Meet Leyla Cooper, the powerhouse mama behind Pretty Athletic, the ingenious skincare line designed specifically for active women.
With a four-month-old baby, three-year-old toddler, and a burgeoning business, it’s a wonder how entrepreneur Leyla Cooper manages to get in those all-important workouts. But she does. In fact, she recently hired a treadmill and now squeezes in a run in-between emails, product development, nursery runs, feeding (naturally, the list goes on for miles). It’s that mad rush from the gym to work or meeting friends or play dates that inspired her to develop Pretty Athletic, a line of skincare products designed (and made in the UK) specifically for #ladieswholift. And, as we find out, she’s exactly the kind of woman it caters to…
Q. Why do you think active skincare for women is such an underserved market?
A. I think it’s because “sports skincare” has almost been synonymous with “male skincare”. Recent years have seen an increase in the number of women exercising, and the popularity of women’s sport is growing, and yet the skincare offerings for these active women have not caught up.
Q. What makes your products different to other vegan, nasties-free beauty products that haven’t necessarily been created with post-workout skincare routines in mind?
A. They perform better pre- and post-workout, on sweaty skin. Just as a moisturiser designed for oily skin may be fine for someone with dry skin, a moisturiser formulated specially for dry skin is better. A natural, vegan cleanser is fine post-workout, but ours is better; it’s soothing, refreshing, hydrating without being heavy, and specifically designed for sweaty skin. There’s a reason why we have women telling us our products are “so hydrating, not greasy or tacky” and something they’ve been needing for years, and that our products help with breakouts caused by sweating and wearing lycra.
Q. Is there a particular product in your collection you personally use the most?
A. I use the Workout Glow, which is our 3-in-1 Rosewater spritz that has coconut-derived cleansers, soothing botanicals, multi-vitamins and hydrating hyaluronic acid, designed to cleanse, nourish and hydrate the skin all the time. I use it before and after exercise, every evening after cleansing to help remove final traces of eye make-up, and also in the summer when my skin is hot and clammy. It’s a multi-use product, smells amazing and I love it.
Q. How do you manage your family, work and business responsibilities?
A. I just do. I love my family and I love my business, and each day I just try to do my best for both. Plus I have lots of help; my colleagues James and Laura are able to go to events and meetings that I would otherwise struggle to attend because of the baby, and also my parents stay at our house for a few days each week to help out with the children.
Q. What does a regular working day look like for you?
A. As I have a four-month old, my “regular working day” is actually quite irregular! At the moment I wake up, check emails and social media, get myself and the children ready and my three-year old to nursery. I then get home and work while the baby is sleeping, which can be on a variety of things, such as marketing, events, customer or retailer enquiries, new product development and research, social media, brand collaborations, website improvements, and so on. When the baby is awake I play with him while checking emails and also I get my exercise in while he is awake, as he seems to be relatively entertained watching me run on the treadmill and doing my exercises. I collect my daughter from nursery at the end of the day, but then in the evening once both children are asleep I usually get a few more hours’ work done. Luckily I love what I do!
Q. What advice would you give other mums looking to balance work and family, and still get in some workouts?
A. It’s really easy to let exercise fall by the wayside when you have young children (and personally I did struggle with my first), but I think you need to remember how important it is for your physical and mental health and try to figure out what works for you and your family, whether that’s group classes or at-home workouts or just long walks in the park. For example, with my first child I used to pace around the Common with the pram and I also took personal training sessions at a fitness studio nearby where my little girl would crawl around while I exercised. Now with my second child, I have hired a treadmill (which is the best thing ever!) and I’ve found some really awesome online workouts.
Q.What’s next on the agenda for Pretty Athletic?
A. Last month we launched in 135 Waitrose stores across the UK, and we are really excited about expanding our retail distribution both within the UK and internationally.