Why This Beauty Founder Quit Her Job in Finance to Run a High-End Skin-Care Brand (2024)

Too often, the best beauty stories go Untold, solely based on a person's skin color, religion, gender expression, disability, or socioeconomic status. Here, we're passing the mic to some of the most ambitious and talented voices in the industry so they can share, in their own words, the remarkable story of how they came to be — and how they're using beauty to change the world for the better. Up next: Ozohu Adoh the founder of clean skin-care brand, Epara.

I don't have a background in beauty, and I was doing well at my previous job working in strategy and finance, but I quit everything to create my skin-care brand. I was coming from the point of view of a consumer. It wasn't something I did to make money; I did it from a place of personal need.

I wasn't seeing a lot of representation. It's not only in the marketing — it's not just about slapping a woman who looks like me on your product, even though that's also a problem in the industry. The bigger problem was that the products themselves weren't taking into consideration some of the particular needs women of color have. This is very relevant with things like hyperpigmentation.

Usually the way that brands address hyperpigmentation involves bleaching and lightening people's skin, and I thought that was problematic. I don't want to be changing the color of my skin; I just want to have the best version of my skin. Sometimes people conflate those two things — having "good skin" and altering your skin to look like some sort of ideal. I needed to address that point.

The reason I even thought about creating a brand in the first place is because I was personally experiencing issues with my skin, and it was very hard for the dermatologists I was seeing at the time to diagnose what was wrong. That's when it dawned on me that usually when people with darker skin tones have skin problems, because they present differently, they aren't diagnosed properly. I was trying so many things — medical grade products, cosmetic grade products — and they would only give me temporary relief. It was really frustrating. I finally I decided I was going to do the research, and I started to mess around with different African botanicals to figure out what combination of ingredients actually worked for me.

I had no plan to commercialize my products until people were like, "Oh, your skin has really improved. What's going on?" I let people try it them and then they were coming back to me saying, "This stuff is really good!" That's when I got the idea to launch a brand. Since I was used to buying a certain type of skin-care product, I needed to ensure that the one I was bringing into the market had similar positioning.

I wanted to make sure that women of color could be associated with quality, well-considered, well-presented products.

My biggest challenge was access to distribution. There are certain areas where you have gatekeepers, and if the gatekeepers don't understand what you're trying to do — if the general public sees that you're trying to create a brand for women of color — they ask "Why do have a brand for women of color? We all have the same skin." No, we don't. We probably all suffer from similar issues, but the way those issues present in different skin tones . . . there's a nuance to it, and we need to appreciate these nuances so that when you create a product, there's a broad range of problems you can address.

If you go into many of the corner stores in the UK, you'll see products for women of color that don't look well-presented. I thought, as a working professional with disposable income, I wanted to invest in good products for myself. So why is it when I go to buy products for people like me, the products always look subpar? They just didn't look very nice. So I felt like we needed to change that. I wanted to make sure that women of color could be associated with quality, well-considered, well-presented products.

People are beginning to understand the nuances in catering to a group that has been underserved for a long time. I knew there were women like myself who were willing to spend the money, and I wanted to make sure that when you find Epara in stores, you're being served and considered.

Why This Beauty Founder Quit Her Job in Finance to Run a High-End Skin-Care Brand (2024)


Is skincare a good business to start? ›

Well, the skin care industry might just be your next destination! The beauty of this industry is not merely skin deep. With an ever-growing global demand for effective skin care solutions and heightened awareness around health and wellness, the potential for success is truly remarkable.

Who spends the most on skincare? ›

Skincare splurge

A recent study by Statista found that over a third of Gen Z participants spend on average between $21 and $50 on a single skincare product. The study also found that Gen Z is the top consumer of skincare products of all generations that participated, leading Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers.

What happens when you stop using skincare? ›

Eliminating all products can potentially wreak havoc on your skin, so this is something that I don't recommend,” she says. “For example, if you stop washing your face with a cleanser, dirt, debris, makeup, and oil can build up, resulting in more breakouts.”

How profitable is a skincare line? ›

Private label skincare offers higher profit margins, typically 50-70%, compared to traditional brands due to cost-effective production, targeted marketing, and direct-to-consumer sales. Success hinges on strategic choices in production scale, niche targeting, and cost management.

How much money do you need to start a skincare business? ›

Just like any other business, a successful skin care business requires enough money to finance startup costs as well as a plan to yield enough income to ensure financial stability. How much do you need to have in hand? You can expect to spend anywhere from $2,000 to $30,000 to start a skin care business from scratch.

Is skincare in high demand? ›

From 2024 to 2034, the market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.6%. By 2034, it is anticipated that sales of skincare products will total US$ 3,80,492.2 million. An upsurge in the demand for body lotions, face creams, and sunscreens can contribute to the skincare product market's growth.

What is the #1 beauty brand? ›

L'Oréal is the leading beauty products company with over $40 billion in global sales (Statista) L'Oréal remains the top player in the beauty industry, with around $18 billion more in sales than second-place Unilever.

Why is luxury skincare so expensive? ›

This labor-intensive, time-consuming process often involves multiple stages, from initial product concept to clinical trials, all of which directly influence the cost. High-quality ingredients are another crucial element that can affect the price tag. A skincare product is only as good as its ingredients.

Which doctor is best for skin? ›

A dermatologist is a medical doctor who specializes in conditions that affect the skin, hair, and nails. Whether it's rashes, wrinkles, psoriasis, or melanoma, no one understands your skin, hair, and nails better than a board-certified dermatologist. The skin is an incredible organ.

What is a good serum for the face? ›

If your skin is oily or prone to breakouts, an exfoliating serum that unclogs pores and reduces sebum levels is an excellent addition to your regime. We recommend SkinCeuticals SilyMarin CF, which blends exfoliating acids with 15% Vitamin C and Silymarin (a milk thistle concentration).

Do you really need all those skin care products? ›

While these products can be fun to use, they are not necessary to have in your routine and are often not doing as much for your skin as you think they are. For example, you do not need to have a separate cream for every part of your body.

Which product line is the most profitable? ›

The products with the highest profit margins are those in which the cost to make something is significantly less than the price customers are willing to pay for it. Specialty products that speak to a niche market, children's products, and candles are known to have the potential for high margins.

Which cosmetic products are most profitable? ›

Haircare. Cosmetics is not just about those products you put on your face, but, it is the things you use for your entire appearance. Hair Care products are also among the best cosmetics to sell — dominating 22 percent of the global market in 2022.

How much does it cost to start a skin care? ›

Starting your own skincare business involves various costs. Expenses can include product development, manufacturing, packaging, branding, marketing, distribution, and legal compliance. The investment can range from a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the scale and complexity of your operation.

Is it hard to start a skincare brand? ›

It takes a lot of work to turn a great idea for a skincare product or service into reality, but it's absolutely possible. Learn how to start a skincare line with a few steps, including learning how to identify your place in the market, define your target audience, and create a strong business plan.

How much money do skincare companies make? ›

The beauty industry generates over $100 billion in revenue worldwide. The men's personal care market is projected to hit $276.9 billion by 2030. Skincare is projected to generate up to $177 billion by 2025. Beauty companies spent an estimated $7.7 billion on advertising in 2022.

Is there money in skincare? ›

The good news is skin care is booming. Revenue in the sector hit $21.09 billion in 2023. But maximizing the returns on a skin care business opportunity takes careful research and some insider tricks. This guide will help you drive up your skincare profit margins.

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