Would you quit a well paying job with security to follow your dream? I'm always inspired by momtrepreneurs so I am thrilled to share my exclusive interview with the women behind basq. Kelli Kenny and Lauren Parisier are taking the skincare industry by storm. Not with elaborate marketing campaigns (though there products sure are beautiful), but by putting in the best ingredients they can resource and by listening to their customers--moms like you.
First, tell us the story of the brand'??s launch?
LP- Our idea for basqwas simple - products that delivered real results without sacrificing beauty or safety. We worked with the best minds in beauty, skin science and aromatherapy to create products women could literally fall in love with. While most people are focused on the baby we wanted to give some well deserved attention to mom and mom-to-be.
While pregnant with my first child, I was working on product development for a large skin care company and researching ingredients. As a skin care expert, I was amazed to learn about all the ingredients you want to avoid during pregnancy and how hard that can be.
Where did you find your partner?
LP-Kelli and I worked together in a corporate setting and had a lot of professional respect for each other as well as being great friends. We both always wanted to start our own businesses centered on the needs of women and felt we had a great synergy to be successful together. The idea was a natural one that grew out of our own pregnancies.
At the time, Kelli was also pregnant and similarly couldn'??t find anything worth using for her own needs. Kelli'??s background in finance and marketing made for a great fit. We did tons of research and spoke to literally hundreds of women. We found there was a lot of confusion and discontent with the products on the market for pregnancy and post pregnancy. While everyone wants something that makes you feel good during pregnancy the products out there were the opposite -- bad smelling, greasy and basic with nothing in them that would seem to work.
Where you got the name?
LP-The name basq was born out of those conversations--we heard every woman ask for just a few minutes to herself. Whether she loves or hates pregnancy '?? it'??s a time where you take better care '?? wouldn'??t it be nice to have something that made you feel good. Why use a greasy butter when you can use something more effective that is also beautiful! Everyone should take a moment to basq '?? the simple addition of gorgeous aromas and luxe textures can transform a mood instantly. So the name is all about basking in your pregnancy and basking in the products.
What'??s the most important feeling you'??d like your customer'??s to get from basq?
KK- A blend of enjoyment and relaxation with a little indulgence on top. We want her know that she is getting the best in quality and efficacy but in a very beautiful way. Our products were created using the best ingredients and aromas you typically find at a spa. Every time someone tries the line, we get the same reaction '?? there is an instant moment of aaahhh '?? I needed this! Followed by '?? I want this '?? it feels like a spa.
It'??s a challenging time to own a business. Why do you think basq is growing when other brands are contracting?
KK-It'??s all about the product - deliver something people really and truly love that meets a real need without a hefty price tag. Most skin care brands with luxe ingredients are expensive. We went the opposite direction, we wanted to over-deliver on the results and beauty and let her feel happily surprised by the price. Each basq product addresess a real issue '?? we focus on the problems that she wants/needs to resolve but do it in a beautiful way. The fact that it smells divine, feels gorgeous, with beautiful packaging and reasonably priced, makes it something she will buy without a tremendous stretch. We also find women gravitate to higher quality when caring for themselves '?? especially during pregnancy when there is such a focus on ingredients and finding effective solutions.
As a mom, what do you bring to your line of beauty products?
LP- basq literally began with our issues during pregnancy. When you experience something first hand you bring insight into the whole process from the physical to the emotional. I broke out during pregnancy and knew that most drug store solutions contain ingredients you want to avoid. Faced with few options, I went to the dermatologist and walked out with something expensive that smelled awful. I had to believe there was something better out there '?? it was just no one had bothered to create it.
Kelli had trouble with achiness in her legs and back. The sports creams smell was overwhelming to her pregnant nose. We both worried about stretch marks. One of my favorite oils sold as a pregnancy product had ingredients on the don'??t use list while the drug store options were heavy, greasy and had a bad track record with too many reports of stretch marks. We knew the issues personally and wanted to create something that traded us all up not down. When you think about creating for yourself, you can be really picky!
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What'??s your beauty regimen in the morning?
LP- I have very fair skin so I always go for gentle cleansing and sunblock. I am a fanatic for our face cleanser - I am so much less reliant on face moisturizers because it has really put my skin back in balance. I will use the cleanser at night to polish away all the grime of the day. In the morning, I will apply a light moisturizer with sunscreen and follow with simple eye make-up.
KK- I use the Rebalancing Cleanser every day in the morning followed by a tiny bit of light moisturizer with sunscreen. Sometimes I will use our Cuc
umber Tea Eye Gel in a thin layer all over my face as the moisturizer/primer instead. Then Foundation/Blush, Mascara and lip gloss before I leave the house!
When do you feel you'??re most beautiful?
LP- When I'??m laughing with my kids.
KK - Snuggling/falling asleep with my kids.
For expecting moms, what should they be looking for on a label? What products should they avoid?
LP- You really want to be careful with all the anti-aging and acne treating products out there because they have ingredients that aren'??t great for pregnancy. The best advice is really to check with your doctor if you are trying anything treatment oriented. Your skin is super absorbing so it matters what you put on top. We always tell women to avoid any anti-aging products with big claims to be on the safe side.
Do you look at your products as an investment and why?
KK-We think your skin as really worth taking care of '?? no matter what stage of life you are in. Fashions change but your skin is yours for life. When it comes to pregnancy and post, the more you do to prevent damage the better. Once you have damage, you are trying to lessen what shows '?? a lot of it doesn'??t go away. It is far better to do a bit more ahead of the problem than trying to fix something that really is broken.
Staying at a large firm would have been so much safer than launching your own brand. Why take the risk?
LP- I love the freedom to create something great and not worry if it pays out immediately based on a big company'??s terms. We have the chance to experiment and learn without worrying if it is an immediate success. While a lot of work, there is also a flexibility to my schedule that I couldn'??t have in the corporate world. I can be with my kids at the big things and know that I will get my work done '?? even if it'??s when the rest of the world is sleeping.
KK'?? We had a lot of confidence from the first focus groups '?? both on the idea and our ability to jointly make it work. It'??s exciting to take the plunge and put all your energy into to something you care deeply about. Creating a viable business from scratch '?? the research, product development, design and sales '?? has been so rewarding. Wearing all the hats of a business is incredibly tough but also very extremely interesting and ever changing. We have all the responsibilities and intellectual stimuli of a large corporate environment but with tremendous flexibility and pride in having our own business.
Your products look and smell so lovely. Is this more expensive and why spare the money?
LP-The textures, aromas and ingredients found in basq are on par with what is used in the highest end, prestige lines. For what and how basq delivers, comparable brands sell for a much higher price. Are we more expensive then drug store brands? Yes, but that is such a different ingredient and efficacy story so it is very hard to make real comparisons. Customers love basq products and feedback is that they are very well priced for all they deliver.
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