When a box of 1’Lux Beauty products landed on my desk earlier this year, I immediately thought “hmmm, these look nice!” before putting them aside to try later on, along with a pile of other new beauty products and samples I’d received around the same time. When receiving beauty products is part of your job (tough life, I know!) it can be difficult to decide which ones to start with, and too easy to forget about something that gets lost in the mix.
Since the start of this year also marked the start of my pregnancy, I spent far more time than usual searching for the best body lotions and oils to start putting on my body–both for stretch mark prevention and what would be safe for my baby–and I remember thinking that I needed to dig out the 1’Lux Velvet Drops Daily Botanical Body Lotion to see what it was all about. After all, searching for and testing out the best body lotions hiding in my beauty closet (and beyond) had become a bit of a new obsession.
The minute I opened the bottle and pumped some lotion into my hand I immediately thought “oooh, this is niiiice,” soon followed by “ahhhhh, this smells AMAZING.” It was rich, it was creamy, my skin felt like heaven and the ingredients list was filled with natural oils and butters that sounded so good I wanted to eat them.
Since then, I’ve happily slathered my body in this lotion until every last drop of the bottle was gone, and I believe it is fully responsible for the fact that my now 8.5-month baby bump “looks so smooth and perfect!” as my midwife recently exclaimed (another midwife also noted how incredible I smelled when I went in for a visit shortly after applying some of said lotion on my bump).
Needless to say, I was not surprised when I heard that this new Edmonton-based beauty brand was named a winning product for the 2019 SELF Healthy Beauty Awards because it really is just that good. Naturally, I wanted to know more about who was behind the brand, so keep reading to meet Sina Zere, the founder of 1’Lux Beauty.
Business Name: Zone Luxury Beauty Inc., home of the 1’Lux Beauty brand!
Name & Title: Sina Zere, Co-Founder
Location: Edmonton, Alberta
Education: B.Sc .Genetics (McMaster University), Masters in Biotechnology (University of Toronto), MBA (Richard Ivey School of Business)
Edit Seven: Tell us about your brand, what do you do?
Sina Zere: 1’Lux Beauty is a skincare brand for body + lips. One lux represents the base unit (SI) of illumination and we liked the idea of 1’Lux Beauty products being the building blocks of your beauty routine for luminescent skin and lips.
As a Canadian brand, our definition of good bodycare encompasses not only helping skin survive, but also thrive in harsh weather conditions. Our desire for the unicorn of bodycare goods- beautifully packaged, luxurious, clean ingredients, generously sized, and easily incorporated into our daily beauty routine- led to the creation of a simple collection of intensely nourishing, thoughtful bath and bodycare.
On a personal note, moving to Alberta and its cold, arctic weather system meant I had to radically change and up my usage of bodycare products. I started really looking at all the products I was buying and was shocked to see that nearly all the brands I had been using were the fast food equivalent of beauty products – cheap, highly toxic, and damaging! I don’t think I ever really knew what healthy skin looked or felt like.
E7: How did you start your business? What inspired you to start?
SZ: I’m a beauty professional who owns a chain of wax bars in Edmonton called Buff Wax Spot. I’m entrusted by clients to provide smooth results. For years I searched for easy, clean, multi-tasking skincare for the body and lips with high performance ingredients that I could recommend to clients for use at home. My co-founder and husband Brandon is a Canadian Olympic gymnast who needed a zero-chemical cure for his extreme dryness exacerbated over the years by chalk and chafing. We couldn’t find any on the market, so we decided to make our own products.
E7: Why do you love what you do?
SZ: In a selfish way, I get to create my own dream products and tweak and fiddle until I know it’s just right. Because of my intensive science background, I like to pour myself into the research and formulation of the products. There’s a real sense of pride you feel when you can present a product to the world and know that nothing has been overlooked and that it’s pretty darn close to being perfect.
E7: What makes your business special?
SZ: We’re a husband and wife duo and I like to think that means we’ve created a truly gender-neutral aesthetic and fragrance when creating 1’Lux Beauty. Women, men, everybody really, can use our products!
E7: What makes your product special?
SZ: For starters, we take our time coming up with product formulations and testing out products. By the time we’ve launched a product, its been in the works for anywhere from six months to one year. We carefully examine ingredients to make sure they’re safe and give products to our family and friends to test and provide us with feedback. Our products are certified cruelty-free under PETA, Leaping Bunny- approved and when possible, vegan. Our manufacturer and suppliers are committed to ethical, traceable and sustainable ingredient sourcing and production with zero testing of ingredients and final products on animals. When you purchase our products, you can be sure you it works for every skin type and will deliver on its promise.
E7: What have been some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from running your business?
SZ: I own a chain of wax bars here in Edmonton called Buff Wax Spot and as the sole founder and owner, have been running that business for over three years. I thought I had running a business down to an art but starting a new venture with your husband is very different. I’ve had to compromise where I didn’t want to and be respectful of his work style. We argue about where to invest in the business. It’s really nice to have a partner though and split the work 50/50. He has clear strengths in area I don’t and vice-versa. What’s truly wonderful is to celebrate successes with someone who’s just as invested in the business as you are.
E7: What have been some of the benefits of being a skin scare start-up in Edmonton or Canada in general?
SZ: What’s really great about launching locally is that Albertans are so supportive of local businesses. Canadians love Canadian businesses! Edmonton is a young city (the median age is around 35yrs) and side-hustles abound. There’s a real curiosity and interest in people’s ventures, no matter how nascent or niche. The only downside is that Edmonton is a little small and so resources and exposure is limited.
E7: What is your #1 piece of advice to keep in mind when starting your own business?
SZ: Have lots of financing available to you! Credit cards, savings account, etc. Starting a business eats a lot of cash and you need to have cash on hand to grow your business. Try to find a bank that supports entrepreneurs and can set you up with a low-cost or no-cost bank account and a low-interest credit card.
E7: Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting your business?
SZ: Oh boy. I wish we’d had a solid marketing plan that encompassed pre- and post-launch. In retrospect we’ve realized how much work we ought to have done. We signed up with a great PR firm earlier this year and they’ve been very good at catching us up.
E7: What is a challenge you’d tell future entrepreneurs in the natural skin care business to prepare for?
SZ: Its never been a better time to enter the natural skin care arena. That being said, be patient. Like really patient. Try to touch your business in some way every day and trust that your small, seemingly inconsequential actions will one day translate to a big payoff.
E7: Your product, 1’Lux Ultra-Shea Velvet Drops Daily Botanical Lotion has just been named Editors Choice for the 2019 SELF Healthy Beauty Awards. Congrats! How does it feel to win and why do you think your product is such a winner?
SZ: It feels incredible, like the greatest stamp of validation ever!
E7: What are some other products that you’d suggest new-to-your-brand customers to try and why?
SZ: I’d recommend our SRSLY Buffed Dry Brush and the Cocoiste Soft Lip Scrub. The dry brush is so invigorating and awakens the skin, in addition to sloughing off dead skin. Many people are new to lip scrubs- we don’t realize how much dead skin accumulates on our lips! Our lip scrub is really gentle so you can use it as often as you like.
E7: How do you stay organized, balanced and motivated?
SZ: Since I own and run two businesses, I try to segment my work week, so for example, Marketing Mondays, Finance Fridays, Throw-it-at-me Thursdays, etc to keep me focused on a particular area of business, but it’s hard. I’ve accepted that getting derailed is another way of staying flexible.
E7: Who are some of your mentors/role models?
SZ: My beloved friend Judi who is 84 years old. She helps me grapple through the low moments when I’m questioning everything and have lost my motivation and willpower.
E7: Do you have a daily or regular ritual you practice that you love?
SZ: Yes! I am *obsessed* with sleep hygiene! It’s actually my major resolution for 2019. I stop drinking fluids about two hours before bedtime. The house is set 18.5 degrees an hour before bedtime. We have blackout blinds and curtains, and I have special sleep socks, an eye mask and a white noise machine. Cell phones are set to airplane mode and kept outside the bedroom as much as possible. I use the CALM app and will treat myself to a sleep story when I’m feeling especially restless.
E7: Where do you go or what do you do to look for inspiration?
SZ: I love HGTV and home decor magazines. I find inspiration for colour and style combinations I wouldn’t have thought worked well together.
E7: Who is the 1’Lux customer and where can your products be purchased?
SZ: The 1’Lux customer is a woman who cares about what’s going on her skin. She’s tried drugstore brands and found they were ineffective or caused irritation. She’s trendy and on the pulse of new beauty. She loves supporting up-and-coming brands. Currently, our products are located at LUX Beauty Boutique, Buff Wax Spot, Beauty Depot and Foxy Box.
Use code SELF20 for 20% off your order! Promo code valid until Sept. 30, 2019.
(Story by Editor-in-Chief, Gracie Carroll)