We love to celebrate other women in business here at AOL & the duo behind INÈS store are the latest we had the opportunity to chat to.
Starting a new business is always a challenge and comes with its highs and lows but Sarah and Zoe, the duo behind the curated skincare destination, have a very realistic and methodical view on their strengths and weakness, inspiring them to grow their support network and to develop their dream company in the right way. We felt inspired by their passion and work ethic.
"Whilst our shared background certainly helped establish and launch INÈS as a brand, there has been a lot we have had to learn- and are still learning! As a two women show, we manage a lot of elements independently.
We’ve adapted a balance of self-education, trial and error, and outsourcing expertise for tasks beyond our scope. For example neither of us have advanced skill in design, web build, or digital marketing, so we have worked with people that do. Our strategy for where we fall short is to bring in the experts, which is challenging with limited capital, so we’ve done this incrementally." Say the Duo.
We sat down with INÈS founders Zoe and Sarah to find out more about the conception of INÈS, how they stay organised and what skincare products they can't live without.
First things first, what is the story behind INÈS Store? How did the idea come about for you two?
We are best friends, and always knew we wanted to create a business together. When both our paths brought us back to NZ, the timing to start something was perfect.
The concept of INÈS was initiated through a conversation on how to source our favourite skin and haircare products, as they weren’t available locally. We identified a gap for the affordable dermo-cosmetic skincare that had built the foundation of both our routines since having access to these products living overseas.
It started with the iconic French pharmacy brands, and developed from there.
We’re both passionate about selfcare, beauty and wellness, so it was an exciting move for us. We wanted to create a space that was more than just a curation of beauty and haircare, but also an informative and inspiring platform for those feeling a little overwhelmed with what can be an intimidating industry.
What were your backgrounds in prior to INÈS? And were there areas you didn't have experience in and had to learn a lot about? What was your strategy with this?
Sarah: My background is in PR in fashion and beauty. I came from an environment working with brands, from start-ups to established names.
Zoë: For several years I did the Sales and PR for Zambesi and then moving to London saw a drastic career change working in Project Management for a global Pharmaceutical Company
Whilst our shared background certainly helped establish and launch INÈS as a brand, there has been a lot we have had to learn- and are still learning! As a two women show, we manage a lot of elements independently.
We’ve adapted a balance of self-education, trial and error, and outsourcing expertise for tasks beyond our scope. For example neither of us have advanced skill in design, web build, or digital marketing, so we have worked with people that do. Our strategy for where we fall short is to bring in the experts, which is challenging with limited capital, so we’ve done this incrementally.
It’s really helpful to talk to people around us- those who might have experience in an area where they can offer insight or direction
As women in business its important to have a strong support network - who are yours?
INÈS would not have grown to what it is over the last few years if it wasn’t for the support of the community we’ve established . Some of our earliest customers have been our biggest cheerleaders, they’ve identified INÈS as a platform they trust in and continue to support as a small business.
Also, all the women we have profiled have personified INÈS and been instrumental in growing and inspiring our audience. We are so grateful for their willingness and enthusiasm to collaborate with us.
What do you want customers of INÈS Store to feel when they purchase your brands/products?
We want our products to be a practical and utilitarian addition to their daily life.
We go by the philosophy of a less is more approach- encouraging simplified beauty regimes with quality products that are efficacious and trusted. It’s important to us that each product serves a functional purpose for our buyers- whether it’s a simple cleanser to take off the day, a serum to target a particular skin concern, or one of our ingestible products to support them in their daily life.
And most importantly-we want our customers to feel confident in their purchase. That they know how to use the product properly, and that it’s suitable for their skin or hair type.
We encourage direct communication with us so we can talk through skin and hair recommendations and personalised regimes.
Who inspires you both?
Each other. It’s been a journey launching a business and working towards shared goals, and we individually bring different strengths and perspectives to support each other through it.
And whilst we are extremely different by nature, we are like-minded in our approach to lifestyle and interests. We value each other’s opinion, taste and ideas and draw inspiration from each other daily.
A lot of younger women would look up to the beautiful site & brand you have both created - what is your advice for younger women thinking of starting their own business?
Sarah: Feel confident with your idea, and just make whatever first step it is to solidify that you are committed to your goal. Even if it doesn’t fall within a step by step format of how to launch a business- whatever it takes to get the ball rolling, do it.
Zoë: Just do it - start young, if you can! And if you don’t want to forge ahead alone – find a business partner that you trust, respect, are inspired by and of course who have fun with
What are your top 5 skincare/beauty products you can't live without?
- Sun Potion Ashwaghanda
- NIODs Copper Amino Isolate Serum & MMHC
- Bioderma Sensibio H20
- Christophe Robin Lemon Cleansing Mask
- Codage Body Milk
- NIOD SDS Mist
- Sun Potions He She Wu and Pearl (And Tocos)
- Leonor Greyl Shampoo Crème Moelle de Bambou & Serum De Soie
- Retinol Reform
- CODAGE Night Cream
Whats your top tip for organising your skincare/beauty?
By adhering to a less is more approach-It’s easy to have a lot of different products on the go, cluttering up the beauty cabinet, which in turn can clutter a routine.
I keep the products on frequent rotation on my counter top at easy reach, and all my occasional use products in a sectioned area of my bathroom drawer.
I try and do spring cleans of my drawer too- getting rid of products that no longer serve a purpose, (or are expired!) and stick to using products I know I regularly use and finish.
I like to keep all my products in a single row, labels facing outward, at eye level.
That way you can easily reach for each one without rummaging or knocking any over.
And of course, sticking to the approach of less is more. This will not only avoid clutter and simplify your routine but will enhance the efficacy of your products - as skin responds so much better to consistency as opposed to jumping around too much, or overwhelming skin with too many products.
We suggest a regular ‘spring clean’ of products - gift products that don’t have a place in your routine and bin products that have expired.
1. Pen and paper ‘to-do’ lists-always. I usually write these the night prior while my mind is ticking.
2. Tidy environment and workspace- things can get very messy with product deliveries, packaging, orders etc, so for me it’s really important to have this all clear and tidy before I can focus. It’s impossible to work in a messy environment.
3. Siri-I always verbally add reminders to my phone by talking to Siri. It's life-changing.
1. I keep notebooks and notepads everywhere… I wouldn’t remember anything if it wasn’t for my to-do lists. There is a notebook beside my bed for middle of the night ideas and things I’ve forgotten to do. A note pad in the kitchen for household to-do’s for the family, a list of ideas and concepts on my phone for INÈS, a list for people I need to call or message back (not my forte) and of course a daily diary for INÈS too.
At the beginning of each day I collate the various lists and that’s my daily to-dos.
2. Keeping things tidy is imperative to me feeling organised. My day will feel hectic if it’s started with rushing out the door with beds not made and dishes in the sink … it sets a hectic tone for the day and its irritating to think of getting home to a mess. I try to always leave the house tidy and start my day with everything in order (I’m often late in the mornings…)
3.Yoga 3-4x a week – I truly believe it gives me clarity, chills me out and helps me re-focus.
When it comes to stationery - what's your go to product? A diary, notebook, or notepad? And do you prefer it monogrammed? If so what would you pick for yourself?
A notebook, and monogrammed adds a nice personal touch. We recently got the most elegant INÈS monogrammed stationary from An Organised Life and I love it.
All three! We have just got our first monogrammed diaries and notepads from An Organised Life and will never look back.
And most importantly - what are your goals for INÈS Store in the next 12 months?
We are most excited about growing our offering, and placing more focus in the wellness space. The correlation between inner health reflecting outer beauty isn’t a new one, but one we are really passionate about.
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