JO TAYLOR (LEFT), CO-FOUNDER AND SARAH WALTER, FOOD SCIENTIST AT NO UGLY WELLNESS.
They reckon all the best ideas start with a ‘bugger it, let’s do it’. Well, they do in New Zealand anyway.
It’s been eight years since No Ugly founders Aaron and Jo Taylor first had the dream of a little brand with a big purpose - saying no to ugly, and yes to gorgeous.
From their inaugural wellness tonics through to conscious cocktails and now their newest baby, No Ugly Skin - a wonder mix of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and collagen - Jo says their latest creation is the most exciting one yet. And, she’s living proof that saying yes to gorgeous works.
“Look at all of this!” she laughs, pulling a handful of baby hairs away from her hairline.
“I don’t know what to do with them just yet, I’ve never had hair like it. And all of a sudden I can grow fingernails, which I’ve never been able to do. The texture of my skin feels so different too.”
No Ugly Skin is the latest in Jo and husband Aaron’s arsenal of weapons designed to fight ugly in all its forms - basically, all of the stuff we put into our bodies that leaves us feeling tired, grumpy, unbalanced and decidedly ungorgeous.
Like all of their beverages No Ugly Skin is all natural, with a specific, isotonic formulation that allows your body to soak up all the good shit and get rid of the rubbish. Along with ten specific vitamins and minerals, the secret is their not-so-secret-hero ingredient, Enzogenol, a Kiwi-made pine bark extract and super antioxidant.
After realising their original wellness tonics had a positive effect on skin, Jo says she and Aaron decided to delve a little deeper, and that’s when they started paying close attention to the massively growing collagen trend.
“We thought, what if we combined those two ingredients, Enzoegnol and collagen?” Jo says. “We’d have this incredible, super-potent formula that would help with people’s skin, hair and nails - not to mention their muscles, bones, tendons and ligaments.”
After a bit of experimentation with formulas and flavours, they finally landed on the winner, a pineapple-flavoured mix off all the goodness you need - and they now have a worldwide exclusive patent on the formula, thank you very much.
“It’s delicious, but incredibly effective too,” Jo nods - and it’s hard to argue with the woman when she’s positively glowing, even after a 14- hour workday.
“I mean, I’m a creaky old lady who does a lot of exercise, but I’m really noticing a difference when I wake up in the morning. I don’t have the creaky joints - that connective tissue is working. That’s the collagen. The awesome thing about the formula is that it synthesises your existing collagen too, as well as giving you 10g of it.”
No Ugly Skin is the latest, but certainly not the last, of Jo and Aaron’s battle plan to wage the war on ugly, and become the most valuable wellness brand of - and for - the planet. And of course, wellness has never been more timely, although, as Jo laughs drily, Covid-19 wasn’t exactly what they had in mind!
“Who launches a product during lockdown?!” she grins, shaking her head.
“But, you know, that’s life. We have big plans, and while we’re only a little brand right now, hopefully we won’t be for too much longer.”
No Ugly was first conceptualised when Jo and Aaron, who both work in the advertising industry, woke up one morning and realised two things. One, they still didn’t want to be doing that at 50, and two, they’d realised that ‘ugly’ had crept into their lives.
“Between our four kids, two big jobs and a social life, we were burning the candles at both ends, says Jo. “We then realised that people were looking for shortcuts to health and wellness, and the wellness brands that we were turning to ourselves were boring.
“We wanted to be bold.”
Their wellness tonics were born, and from there the brand has exploded. Its growth has been steered by their fundamental purpose - waging the war on ugly.
“Having a purpose like that shapes everything we do - from choosing ingredients, suppliers and even employees,” tells Jo.
“We spent a long time developing the brand - yes it’s bold and bolshie, and now there are so many other cool things that we are exploring.”
Along with working on No Ugly with Aaron - “there’s definitely some trying times working with your husband, we try not to be too ugly!” Jo jokes - she also has a nine to five gig.
“I’m a glutton for punishment,” she says with a grin. “They’re long days at the moment, and the kids have had to take a bit of a back seat in terms of our time. But it’s all worth it in the end.
“And,” she adds, laughing, “Thank God for these amazing drinks that get me through!”