Posted on July 11 2018
This week, we are catching up with one of our favourite founders - Lauren Napier. A hugely successful makeup artist, Lauren was working with the likes of Lady Gaga, Amy Schumer, John Legend and co when she discovered a problem with existing cleansing wipes and a gap in the market which led to her creating and launching her own product - CLEANSE by Lauren Napier. She has since gone on to launch FLAUNT - a pro-aging cleansing wipe that takes off makeup but also which tackle adult acne, dark spots, and dry or rough skin and has appeared in a myriad of publications from Vogue to Essence, Forbes and Wired.
Here, we learn more about the launch of FLAUNT, how the business has grown and some of the obstacles she has overcome to reach success. Here's her story:
Newnham: We last caught in at the end of 2015 - what have you been up to since?
Napier: In 2017 I launched FLAUNT by LAUREN NAPIER. FLAUNT is the answer to dry, tired and exhausted skin conditions. The ingredients include Noni extract, water, aloe, Vitamin K, lycopene and selenium. Designed to improve skin’s vitality and ability to self-hydrate.
Newnham: How has your brand and business evolved and what social channels have you found helped with marketing?
Napier: LAUREN NAPIER BEAUTY’s evolution has been natural. I have found a good balance between understanding where I want to take the brand and identifying my customer’s needs. Hopefully we never lose that synergy and will continue to grow together.
LAUREN NAPIER BEAUTY has been fortunate and received quite a bit of critical acclaim. The brand has been featured in Essence, Vogue, InStyle and Condé Nast Traveler. I’ve also used social media to talk about the collection, launches and also network with fellow brand owners.
Newnham: Your products are stocked by some major retailers - how does one go about initiating those relationships and are there any obstacles you faced?
Napier: It takes courage and persistence. These retailers are inundated with pitches. You’ve got to make your presentation stand out. We live in a time where information is literally at our fingertips, so a little research will take you a long way.
I’ve been very fortunate as far as obstacles go, however most of the obstacles have been financial. I think this is a challenge faced by people of color and speaks to greater issues of limited access to capital, nepotism in business and black family structural wealth.
It’s well documented that I launched my brand with a tax refund and by literally saving my lunch money. At one point, I had the demand without the supply. I stopped working to run my business, the incoming and outgoing expenses were upside down. I didn’t have family money or credit to rely on but I was determined, creative and persevered. I worked with my retailers and manufacturers to get ahead of issues and resolved my cashflow difficulties.
Newnham: What problems - if any - would you say success brings?
Napier: I wouldn’t call it “problems.” I believe you take the good with the bad. There is a perception (especially with the widespread use of social media) that you’re living your best life and in a way you are. You are also a real life human being who's navigating real life circumstances along with the daily newness, excitement and stresses of growing a brand. It’s exhausting - that’s the biggest problem.
Newnham: And who/what has inspired you on your journey?
Napier: To be frank, I am a loner and don’t enjoy the social structure in the workplace. I knew that I wanted to launch a product. It took time to do that. I was my own inspiration, my former bosses and colleagues were my inspiration.
Nenwham: What's next for you?
Napier: 2019 will see the next products in the collection. LAUREN NAPIER BEAUTY targets various skin conditions and making our users feel comfortable within their own skin. The newest and most highly anticipated product is going to be a game changer.
Lauren Napier Website / Shop / Instagram / Twitter / Facebook