Lisa Smit, developer and founder of the award winning TheraVine™ spa brand contributes over twenty years in the health and skin care- and professional cosmetic industry and has been the owner and CEO of Lisa Smit Enterprises c.c., Stellenbosch, South Africa, since its inception.
TheraVine™’s commitment has allowed it to set a standard in the health and skin care industry and today, it is considered one of the leading skincare companies in South Africa. A belief in developing products that achieve desirable results has manifested in a mission to design, develop and produce a comprehensive skin and body care range of the highest quality that promises an adventure of scientific skin transformation and sensory pleasure and this commitment has already positively changed countless lives.
The birth of TheraVine™ and the story of how a self-made company grew to feature in some of South Africa and the world’s most renowned hotels and spas started after Lisa completed her studies in Stellenbosch and became the Manageress of 2 of the only Hydro’s in South Africa at the time. She could never understand why only French products were used in these facilities and often found herself wondering why no South African brands were considered ‘good’ enough to serve these establishments.
After giving birth to Jodi, her daughter, Lisa realised her need to be in a position to work from home and began investigating the development of her own product range. Soon, her home based office became a home based laboratory from where she began to experiment with various different formulations. Her first products were initially developed for one of the Hydro’s she previously worked at, which grew in strength and are still making use of her ranges to this day.
Having grown up in a strong entrepreneurial family, she knew that, in order for her products to be successful, she needed a ‘point of difference’ from other product brands across the world. Growing up amongst the vineyards of Stellenbosch, she investigated the addition of grapes and their by-products into her line of products to form her ‘marketing’ point of difference. She met with various viticulturists, Professors from Stellenbosch University, major wine making companies, farmers, botanists as well as scientists from the CSIR. “I wanted to provide the highest quality, ‘scientific & sensory’ spa and retail products possible at competitive prices, as well as excellent service that surpasses the norm in the health & skincare industry”. The discovery that oligomeric proanthocyanidins (the anti-oxidants found in grape derivatives) are 50 times the strength of Vitamin E and 20 times the strength of Vitamin C with regards to their levels of anti-oxidants, was yet another inspiration to use these gems from nature and this is where her journey began in developing what would later be branded as TheraVine™. Containing such powerful anti-oxidants fused with the latest scientific actives, TheraVine™ was destined to become a world class ultra-active, result driven health and skincare range exceeding all expectations in the health and skincare industry.
Lisa gathered various grape by-products from different wine farms in and around the Stellenbosch areas. The by-products from these world class grapes consists of grape seeds, grapeseed extracts, husks, grapeseed oil and vine leaf extracts and form part of our unique South African healing processes. Anti-oxidants in skincare products help repair past damages to the skin as well as assist to prevent future damage caused by free radicals. She collected wines from major wine farmers and had these freeze-dried, which removed the alcohol from the wine and left only a fine, fluffy ‘candy-floss’ looking powder. After a lot of hard work and dedication in accumulating various vine ingredients, she could finally work on adding these to her skin and body care range. From this, she could work with specific cultivars, such as the South African indigenous Pinotage wine extract as well as cultivars such as Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet, and Sauvignon Blanc.
The biggest ‘hurdle’ however in working with grape by-products, was to stabilise the formulations and prevent oxidation. After many years of research and development, Lisa finally managed to accomplish a brand that was stable enough to launch into the market. TheraVine™ was officially launched at the 2004 Professional Beauty show in Johannesburg and at the time, it was said to be the largest products variant launch in South African history. The range launched with 52 different formulations packed in cabine, retail and sample sizes. That same year, the owners of Zorgvliet Stellenbosch approached her to supply their new spas with vine derived products, a major ‘break’ for a new company. Today, merely 14 years since, TheraVine™ boasts more than double its initial product selection quantity.
TheraVine™’s concern goes beyond the skin and the company therefore ensures that their products, which are naturally derived, do not contain harmful alcohols, artificial fragrances, colorants, harmful petrochemicals or mineral oils. Not limited to age or gender, TheraVine™ holds the answer and unlocks the natural splendor of every person committed to achieving the optimum in body and skincare.
The brand’s formulations consist of many different multi-generational variations and cultivars of grape technologies, from different parts of the grape and vine to benefit the skin in various ways – from signs of the first wrinkles to the reversal of the deepest. It is also one of only 2 skin care brands in the world that make use of these multi-generational, stabilised grape actives. These are stabilised in a unique way in the TheraVine™ formulations along with the addition of the highest recommended percentages of internationally acclaimed active ingredients, the secret to the highly effective preparations.
“What has sustained TheraVine™ for the past 14 years and will take us through our next decade and beyond is that we have remained true to the mission that got us here. We are constantly aware that what truly sets TheraVine™ apart is the fact that we built our company on heart, soul and mission and these attributes have sustained our growth for the past decade and will continue to be the foundation of every avenue that the company will embrace.”
“Although the TheraVine™ principles are what made us innovators in the beauty industry, it is our concern for the balance and joy of your life journey that will inspire us to continuously strive for perfection. Because beauty goes beyond the radiance of your skin and body, we promise to continue our passion of transforming nature’s hidden treasures into scientific excellence.”