Emily Doyle, one-half of the couple behind beauty’s best no-maintenance collection, talks simple pleasures and the energy of her backyard…
Your zodiac sign:
LIBRA, through and through!
Tell us how the constellation Ursa Major played a role in becoming your brand moniker?
My partner Oliver (and U/M co-founder) and I moved to Vermont from NYC in search of a healthier, more balanced life, closer to family and the outdoors. When we were starting Ursa Major, we wanted our brand name to reflect our personal journey while evoking the “supernatural” feeling of using our products. Ursa Major (the ‘Great Bear’ in Latin) seemed like the perfect name since it’s long been used as a navigational aid for finding “True North.” To us, it also serves as a powerful reminder to follow your inner compass and forge your own path in life.
You mentioned your appreciation of simple pleasures — how is that personified in your collection?
Oliver really showed me the beauty of the simple pleasures in life. He isn’t interested in stuff; he’s inspired by small things that can make your day — a perfect cup of coffee, fresh sheets, our daughter’s giggle. We want our products to be a source of happiness for everyone that uses them — a small, simple pleasure that you enjoy and look forward to… skincare really can brighten your day.
What led you to choose the scents that pervade your line? Cedar, spearmint, bergamot, fir… Does your home base in Vermont has something to do with that?
Living in Vermont is a major source of inspiration for our scent blends. We love developing refreshing natural aromas that evoke the great outdoors in a nuanced/subtle, yet visceral way. We’ll often take a familiar, native ingredient, like cedar or spruce, and layer zingy and unexpected notes like bergamot, grapefruit and mint to add our unique twist. We get a lot of feedback on the way our products smell – I think they’re very distinctive in the personal care space.
I love that your products speak to a sort of “anti-regimen” regimen. Describe that to us?
We strive to make low-maintenance, highly rewarding natural products so you can spend less time in front of the mirror and more time doing what you love. We want to keep it simple — and not overwhelm you multi-step products or elaborate routines, so although our formulas might be complex, our product line is simple to understand and a real pleasure to use. Washing your face in the morning shouldn’t be stressful — it should be a moment you look forward to and enjoy! We just don’t believe you need two cleansers and four different moisturizers to have beautiful, glowing skin.
Do you have a favorite Ursa Major item?
It’s like choosing a favorite child, but if I had to pick it would be our Fantastic Face Wash. It’s the most invigorating cleanse and it leaves my skin so bright and happy.
Your favorite outdoor activity:
Hiking with the family — Oliver wears our daughter in a pack and our boxer pup, Lola, leads the way. It’s so fun and relaxing to head out on the weekends with the whole crew. This winter we’ll try it on snowshoes!
What physical place you’ve ever visited has stirred your heart the most?
I’d love to say some exotic, far-off place, but for me, nothing compares to NYC… the energy, the diversity, the community, the opportunity, the potential – it’s the most amazing city. I loved living there, and now I love visiting.
Your go-to pick-me-up snack for a day outdoors:
Anything with peanut butter!
Ursa Major’s mantra:
Enjoy what counts.