Picture yourself in the middle of Dolomites, Italy surrounded by panoramic picturesque views everywhere you turn your head. Every blink feels like a waste of time, but your eyes go dry if you don’t. You feel the urge to keep capturing every amazing moment whilst you can and remember all of it in the secret chamber of memories. They always come in handy when you feel lost or need a lift me up moment.
What if, you didn’t have to choose between blinking and missing out? Look no further than today’s Stellar, Maddalena, the founder of Alm – a company that offers the essence of wellbeing in the form of botanical facial oils and infusion, using nothing more than what natures offers from the Italian alps.
Maddalena is a true explorer, not just because her “office” has a huge backyard of nature and an abundance of mountains to climb. More importantly she had the courage to go for what her heart tells her.
In the middle of what one may describe as the prime of her career, she took a step back and asked herself if that was what life really was about. Whether there was something more to happiness than career prosperity and overcoming hurdle after hurdle to keep climbing the corporate ladder.
Was it really happiness in being on business trips all year round, staying in hotel rooms more than the place she calls home? She found her answer on the mountains of Dolomites one day, and everything else was history.
With rich experience in the wellbeing and organic products sector, Maddalena created a brand that not only uses the essence of plants, but also adopting sustainable practices in its harvesting, supporting local economic activities by working with local experts (that know the land more than anyone else!) on its R&D and production.
This story is one that reads likes an extract from a fairytale and we hope that it would inspire you to strive towards your own.
Tell us a bit about Alm Essentials, what is the brand about, the focus and mission?
ALM is first of all about looking for the essence, what really matters. And it is about concentration rather than accumulation. We found the essence in nature, in the Italian Dolomites, where our company is based. And we bring their concentrated power to you in a botanical box: it contains our botanical face oils as well as their key ingredients: our dry mountain plants that you can drink infused in hot water.
What inspired you to start a sustainable skincare brand, and tell us a bit more about the philosophy of “Finding the essence”.
The meaning of the word ‘ALM’ is Altitude Mountain Farm, a typical Alpine hut where everything started. After 11 years of business-management career around Europe I decided to spend one summer to find myself.
What stays of me if I leave the noise, curriculum and titles?
I moved to a remote ALM >2.000mt in the Italian Dolomites, surrounded only by animals, nature and 2 shepherds.
Maddalena, Founder, Alm
I discovered that my life was overloaded with un-needed stuff, that was not allowing to be fully happy. And I fell in love with mountain flowers: harsh climate makes them more concentrated in natural properties. They are the most intense version of themselves. I decided to live my life like those little flowers, left my job and started ALM with a local botanist. We decided to inspire positive change, starting from the beauty industry: a typical white cream is >60% water, adding un-needed weight, packaging, requiring to add preservatives…
We believe in less stuff and more meaning, hence we make 100% natural face oils from mountain plants. No water, no unneeded ingredients. Nature, nothing else.
All people who tried our oils have been so enthusiastic and passionate about the ingredients to encourage us to start organizing some digital botanical courses. Hopefully after COVID we’ll be able to host people in our beautiful mountains for the summer harvest.
What is your dream for Alm Essentials?
With our stories of mountain botanicals and products we dream to inspire positive change: a more authentic, sustainable life, closer to nature. We believe in real, natural, inclusive beauty from real, natural ingredients. No fake. Each mountain flower has its own perfume, colour, properties. Let’s learn from them to be the best expression of ourselves, with confidence. This is real beauty: your essence.
Looking back at the journey so far, is there anything you would like to tell your past self that you wish you knew back then? A tip for the entrepreneur that is still thinking if they can do this!
I would say to go for it: do not wait for the perfect idea in the perfect moment. Zuckerberg used to say ‘if you are not embarrassed by your first product release, you have released it too late’.
Be clear on your mission/values and never compromise on them. But do start with little steps, losing the fear of failure by embracing it as part of the journey. You do not need to be perfect at everything, but rather accept your limits and look for amazing people with similar values who can complement you.
To all those women who think their gender is limiting their possibilities: you know this is not true. Freedom is a state of mind. We don’t need anybody to give us permission to follow our heart. Only ourselves.
Finally, what part of being in the Myth community would you look forward most to?
Network of entrepreneurs. Help me amplify the message of essentiality, inspiring more people than what I can do alone.