A Beauty-Preneur’s Journey: In Conversation with CosmoSafe
Our founder and CEO, Atima Lui, sat down with CosmoSafe’s CEO, Angela Ivana and talked about her journey in beauty (that eventually lead her to starting NUDEST) on episode four of their “Beauty Vault” podcast. CosmoSafe is an online platform that “combines beauty education and tech to empower beauty professionals to accelerate their career and achieve success,” as noted on their website.
In the podcast, Ivana invites Lui to guide listeners through her entrepreneurial journey in hopes of educating and inspiring them to also achieve their own goals of mastery in the beauty industry. Before launching NUDEST, Lui was looking towards building her career in marketing. Fresh out of Harvard business school, Lui pictured herself working for a large tech company, but when it finally came time to sign with a company, she felt like her calling was elsewhere.
“When I signed to work with a large company, it just didn’t sit right, it wasn’t exciting. I can imagine the people who follow CosmoSafe love being their own boss, and controlling your own schedule, and learning new things on your own terms,” she said. “That’s why I decided to start my own company in order to enjoy those things, that freedom that comes with being your own boss.”
But what was she to be the boss of? At first, Lui wanted to create her own fashion brand.
“In the nude space, I started looking at hosiery, lingerie, shapewear, shoes—items you wear on your body that can change the way you feel about yourself—because if you put on one type of nude and it doesn’t match your skin, it can feel like you’re wearing someone else’s skin,” she explained to Ivana. Lui wanted people to feel comfortable in their own skin, with their shade of nude. But as she began talking with other entrepreneurs and people who have built companies, she realized she wanted to do something unique and would differentiate her from other companies in the fashion and beauty space.
In our world today, technology drives most of our progress and is the way of the future. So Lui, with this in mind (and a software engineer for a brother) began developing the first version of technology that helps match skin to different products that is the basis of NUDEST today. The next step to fully realizing her company: a team.
“Getting the help that I needed to grow my company beyond just me [was exciting.] Because I love working on it and it’s fun having the control over the work, but if it’s only you working on it, it can only grow so big,” Lui said. “I feel really blessed to have had the opportunity to inspire others to follow in this vision that I see for NUDEST truly as the Pantone of skin tone, the ability to create a language around skin.”
With 18 people now on the team—consisting of a marketing team, designers, engineers, and writers—NUDEST has been able to make strides with the technology the company prides itself on. Lui and her team are developing machine learning technology to analyze human skin while advocating that nude is for everyone.
“…What this means is: we have a computer brain in the cloud that gets smarter every time we teach it new things,” she said. “And what we are teaching it, of course, is to look at and analyze skin tones. We are doing this by sending our machines machine photos of people from all across the color spectrum.”
So far, 11,000 people have sent their selfies to NUDEST. [Send us your selfies!]
With her team and tech, Lui and NUDEST are ready to take the beauty industry by storm. As Lui continues on her entrepreneurial journey, taking a break and maintaining her self-care has become just as important in her life as a beauty-preneur. “[Balance,] it’s an iterative process, “she said. “I’m constantly working on it, but what I’ve started to do is look inwardly at what Atima wants and needs as opposed to outwardly (talking about social media as you [Ivana] have mentioned) and comparing myself to others and that type of thing.”
Listening to one’s body is important as a boss-babe. Simple things like knowing when to take a break and relax can help you become more efficient and balanced as a boss. Lui found that cooking and refraining from work on the weekends helps her relax and refresh.
For Lui and her unique journey in the beauty industry, it has ultimately been about both the highs and the lows, and her learning that both of those things are okay.
“So that is what the entrepreneurial journey has been like—and to be honest, Angela, this past year has been the first I’ve really learned to embrace that process of being your own boss and starting your own company and celebrating the ‘lows’ just as much as I celebrate the highs,” Lui recalled. “I’ve been talking to a lot of people lately, just giving them this advice to see the lows as a part of the process; that it’s all about learning, and if something’s difficult it’s because you’re growing, you’re doing something new, and you’re learning to run your business differently.”
Listen to the full interview HERE!