As many of you who have followed TATCHA’s journey—and mine—know, it has been a whirlwind few years.

Amidst my travels, however, it occurs to me that I have never shared the story of how TATCHA began with you. It was around this time five years ago that I made the trip to Japan that changed my life. Every time the winter chill starts to subside and the flowers burst into life, I remember where we came from.

It was a dark and stormy night…only joking, although it was a stormy time in my life. I traveled to Asia, ostensibly searching for exquisite blotting papers that I had encountered but really hunting for a sense of direction. When I found the papers – and surprisingly, my direction – it was not from the source I had expected.

Many of you have seen our beauty papers and know the story behind them: gold artisans created the papers out of abaca leaf to protect the precious metal as they hammered it into whisper-thin leafing. I was struck not only by the beauty and efficacy of the papers, but also by the exquisite history behind them. They represented, to me, a deep connection between modern beauty and centuries of tradition, carefully preserved and passed down. I asked the price on the spot, determined to bring these treasures to the west and share them.

I went back to the hotel that night and visited the garden. Hopefully you will forgive the cliché, but as I held the papers in my hand I could see my path; I knew, with calm certainty, what was going to happen.

Of course, it could not be easy. The cost of purchasing the blotting papers and bringing them back to the United States was a jolt. Perhaps I knew that something larger was happening, or perhaps the stress of my Wall Street career was finally catching up to me. Either way, I simply could not let the papers fade into history. I sold everything I owned of value, beginning with my engagement ring. Furniture and my car followed shortly after, with pieces of my old life disappearing until my new life could begin.

When the crates finally arrived, I held the papers in my hands and felt as though I were welcoming home ten thousand wayward children. I couldn’t wait to share them with the world.

The papers’ use originated with geisha, the masters of stage performance. It seemed logical that makeup artists, their complements, would understand it best. I sent off packages to amazing artists like Daniel Martin and Matthew VanLeeuwen, hoping they would take a chance on the unknown. They recognized the beauty of the papers and handed them out to their clients, who gifted them to friends…and TATCHA was born.

As I look back on all that has happened since, I am overwhelmed with gratitude and awe. We have grown so much in so little time, thanks in particular to our wonderful makeup artist friends. I look forward to seeing where this journey takes us next.

-Vicky

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published April 2013

Beauty Secrets, Geisha, Travel, Kyoto
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Photo 1: A gold leaf artisan working with her craft

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