Interview - Megan Larsen of Sodashi
— Founder of Sodashi Skincare.
Hailing from: Born in Dannevirke, (a very small town in New Zealand’s North Island) and grew up in the gorgeous Art Deco city of Napier, also in the North Island of NZ!
Calls home: Sydney, Australia.
Launched in a time when natural skincare was not the norm, what was the impetus for starting Sodashi?
At the time I began to create Sodashi there were no truly natural and effective products on the market. The impetus was initially for my own needs – because of my sensitive skin I had struggled to find a natural and effective product to nurture my skin without irritation – so I started to make my own. Soon after, the customers at my Natural Health store started asking me to make them skincare products – and thus, Sodashi was born!
What are your greatest learnings since founding Sodashi and how have these changed your perspective on work, people and life in general?
It has been almost 20-years since I founded Sodashi and I have learnt many, many lessons along the way. One of the most important is to abandon the pursuit of perfectionism. Earlier on in my career, I put a lot of pressure on myself to have the answers/solution to everything until I realised I was inhibiting my own progress and success.
So I mostly live by progress, not perfection - except when it comes to our beautiful Sodashi products - for these I adopt a no compromise attitude. I’ve also tried to incorporate ‘progress, not perfection’ in to the working culture at Sodashi.
Over the years I’ve also observed the impacts of stress, and how it can affect our working environment. This is why I’ve always supported each Sodashi team member to learn transcendental meditation and join in the daily meditation. It’s been fabulous to observe how regular practice of meditation contributes to less stress and more harmony in our working environment, as well as individual staff members get to enjoy this quality in their personal lives.
We are taken by Sodashi’s integrity – not simply the ingredients you use but the sincerity that runs through the veins of your company’s corporate culture, mindful production and communication. Why is integrity so important to Sodashi?
Integrity is extremely important to me, both in my professional and personal life- and it has always been a core part of Sodashi’s culture. I believe we get the very best out of our team by treating them with kindness and respect. Our nurturing culture also ensures that the energy going into our products is the best that it can be. This also helps to ensure a quality end product – made with our pure intention and our love!
How do you keep yourselves in check in this ever-changing operating environment to maintain your brand values and integrity?
Our collective meditation practice is something, which not only fosters a sense of calm and dynamism within the team, but also helps us to focus on our intentions and how we can channel our brand values into our work.
What are your thoughts about the beauty industry (especially in Australia) where terms like ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ are used liberally or insincerely?
I have always tried to remain focused on what Sodashi does, rather than what other companies are, or are not doing. I believe in authenticity and holding yourself accountable to your values is what is most important.
But it’s true; customers are demanding more transparency and honest communication and are not afraid to do their own research.
At Sodashi, we are always completely transparent regarding the ingredients we use and their quality. Every ingredient is listed on each product and on our website.
In your experience, what are the most common skincare concerns amongst Australian women?
I believe sun damage, pigmentation, acne and early signs of skin ageing are the most common skincare concerns amongst Australian women. Since the appearance of our skin is also linked to nutrition and diet, lifestyle, exercise and the foods we consume are also important. It’s good to be mindful to look after our skin from the inside out, as well as the outside in.
How does Sodashi seek to remedy these concerns?
Adding antioxidants is important to include in your diet. But it’s also important to use skincare with plant actives containing antioxidants. Sodashi moisturisers, serums and facemasks all contain plant active antioxidants, which help to destroy the free radicals that are ageing for the skin.
I’ve always created products that will balance and nurture the skin, to help it look it’s very best, and it’s our high quality ingredients that make our unique synergy in each product so effective.
We are absolutely 100% committed to using the highest quality ingredients. The reason for this is the highest quality ingredients contain the highest quality plant actives.
Over the past 19 years Sodashi has built relationships with quality growers and organic co-ops who grow, harvest, distil and extract our ingredients to maintain their high nutrient value.
What are the power-house ingredients that feature often in Sodashi products and why do you choose to use them?
There are so many, and I genuinely love all of the ingredients we use, which is why I’ve selected them. Each Sodashi product has its own unique synergy of power-house plant actives, which is a combination of pure plant ingredients to give each skin the balance of nutrition it needs. I’m such a fan of synergies as they’ve allowed me to create beautiful, effective products that even the most sensitive of skins can use.
One of the newest ingredients the Sodashi team is loving is Madagascan Vanilla (which is in our Body Brilliance Cream). When I received a sample from a local grower in Madagascar about a year ago, it really was love at first whiff! Not only is the aroma beautiful and soothing for the mind, but this gorgeous oil also offers anti-ageing effects and anti-inflammatory properties for the skin, and totally soothes the senses.
Do you have a favourite Sodashi item?
My favourite Sodashi product is (and will always be) our Rejuvenating Face and Neck Moisturiser. This sumptuous product has a special place in my heart; it was the very first formulation I whipped up (literally) on my kitchen bench and remains our all-time best-seller. But as the cooler weather approaches here in Australia I’ll be using my second favourite – Nourishing Repair Treatment!
Mid-way through reading The Intention Experiment, we’re discovering how intention affects its own fulfillment. As such, we’re intrigued by the concept of ‘beauty with intention’, could you explain more how the energy of those crafting Sodashi products influences the quality of the outcome?
The best way I can describe intention is to liken it to cooking. If you cook a meal with love and intention it’s probably going to be easier to digest. However that may not be the case if you cook a meal in a hurry, or while you are feeling some intense negative emotion. I remember years ago watching the movie ‘Like Chocolate for Water’ and it was all about how our emotions can be transferred in to the food we are cooking. It completely made sense to me, and it’s why we manufacture mindfully.
All Sodashi products are manufactured with pure intention and with love. It starts with the ingredients we use and the environment we create. We also play Rain Melody music in our manufacturing space to bring harmony and coherence to the environment.
We believe our products are influenced by this care and intentional approach to manufacturing and to everything we do at Sodashi.
How do you think intention and mindful action affects the outcomes of life on a broader level?
It was my mother that told me ‘you can do anything you put your mind to’ when I was very young, and this is an attitude I have embraced throughout my life. I whole-heartedly believe that what you turn your attention to will be what you get more of. Pure, positive, clear intention has allowed me to experience wholeness and a purity of how events have unfolded and the outcomes I’ve received.
What are your fundamentals (both products and lifestyle) for good skin?
Sleep is essential; as it allows the body to rest and repair. The amount you need (or can get) will depend on your circumstances. I know I am very fortunate; most nights I get 8 hours sleep.
Warm water with ½ a lemon OR lime first thing in the morning. It has many health benefits and it also helps to alkalise your body and make your skin glow.
Exercise – even a 30 minute walk once a day is ideal.
Good digestion – and eat mindfully away from distractions so your energy is going to your stomach to digest the food you are eating, rather than the activity you are focusing on.
Do something each day that makes you smile and feel happy, even an act of kindness. Happiness really does radiate in the eyes and skin.
AND absolutely a regular skincare routine. It’s not what you do occasionally that makes a difference; it’s what you do regularly. So Cleansing and Moisturising your skin every morning and evening – if fundamental to good skin.
Do you have any personal practices (learnt or self-developed) that allow you to perform at your optimum each day and achieve synergy between mind, body, spirit and emotions?
I recently mixed up my morning routine a bit and I’m loving it.
I start each day with my meditation and then I like to get outside for at least a 30 minute walk. This is followed with a few yoga exercises.
I also know what I eat directly affects my energy and synergy.
It’s important to have a healthy mind, so I know what I eat directly affects my energy and clarity, so ensuring I nourish my body with good food is part of my daily self-care, and I definitely believe in positive self talk.
How can we foster a sense of community and human connection within the workplace, at home or amongst the broader community?
There are a few recommendations I would make to foster a sense of community. I make sure to speak to each and every team member as often as possible to find out what they’re working on – this helps to increase communication throughout the company and allows me to understand the progress we are making and any challenges we are encountering as a company first hand. Our daily meditation practice is also a great opportunity to come together as a team.
Could you recommend a publication, learning platform, class or the like which has been highly influential to your life?
A big yes to the school of life! Over my life I have been so fortunate to have some amazing teachers, and they have all had an influence on who I am today.
Anita Roddick, who was the Founder of the Body Shop but was best known for her passion and attention to get the world’s attention on animal testing, and I believe it was her work that has led to increasing bans of animal testing. I still love her book Business as Usual.
Deepak Chopra who initially helped me to find my path to transcendental meditation and the philosophy of Ayurveda. I still adore his book Perfect Health.
And finally can you believe I am only just reading Steve Jobs, which I am really enjoying.
But I’ve always believed the right person, book or experience appears at the right time – I completely relate to the proverb “When the student is ready, the teacher appears. We just need to be open and ready to receive.
To discover more on Sodashi and their products, visit
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✎ Sophie Van der Drift
Contributing writer, marketing & strategy