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EX1 Cosmetics Q&A

We adore EX1 Cosmetics. With their range of incredible foundations and concealers all perfectly suited for more olive toned skins, they have become an award-winning, best-selling brand. We’re asking their founder, Farah Naz about the brand and her thoughts on all things beauty.

A Chat with Farah Naz

British Asian Farah Naz turned a personal frustration at her limited choice of high street cosmetics into a single-minded passion to create the make up range of her dreams.

Calling on her background as a biochemist, Farah dedicated herself to developing a line of cosmetics that perfectly suited ‘exotic’ skin tones like her own. Since then, the company has gone from strength to strength, with the EX1 foundations regularly selling out because of demand.

We were lucky enough to meet Farah Naz and ask her a few questions about herself, EX1 Cosmetics and all things beauty…

Question: Can you tell us what made you decide to start your own business?
Answer:

It wasn’t something I had planned to get into. I was genuinely frustrated by the lack of affordable cosmetics that were available to women with my skin tone, and I pretty quickly realized that my friends and family shared the same problems buying make-up as I did.

One of the first things I did was to make a trip down to The British Library and read every industry report I could get my hands on. What I discovered, though unsurprising, was still staggering. They confirmed that women with exotic skin tones were being forced to spend up to 3 times as much as their Caucasian counterparts just to make a simple cosmetics purchase.

After reading that, I knew I wanted to change things, and being a biochemist I managed to put my background to good use.

Question: Have you always wanted to own your own business? What tips would you give someone who wants to start their own business?
Answer:

From a very young age I had always loved the idea of having my own business. While other children drew pictures of flowers and stick men, I was always drawing company logos! Despite that, I didn’t take any steps towards it and was planning a completely different career path.

However, I’m glad that I did fall into business, as it’s something I really enjoy doing. I would advise anyone who wants to get into business not to start until they have a concept they truly believe in and are passionate about, as it’s a really long hard road, but totally worth it.

Question: What challenges have you faced along the way?
Answer:

Plenty! It can be difficult to get people who are not in the industry to see your vision and understand your concept.

I have had plenty of doors closed on me in the past, and even had one guy hang the phone up on me while I was mid sentence- which was not particularly good for morale!

You really have to just keep going, and change what your definition of ‘failure’ is.

Question: What would you recommend for someone who wants to improve their skin health?
Answer:

Caroline Hirons and her brilliant blog! Caroline cuts through the marketing waffle to what actually works.

Question: What are your skincare essentials?
Answer:

A gentle pH balanced cleanser, plant oils to moisturize and AHA gels to exfoliate.

Question: What inspires you?
Answer:

Anything that has been created with attention to detail. It could be a beautiful painting or a perfectly manicured garden to a brilliantly written book. To me it reflects the care and passion that someone has put into creating something for others to enjoy.

I am also always inspired by people. Those whom when faced with great adversity, continue to put one foot in front of the other till that period of their lives has passed.

Question: Who do you admire?
Answer:

As a businesswoman I really do like what Tamara Mellon did with Jimmy Choo.

She was effectively competing with brands that had been established for almost a century longer in some cases, and now Jimmy Choo retails alongside those very brands, with just as much credibility as them.

Question: What is next for EX1?
Answer:

I’m really excited about launching a full range of colour cosmetics that perfectly complement exotic skin tones

Question: What are your favorite make up items?
Answer:

Mascara and a good base.

Question: If you were allowed 5 things to take on a desert Island – what would you take?
Answer:

A solar powered tablet with satellite internet (they exist!) a hammock, a swiss army knife, soap and of course a bottle of EX1 Invisiwear foundation for facebook pictures!

A big thanks to Farah for giving up her time and answering our questions.  We can’t wait to see what happens with this amazing brands.

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Laura

Laura

Make Up Specialist

Major fan of scented candles, Make Up brushes and Highlighter. I’m always on the hunt for those Holy Grail products and my dressing table is covered in more beauty products than I like to admit. As an adopted Northerner originally from Brighton, I spend most my days wondering what all this rain is about. My hair isn’t grateful for the move. Currently loving: NIOD Photography Fluid