Are you career-focused, driven and looking to be inspired? #EscentualMeets is your source of motivation. Every month, we reveal the grit, success and stories from a selection of the world’s leading beauty founders.
Our new collagen supplements category has just launched on Escentual, and what better way to mark the occasion than interviewing the queen of collagen herself, Anna Lahey. Anna is the founder of Vida Glow, the world’s biggest marine collagen brand. Discover how a holiday in Japan led Anna to create one of the world’s most successful ingestible beauty brands…
1. Where It All Began
“I have clear memories as a child of wanting to do well and succeed.”
Anna was born in São Paulo, Brazil, and her family migrated to Australia in 1994. She started kindergarten in Australia and grew up in Maroubra in south Sydney. Anna was a straight-A student. “I did a Bachelor of International and Global Studies at the University of Sydney. At the time, I thought it would be a useless degree – but as the founder of a fast-evolving global business, it has served me well.” Anna says.
Anna gets her grit and inspiration from her parents. “Dad did a bridging course during the day and worked at night as a cleaner, while Mum worked in a factory. They truly gave us the best childhood despite what little they had. We didn’t have family or friends in Australia, so we spent most weekends at museums and art galleries. I had a rich childhood in that respect. Mum and Dad wanted a lot for my sister and me; they provided us with every opportunity. I have clear memories of wanting to do well and succeed as a child. I felt an immense obligation to make my parents proud. Life was tough for them, and everything they did was for us. I was a straight-A student.”
With the supplement market experiencing a strong boom since COVID-19, Anna was way ahead of the curve with Vida Glow back in 2014. I had to ask Anna where the idea came from. “When I met my husband, Kieran. He was working in property, and I was in fashion. We decided pretty early into our relationship that we wanted to start our own business – we just didn’t know what it was.” Why collagen, I asked? “I toyed with the idea of Brazilian bikinis or activewear – but my lightbulb moment came six months after I discovered collagen supplements on holiday in Japan and experienced real, transformative results. Nothing I’d tried had worked like marine collagen. I would buy and gift it to all my friends. And one day, Kieran pulled it out of the cupboard and said, what about this?”.
“Vida Glow was founded on my passion for marine collagen and the incredible results my friends, family and I were experiencing in our skin, hair and nails. There was nothing else like it in the market in 2013. I saw this gap for ingestible supplements that addressed common beauty concerns, and that was my lightbulb moment.”
Business and family has always been important to Anna. She and her husband, Kieran, started Vida Glow together. Anna says, “We wouldn’t have it any other way. We started Vida Glow together in 2014, and we’ve spoken about the business every day since. Kieran is our CEO – so he heads up the strategic and financial side of the business while I work with our Marketing and Creative teams to evolve brand awareness and our community.”
2. Personal Challenges
“Don’t be afraid to be the first. Welcome the challenges.”
As a strong woman and inspiration to many, I wanted to talk to Anna about challenges. “I embrace the challenges of owning an innovative, fast-growing brand. I encourage our team to treat each setback as an opportunity to reset and revaluate – and come out stronger. We say don’t be afraid to be the first. Welcome the challenges. One of the first obstacles we faced when we launched in 2014 was low consumer awareness of marine collagen – and ingestible beauty in general. We prioritised education and made a conscious effort to communicate the clinically proven benefits of marine collagen to our community. And with the support of our Skin Professional Panel of dermatologists, scientists and skin experts, we’ve given ingestible beauty a platform – and credibility – in the crowded beauty industry. It’s these challenges that have shaped us into the global brand we are today.”
Full of passion, Anna smiles and says, “My days are never the same – they’re fast-paced and demanding at times, but I love it. It keeps me inspired and energised.”
Being the face of a brand also comes with its pressures. Anna tells me, “It’s a rewarding but difficult position. I’m incredibly passionate about sharing Vida Glow and ingestible beauty, and I believe in our team and products. But as the face of the brand, I am aware that I take full responsibility for everything – from new product developments to our social presence. And I don’t take this lightly. There’s significant research, planning and purpose behind everything we create and everything we do. How we show up as a community and brand is always top of mind.”
3. The Future of Vida Glow
“We’re investing in research and listening to our community to identify common – and emerging – concerns for women.”
When I asked Anna about the future of Vida Glow, I could feel her passion and enthusiasm. “It’s targeted ingestible treatments for women’s beauty and health concerns. As a female-founded and women-first brand, we’re investing in research and listening to our community to identify common – and emerging – concerns for women. We’re committed to using the latest technology, actives and ingestible innovations to create targeted solutions that work in a synergistic, potent routine. The future of Vida Glow is personalised, streamlined and efficacious beauty.”
Anna is very clear in her business direction. As a visionary, I also wanted to get her opinion on what’s next for the beauty industry. “The future of the beauty industry is transparency and trust. The industry is crowded and rapidly evolving – and consumers are more educated and discerning than ever. They demand high-quality actives and formulas that deliver real results. And we’re proud to be the first movers in the ingestible beauty space with the prioritisation of independent clinical trials, in-house scientists and R&D teams, and a functioning lab. This means we own all of our formulations, IP and clinical data, which is unique in the ingestible category”.
“We’re transparent about our products and the results Vida Glow delivers. And in an industry with so many voices, we know consumers are looking for trusted advice and credible sources. It’s why we also developed our Skin Professionals. A curated panel of independent dermatologists, scientists and skin experts who help us educate on the science and benefits of treating concerns with ingestible beauty. Through our science-backed lens, we’re fostering a strong relationship with our community and continuing to prioritise efficacy to deliver formulas they know will work.”
“Competition is healthy, but it shouldn’t distract from your sense of self or goals.”
There was one question I was itching to ask, Anna – what advice does she have for someone wishing to follow in her footsteps. “Dream big, work hard and be grateful. Remember, the way you treat people is everything. I live by the words of Anne Frank; no one has ever become poor by giving. Always show kindness, and don’t forget there is strength in being vulnerable and compassionate”. The best piece of advice she’s received is, “Understand your value and stay in your lane. Competition is healthy, but it shouldn’t distract from your sense of self or goals. With clear values and ambitions, we’re committed to Vida Glow and supporting the personal brilliance of our customers.”
As for beauty advice, Anna always recommends Vida Glow’s Natural Marine Collagen, “I won’t ever go without it. Marine collagen supports the natural ageing process and creates a firm, glowing base by stimulating collagen production. Our Original, tasteless sachets are our best seller – they’re easy and enjoyable to supplement with visible results for firmer skin, thicker hair and stronger nails in 12 weeks. And if you’re experiencing uneven skin tone, dark under eyes or a dull complexion, our #2 best-selling product, Radiance, is a game-changer to brighten skin”.