We recently had a chance to interview with Vikki Khan, founder of Lily Lolo Mineral Cosmetics to coincide with this week’s offer: A Lily Lolo Summer Eye Shadow Gift Pack (worth $36).
What motivated you to start your own line?
When I discovered mineral makeup there was very limited availability in the UK at the time. It was difficult to get hold of and expensive – out of my price range. Being a passionate makeup lover and knowing what I wanted as a customer, I quickly saw a gap in the market with the potential to provide women with great quality makeup products at reasonable prices.
How long did it take? When was your product line ready for the general public?
It took about one year of painstaking research, planning, and deciding on lines and shades. Our first website went live on August 19, 2005. We sold £110 of products and I was over the moon!
What obstacles did you face along the way?
I had lots to learn. Setting up a business, legalities, obligations, the process of creating cosmetics, marketing, technicalities of websites, payment systems, finding suppliers, understanding competitors – everything was new to me. Also, funding it all – the start-up costs. I started on a shoestring budget of £5,000 and so I had to be ruthless about what I couldn't do within the budget, even where there were things I wanted to do.
Who did you draw your inspiration from?
There isn’t one person that I drew inspiration from. I think my inspiration was drawn from the feeling that all women deserved affordable beauty which is free from harmful and totally unnecessary chemical nastiness. Although, I never imagined it would become so successful. It was a kind of experiment or challenge to me, to give it a go – and things went from there. I’m so thrilled that women all over the world love our products!
What is unique, different or special about your brand?
Our products are lovingly and passionately produced because we care about our customers’ skin. I think that comes across strongly. We’re also providing affordable beauty without compromising anyone’s skin and look - when we say our products are produced from natural ingredients only and kind to your skin, we mean it. Our products enhance natural beauty, won’t clog and even perfect troubled complexions. We also pride ourselves on giving the best advice and service to help our customers achieve their desired look, and our reviews tell us that once customers have tried our products and service, they fall in love with us. But as they say, proof is in the pudding!
Have you or your products ever won any awards?
We’re very pleased that recently, our Pink Champagne Mineral Eye Shadow won the Natural Health Magazine award for Best Eye Shadow.
We’ve also won The Green Beauty Bible Winner award for both of our top selling product categories, mineral foundation and mineral finishing powder.
What, if anything, would you do differently if you could do it over?
I wouldn't change anything at all! I've loved every minute of it and even my worst, most horrendous mistakes have always taught me something important that I'll never forget.
How do you feel about changes in the organic beauty movement?
It's wonderful that women are becoming more aware of what they put on their skin today and our goal is that every woman will consider how healthy a product is before they wear it.
What advice would you offer other novice women entrepreneurs?
If you can't get an idea out of your head then you should give it a go. Don’t be afraid. Seek out as much help as possible, start small and you'll know pretty quickly if it's going to work. Be prepared to work really hard and long hours in the beginning, you'll be doing everything! But it’ll worth it…it’s an amazing experience.
Do you think it is more difficult for women when it comes to business?
We still live in a male dominated business world so it can be difficult for women to succeed. I think the key to anyone’s success is the desire and determination to succeed. If you have a vision then you should follow it. But above all, be true to yourself.
From a personal perspective, I also became mum 3 years ago (and again 14 months ago) and it can now be difficult to allocate enough time to both family and work. I had to accept that the first couple of years would be chaos but I would manage somehow. This helps me not to beat myself up so much, which is half the battle.