In the latest episode of No Filter with Danielle Snyder, we meet April Gargiulo, who shares the unconventional origin story behind her celebrated skincare company Vintner's Daughter. Here we share seven of the most fascinating excerpts from their conversation - for more, download the full podcast here.


She really is a vintner’s daughter

“My background's not in beauty. My background's in fine wine making. My family makes wine in Napa Valley and still makes wine there today, so I grew up in this community that was very much driven by quality, and expression, and craftsmanship.”

She knows what it’s like to have really bad skin

“I had always struggled with my skin and had cystic acne and discoloration and then all the fun things that come along as you get older. You name it, I've tried it, from accutane to retinols to coconut oil from the grocery store. It was always a struggle. 

“I started looking at the labels of the products that I had been using and they were 0.01% active ingredient, the rest was filler, a lot of that filler was also toxic, and these were supposedly the most luxury products on the marketplace. I was shocked.”

Her ‘aha’ moment was in a souk in Morocco

“I remember the first time I ever put oil on my face. It was 15-plus years ago. We were in Morocco and the first thing I do when I go traveling is I go find the apothecary. So, I'm in this hundreds-years-old apothecary. It's a dirt floor, there's all these hand marked bottles on shelves. The woman in the apothecary didn't speak English and I didn't speak Arabic, [but] she kept showing me this oil. I kept showing her my skin and then she kept showing me this oil, and then I would say, ‘no, no, no, no, no, no, acne marks. No, no, you don't understand.’

“She just kept giving it to me and giving it to me. I go back to our hotel that night and I truly remember the feeling of: ‘I'm jumping off a cliff, I'm about to put oil on my skin. Have I lost my mind?’ I woke up the next morning and I had this clear balanced skin that just felt really good. I still don't know what it was. I assume maybe it was argan oil. I actually have no idea.”


It took her two years to find chemists and formulators prepared to make her labor-intensive formula

“I got turned away from every lab. Nobody wanted to take me… Most skin care is made in six or less hours. Probably every skincare product that you've ever used is made in six or less hours. To make every bottle of the Active Botanical Serum, it takes 21 days. To make every bottle of Active Treatment Essence, 35 days.”

“We're not using extracts, we're not using powders, we're not using off the shelf formulas. We begin with whole plants, some of the most nutrient dense whole plants in the world.”

“It takes a really long time, it's very expensive, and it's also error prone... If you're a formulation lab and you could produce 10 [brands’] products in a day, versus mine in 21 days, the economics make way more sense.”

Less is more

“The most common misconception about skincare? That more is better. That you have a 10-step routine and you think that that is really going to service your skin. The reality is that five of those steps probably are meaningless to your skin and in some ways, probably do your skin harm because it doesn't allow the other products to even do the work that they're supposed to be doing. So, I always think the first thing that anyone should be doing with skincare is scaling it back. Scaling it back a lot.”



She has her girlfriends to thank

“My launch consisted of me sending an email out from a Hotmail account. Just 130 people. Orders other than my mom's started coming in, which was really great, and my direct business was growing. It was all what I call 'G to G', girlfriend to girlfriend… And it was coworker to coworker, and sister to sister, and daughter to mother, and people getting stopped on the street saying, ‘Oh my God, what are you using on your skin?’ We had this really nice growth that way. Retailers did not get what we were doing at all. I got turned away from everyone… They didn't know how to merchandise it because this was at the height of the 500-step Korean skincare program.”

And Gwyneth...

“We're really lucky that we have an incredible group of celebrities that use Vintner's Daughter, and we don't do anything paid, [but] every time Gwyneth Paltrow mentions Vintner's Daughter... It's an amazing name. She's obviously super crazy smart and talented, and has been so generous to us.”


Download the full podcast here, and revisit previous episodes featuring Questlove, Noor Tagouri and Jenny Mollen here.

Continue the party with late-night drinks at Parker & Lenox, a speakeasy that regularly flies musicians in from New York or Buenos Aires to perform at weekends, and for salsa dancing, Club San Luis in Roma Sur is an experience in itself. It has a 20-piece live band, and the dancing is phenomenal.

~ Danielle