Changemaker Series: An Interview with Julie Andrews, President Kerstin Florian International
- Kristiana Tarnuzzer
…approach to giving back for this brand goes beyond both being a natural fit for the spa and wellness industry and doing good for the planet. Have a read below on how Julie Andrews, President Kerstin Florian International, selected WeForest as the philanthropic partner for her brand as a way to honor her dear friend’s legacy.
TCB: Can you share a little bit about Kerstin Florian products?
JA: Our products inspire a holistic approach to wellness based on four cornerstones -- proper nutrition, regular exercise, peace of mind, and care of face and body. Launched in a single spa in Laguna Beach in 1978, the Kerstin Florian portfolio now consists of more than 100 luxuriously effective, botanical-based skin and body care products that can be found at leading spas and resorts worldwide.
TCB: How did you get involved with the brand?
JA: I was working in luxury Public Relations and Marketing when my dear friend, Charlene Florian, and daughter to Kerstin, asked me to lend a hand on a few projects at Kerstin Florian. Because of our friendship, I was already using and loving all of the products, so when Charlene asked for my help, I was eager to be a part of it. Little did I know, stepping in to help would lead into a full-time position with the company, but I am so thrilled that it did.
…Is there anyone that has played a special role in your career for you and how?
JA: Both Kerstin and Charlene have had such impact on both my professional and personal life. With their shared, virtually contagious energy and light, they worked passionately alongside one another to build and grow the Kerstin Florian brand and share their philosophy and passion for wellness and health with the spa industry and beyond. A charismatic executive with the Kerstin Florian team, a source of inspiration and knowledge to our partners globally, Charlene embodied the Kerstin Florian brand. She truly loved her industry and the close knit, extended Kerstin Florian family she was fortunate to work with for over 2 decades. She was a shining light within the industry, leading the path for a healthy more natural lifestyle and touching everyone she encountered with positivity, kindness, and joy. And I am so lucky that my life was so deeply touched by her influence before her passing in 2016.
TCB: You’ve recently taken on a bigger role with the company - what new efforts and initiatives have you brought to the table?
JA: I have been working to focus KFI’s philanthropic efforts. Giving back and being environmentally mindful have always been part of our corporate culture, and I wanted to find a way for us to make a more concerted, direct impact. After hearing the WeForest presentation at the 2018 Green Spa Network Conference, I was inspired. The global charity is dedicated to offsetting the negative effects of climate change through reforestation worldwide – specifically its mission to reforest an area equivalent the size of India by 2030.
WeForest is truly dedicated to its cause, grateful and accepting of genuine support, quick to take action, and not mired in bureaucracy. Caring for the earth and environment has always been close to Kerstin and Charlene’s hearts, especially with regard to trees and water -- after all, “SPA” stands for Salus Per Aquam, Latin for “health by water”. The WeForest approach and mission to plant 175B trees by 2030 leads directly to cleaner earth, water, and air in a way that is understandable, tangible and achievable. By partnering with WeForest, we are helping to give back to nature and create a greener, cleaner earth.
…How will Kerstin Florian be directly making an impact via your WeForest partnership?
JA: On the heels of Kerstin Florian International’s 40th anniversary, we have committed to planting 40,000 trees, which equates to about 1600 per employee -- well beyond WeForest’s breakdown of the 23 trees per person worldwide needed to achieve its goal. We selected India’s Khasi Hills, a location beloved by Kerstin and Charlene Florian for its nature, beauty and spirituality, for the site of what will be dedicated as the Charlene Florian Forest. Not only does this WeForest project support the global environment, but also the local community as its members are those who reforest and harvest the trees, earning wages as they create and benefit from an ongoing food source.
TCB: Amazing work! Before we sign off, can you please share your favorite quote with our readers?
JA: “Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates: Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it Kind?” - Rumi