MASTER CHEMIST EXTRAORDINAIRE | FORMULATION SPECIALIST | EDUCATOR | MOMPRENEUR
My mom was an account manager at Lancôme. Growing up I went to sales and beauty events regularly – inundated with lipsticks and cosmetic bags. I learned the cosmetic industry at a very young age. Those adventures led me into becoming a makeup artist in my teens and early twenties. In fact, I did make up for my family and friends, and on occasion, weddings too.
Ten years ago, in Los Angeles, California, I decided that I wanted to start my own cosmetics line. The “lipstick effect” was in full force at that time and that’s where I began – lipstick. I started what I thought was the process of creating a lipstick line, right? I purchased $5,000 in lipstick that year as market research. I analyzed lipstick fragrances and ALL things tied to it. From studying shades and molds, package research and ingredient comparison – I did it ALL. At that very moment I developed a novel concept. However, once I attempted to take my product to the market place I was met with a harsh reality of a 25,000-piece minimum order quantity (MOQ).
That forced me to pivot towards creating formulas for friends in the entertainment business. I used novel ingredients and incorporated them into modern formulations. I’m an adventurer by nature – open to trying anything once. No idea is too crazy, no ingredient is too rare. I’m well-traveled and will travel to source rare and sustainable ingredients.
Passion – What Ignites My Engine?
Why cosmetics? Have you ever gotten your makeup professionally done? It is next to heaven. You know that feeling of leaving a salon? A facial? A luxurious bubble bath? All of those sensory experiences are created by personal care and cosmetic products. Many people don’t think of soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, or hand sanitizer as cosmetics. When most people hear the word “cosmetics”, their minds go to the color cosmetics most women wear to enhance their appearance. In fact, most men don’t fully realize that they typically use 4-5 cosmetic/personal care products daily. Mind blowing right?
My service providers always stated during my sessions early on in my career, that they wanted to create their own product lines using custom creations they developed in their multiple years of service. Early on, I wanted to brand products but ran into financial challenges attempting to meet high MOQs of most manufacturers.
I always felt that using a private labeling line was cheating for me because I am a chemist. I knew I had the capacity and creativity to bring new products into the market by listening to what trends were popular in conjunction with practitioners who were identifying as the best for skin, hair or products that made certain types of makeup applications last longer. The further and further I got into my career, the more I learned about the challenges that businesses faced by introducing new products into market. I also learned how to market products and substantiate claims.
I arose from a health-conscious family that didn’t allow red meat (not for religious reasons). My vegan grandfather was always searching for natural alternatives to harsh medicines to ensure better living. I adopted these habits in adulthood. I also took actions into reducing the synthetic ingredients I used in my everyday life. I’ve replaced lotion with coconut oil; hot oil treatments with a combination of natural oils like olive, shea, coconut, black castor and almond oil.
Like many ethnic women, I moved away from chemical hair straighteners and learned a new way of formulation essentially. I taught myself the best combination of materials for my unique hair. I regularly avoid silicone, and I use a combination of oils instead. I started avoiding sulfates, well before consumers decided sulfates were bad.
As we can see, most products are created from people recognizing a need or a problem and in turn creating a solution to it. For example, beauticians typically create products using combinations across multiple lines to create desired effects.
Knowing where small business pinch points are is essential to their success. Some people are great at formulation or idea generation and need to understand how to take that concept to the next phase. Some need assistance in tweaking formulations to improve stability. Some businesses require assistance with regulations to ensure their ideas are compliant. Other companies need assistance in sourcing new raw materials or getting into larger scale production.
My happy place is behind a stand mixer and a hot plate. It’s the genesis of most all things revolutionary.