It began with a desire to have clean skin…
Lauren Napier, our ladyboss of the week and bonafide beauty expert, skincare consultant and Founder of the Lauren Napier brand has worked with Oscar winners, music and pop icons, indie film stars, silver screen legends, a Beatle, a Bond, and an American President. To date, Lauren’s work has been seen in Vogue, Vanity Fair, Essence and more magazines. Other works include long standing comedy institution Saturday Night Live and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
What makes Lauren’s idea stand out is her natural approach to beauty especially in an era defined by skinny brows, layers of eyeshadow and lots of lipliner. ”We all want to feel comfortable and confident with what lies beneath. There is beauty in taking it off.” She says… scroll down to enjoy our interview with her
Hello Lauren, It’s great to have you all on LLA, Can you share briefly describe yourself and your business – Lauren Napier?
Thank you! I am happy to be on LLA. I am a woman building a beauty empire. Lauren Napier Beauty is a collection of skincare designed to make women feel good about themselves and their skin with and without makeup. We all start and end the day makeup free, the goal is for our customers to always feel empowered. In a world where women take everything on, there is beauty in taking it off.
You moved from being a makeup artist, to owning an eponymous brand, tell us the story behind it? What would you say inspired Lauren Napier?
I was a makeup artist on some of the highest rated shows on TV. I was traveling between jobs and on a flight I came up with the concept for Lauren Napier Beauty. I had a package of makeup wipes for my trip, my wipes dried out. That was the moment where I realized that there was a problem that I could solve!
When you launched your business, did you have prior knowledge on how you could run one? How did you make it work?
To be perfectly honest, I had no idea. I still laugh because there are some days where I still (and I say this laughingly) don’t know what the heck is going on! I am blessed to have a successful business, I did not have the expectation that this would happen or happen this quickly.
What’s the biggest misconception about entrepreneurship that you’ve heard, how would you describe running a business?
The biggest misconception is that you don’t need rest and that you can just hustle your way in to success. I am a hustler, I am also tired! It’s important to have the drive to take your business to the next level. No business can make it with a founder who lacks passion and drive. In a brand’s first stages it’s all about you, the founder and if you are not well your business suffers.
You introduced “Cleanse & Flaunt by Lauren Napier”, what inspired these products, how did the idea come about? How has pushing worked out?
Cleanse by Lauren Napier was the first product. It was designed for the widest swath of skin conditions. Normal and sensitive, it’s made with water cucumber, chamomile and a few more special botanical ingredients to cleanse and nourish the skin. Flaunt by Lauren Napier was developed to benefit dry and maturing skin. My skin is dry so I wanted to give those who are like me a boost of noni-fruit and a rich blend of ingredients to add vitality to dryer and maturing skin. In April 2019 we launched La Rose by Lauren Napier which is infused with rosewater and star fruit to balance oily skin and blemish prone skin. It’s divine, it the new top seller on LaurenNapier.com. , If you are shopping Lauren Napier Beauty outside of the USA, shop us on Net-A-Porter.com.
Reviews about your business are absolutely eye catching and amazing! What is your secret to great customer service and success?
I believe the secret to success is having a product that is high quality and solves an immediate problem. Lauren Napier Beauty does that – it solves the problem and makes our customers feel good while doing it.
As an entrepreneur, you must have encountered different kinds of people, what have you learnt most and what will you say has been the highlight of your journey so far?
There is no single encounter that highlights the journey. Every day I meet or experience a customer review or comment, a buyer, a member of the press or even an investor that helps me understand my business and navigate this journey. Everyday it’s challenging and rewarding some days one more than the other. The highlight is looking back, taking a breath and acknowledging how far I’ve come.
What are some of the challenges you’ve faced in the course of running your business, and what’s kept you going?
There are so many! Again, I say that laughing but with a tinge of seriousness. The biggest challenge has been scaling. If your business is growing, there is a time where you will have to scale up. You will need money and you will need a staff. That has been the most challenging part. You are as strong as your weakest link, so it’s paramount that you find a talented and passionate team to help execute your vision.
What’s your five-year plan for your business?
I have been working in the beauty space for the majority of my life. It is my goal to continue to develop skincare products for women (and men) who are not fully represented in the beauty space. I want Lauren Napier Beauty to be a household name for skincare, black entrepreneurship and enterprise. I started out with a small idea, today, I am doing it for the culture!
Can you share some strategic and helpful tips for upcoming female entrepreneurs to be successful in this path?
I can share and I am happy to share!
1. Be sure you have your finances in order. It’s uncomfortable but when you start making money you’ll need an accurate accounting to get any type of funding.
2. Develop a business plan. People say this, what does it really mean? In the beginning, it doesn’t have to be formal but you have to have one. It’s like a vision board for your business.
3. Design a professional website, not just a social media page.
4. Keep your social media page on brand. Social media is an extension of your brand and should always represent your brand well.
5. Work hard but take breaks.
L A U R E N N A P I E R B E A U T Y
The LLA Lady Boss Series is a weekly interview series that highlights the achievements and entrepreneurial journeys of African female entrepreneurs. The idea is to showcase the Leading Ladies who are transforming Africa and the African narrative through enterprise and business.
It is an off-shoot of Leading Ladies Africa, a non-profit that promotes leadership, inclusion and diversity for women of African descent.
If you know any kick-ass women of African Descent doing phenomenal things in enterprise, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and she could possibly be featured.