2010: I graduate with a degree in fashion design, hoping to make my mark in the fashion industry. I realize I live far from any semblance of a fashion capital, but hey, I'm young, bright-eyed and optimistic.
2011-2013: I don't have the drive to become a production or design assistant. Instead, I work a day job and study fashion from afar. I become disenchanted with its wastefulness. I realize I don't really want to make more clothes, but frustratingly enough, I can't find what I want - easy, uncomplicated, colourful essentials - amidst all the noise.
I'm still young and optimistic. So after a long search and falling short, I decide to start a fashion label.
But not without some success: I am featured in my city's local newspaper. The headline is: Wang works minimalist flair. I frame that newspaper clipping.
2013: After my failure, I switch jobs. I've learned enough to find work as a digital marketer. After a few months, I'm not sure if the job I have is leading where I want to go. I get to work in design and marketing for a sustainable, eco business, but I feel disconnected from fashion.
Instead, I'm designing things for babies.
But, there's a reason I ended up here. I love colour, happy clothes, and...optimistic design. And, there's something about this pure design sensibility that focuses on colour, shape and functionality that I identify with.
Still, I long to make clothes that I can wear. Call me selfish.
I'm nervous to start my own thing again, so instead, I start sharing the work of designers I love.
I start a blog to document discoveries in the world of sustainable fashion. I decide to write about beauty because, well, style includes beauty. I think of it as supplementary to my writing on fashion.
The site goes on to be named one of the top beauty sites to watch in 2015 and garners a small, loyal following. An article I write profiling the Top 10 Makeup Artists Cleaning Up the Beauty Industry goes viral in the green beauty community.
While researching content, I come across a blog called Beauty Huile, and become fascinated with the concept of beauty oils.
2014: I try my first beauty oil after years of being lazy about skincare, hoping for some sort of miracle. It's one you can buy at Sephora. It's love at first...touch? I think this is as close to a miracle as you can get.
I go through 2 full size bottles in record time before my curiosity gets the best of me and I want to try more.
I start peddling beauty oils to everyone I know.
2013-2016: I fall deeper into the world of natural beauty and skincare, discovering my favorites but most of all, falling more in love with beauty oils.
I long for one specific luxury beauty oil, but alas, it is out of my price range.
Summer of 2016: After several months of sourcing, experimenting and blending, I launch PTL beauty oils featuring the same oil that I first fell in love with (argan), and two more oils that rounded out the formula to finally become the holy grail I was looking for, at half the price.
I want the luxury experience at the most affordable, accessible price I can make it.
I start to make sales.
December 2016: Major crisis in my personal life, followed by a series of work events. I move home and the same day, my dog dies. A year later, my grandma passes away. I've switched jobs again by now and love what I do, but my focus on PTL shifts away. Sales trickle in but for the first time in my life, I wander away from what I want to do and really just sit with myself and my thoughts.
July 2017: After months hatching an escape plan from the life I had, in pursuit of change - which required me to give up any sort of business or work that tied me down physically - I fall in love with a person.
It takes me several months before I decide escape is not what I want. I was just looking for something real and good, the same way I like my clothes and skincare.
August 2017: I've never worn perfume consistently in my life, but I buy my first signature perfume while on a weekend trip with my new beau. I wear it everywhere and every time I do, it reminds me of how I felt then, and how happy I was/am. I feel good when I wear it.
September 2017: I take my first solo trip ever and head to Paris, France. The city inspires me and I feel ready for more.
January 2018: I move - not to Paris, but closer to the city. I decide to shut down PTL because I want to start my life fresh, taking as little from my past life as I possibly could.
May 2018: My first batch of supplies expires by now and I haven't made my own beauty oil for months. My skin just doesn't look or feel the same, no matter what I use. I experiment with a cheap line, the one everyone's been raving about. I discover that their products are great otherwise, but once you have the luxury experience, it's hard to go back. It's just not the same.
I am inspired by love, colour, travel, simplicity, sustainability, authenticity, utility.
I order a new batch of supplies. I make a sample. My skin instantly thanks me.
I don't wear concealer for a week (I already stopped wearing foundation years ago) and no one notices.
July 2018: It's been 2 years since I started PTL, more than 1 year since I gave it up. But I realize there's still a hole in the market. I realize there is more left to do. PTL is not for DIYers (if we all had the time). It's for those of us who want the luxury experience and product without the heavy retail markup. Our markup is x2 (compared to what's considered "fair" typically x2 and then x2 again - and way more typically in the beauty industry), and we use the best ingredients we can source.
I order more raw ingredients. I design new labels. I rework the site. I launch with my two bestsellers, and release the new Madge du Moment collection, to celebrate the beauty in the temporary moments in life, the memories that we tie to smell.
I can't stop opening my sample and sniffing it. I can't stop using it. My skin and I both have our fresh starts. I remember why I started this.
It all makes sense now.
- Ana Wang