Sangre De Fruta’s Allison Audrey Weldon Parlayed Her Fashion Background Into Creating One Majorly Chic Beauty Brand

by Freya Drohan

Everything happens for a reason—and in the case of Sangre de Fruta founder and CEO Allison Audrey Weldon, trading in her London-based fashion career for an unpredicted return home to Vancouver led to her most fulfilling chapter yet. With its glossy black packaging, covetable branding, and formulas that are as delicious to use as ‘Sangre de Fruta’—blood of fruit!—is to say, it’s no wonder the product line for skincare, bodycare, haircare, and more has found its way into the repertoire of beauty tastemakers around the world. Here’s the backstory; from the seed of an idea to a name that’s now become synonymous with luxury pampering. And on that note, keep your eyes peeled for some exciting news regarding the Chelsea Hotel Spa very soon… 

We know the name came from a poem poignant to you, which inspired your journey to launching the brand. Tell us more….
Yes, the name Sangre de Fruta was inspired by a Pablo Neruda poem. I found it in a book that has original Spanish on one side and English on the other, and I was deeply moved by it. When I was developing the brand, I was trying to figure out some hard things in my life, and I found a depth and solace in wisdom from mentors and friends and artists who had a better understanding of human struggle and darkness than me—including Neruda! I feel I grew up in a culture that didn’t deal as well with the darkness of human experience, so at the time, it felt like a side of the world opened up as I developed a better understanding of it.

How does the name encapsulate what the brand is all about?
For the Sangre de Fruta brand, I want to dive a bit into that and celebrate a fuller story of beauty, the human experience, and pleasure—with beauty from the natural world. We, of course, look at the rose blooms, but to see and appreciate the decay and lifecycle, brings such richness, and I find that far more interesting. When I refer to pleasure, I mean the pleasure of the bloom is so much better in context with the thorns and dirt, insects and all. My products are formulated to connect with the senses, and so I want my products and brand and messaging to connect with a fuller picture of beauty. That’s why ‘blood of fruit’ made sense to me. Also the blood of fruit is referring to the mystic element of plant ingredients—like the unknowns about DNA and life force in human blood, the nectar, and essence of plants that have a mystical life force.

Allison Audrey Weldon (Lauren D Zbarsky)

You began your career in London, working in fashion? What brought you back to your native Vancouver?
I was absolutely devastated to leave London. I was working in fashion but had found a niche at The Future Laboratory, that was about the cultural impacts and driving cultural forces behind fashion and brands which I found endlessly fascinating. But when I got back home, I did connect again to my West Coast roots, and as much as I was living a dream job in London, traveling to Paris for work, and what not, I realized how much I missed the access to the outdoors. I could see that getting grounded in my home town could be a good thing. I didn’t think I would stay on the West Coast, but I’m very happy here now, further remote, living on a small island with my husband and kids. I’m actually on my way to Paris today, and I haven’t been in over a decade, so I am very excited to reconnect with the person I was when I lived in Europe and all things Paris!

Love that. What values were most important to you when you tried to settle back into life in Vancouver? And how did all that life change lead to launching Sangre de Fruta?
It wasn’t such an intentional pivot—I was kind of forced to get my life together again due to personal circumstances. I was applying for a million jobs and I just didn’t find a fit, but I knew I had something to offer, so I pulled together all my skill sets and passions, and just worked on what I knew best and deeply cared about. I didn’t see a way into a job that I liked in Vancouver. I either wasn’t qualified or it didn’t exist here—there were so many more job opportunities in London in the areas I was interested in. But I also didn’t have the means to get back to Europe at the time, so the only solution I saw was creating what I wanted to do for myself. And that was the start of Sangre de Fruta!

You studied under a collective who led a holistic medicine apothecary in the ‘70s in Kitsilano, Vancouver—how did you find them and how did they guide you as you prepared to launch the brand?
It was by chance meetings, and informal learning. I was lucky enough to meet people who were interested in teaching me and I drank it up! I’m so grateful for this step in the journey that got me started and I am always looking to learn more from experts in their fields, and wisdom in life!

How does your fashion background inspire the branding of the product?
I’m not completely sure, as design and brand is so subjective, but I think having a background in fashion has given the brand a broader lifestyle appeal, as I didn’t design and brand the products like true skincare. I probably developed it more like a fashion brand—not intentionally, but just because that’s what I knew best.

(Carl Ostberg)

Tell us about your ingredients and what marks Sangre de Fruta apart?
My first product, the Botanical Body Cream, only has ingredients that are so safe for the skin that you could eat them—not recommended, but you get the gist. [Laughs] The formula was developed more like a chocolate or ice cream recipe than skincare, using simple whole ingredients and artisanal techniques. We source botanical ingredients from around the world for the best of the best, and source locally when we can. The business is at the size now that many brands at this point would start mass manufacturing and adding more harsh preservatives and cheaper ingredients. I’m dedicated to keeping it artisanal, improving our techniques, our ingredients, and always looking for better, more beautiful components.

Ancient Egyptian beauty regimens, as well as love rituals and natural remedies also inspire the brand. We’re intrigued!
When I was sourcing ingredients for the first product, the Botanical Body Cream, I dove into what was historically used for skincare, perfumery, and healing. I found that Ancient Egypt had so many interesting rituals and use of botanical ingredients in medicine. I love the story of their use of shea butter to protect the skin from the sun and wind, charcoal under the eyes for protection from the sun and for beauty, and I learned the tales of the essential oil trade, and how they were treated like gold. I discovered here that they used ingredients for not just one purpose; but for beauty, medicine, and perfumery. This is where my fascination with the ingredients deepened. The history and story and use behind each ingredient are poems in themselves. It’s a dream to work with them all and combine them to create my own healing potions and scent stories.

We’d also love to know about Bowen Island! What’s it like living there?
Bowen Island is a Pacific Northwest rural dream: a small, tight community with access to nature. It’s extra special in that it has its remoteness, but it is just a 20-minute ferry from Vancouver, and especially since 2020, it is attracting people who want to bridge both worlds; rural and city life. The winters can feel long and grey, and there are exciting power outages and days where we are snowed in—which are both quaint and inconvenient! Overall I love it, it’s been great for raising kids. My current goal is to fit more travel into my life, and see more cities and have more cultural experiences abroad.

A little birdie told us something about Sangre de Fruta and the Chelsea Hotel Spa….
Yes! It’s such a dreamy partnership. We are currently working with them to develop head-to-toe treatments in a collaboration. We are working with holistic aesthetician, Colette Yeomans, and incorporating classic herbal apothecary infusions, adding beautiful clays, and mixing and layering our whole collection into the process. When we add in herbs and clays, we are drenching the skin with many needed bioavailable minerals and nutrients that we lack, providing the building blocks for healthy skin, body and mind. The botanical infused rituals are created to invoke pleasure and revitalization of the senses. [Editor’s note: Yeomans is a renowned holistic skincare expert with over 20 years of experience and a waitlist of thousands waiting to get in her treatment room.] 

What else is coming up for the brand in 2024 and beyond?
We have some planned product launches in the home and natural perfumery category, as well as in skincare, particularly for spas and professional use. Beyond product launches I’m most excited for the interesting, brand-aligned partners we’re connecting with in the hospitality, travel, fashion, and wellness industries, and for connecting with our DTC customer base more. I have so many dreams and ideas of where the brand can go, so we’ll just keep doing what we do by creating artisanal products, sticking to our values, having fun with creativity, and seeing where that takes us and what it brings!

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