Skin Deep

ABOUT FACE: Gloria Noto

by Julia Gibson

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Skin Deep

ABOUT FACE: Gloria Noto

NOTO Botanics’ namesake founder talks all things organic beauty, activism, and inclusivity.

Instagram: @glorianoto @noto_botanics 
Location: Los Angeles
Astrological Sign: Scorpio, Capricorn rising
Book that changed your life: The Story of O by Pauline Reage
Beauty product (or treatment) that changed your skin: Deep Serum 🙂
Podcast you can’t stop listening to: My Favorite Murder 
Instagram account you love to follow: @suitedatelier 

If you ever get the chance to step foot into NOTO Botanics’ chic storefront in Los Angeles’ Highland Park neighborhood, I highly recommend you do. It’s a design dream: brutalist gravel and concrete balance clean organic woods and creamy neutrals, visually representing the gender fluidity the brand is all about.

Founder Gloria Noto’s background as a fine artist shines through not only the store, but the product line: each item is a little objet d’art in its own right. From amber oils to pigmented balms, their product range is as pleasurable for the eyes as it is for the skin. “I was a weird kid, where art and music were my only saving graces,” Noto says of her artistic influences, “Thankfully it’s allowed me to grow up to be a weird adult where they are still my saving graces.”

For all the artistry, it’s not just about aesthetics. NOTO has made activism a key part of the business, and has to date raised over $17,000 dollars of charitable donations to Planned Parenthood, LGBT Youth Center LA, Sierra Club, ACLU, The Audre Lorde Project, Black Mamas Matter, and more. And as their product line continues to grow  — they just released a new multi-purpose wash — we’re looking out for more great things to come.

JG

What was your first job?

GN

I worked at a thrift store. I loved it. I think I made 600 bucks a month. 

JG

Tell us about how you started NOTO Botanics. What inspired you, and what was the process of starting the company like?

GN

It’s a much larger conversation, but for short – I saw a missing gap in the clean beauty industry.  I wasn’t seeing representation in inclusivity, and I felt that there was a serious need for that community to come together. I wanted to do it in a way that also felt sexy, clean, and minimal. I wanted to own my own company and be my own boss. I wanted to be more connected to it all.  I wanted to try to do business differently.

JG

NOTO Botanics is a company that really gives back to its community. How do you integrate activism and philanthropy into your business?

GN

I think NOTO is an activist brand. I believe every time you spend your dollar you are voting towards what matters to you.  And I wanted to be a company that felt authentic in that and what we actively do and care about as a company – holistically. I created our Agender Oil in part to become a give-back product. Each month we choose a different charity to highlight and support from a percentage of our DTC sales. I felt that I needed to become a brand that did more than talk about how we care about the world, but do something about it.

JG

Why is developing natural + organic products important to you as a founder in the beauty space?

GN

Because that is what your body needs and wants. Because plant medicine is important to learn about, and because connecting with nature is vital to our existence. For some, using a natural product is one of the few ways we get to connect with nature on that day (think city life). It’s so important. It’s also important to practice sustainability in that and be sure we aren’t hurting our planet in that process.

JG

What does being a queer woman in business mean to you?

GN

Being able to support other queer folxs, and to help represent other minorities and those who have had less of a platform in the clean beauty industry. 

I believe every time you spend your dollar you are voting towards what matters to you.”

JG

Best way to cope with imposter syndrome in the workplace?

GN

Tell yourself to knock it off and do your best.

JG

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs that want to pursue a similar path? 

GN

Be prepared for hard work, dedication, putting out fires every day, working more than you think you should, knowing when to stop working, being proud of putting an idea you had into life.

JG

What’s next for NOTO?

GN

Our Wash!

JG

What was your first coveted beauty product? 

GN

That Benefit lip stain that looked like nail polish but was a liquid.

JG

 Biggest beauty myth?

GN

That harsh products are good for you, and that any topical cream can give you a facelift.

JG

Favorite way to get your body moving?

GN

Putting on Bauhaus and doing Muay Thai on my bag at home.

JG

Describe your ideal Sunday situation.

GN

Going on a hike with my pup and girlfriend.  Making breakfast afterwards. Sitting in the sunshine. Leaving for a glass of natural wine.

JG

What’s your go-to travel destination?

GN

Sicily – always.

JG

What’s your self-care power move?

GN

SLEEP!

JG

 Describe beauty as you see it.

GN

Beauty is how you see yourself – how you see the world shows you what you think is beautiful. Love yourself first. 

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