Meet the judges for the Good magazine Best of Natural Awards 2023

Sara Corleison

Sara Corlieson is the founder and former owner of Tailor Skincare. Starting the company in her kitchen, she grew Tailor into one of New Zealand’s most loved and multi-award-winning natural skincare brands. Sara’s early adoption of a digital-first approach blazed a trail in the social media marketing space. After the sale in 2022, Sara’s passion for R&D and natural ingredient discovery remains strong.

Sara now works with an exclusive set of clients to help founders and SMEs scale their businesses.

Melissa Williams-King

Melissa is a journalist with more than 20 years’ experience covering the beauty industry. She has held editor roles at Fashion Quarterly and SHE magazine, and worked as a beauty editor for multiple magazines including New Idea, Cleo, Girlfriend, Seventeen, Sunday and The Australian Women’s Weekly.

Moving from print media to online, she has also held beauty editor roles at beautydirectory, MSN New Zealand and stuff.co.nz (as style director). On the brand side, she has created content for Korean beauty brand Rojank, beauty booking site bookwell.com and The Face Place, a leading New Zealand medspa. Throughout her beauty editor career, Melissa has written about and rated thousands of hair, skin and make-up products and has overseen beauty awards at several publications. She has followed in-depth the trend towards organic and sustainable beauty products.

Liz McNamara

Liz is a registered naturopath, medical herbalist and cosmetic chemist, with a career spanning over 20 years in natural health and skincare. As a leader within the industry and chair of Naturopaths & Medical Herbalists of New Zealand, Liz is driven to progress the integration of naturopathic medicine in Aotearoa. Liz is an advocate for high-performing skincare rich in natural actives, and ethical brands that are making a positive difference to people and the planet.

A third-time judge for the Best of Natural Awards, Liz is delighted to discover the latest in wellness – bringing you the best of the best in Aotearoa.

Where did you grow up and where do you call home now?

Sara: Oakura Beach in Taranaki – the best place to surf, horse ride, and play in the rock pools. My family and I have recently moved from the hustle and bustle of Wellington to rural Warea in South Taranaki.

Melissa: I grew up and live in Auckland.

Liz: I grew up in beautiful Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. I’ve had a few stints living in other places (briefly in Invercargill and a good chapter in New Plymouth) and am really happy to be back in the City of Sails. I now live with my family in the Waitākere Ranges, about five minutes from Titirangi.

What’s your go-to morning beverage?

Sara: I have two! I’ll start off with a glass of the new watermelon electrolyte drink from Mama’s Milk Bar. Followed by a coffee with cream, cinnamon, collagen and L-Theanine to balance out the jitters.

Melissa: I love a green tea with a slice of lemon.

Liz: Oh, I love coffee so much, so that’s definitely a morning ritual for me. I also have a greens drink first thing as I think it’s important to start the day with something hydrating and nutrient-rich.

How do you like to relax/unwind?

Sara: Sauna, cold plunges, baths with books, yoga, tarot, gardening and wine with friends.

Melissa: I love walking in nature, ideally a beach (Pakiri is my favourite), usually while listening to music or a podcast. My house backs onto a secluded park with lots of trees so I like to walk there and do a bit of ‘forest bathing’ as they call it! I’m also a fan of a relaxing bath with bath salts, essential oils and a nice candle.

Liz: I love riding my bike – quite often we’ll use the bikes to run errands on weekends. It’s such a fun way to find your way around a city you think you know so well. Riding my bike gives me such a sense of freedom and I’m so grateful every time I see a new bike path being built, helping to connect the city.

What’s a mindfulness or wellbeing ritual that you practice regularly, and why?

Sara: Gratitude! Every day I manifest gratitude. I also make sure to fill my cup every single day. These two things make me a better mum, wife and friend.

Melissa: I do weights workouts at home pretty regularly and it always boosts the endorphins right from the warmup. I also do Les Mills Body Balance at home and if I don’t have much time, I just choose the shorter edits. For the full experience, I turn down the lights and put on the aromatherapy diffuser – great to wind down at night! I’m not very good at meditation but I sometimes do the Meditation Minis podcast which are very short, guided sessions.

Liz: I’ve always treated skincare as a wellbeing ritual – it’s two moments per day when I put mindfulness and good intention into myself. I absolutely love skincare, so it’s an easy thing to do. Mindfulness is really anything done with intention, and I think there are mindful moments in everyone’s day that they aren’t considering as such. I find I’m pretty mindful when I’m walking the dog as well, taking in all the sights and smells of the bush around us.

What inspired you to study in your chosen field?

Sara: My time spent in California working in the organic horticulture industry. We apply some pretty hectic chemicals to our food crops across the globe. It’s terrifying that only one family of bees is transported throughout the central valley of California to pollinate the trees because the rest of the bee population has starved due to mono-crop farming and toxic chemical exposure. Yes, this is an international example and we need to make damn sure not to follow in these footsteps.

Melissa: I was obsessed with magazines from a young age and always loved beauty products. I remember my uncle’s girlfriend staying with us when I was a kid and she had huge bags of beauty products because she worked at Vogue. I couldn’t believe that was a real job! I went on to study magazine journalism and always gravitated to the beauty side of things, whichever magazine or website I worked on over the years.

Liz: I was raised by a mother who was always treating us with herbs and feeding us a wholefood diet. When I happened upon a curriculum for the Naturopathic programme at Wellpark College, it lit up everything in my body and mind. I was so excited by the idea of learning about the body and naturopathic medicine. Naturopathic medicine (like all systems of health) is an evolving science, and I’m glad to see the increasing focus on evidence and taking a client-centred approach – it’s essential for all health practices.

What does best of natural mean to you?

Sara: The best of natural are the products that extend beyond just pure use of natural ingredients into environmentally friendly, results-oriented and socially-driven brand values.

Melissa: It means high performance at the same or better level than non-natural products. It also means all aspects have been considered from a sustainability point of view, origin of ingredients, supply chain, packaging and what happens to the product when the consumer has finished using it. It also means a bit of glamour or fun – just because it’s natural and good for the planet doesn’t mean it has to be dull. It’s also impressive when the price is accessible for consumers, so making a sustainable choice isn’t a financial burden.

Liz: Best of natural is a way to highlight the products and brands that are achieving an excellent standard in the natural products category. These products and brands are often working hard for recognition, so it’s such a wonderful thing to be able to showcase amazing products through Good.

What will you be looking for with your judge’s hat on for the Best of Natural Award entries in 2023?

Liz: With food and drinks I want to see great flavour combined with excellent nutrition. For supplements, I want to see formulations that make sense and that are going to bring balance to the body. For skincare products I’m looking for effective ingredients that work and feel good. Overall, I want to see brands using their business to make a difference in the world.

Sara: Products I’d replace my staples with because they are just that good! I want to feel like ‘wow I can’t believe I didn’t know about this product because I can’t live without it now!’.

Melissa: High performance natural products that are unique in some way, for example, performance, aesthetics, ingredients or market niche.

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