Building a beauty brand takes drive, determination and unflinching courage. We caught up with five men at the helm of a thriving beauty business to take a peek behind the scenes and learn the secrets of their success.
Farouk Shami, Farouk Systems, Inc. – Chairman & Founder
My brand… “We are a company of hairdressers for hairdressers. I defied the odds by creating the first ammonia-free hair color, finally making a safer work environment for stylists, customers, and the environment.
In the beauty biz…”I just celebrated 50 years in the industry.”
Most rewarding… “Providing my fellow hairdressers with a safer and environmentally-safe workplace. I am able to listen to their needs and help create products and tools that will improve their craft.”
The secret to my success… “I’m ‘American by choice.’” That defines my American Dream story so perfectly. I left my homeland in Palestine and traveled to the United States on April 1, 1965, with only $71 in my pocket. As a child I often heard about the opportunities in America, so I set my sights on becoming successful and wanted to impact the professional hair industry and the world. There is no other place in this universe that allows all people – including immigrants – to live out their dreams like the United States.”
Excited about… “My son, Basim Shami. Now the CEO, he also heads marketing and has launched some very exciting products this past year that have created quite a buzz in our industry, such as the CHI Touch 2 Dryer, the CHI Escape Cordless Styling Iron and Curling Iron, the CHI Tea Tree Oil Systems, and our new hair color, Shine Shades.”
Raymond Matts, CEO/Designer of Raymond Matts Aura De Parfum
My brand… “A contemporary line of signature perfumes. The Aura de Parfum collection was blended to reflect futuristic abstract scents that float on a neck. It is a line of pure liquid emotion!”
In the beauty biz… “I’ve been in the fragrance industry for 30 years starting with Firmenich and IFF, two major fragrance houses. I then worked with the brands of Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder.”
Most rewarding… “Meeting the women and men who smell my line for the first time and hear them say, ‘They don’t smell like anything I’ve smelled before.’ It is even more rewarding to hear one say, ‘I’ve found my new signature scent.’ My goal has always been to design fragrances with such beauty that they bring two people together.“
The secret to my success… “Tenacity. I don’t know how to give up as it is never easy to put yourself out there with something new and different. Each day brings new challenges that you never imagined, and each day you have to find a way to rise above. In this industry, success doesn’t come overnight and one needs the tenacity to climb and get your product out there.
Excited about… “After 25 years of designing for other brands I now had the opportunity to be creative with some of the best perfumers in the world designing without limitations. The line is Raymond Matts the Aura De Parfum Collection. The style and concentrations of each Aura de Parfum is a new concept – these are built with a twist. The terms, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum are now addressed as an ‘Aura de Parfum,’ where the base notes are reworked unlike modern perfumes, which end in stronger notes. The constructions of the top and heart notes are illuminated for a brighter experience without sacrificing the potency and quality of each scent. The finished blend becomes an ‘Aura’ of a perfume.”
Matthew Waitesmith, Artis Founder
My brand… “Artis has redefined the makeup brush and is dedicated to the creation of the modern cosmetic and makeup brush. Beautiful brushes, remarkable results!
In the beauty biz… “For over 40 years!”
Most rewarding… “Having an objective of helping to create beauty. When beauty is the goal, it means you are lucky to be surrounded by fantastic people and influences that contribute to it every day.”
The secret to my success… “Imagination. Artists are blessed and cursed with the quest to satisfy their imagination. But without it, humanity doesn’t move forward or evolve.”
Excited about… “Artis will be previewing a new brush design collection – Digit Skincare 5 Brush Set in Coffret – in June. This extraordinary, limited edition set reflects the latest technological advances from Artis in fibre evolution. The brushes use CosmeFibre SC, is a proprietary engineered fibre that’s tailored to be used with skincare formulas. The fibres apply skincare formulas [like emollient creams, serums, and moisturizers] more evenly and efficiently than conventional brushes. This offering will be a Neiman Marcus/Bergdorf Goodman exclusive.
Tilmann Gruber, Founder and CEO of T’zikal Beauty
My brand…”T’zikal is derived from the Mayan word meaning sanctiﬁed or blessed, and it reﬂects our approach to beauty and belief in the purity of true self-care. Our hero ingredient, oil from the ojon palm nut (elaeis olifeira) was ﬁrst discovered by the Tawira tribe of Honduras; the Tawira are known as “the people with beautiful hair.” Drawing on over 500 years of tradition and now backed by modern European science, we created T’zikal – a range of hair and beauty products that unlock the secret to luxurious hair and skin.”
In the beauty biz… “For over 25 years.”
Most rewarding… “The ride, the journey is the most exciting part of this project. Our philosophy of discovery, while focusing on our core principles of natural and luxurious formulations, has received widespread recognition already. Seeing this level of interest and acceptance is super exciting and gives us a glimpse of the opportunities ahead!
The secret to my success… “Persistence and resilience to pain! If you believe in your idea or concept, you need persistence and a high level of resilience toward pain, as you will be tested time and again. Once you embark on this journey, there will be people that either cheer you on or meet you with hesitation. To balance both sides of reactions and continue to not lose sight of your goal is what enables me to pursue this path.”
Excited about… “Our luxurious Curl Deﬁning Hair Serum. This is an amazing styling product for all hair types. Designed as a leave-in styling aid, it gives you ample ways to style and ‘treat’ your hair. Our Curl Deﬁning Hair Serum smoothes frizz and ﬂyaways for long-lasting shine and enhanced moisture. It’s also is a great way to achieve amazing styles while blow-drying your hair.”
Jeffrey James Shoe, President of Jeffrey James Botanicals,
My brand… “Jeffrey James Botanicals is based on simplicity and efficacy: Highly sophisticated blends of botanicals that offer real and lasting results, and simplicity in the number of products I offer that work for both women and men and for all skin types.
In the beauty biz…”At least 20 years.”
Most rewarding… ”To be able to make a difference in people’s lives. [It’s rewarding] each time I meet a customer in one of my stores who uses and loves our products … to hear their story and see their confidence renewed. I receive an overwhelming amount of love and testimonials from my customers. I am always grateful to be doing this. It’s a dream come true.”
The secret to my success… “Love. I love what I do. I love making the cleanest and most nourishing products I feel are in the market today. I love my team. I love my customers.”
Excited about… “The Light Super C Serum. This is the next generation in Vitamin C skin care. The Light is an intensive anti-oxidant repair serum that defies aging, restores elasticity, improves collagen production, increases skin firmness, vitalizes, and protects skins dermal stem cells. Skin will become visibly brighter, smoother, and absolutely radiant.”