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An Interview With BYBI Founders Elsie And Dominika

An Interview With BYBI Founders Elsie And Dominika

To celebrate our ‘Empowerment’ box, I’ve been interviewing a range of inspiring women this month. I’ve already spoken to Scarlett Curtis and Georgie Coleridge Cole. Today though, I’ll be chatting to founders of natural beauty brand BYBI, Elsie and Dominika.

Together, these two friends expanded their clean beauty blog into a 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand, developing products that empower people to take control of what they put on their skin.

Hi Elsie and Dominika. What a pleasure to meet you! Before we discuss the success of BYBI, could you tell me the backstory of how you met and how you came to found Clean Beauty Co together?

We were both working in digital advertising when we met. The wellness movement was gaining momentum in the UK and we were both very much into clean eating, fitness and beauty. We were careful about what we were putting into our bodies, and so we became increasingly aware of what we were putting onto our bodies too. We started paying closer attention to the ingredients in our beauty treatments, and quickly realised they were full of water and fillers and contained few active ingredients.

We started to take control of exactly what went into our beauty products.

That’s when we started to take control of exactly what went into our beauty products. We made our own at home, experimenting with recipes and sharing them on @cleanbeautyinsiders. We then decided to document our journey, sharing our natural beauty recipes, advice and tips. That’s how our online following grew.

Creating and launching your own successful beauty brand is no mean feat. What led you to make the leap from beauty bloggers to beauty creators by launching BYBI in February 2017?

Creating our clean beauty blog before starting the BYBI brand gave us time to immerse ourselves in the market and really understand where the gaps were.

After trying lots of natural skincare brands and making our own products, we realised there was a clear gap in the market for a beauty brand that upheld great ethics around sustainability and ingredients, but was also appealing to a mainstream beauty consumer.

How did you know the time was right and that your business could be successful?

When we got our book deal with Penguin, it really felt like a turning point. To have an international publisher validate our ideas made us feel like it was a really good opportunity for us to go full-time on the business.

You started Clean Beauty Co to ‘empower people to take control of what they put on their skin’. What makes your skincare different and how does it effectively empower people?

Before launching BYBI, most natural beauty products on the market felt niche, alternative and a little old fashioned, and yet the actual products themselves perform really well.

We wanted to make natural products that look great on your bathroom shelf, but also have the ability to transform your skin.

We wanted to make 100% natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare appealing to a mass market in a way that no other brand was offering: natural products that look great on your bathroom shelf, but also have the ability to transform your skin. BYBI Beauty provides transparency in our ingredients and innovation in our formulations to bring you high performance beauty that works, one hero product at a time.

At GLOSSYBOX, we try to build a community of subscribers that lift each other up. How has your partnership helped you be better business women?

Having a business partner is amazing: someone to share the highs and lows, sense check decisions and basically have someone that is going through exactly the same journey as you. Being a founder can be quite lonely, so we’d definitely advise having a partner.

Outside of your duo, what’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Don’t wait for perfection.

Since setting up BYBI, what has been your most rewarding memory?

Every day brings new challenges, which only seem to grow as the business grows! Our key challenges are often around working in a very large and very old fashioned industry. A lot of what we’re trying to achieve as a business challenges the norms of the rest of the industry so things are difficult, time consuming and often more expensive. It doesn’t stop us though!

A lot of what we’re trying to achieve as a business challenges the norm of the rest of the industry.

Our most rewarding memory was definitely going into the flagship Sephora store on Champs Elysee and seeing our products there.

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HOW DO I LAND THE DREAM RETAILERS AS A BEAUTY BRAND? . This is us goofing around outside Sephora after our launch meeting with them last week 🤪 It's a dream come true to launch with a retailer like this but it didn't come without some bloody hard work. Here are our tips: 👀Be visible. We met Sephora at Beautycon, where we stood 8am-7pm talking non-stop to consumers, influencers and buyers. We are tirelessly present on social media. We hired a PR agent from early on. The two of us jump at the chance to appear on any panel and attend any networking event. Being present is key, ask yourself: where might a beauty buyer hang out (both online and IRL) and get your brand there. 🕵🏻‍♀️Be proactive (/a stalker). If they don't find you through your newfound brand presence, find them! There's the classic LinkedIn tactic but other avenues too; it's quite common now for buyers to also be influencers so do your research and think outside the box when it comes to the way you introduce yourself. 🙋🏼Be persistent. As any beauty buyer will tell you, they are crazy busy and yes, I know as brand founders we are too but it’s important to remember that priorities differ. They may not read your email right away and they almost definitely won’t respond. You’ll need to be persistent, in a non-annoying way. Always follow-up on your initial email with a gentle nudge and make sure what you're saying is relevant to that particular buyer (no copy pasting please) and is telling them something new. 🙌🏾Be receptive. You’re not going to win every one. You’re sure as hell going to get some no’s – we did and still do – and that’s ok. Be receptive to the feedback you get; you can learn a lot about how your brand/pitch is being received, which can then help shape your strategy. We got turned down by a higher-end retailer for our price point (too low), this forced us to really define where we sit in the market and we used this feedback to decide which retailers we contacted moving forward.

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As part of our campaign, we’re asking our team and our subscribers what empowerment means to them. What does empowerment mean to you?

We equate empowerment to taking control: we initially took control of our beauty routines and now we’re leading the growing ship that is BYBI.

Empowerment is having the confidence to execute.

Finally, I’ve be chatting to a range of inspiring women this month, including Georgie Coleridge Cole and Scarlett Curtis. Who inspires you? 

We look up to strong women like Sharmadean Reid, CEO of Beautystack, and Emily Weiss, founder of Glossier.

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WHEN DO I QUIT THE DAY JOB? This snap was taken TWO YEARS ago today (😱) and is of our first full time day on the business. We had both just walked away from our jobs in advertising to pursue our dream. It’s a scary decision to quit the day job, here’s our advice: 🤔You will just know when the time is right. For us, it was when the day job and the dream job became too much to handle side by side. Clean Beauty had gained momentum and our day jobs were demanding. In the end it felt like we were doing a shit job at both, rather than bossing what we really cared about. That was the make or break moment: make Clean Beauty a hobby or a career? Together we decided on the latter. 💰Make sure you’ve thought things through financially. We’d both saved enough to live off for a year without needing to draw a salary from the business. This meant that we both felt comfortable knowing we had that security but also that the early business decisions we made weren’t influenced by our personal need for a salary so could be a little more considered. Also for all of you co-founders: we agreed to save the same amount and start the business on equal footing from the off. 💸Make sure you’ve identified where the revenue will come from. You don't need to be generating revenue, but being sure that your business at least has the potential to make money is pretty key. For us we had the early stages of BYBI mapped out and incoming revenue from our book/workshops. If you can't identify revenue then it’s probably not quite a fully fleshed out business idea and the most sensible thing to do is keep chugging on with the day job while you figure out how you’re gonna gonna make the moola. 🤷‍♀️Ask yourself if you’re ready to: have no work/life balance, embark on regular emotional rollercoasters and, even if you run a beauty brand, develop under-eye bags that will probably never go. 👊🏼Despite all of that, our last bit of advice is just do it! Yes, plan but ultimately it is a risk and you have to take the leap!

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Get 20% Off BYBI Products

If you’ve loved the BYBI Lip Plumper from our Empowerment box, head over to The Glossy Lounge to enjoy 20% off all products on the BYBI website. It’s an amazing deal available until the 15th of April. Don’t miss out!

Feel Empowered With GLOSSYBOX

This March we want you to feel empowered. That’s why we’ve curated an edit filled with products created by inspiring brands. Read the full story behind the box here and don’t forget to subscribe!



Eleanore Nash

Eleanore Nash

Goldielocks

An avid sportswoman, I'm always on the prowl for the latest trending hair and skincare products that will keep my curls bouncy and my skin glowing despite intense exercise. I believe that when you look good, you feel good and it gives you the confidence to always perform at your best.