AN INTERVIEW WITH DENISE LEICESTER, FOUNDER OF ILA SPA | SEPTEMBER 2017
What inspired you to create Ila?
I draw my inspiration from Mother Nature and her healing energy. Many diverse reasons inspired me to create ila and all these reasons came together in the creation of ila. Over my years of running a practice, teaching yoga, studying yogic healing and my own personal journey, I developed and experienced an understanding of healing that was both scientific and esoteric, that addressed the subtlety of our being as well as the physical. I observed that working at this level created the space that people needed to heal and positively change their lives. My intention with ila was to create a range of products and treatments that touched not just women’s skin, but their heart and soul. To achieve this, the purity of the ingredients, the holistic manufacturing processes and depth of intention behind the creation are essential. I have always had a deep love of the earth and had a desire to create a sustainable and ethical business model that gave back to the earth, embodied service and would benefit the lives of many.
Ila's tag line is ‘beyond organic’ what does that mean for the brand?
Our products are completely free from synthetic chemicals and contain a rare level of organic purity; we achieve this by sourcing only the finest raw ingredients directly from local producers and artisans who cultivate and harvest in complete harmony with nature. By honouring the earth’s most ancient and purest sources of energy, and harvesting and producing them in a way that positively benefits all involved, we aim to create skin care with the highest natural and ethical integrity – products that really can make a difference: to the individual, to international communities and to the earth.
Ila is based in The Cotswolds and supplies products to luxury spas across the globe. Why is it important to you that the brand maintains its British base?
Our products are all handmade and blended at our consciously converted barns in The Cotswolds. You can feel the energy as you walk in – it’s a truly peaceful and serene ambience, heightened by gentle chanting, as small quantities of products are hand-blended over sacred yantras. Many of our staff are local and have been with us for years – they really understand the essence of ila and the importance of maintaining the purity of the energy in the ingredients by making the products with loving intent. To me, we combine the best of British with the best of the rest of the world: employing an innovative, passionate, integrity-driven approach to the world’s purest ingredients.
We love that you have such close relationships with your suppliers. How do you ensure these remote communities are cared for and traditions maintained?
The indigenous communities and tribes are truly the Guardians of our planet; they live in harmony with Mother Earth and have a relationship with her that most of us cannot access in our busy city-based lives - we invest in them and their work to support the balance and the health of the earth. They are ‘beyond organic’ in their reverence and honouring of nature and in what they produce and how they produce it. Many of the communities I met are women-led; they are the farmers and harvesters extraordinaire.
What are your top tips for maintaining healthy skin for someone who’s frequently travelling to different time zones?
Drinking plenty of water is a must. When I travel I always take ila’s Energising and Detoxifying Body Scrub and use to revive my energy levels after a flight. ila’s Renewed Recovery range also helps calm skin and regenerate skin cells which is vital when travelling.
How do you best combat stress?
Yoga and meditation, walking my dogs and singing.
What role does exercise play in your life?
Exercise is really important to me in maintaining a healthy and balanced lifestyle. I do yoga and walk the dogs daily and use a cross-trainer 2-3 times a week.
The changing seasons can cause havoc to our skin. How do you ensure year-round healthy skin?
I use different products for the different seasons. For Summer, I use the Glowing Radiance Collection. This collection contains rose damascene cells, which restore vitality, and rosehip seed oil which heals scar tissue and reveals the skin’s natural ‘bloom’. For Winter, I use ila’s Body Balm for Feeding Skin and Senses. When it is rubbed in, skin feels so incredibly deeply nourished and protected. I also use Body Oil for Inner Peace which is packed with essential oils which nurture and restore balance to skin and spirit.
What’s been your proudest moment with Ila to date?
Creating Tibetan treatments and having them blessed by a Tibetan Lama. He said that everyone who receives this treatment will remember Tibet
What’s next for Ila?
Exciting new range will be launched later this year. It’s something I am really proud of and have been busy working on, behind the scenes, creating new products, scents and aromas.
Quick fire round…
What are you reading at the moment?
My Gita by Devdutt Pattanaik
To relax I….?
Soak in a hot bath, sprinkled with ila’s Inner Peace Bath Salts, breathing in joy breathing out stress.
Your perfect Sunday consists of…
Silence, yoga, relaxing by the fire and reading.
What couldn’t you live without?
Essential oils and aroma.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Never give up.
To find out more about Ila, head to their website, www.ila-spa.com.