Vicky Tsai is the Founder of Tatcha, a skincare brand built from the approach that “less is more.” It was during a trip to Kyoto that Vicky discovered a world of pure beauty–and an encounter with a modern-day geisha changed her life. So, after years of working at a global beauty company, Vicky started her own venture, and now splits her time between Japan and San Francisco to run it. Though she’s reached major milestones–such as funding one million days of school for children of need, through her partnership with Room to Read, which benefits from every Tatcha purchase–the road hasn’t been easy. Vicky shares she had to sell her engagement ring to fund the company. Still, her years of work have been worth it. According to Vicky, Tatcha, “was created to share the treasures I’ve discovered along my journeys – this can mean a beautiful ingredient, an incredible artisan, a fourteenth-generation sake brewer, or the stories of our friends and clients.” Below, this skincare guru shares everything she does in the A.M.

4:30 A.M. If I’m home in San Francisco…I take a long shower, which is my best thinking time, using The Deep Cleanse to lift away dirt and debris and unclog pores. I’ll follow it with The Essence (which makes skincare more effective) and The Silk Cream to nourish skin and seal in moisture. I used to hunker down with a cup of coffee and clear out emails, but now I make sure to squeeze in some sort of exercise. It impacts my mood and clarity of thinking, which is the best way to start the day.

6:30 A.M. My daughter Alea is an early riser as well. Once she’s up, I help her get ready for the day and my husband Eric makes breakfast. I love living in the Bay Area because it’s perfectly acceptable to wear athleisure to work. I usually come to the office in head-to-toe comfy clothing, ready to take walking meetings or exercise after work if time allows.

8 A.M. I used to sit in traffic for an hour every day, but now I take a ferry into work most days. I love to watch the sun rise over the water, then walk 2.5 miles to work while taking conference calls. It’s lovely to arrive at the office with 5,000 steps in, calls done, and no traffic.

8:30 A.M. I take some time first thing in the morning to catch up on anything that came through from the skincare scientists at the Tatcha Institute. Because they are in Japan, we often have to touch base right at the end of the day and catch up again in the morning.

9 A.M. These days, work takes me on the road more often than not, so my time in the office is stacked with meetings. On Mondays, we kick off team-wide meetings with letters from clients. Beginning the day with their kind words and feedback give us energy for the day.

9:30 A.M. I spend some time one-on-one with as many people as I can to catch up on what happened in the office while I was gone, and to share learnings from the most recent trip. I especially spend time with our Customer Love team—they are the closest with our clients, and the beating heart of Tatcha.

10 A.M. I meet with our design team to walk through packaging for some upcoming treasures. We all love exploring Japanese art and design for inspiration, and this incredibly talented team brings it to life.

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