Raisa Mirza started working on Rella Beauty with a focused vision of empowering women around the world to feel more empowered and confident, through the gift of beauty. After learning how impactful small luxuries can be, she was inspired. Her goal is to make sure Rella Beauty promotes intentional buying through good quality product with a strong, tangible social impact.
Thank you for joining us Raisa can you tell us a little bit about your background story as the founder of Rella Beauty?
So happy to be part of this, very exciting! I’m originally from the San Francisco area. I grew up in the Bay Area, moved to San Diego for school, married a guy from Southern California, so all in all, a very CA girl!
After college, I moved back home and started down the PR career path. I had amazing opportunities to work at some of the best global agencies like Ogilvy and Edelman where I learned so much, from so many intensely intelligent people who I’m thankful I can still call on when I need some advice.
After agency life, I decided I wanted a bit of a shift. I wanted to learn more about marketing from a digital perspective. Everything from social media to email to e-commerce. I was able to find myself in a social media role that quickly evolved into a more holistic e-commerce marketing role and alas, that really kicked off the next 5 or so years of me being in very digital marketing focused roles. I’m a consumer girl through and through so working for fashion & beauty brands was the crème de la crème for me. I worked at both Sephora (corporate in San Francisco) and Dyson (specifically on the Supersonic team, so very beauty-focused). I love working in the beauty industry, it truly excites me. It’s something I know and understand on a personal level which I personally feel allows me to do my best work.
I was visiting family in India, the winter of 2018. but I met a girl that really affected me: Sana, age 15. Her job was to clean the place we were staying in. I was getting ready one day and noticed her watching me. She said I looked nice. I offered to curl her hair, but she shyly declined because she said she had to finish her cleaning work. She continued watching me and cleaning, simultaneously. Truthfully, I couldn’t get it out of my head. I kind of desperately wanted her to feel the bliss of having her hair done, a little pampering.
This interaction stuck with me & prompted so many swirling thoughts and ideas in my head. What about her right to self-care, to feel confident, beautiful, special… the list goes on. For me, my getting ready regimen is something I enjoy, it makes me happy. Simple as that. There’s something to be said about the small things that can really affect your state of mind, whether it’s your solo morning coffee time, journaling, stretching, working out, doing your makeup, reading, taking a walk away from your desk, praying, etc. We all owe self-care to ourselves. Where we can, let’s encourage each other to take the time we need, the things we need. And we’re all allowed to have different definitions of “need.” Meeting Sana was the catalyst for me taking this beautiful risk, Rella Beauty.
Fast forward and my husband and I packed and prepped to move to Amsterdam for his job. I left my job at Dyson (truthfully, my most loved career moment to date!) and found myself in the land of bikes, trying to find a job. Given I didn’t have a job, I finally had the free time and mental space to be creative, to finally put pen to paper on my idea. One thing led to another and I was able to get Rella Beauty off the ground. Here we are!
Can you tell us about Rella Beauty as cruelty-free vegan beauty brand we see today?
With so many beauty brands and options out there, I personally gravitate towards ones that I know might cost a bit more but don’t scrimp on quality. That said, it was imperative for me that these lipsticks remained as clean as possible.
We strive to steer clear of harmful ingredients (silicones, parabens, sulfates, phthalates, talc, phenoxyethanol, BHT, BHA, formaldehyde and artificial fragrances). Adding on, our products don’t use any animal products nor are they tested on animals. In order to achieve the utmost quality, I chose to have Rella Beauty products made in Italy where ingredients, processes, formulas, etc. are some of the best in the industry.
Rella Beauty follows a buy-one-give-one model which is at the core of who you are. For every unit purchased, you give the same product to a woman in need. Can you tell us more about why you chose to implement this initiative?
For so long, I was feeling like though I was working every day, what was I doing that actually impacted people? That actually helped people in need? I wanted to do something that could give back, that could make a difference, even if it’s a small difference in someone’s day.
As I mentioned earlier, for so many of us, makeup is a means of confidence and readiness. Whether it’s lipstick or eyeliner or mascara, most of us have a few items we really can’t live without. A pop of colour on the lips can totally change someone’s look, someone’s whole mood. I wanted to give this small luxury to women who may not have the access or means to it.
Do you have any current mentors? Either professionally or personally….
Most definitely. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to seek advice from people I worked for many, many years ago like Jamie Lynn Sigler, who is founder of J Public Relations. I was introduced to an editor at a tier 1 beauty magazine who has also shared so many valuable tips. I have close friends/family who works for well-known beauty brands who have been very helpful in guiding me, advising me on what questions to ask, etc. I have personal mentors who guide me through day to day life in addition to being my biggest supporters when it came to getting Rella Beauty off the ground.
What platforms are you using as marketing tools to promote Rella Beauty?
Email, social media (mainly Instagram and partnering with influencers), traditional PR and media placements.
Do you currently use any apps or tools to help the functionality of Rella Beauty?
I use PLANN to help me plan out Instagram. Additionally, Shopify.
What 3 solid tips would you give someone looking to launch a beauty brand into the industry?
- Make sure you have some sort of differentiator. Whether it’s the product, the tones (how do they fare on certain tones like Olive, for example), or a unique message.
- Don’t be let down! Competition is a good thing and it will always be there! Within 2 weeks, I was already feeling like I made a mistake. That there was someone out there doing a thing and they’ll do it better than me. I was reminded by one of my mentors that everybody goes through this. It doesn’t mean that I can’t also do it, and do it well. This process also taught me that there are so many people within your network who are happy for you, who will root you on! They might even be people you barely speak to, but they’re right there in the sidelines, following, liking, commenting, sharing, posting. On the flip side, there are some people you might expect it from who go silent – let it go. It’s not worth your mental space.
- Be relentless. Within 2 months of being launched, Rella has seen some fabulous PR moments. People always ask me, “how does it happen, how did you get that, etc.” It’s dedicated time and effort to crafting the right messages for editors, making them personal, following up, following up again, and maybe again, be willing to send samples, etc.
What has been one of the most valuable lessons so far throughout your business building?
This kind of echoes what I say above, but it’s a combination of being relentless and diminishing self-doubt. I can be quick to second guess myself, going down the path of “what did I get myself into?” There’s no room for that when you’re trying to build something! You have to keep going. Another thing is accepting that failure isn’t a thing. Even if I don’t sell units and I never make back the investment I made in this, I still learned a lot and I still launched a brand. That is something. That is not failing.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
To me, #BEYOUROWN means to follow and trust in the journey you are on. This can be different for everybody. For me, my faith is something I hold near and dear to my heart. It gives me motivation, keeps me calm, and allows me to know that any which way things go, there is always a plan and a reason. Just because person A launched a brand and got 60K followers within 6 months doesn’t mean I need to do the same. And if I don’t, it doesn’t mean Rella Beauty can’t have a bright future. I am on my own journey, and I am so happy about that.
What does 2020 look like for you throughout the rest of the year at Rella Beauty?
My main priority is to just build awareness for Rella Beauty. We officially launched on Nov. 24, so it’s only been about 3 months and already I feel quite good about it. I have to continue down my path of relentlessness to make sure I can bring Rella Beauty front and centre wherever the opportunity allows. My goal is to be able to GIVE 1,000 units to women in need by the end of the year and around the world. I would like to do two big trips: 1 to India and 1 to the Middle East to distribute the product.
Website link: www.rellabeauty.com
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