The reason why Sarah Kugelman set up acclaimed natural skincare brand Skyn Iceland? As is the case with so many successful businesses – and female entrepreneurs – her motivation was a very personal one. Having held a series of high-powered positions at companies including Estée Lauder and Bloomingdales, in 2003 Kugelman became critically ill due to chronic stress. As a result of the illness, Kugelman’s immune system was so seriously damaged that doctors urged her to make drastic changes to her lifestyle – which led her to make a transformative journey to Iceland.

Sarah Kugelman Skyn Iceland

It was here that the inspiration for Skyn Iceland came about; a mission to create a skincare range that treats and alleviates the effects on stress on the skin. In our non-stop, multi-tasking, face-paced lives, that’s something we could all use, right? We spoke to the inspirational businesswoman about leaning in, making a difference and following your dreams.

Motivation for me is all about…

Following your passion. I can accomplish anything if I’m passionate about the cause.

Success means…

Feeling like you’ve done something that matters and has made a difference. I think being acknowledged and recognized by your peers adds into the equation too.

I couldn’t have got there without…

The people who believed in me and said ‘you can do it!’ no doubt that includes my husband, my mother and my father! I left a very important corporate job and a lot of money on the table many years ago to start my first company gloss.com and my father said ‘what are you doing? Did you really give this some thought?” and I came back the next day and explained why I had to pursue my dream. He understood immediately and told me to ‘go for it!’. I will never forget that moment.

skyn iceland

I always start my day with…

Thanking the powers that be for my daughter’s health, my husband’s and my own. That’s what matters…and it centres me…so I can go through the rest of my day with the right perspective.

When I don’t feel inspired I…

Try to change my routine and do something that I love or find interesting like taking a trip somewhere new, going to an exhibition, going shopping, spending time in nature – anything to get the creative juices flowing

The landscape for women in business today looks like…

It’s brighter than ever. There are really incredible women doing incredible things and really leading the way. Hilary Clinton, Sheryl Sandberg, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Mary Barra – these are the women that will inspire my daughter’s generation and convey the message to the women of tomorrow to “Lean In” and create your own destiny. Anything is possible and women CAN change the world.

Sarah Kugelman Skyn Iceland 2

The trait I most deplore in others is…

Selfishness and dishonesty.

I’d like to be remembered for…

Being an amazing mom, changing the landscape of the beauty industry and helping to find a cure for food allergies.

skyn iceland products

What makes me happiest is…

Being with my family and doing something professionally that I’m really passionate about.

Can I run in heels?

DEFINITELY. I’ve had a lot of practice!

Find out more about Skyn Iceland on the brand’s website. You can also follow Skyn Iceland online on Facebook and on Twitter @skyniceland.