens, soap, synthetic fragrance, synthetic dyes, GMOs, SLS, SLES, ALS, ALES, parabens, propylene glycol, silicones, petrochemicals, ethanolamines, alcohol, phthalates, sulfates, chemical sunscreen filters and nano ingredients.
Why is sustainability so important to you?
Sustainability is part of our DNA! When you sell products for kids you should care about the environment and social issues too. Each of our decisions during each step of development from manufacturing to commercialization of our products, respects our core value of sustainability.
What is the best (and the most challenging!) thing about working with your husband?
Each day is an interesting day (laughs). Definitely, we share the same dreams about this brand we have created together (we often call it our third kid) and it is really constructive that we have sometimes (due to our different backgrounds) different points of view, but there are days our professional life is affecting our family life. For example we cannot always take vacation time together or during dinner we are still talking about new launches and new markets!
How and why did you launch the ‘Our School Days’ program?
We have always believed that education empowers new generations around the world, especially in underprivileged countries. Staying true to our family commitment to fund the education of a child living in an underprivileged part of the world, each VIVAIODAYS product sold happily funds School Days for aspiring students somewhere in the world. We measure our contribution by funded school days and perform due diligence locally and internationally as well as extensive in-person visits and vetting when choosing our partners. As responsible world citizens, we only partner on fully accredited projects with verifiable, real life benefits along with certifiable bills of health in finances, governance practices and operational transparency.
What has been your proudest moment with the brand?
I am always happy and proud to hear retailers and customers say good things about VIVAIODAYS. It’s like a teacher saying good things about your kid! If I had to choose one moment this would be before the official launch when we were accepted for exhibiting our products at COSMOPROF Bologna at the Extraordinary Gallery and for the first time I had the final products in hand!
What is your current best-seller?
It’s the Olive Oil All Purpose Balm-Gel .This ultra-nourishing, vegan, balm-gel was inspired by Greece (the country I was born in), and magically transforms into a super soothing cream on contact with the skin’s own water content to bring instant relief to children’s skin (and a parent’s mind!) Nursing mums can even use it as a calming nipple balm gel (no need for rinsing).
And finally, which products are your children’s favorites?
My daughter who has very long hair (we haven’t given her a haircut for seven years) loves the Tsubaki Organic Leave-on conditioner and detangler! She didn’t like me to brush her hair before, but now Tsubaki has changed a tearful moment to happy mummy-and-me time! My son has very sensitive scalp is a fan of the Saponaria No-Tears Wash and Shampoo.
Fast Five… With Elina Lampaki
My all-time favourite ingredient is...
I love turmeric for its antioxidant properties. I drink turmeric tea, I include it into my cooking recipes, so when we found out that it can be used as a sun protector I became even happier to include it our sunscreen!
My personal mantra is...
Life is full of possibilities and full of challenges! Be real, be present!
On my beside table right now is...
Our Apricot Nourishing Lotion. It is an Ayurvedic-inspired nourishing cocktail lotion for face and body with apricot kernel, sweet almond and oat oils and cucumber water. I use it to massage my arms and legs and it helps me to relax and to fall asleep.
The product I always have in my handbag is...
Our Rose Geranium Cleansing Water. Rose geranium leaves are still used by the sage Zulu women healers of Southern Africa, where this medicinal plant species is native and wild-collected. With 98% Organic Rose Geranium Floral Water, this beautiful soap is designed to gently cleanse, soften and soothe even the most delicate skin. And, it can be used instead of a sanitizer and is also a great makeup remover!
My desert island products is...
Amongst our products it would be our turmeric organic sunscreen. But, If I had to choose among cosmetics this would be my favorite mascara!
Shop the range here
Follow the brand on instagram here @vivaiodays