Today we’d like to introduce you to Raisa Mirza.
Raisa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
For years, I’ve had a career in pr/marketing, working for global agencies and brands. I gained an immense amount of knowledge and experience which ultimately led me to Rella Beauty. Not many people know this, but I met a girl during my trip to India in 2018 that really affected me: Sana, age 15. At the time, I was working for a big brand, focused on their range of beauty products. For some time, I had been feeling as though nothing I was doing on a day to day basis had any social impact, even in the slightest. Sana’s 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 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. I came back from the trip and finally put pen to paper on how I could do something that could give girls like Sana that feeling of readiness & confidence. Listening to a podcast where Blake Mycoskie (TOMS founder) was being interviewed. A lightbulb went off – I realized this was something I could do: beauty that gives back, with every purchase. 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. We launched the brand with lipstick because this is something that’s an easy pick me up, it’s a small luxury that has a visual impact.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Honestly, it goes up and down. There are some weeks where things seem to be going great and truthfully, those will be followed by a week or two of no sales and stagnant social media growth, etc.
Particularly in the wake of Covid-19, it’s been hard to break through the noise online. Everyone, from individuals to brands, are using social media right for a variety of reasons more than ever right now. As a tiny brand, it’s been a new challenge to carve out a sliver of space among the people and brands that have larger followings, larger brand equity.
Looking at the whole picture, it’s been a path of education. I can’t say it’s been easy or hard as there are moments where things go smoothly and moments where that’s not the case. I learn something new every single day and when I have moments of self-doubt, I find a bit of peace in the fact that I’m constantly learning, which is a win.
With our various unique selling points (more detail on that below), I thought it would be a bit easier than it has been to make a mark. Again, it’s a loud space, and we’re cognizant of that so it’s a constant game of tweaking and testing to reach people with whom Rella Beauty will resonate.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Rella Beauty – what should we know?
Rella Beauty is the buy-one-give-one model of beauty where for every unit purchased, we give one to a woman in need via our various non-profit giving partners. Dignity not Despair, based in LA, was our first partner! (and we absolutely love them).
Our lipsticks are vegan, cruelty-free, free of harmful ingredients and are made in Italy, therefore they are made according to EU standards of cosmetic production. The design is super unique & thoughtful, allowing for precise application with the triangle shaped applicator.
We’re proud of our model that gives back. In a society where so many of us have easy access to things that make up our self-care regimens, we think it is vitally important to make sure we help others who perhaps don’t have easy access. Lipstick is a small luxury, one that many of us don’t think twice about and likely have multiples of. You’d be surprised how many women don’t have access to lipstick but do in fact want it as a means of self-expression. Many women in need are often supplied with the necessities, but the little things go overlooked:
“I feel like when I am wearing makeup, I am feeling so confident about myself. Personally, I haven’t heard about this, providing refugees with makeup and hygiene products. People usually tend to bring food and clothes and water as the basic needs of the human being. But I think when it comes to taking care of yourself, I think hygiene products and makeup, especially for women, it’s a necessity as well.” – Zohra, Afghanistan via Dignity not Despair
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Relentlessness… & patience.
As a first-time entrepreneur, this experience teaches me new things on a daily basis. There are days where I feel enlightened and there are days where I feel like giving up. The success we’ve seen thus far all comes from the days where I go forth with a relentless, go-getter attitude. The brand has been live for only five months and in that five months, we’ve gotten great media coverage, have gotten our products in the hands of awesome influencers and have had sales. This has been a result of emails, calls, numerous follow-ups and frankly, not backing down. Patience is also key. I get ahead of myself and think we aren’t doing enough, we aren’t going to make it, this whole thing might fail. But I have to constantly check my own attitude – Rella Beauty has existed for five short months, this is just the beginning and there is hopefully a long path ahead of us!
- Confidant: $32.50
- Soul Sister: $32.50
- Darling: $32.50
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- Website: www.rellabeauty.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick van Eijk