This week we interview multi-award winning Entrepreneur, Alchemist & Qualified Allergy Practitioner Dr. Clare Eluka. Clare, 26, is a pioneering innovator in the beauty and wellbeing industry. After working thirteen years in the beauty sector for global brands, Clare has now developed her own skincare range, Premae. Since launching on December first the brand became Award nominated just 40 days after launching quickly gained international press coverage. To add to the success, Premae became the world’s first beauty brand to be Vegan and Allergy U.K Tested and Certified as Allergy Free. Clare shares a few words her business lessons she has learned so far.
What is a day in the life of Clare like?
It is so varied, but it often starts like this: I wake between 5-6.30am. Pray. Look at my vision board which is in my wardrobe mirror as a source of inspiration and visual goal planning. Switch on the electrical like my phone and laptop. Read any overnight news. Answer emails. Check in with staff. Assist with picking and packing orders. Chase new business like wholesale accounts.
I love that on your website, Premae is tailored for individual skin tones and ethnicities with sensitive skin what made you think of the concept?
I’m a citizen of the world. I see that black women have the same needs as white and Asian women. We all just want to be accepted as beautiful, worthy and important. We want to have our needs met by brands and be supported on our journeys. I took all the things that I saw other brands were neglecting and put them into my own brand; excellent expert product knowledge, the highest customer service and the complete diversity of skin tones and skin types.
Did you suffer yourself with skin conditions?
Yes, I previously suffered from Eczema and Acne. I had awful skin 8 years ago. I became a Vegan to remedy that. But my skin symptoms came back, so i took a closer look at my skincare and saw that the things which made me feel ill were present in my beauty care – ingredients like wheat and lactose. I decided to create a range that was free-from those pollutants.
How involved are you in the day-to-day operation of Premae?
For the first time in almost 5 years, I’m not very involved at all. It feels good to train people and let them run the brand. They’re better and smarter than me. I don’t need a big team, just dedicated women with a passion for the mission. Shoutout to Semaicy, who came on board as an intern and has rapidly become our marketing manager. I am training her to become our wholesale manager so she can then train someone to take over her marketing role.
Please take us through your initial process, where did you start?
I started mixing and blending raw ingredients in my studio flat, in Kings Cross. I was 24 with bad skin and low self-esteem. I had dreams of becoming a Hollywood makeup artist or a famous actress, but my confidence was always lacking because I felt ugly because of my skin and my ‘allergy issues’. Empowering myself by making jars of cream and blending cleansers was a double healing process. It took my mind off of feeling crappy, and it also made my skin look beautiful. By 25 I was selling the products at Spitalfields market, testing it on people. I worked on the branding, got the products certified by Allergy UK and launched the brand Dec 1st, 2011. We turn 5 this Dec 1st. Look at God!
What advice do you have for our #BEYOUROWN reader about overcoming barriers faced when launching a new product into the market?
Today, there are even fewer barriers to entry. Therefore there is more perceived competition. Make sure you really understand your market and audience. Do you have one? Who will buy your products? What makes it truly unique? Can you work for the small company and invest and produce your goods through their brand? Save money and time by collaborating.
One last question, what is the most important business lesson that you’ve learned, that you think if somebody were going to start their own business, is the one that they should keep in mind?
Mind your own business. Your only competition is you. Make sure that you smash your goals and year on year improve your profits. That is the only real goal in business. There is some many faking until they make it, it’s important that you make it so that you don’t have to fake it, by simply setting realist goals and working towards them. Start with a small budget and maximise your creativity by enlisting support from interns and helpers.
Do not be afraid to try new things but also do your research so you don’t waste time on things that won’t take you to the next level. Learn how to say NO early. When you’re new, you feel like you should jump on everything to get your brand ‘out there’ but not everything is aligned to your brand or values.
Lastly, please have fun and take regular breaks. It is good to rest yourself, chill out and play hard.