In this edition of ‘In Her Shoes’ we spoke with Neada Deters, the founder of LESSE, a skin care brand formulated from organic botanicals that places priority on skin health and creating elevated rituals in the process. Deter’s spoke to the inception of LESSE and the leaps of courage that resulted in her twenty two year old self moving across the world, a decision that led to the inception of LESSE after a career in the editorial industry. We explore the 'less is more' approach that translates across both the brand and various other pillars of Deter's life, personal style and what is currently sparking inspiration.
Where are you from, and how did you come to be living life as you know it?
I'm originally from Sydney, but soon after I graduated from university I moved to New York. It had been a drawn out dream for many years, but I bought my one-way ticket on a whim in a work lunch break and it's the best decision I've ever made. I lived in New York for several years, working in media and fashion. It is such an incredible, original city and it was hard to leave—but my partner and I longed to be closer to nature so we relocated to Los Angeles. I'm not sure it will be home forever, but it feels like where I'm meant to be right now.
When I look back on the past decade, there are so many almost unbelievable moments I've been fortunate enough to live. I'm grateful for the courage— or naivété —I had when I was 22, which pushed me to get on that plane to a city I had never even visited.
Please tell us about LESSE and how it all began?
My last editorial job in New York was covering fashion, travel, lifestyle, and beauty. I hadn't taken a huge interest in beauty before, but I did have cystic acne and sensitized skin from using harsh products and environmental factors. So I started writing more about skincare and had the opportunity to interview and profile skin experts from around the world. I learned so much from this editorial work, and along the way I cleared my own skin.
When I left that job and moved to Los Angeles, I decided to start working on my own products. I developed a serum— now our LESSE Ritual Serum —which completely transformed my skin and had the same effect on friends with various skin concerns. I also really saw a clear need for so much to change in the industry, philosophically. So I decided to launch LESSE into the world, and here we are today.
What is your morning ritual?
I usually put music on right when I wake up, it sets the tone for the day. I drink a lot of water and take a daily probiotic. Then a flat white. We take coffee very seriously in our house— half of our kitchen counter is absorbed by a café grade coffee machine. Wash my face with tepid water, spray on some of the LESSE Regeneration MIst, followed by the Ritual Serum, and then finish with SPF. I'll quickly scan emails to make sure nothing is urgent, and then I try to read my book for at least twenty minutes before reading the news, and then diving into work.
What are three things that are inspiring you right now?
Agnes Varda, Mies van der Rohe, Amanda Gorman.
Who, or what are you listening to right now?
Toro y Moi, Alice Coltrane, The Band, Nicolas Jaar, The War On Drugs...
What would you be doing / where would you be in an alternate life?
I might be a writer living on a farm. I believe that might be the apotheosis of simplicity.
But I don't tend to think 'what if'. I think 'just do' and then work towards it.
The LESSE philosophy is ‘Less is More’, akin to the St. Agni ethos. Does this carry through to how you dress and live in general?
I think some of us are naturally drawn to simplicity. I read an interview with an artist a few years ago who has ceased using any plates, glasses or mugs. Instead she owned just a few bowls and just used these. That is what I aspire to; I think about that woman and the beautiful simplicity with which she lives her life almost every day. The truth is we've been shaped to believe we need more than we do. Invest in things you love because they are functional or because they are beautiful; and only ever because they satisfy your taste or needs, not others.
So yes, I generally dress and live by a 'less is more' philosophy but there are also anomalies.
What influences your personal style and home / lifestyle?
My home is largely influenced by vintage interior books and places I have traveled to. In regards to style, I'm inspired by cerebral films of the late 1960s and early 1990s fashion print campaigns—Calvin Klein, Prada, Helmut Lang, et al.
If you could give your younger selves any advice based on everything you know now, what would it be?
Let go of doubt. The only way to learn and grow is through.