As is the case for many women, becoming a mother forced Lydia Latta to slow down. It also brought a new perspective to her life. “Before I became a Mum, I spent most of my 20’s tinkering in different jobs, dreams, and countries,” she says. After her children arrived, she came up with a new plan that worked for her family, or in her own words, "a life that combined motherhood and businesswoman, allowing me to create and run the business of my dreams.”
The business she’s talking about is The Hermosa Co, a fantastic beauty and treatment clinic located in Torquay’s Victoria, which is designed for pregnancy, postpartum and women’s massages and facials. Latta also offers a handmade line of pregnancy, postpartum and baby products that help restore energy and foster self-love (scroll down – they’re heavenly). “For me, it is not just about creating a good-looking product but rather formulating natural products using high-quality ingredients that deliver results. Some products such as Acai Oil, Calendula, Cucumber, Rosehip Oil, and Marshmallow root take months to be signed off and that is purely because we have a standard that we remain committed to,” she says.
Basically, Latta is here to support you through your motherhood journey. Having experienced how isolating motherhood can be at times, she wanted to help women during their pregnancy and postpartum life.
We spoke to her about the healing process after birth, her range of beauty products, the power of physical touch and #Hermosabody, an annual photoshoot initiative to encourage women to embrace their bumps and capture the beauty of each magical pregnancy.
Go to www.thehermosa.co
Describe your journey as a new mother – can you share the ups and downs?
Before I became a mum, I spent most of my 20’s tinkering in different jobs, dreams, and countries. Becoming a mum forced me to slow down and offer a perspective that I was able to draw on that helped to create a plan and way of life for my family. A life that combined motherhood and businesswoman, allowing me to create and run the business of my dreams.
I actually felt a real sense of strength and purpose when I became a mum. I had my twin boys first and on reflection, those early months were quite isolating but it also took my hubby and I into a beautiful bubble. With the boys, there were probably more ups than downs as we really simplified our lives and just embraced the chaos. Second time around with my little girl Vera I think I found things a little more challenging. Juggling three little ones and my business was a lot as I felt pulled in so many directions. So when it came to round two, I had to accept my vulnerability more, ask for help and let some things go. Having my own business really doesn’t allow for me to completely switch off so I have had to be quite strong in allowing space just to be our family. We stepped away from a lot of external commitments in the first six or so months of Vera’s life just to really focus on us becoming a family of five and having time with the boys and even time as husband and wife.
How can we support new mothers more? How has society got it wrong?
We are so lucky with the resources and support channels that we have at our fingertips but sometimes that too can become overwhelming, especially when you are in such a sleep-deprived and vulnerable state. I guess, as mothers, we have created amazing platforms to support one another and provide tips and advice but I feel motherhood is a lot more simple and intuitive then we have made it. For me, it was about becoming the mum I wanted to be and really learning and listening to my babies. I love the role I play in new mamas lives, I have created an environment at our clinic for them to feel safe, to slow down and I hope that they leave from our treatments feeling a sense of strength in their vulnerability. Becoming a mum is really empowering and in my experience, we all do it our own way and I think allowing mums to feel empowered, strong and to trust and nurture their instincts is really important.
As a beauty and massage therapist, talk us through how touch/massage can be beneficial to women/mothers?
Touch is such a powerful way to connect or reconnect with your body during such big changes. It helps to feel nurtured and offers a moment to stop and slow down which of course plays such a crucial role in creating calmness, balance and of course support during the time your body grows and protects your little one/s. Touch is also so important when it comes to supporting the natural healing process after childbirth. For me, after having the twins I just felt so disconnected from my body and taking the time out was so important.
What’s life like as a working mother of three – how do you find balance in your life?
Going from 2 to 3 has definitely been a transition and also with the rapid growth of The Hermosa Co I have had to find the time to really implement support around us. Having the right people around your business and your family is really important to make sure you can find the space to create some balance. My days tend to start at 5:30am so I find it hard to do anything before the little ones are on top of me, so my time is at night. Once bedtime comes around, I am really strict to get the three kids down and find an hour or so for me. Generally, this is doing some form of exercise from swimming, hitting the gym or just a YouTube yoga or Pilates class in the lounge room. I also love to hop in the bath and listen to a good podcast or guided meditation.
What are your time management tips – how do you get everything done. We’d love any practical tips you have…
I work well under pressure and having a really busy business and three kids is enough pressure to allow me to work well and get everything done. Once again it is about trusting and having amazing people around your business and we also have a super nanna, my mum. In terms of practical tips, write lists. I set my work days out in 3 hour windows and have tasks for each allocated time. Sometimes it can be overwhelming to think of everything you have to get done, so I find it easier to allocate the time for the tasks and then you know they are going to get done.
Your business began with your pregnancy and postpartum massage clinic in Torquay, Victoria, Australia. How long did you work on the business before you launched and what inspired the idea? And talk us through the decision to expand into products…
I have always dreamed of setting up some sort of pampering space and after I had the boy’s I really wanted to create something for women, particularly pregnant woman, and new mums. I always loved the idea of specialising in women’s health and healing but after becoming a mum I started to admire and respect for the journey to and throughout motherhood so much more and wanted to respond by creating a luxury and supportive haven. I started The Hermosa Co when the boys were 5 month’s old so I was very much in the thick of it all but really felt like I knew what women needed during this time of their lives. I have always made my own skin and body products and one mum who I treated weekly asked me to make a healing site for her as she knew this was something I did.
That was the beginning that then lead into studying formulation and I started to see patterns in what was troubling new and pregnant mums and began learning quickly on how best to respond to their aches and needs through natural products. This is really how the range evolved from just one product to now a range of nine (and quickly growing) including a baby collection.
The Hermosa Co. is dedicated to massage and facial treatments for women - how do you want women to feel when they visit?
For all women who come in for treatments, my aim is to make them feel completely relaxed, pampered and nourished. I want pregnant Mums to feel safe and confident within the space knowing that their therapist comes with a wealth of experience to help relieve the physical pains and aches and also create a sense of calm around the changes their going through and the unknown in the lead up to having their little ones. With the postpartum mums, I want them to walk out and feel restored and recharged. I know this may be the first or the longest time they have been away from their newborns so I want them to really feel refreshed and balanced.
Where did your passion for creating all-natural products and treatments to support expected mums, new mums and babies come from – is it something your own mother was passionate about?
I have always been inclined to nurture and I think as I went through my own journey into motherhood, I realised that it is such a significant time in a woman’s life and I really connected and related to the desire of healing through physical touch and natural products. Beautiful treatments and products have always been part of my life as I was conscious to make them a priority during my pregnancies and I guess, organically, I just formulated and created my product line based on the philosophy behind the clinic. I want the woman who uses The Hermosa Co products to really feel the benefits – body, mind, and soul.
The journey of pregnancy and postpartum life has its ups and downs – if you could go back to before you had children, what would you tell yourself?
I don’t think there is ever a perfect time to become a mum, but for me, traveling and having different experiences and jobs before becoming a mum made the adjustment easier as I knew we were ready to begin the parenting adventure having explored what we wanted to without kids. There is so much responsibility that comes with being a mum and not just the obvious things. You have to drop all your insecurities and really consider your choices more so now than ever, you are in charge of raising confident, capable, passionate and happy little ones.
#Hermosabody is your annual photoshoot initiative to encourage women to embrace their bumps and capture the beauty of each magical pregnancy – tell us more about this initiative and why you founded it?
This was an idea I had when I was massaging. I have always been in awe of women’s bodies during pregnancy and I felt really sad when mums would come in for treatments and feel self-conscious about their beautiful growing bodies. I wanted to create a platform that opened a conversation and celebrated the beauty and uniqueness of each individual pregnancy. The first shoot began with an open invitation to local woman across all stages of pregnancy and three years later, we continue to produce gorgeous photography with returning and first-time mama’s! The shoot day is the most beautiful and empowering moment, watching these mums who are often complete strangers engage with one another and embrace and bond over such a precious time in their lives is such an incredible thing to be part of. Most of the women are out of their comfort zones and the feedback I receive afterwards about how empowering and special the shoot was to them, is so nice.
We have something a little different and exciting planned for next year, so watch this space!
Pregnancy is not always magical – a lot of women find it very challenging. How do you approach this in clients/support them?
This is so true; I never hear the same pregnancy or birth story in the clinic and it is very clear that every mum goes through such a different journey and I have found that there are more challenges than ease for so many women. Our space has been created to nurture and to make mums feel safe without judgement.
How do your products support mothers during the journey of pregnancy and postpartum life? How do they restore energy etc? Talk us through some of the herbs, flowers, oils you use and why?
For me, it is not just about creating a good-looking product but rather formulating natural products using high-quality ingredients that deliver results. Some products such as Acai Oil, Calendula, Cucumber, Rosehip oil, and Marshmallow root take months to be signed off and that is purely because we have a standard that we remain committed to.
Our offering provides high-quality oils that are used to nourish and repair so perfect for blossoming bumps and to heal nipples or the skin postnatally. The herbs are all chosen for their potent healing powers and include antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. These are especially prominent in our postpartum products such as the Sitz and Nipple Balm. Our Magnesium Oil and also the Magnesium-rich Hermosa Soak are popular for women suffering from restless legs, leg cramping, pregnancy insomnia, and excess fluid.
The Baby range was a request by a mum who loved the pregnancy and postpartum range and was looking for a natural alternative for her newborn. I really wanted to create something different to what was/is on the market and spent a lot of time researching the right ingredients that were safe and produced results for delicate baby skin. This is when we discovered the amazing cucumber oil, Aloe and we made our own calendula oil. We have created two delicate products with no nasties and the cucumber oil is actually one of my favourites and smells amazing.
What’s the process behind each product – where are they made, how do you go about creating them?
Formulating and creating 100% natural products can be quite a process to perfect and sign off. All of the products in the range have been created in response to the woman we treat in the clinic or a midwife. We are so lucky to have the clinic because it means we can spend time testing and trialing them on our wonderful community of mums. All of the products are made in Torquay, Victoria and we now have a team of 7 so everything from product design, labeling and manufacturing is done locally. Keeping all the production nearby is our little gesture of sustainability, it is really nice to be able to see all the raw ingredients come together to make the range. I know as a Mum the idea of knowing everything that goes into the products that I purchase and use on myself and my little ones is really important.
Many new mothers feel depleted – how do you approach treating women who are feeling depleted?
Heat is a really good way to help support a mum to regain energy, rejuvenate and to nurture. Our treatment room is full of hot towels and hot oils these are really important for the postpartum treatments. The treatments we perform have some specific pressures and motions we use to help Mums reconnect and also let go. Our newly released Room Tonic has been created from the scents we have diffusing throughout the rooms – it’s a really exotic, healing and spiced scent which does wonders for the mind and relaxation.
As a mother of three, how do you prioritise self-care? What have you learned after each child about self-care?
Finding time for self-care is high on my priority list. I actually let this slide after Vera was born and ended up quite anxious and unbalanced, I noticed that this led to an unsettled baby and the boys went bonkers, so it was a quick reminder to slow down and acknowledge how important it is to find time for ourselves. I know that I am more patient, balanced and able when I take time for myself and this is really important when I have 3 little ones who need me to be present. I can identify the signs now when I’m becoming exhausted and really make sure I get on top of it before that happens. For me, self-care includes a massage (of course) and I also use the Body Polish from our range in a bath full of Magnesium with a guided meditation and cup of tea. My business and the kids keep me busy and Vera is only 6mths so in the past self-care would have been more about a good sweat and exercise but these days I’ve learned to be gentle on my body and try to nurture rather than exhaust.