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Inspiring and engaging discussion with Elizabeth Barbalich, founder and CEO of Antipodes

Hello Elizabeth, nice to e-meet you and thank you for your time! First of all, could you tell us a little bit about your background and your current position?

Nice to e-meet you too! My name is Elizabeth Barbalich, and I’m the founder and CEO of Antipodes Skincare – New Zealand’s Scientific Green Beauty brand.

I’m a New Zealander, born and bred – I grew up in a small town in Canterbury in the South Island, the daughter of a preacher father and teacher mother. I studied science and business at university, and won a prestigious role working with a US corporation that pioneered technology for laporoscopic (keyhole) surgery. I spent eight years there before dreaming up the idea for Antipodes.

What are the seeds behind the creation and growth of Antipodes, an eco-minded skincare brand?

My husband Zoran was passionate about a natural lifestyle, and I could see and feel the benefits instantly – I just felt so energised, even with three children under four.
 
I started searching the world for healthy, natural skincare that hydrated my dry skin as well as the conventional brands I was using. When I couldn’t find any, that’s when Antipodes began – I knew there was a gap in the market for a niche, avant-garde, fashion-forward brand that was not only natural and luxurious, but scientifically validated – delivering genuine results for skin.
 
My first products hit the shelves in 2006 and I’ve never looked back. Today, Antipodes is sold in more than 40 markets worldwide, in some of the world’s most prestigious retailers including Galeries Lafayette, Le Bon Marché and Oh My Cream. The French know their skincare, which is one of the reasons why we love them – and why the brand has been so warmly received in Europe.
 
Although we sell worldwide, our products are made right here in New Zealand and we’ve never deviated from our green beauty ethos – that includes premium glass packaging, which is kind to the environment.

What does a day in your life look like?

I’m very much involved in the business, so my days are full, varied, and relentlessly busy – but that’s how I like them.
 
I have to move my body each day – it’s a non-negotiable, it energises me for the day ahead. If I can’t get to the gym, I’ll go for a run or a bush walk.
 
After refueling with coffee, I’m meetings, meetings and more meetings – I love engaging with my team, our partners, and the suppliers that make up the ecosystem of Antipodes. On any given day I’ll be strategising new product launches, presenting to media, directing new creative, and connecting with the wonderful retailers and distributors we work with worldwide. Being based in New Zealand, it does mean Zoom calls at all hours of the day and night!
 
Our award-winning heritage building was completed at the end of 2019, so it’s always a pleasure to come to work when you have such beautiful surroundings.

What’s the favorite part of your job?

Getting to collaborate with a group of likeminded and diverse people from across the business on exciting projects. My team energise and inspire me.

What is your daily skincare routine?

We’ve just come through winter here in New Zealand, so I’m focused on bringing radiance back to my skin, brightening it up and restoring it to a healthy baseline.

After cleansing with Juliet Skin-Brightening Gel Cleanser, I apply 3-4 drops of Glow Ritual Vitamin C Serum all over my face and neck – this is a light-wear water gel that instantly illuminates the skin while protecting it from oxidative stress – so it gives me instant results as well as long term benefits.

I follow that with Baptise H2O Ultra-Hydrating Water Gel – like a glass of water for skin, this keeps me beautifully hydrated and dewy all day.

At night I’ll massage Culture Probiotic Night Recovery Water Cream into my skin right before bed. Good bacteria gets to work on my microbiome while plant hyaluronic acid boosts water – so I wake up calm, clear and hydrated the next morning.

Once or twice a week I’ll treat my skin to a mask – Aura Manuka Honey Mask is my go-to right now. The New Zealand manuka honey leaves my skin beautifully fresh and clear – so I always apply this before a big event.

Hard question we know, but what’s your favorite Antipodes product?

That is a hard question! Obviously I love all my formulations equally (like my children!) – but Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream was one of my first formulations – so it’s near and dear to my heart. The cream is scientifically shown to boost collagen by up to 92%, so it’s always my first recommendation for anyone looking to reduce wrinkles.

What does beauty mean to you?

Beauty is health and happiness – simple as that. Antipodes skin is healthy skin – glowing, energised, fresh, clear, and natural – the best version of the skin you were born in. It’s not about perfection but about elevating and enhancing your skin health – giving you amazing looking skin without the help of makeup.

And finally, what are the next steps for Antipodes?

We have several exciting new products in the pipeline for 2022, so the team and I are in prep-mode for those – watch this space!

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