Drawing on strong family values and a heritage of natural therapies, Ere Perez took the bold step of creating her own natural makeup line.
Q. You’re originally from Mexico. When did you move to Australia, and why?
I was born in Monterrey, Mexico, 1974. I arrived in Australia in February 1999. I always had this idea in my head that I wanted a new start in life somewhere challenging and what better place than Australia; arriving without any English, new friends, no family – just my hubby and I. Definitely the right place to start a new dream.
Q. How/when did you start your business?
I started researching the market for makeup and skincare products in 2002. In 2004, I finally launched my first product, my beautiful Almond Oil Mascara. But first I needed to introduce my product to the retail market. I remember running around on my high heels for a year looking for retailers with my bag full of mascaras. I knew it was not going to be easy, especially if you decide to start your business by knocking on every retail door. Soon after I realised that we already had more than 150 retailers. With this small success we decided to start a small range of natural products that have been selling since November 2006. Amazingly, since then we have achieved more than 700 retailers Australiawide. And I say “we” because without the support of all my friends and family I wouldn’t have come this far.
Q. What inspired you to start it?
My idea was always to manufacture herbal formulas with healing properties for different health conditions. Looking after our body in and out has always been a passion that has been passed on to me from my family. However, I found it a bit difficult to market those types of products with my limited experience. I then noticed the tendency of people moving towards natural products, and women looking for a healthier alternative in makeup. It was then I decided to contribute towards it. The fact that the market was focusing towards natural products, that there were already some brands of natural skincare but not many natural makeup options, inspired me to create my own.
Q. Why did you decide to specialise in creating a makeup range?
I love makeup, but could never find what I wanted and I knew the long-term usage had no benefit towards looking after my skin. My makeup range allows the skin to breathe and shows a woman’s natural beauty, it doesn’t hide it. The skin is the biggest organ in our body, so why not nourish it, not only with creams but also with makeup? My range concept is about a fast makeup solution that can be used by anyone without makeup application skills; the pigments are so light that there are no mistakes to be made.
Q. How did you acquire your skills and knowledge?
My family worked in natural therapies for many, many years, so it was easy for me to move in this direction. I studied nutrition for six years and mixed it with natural therapies including acupuncture, Bach flowers, iridology, herbal remedies and aromatherapy.
Q. Your website credits both sets of your grandparents with inspiring you in your “life venture”. Why and how are they such an inspiration?
Family is my life. They taught me everything I need to know. My grandad from mum’s side still practice natural therapies and he passed all his knowledge to me. He is a healing man at home and my nanna follows his thoughts blindly. They raised seven daughters that never went to see the doctor. They are both nearly 90 and have amazing memory and a fantastic attitude towards life.
My dad’s parents were chemical biologists; I guess that is why I love research. My grandma was a modern woman for her era; they both worked with dedication in their laboratory and still managed to raise seven children and her peaceful smile always keeps me going. I guess if you really set your mind you can do anything.
Q. How important is family support to you in your business?
Very important! My mother is one of the most unique persons on Earth; her love for life is just so contagious. Her positivism for everything is just unbelievable. She will find a good laugh in the most negative situation. My dad has a very deep mind that is constantly looking for answers. His support and faith in me has no bounds. And most importantly, my husband – who is a big part of this business – his skills and dedication have made my creation a real company. All their support means the world to me and they love the direction that I am embarking on in my business.
Q. Describe a typical day for you.
I start the day with a good swim in the morning in the beautiful fresh ocean water, and a very big healthy breakfast. At work, every day is different – from managing reporting, to packing, talking with people in the industry, searching for new product opportunities, meeting with designers and marketers to continually build our brand. Researching what is new in the industry with formulation and ingredients is my favourite activity. I love the night; I find myself more at peace at night, when the city is quiet. I like to read articles and little books.
Q. What motivates you each day, personally and professionally?
I love what I do! I challenge myself every day to make my products the best they can be, while encouraging healthy, natural beauty products to enhance any woman’s features without compromising their individuality. It’s not about makeup, it’s about giving women confidence in a busy day-to-day environment. I think this is a new era for women and we now have to achieve so much within our 24 hour schedule. I believe health and confidence are key ingredients for us to finish the day feeling good about ourselves.
Q. What are the high points and low points of your job?
I think every day is a high point. Low points are not in my every day business vocabulary. There are times when I question some things I do, but there is never a failure, it is all part of the learning curve. I am a person that likes risk but I am also lucky that I have someone that helps me to keep my feet on the ground. Sometimes I confront my ideas with others and I am so stubborn that this can be really the low point at work. But I guess this approach can also be a quality if you don’t harm anyone and you get a good idea in practice.
Q. What makes your products stand out from other makeup ranges?
My products are full of natural, nourishing ingredients; they are a fast makeup solution that suits most skin types and tones. We have classy, affordable packaging that reflects the natural style. The products have properties that protect against the sun. We don’t use distributors; therefore we have a closer contact with our clients and are able to offer them personalised service and answers to their needs. Our stand is small, so gives an opportunity to small business to have a cosmetic range without a big investment. We care for the environment, do not manufacture using child labour, and the products are not tested on animals.
Q. What are some popular products in your range so far?
Definitely the mascaras! Especially the Waterproof and the Almond Oil Mascara. The brush is easy to use, suitable for any eye shape with short or long lashes. They make any type of eyes look amazing. My favourites are the clear Aloe Vera gel for lashes and brows and the Rosehip Oil Lip bar to just give a great natural hint of shine.
Q. Any plans to release new products? What are they?
I have a range of new products soon to be released that are currently in production. They include eye shadows, eyeliners, lipsticks, lip liners, makeup remover, new tinted lip bar colours, and a new rice blush. Foundations are the next challenge!
Q. Any plans to make the products available overseas or are they already available overseas? If so, where?
I have big plans to introduce my products overseas. We have just started distributing in Singapore and Dubai which is very exciting! Opportunities are on the cards for Philippines, Japan, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Taiwan. Mexico is definitely on my list, most of the products are manufactured there, so you have to wait for more details.
Q. On what areas are you concentrating your professional efforts and why?
I am really concentrating on developing new products and colours that are not on offer in the current market. I am also focusing on ingredients and formulations. The natural world is moving so fast, new research is available for everyone every day. I want to be able to provide the best available ingredients without compromising the quality of the products. On the other side I am introducing promotions which will target my existing line of customers. I want to continue being personally involved in my product from start to end and not turn it into a commercially campaigned product.
Q. Where do you position your product in the marketplace and why?
My products are positioned as an alternative to chemically produced makeup. There are very few other ranges of natural makeup available and based on packaging, price and quality; my products are affordable, easy to use and carry, and quick to apply. They look good and have nourishing qualities.
Q. What skills do you bring from previous roles to this one?
My role in life always revolves around natural therapies and their benefits to someone’s wellbeing and health. I was surrounded by this principle all my life, so my skills from my growing years have reached the point where I can fulfil and apply them to hopefully encourage people to look after themselves. Fashion is my hobby; I used to sell clothes, shoes and jewellery at markets in Sydney which was great fun! This helped me to develop selling skills and to save some money to start my company based in my sunroom at home.
Q. What do you see as the greatest challenge facing the beauty industry in the coming decade? How might your business meet these challenges?
Although the cosmetic industry has taken over the media; image seems to be a hot topic that has failed to focus on providing a positive, healthy approach towards real people. More beauty companies will eventually realise the importance of introducing the natural concept into their products. People are becoming aware of the importance of looking after themselves and of the benefits natural products can have for you – inside and out. As I am currently going in this direction, I would have a great share of the market, and believe my products encourage loyal users due to the product quality and philosophy.
Q. What is your business philosophy and approach?
As an Australian-owned company, we praise ourselves in supplying healthy natural makeup that suits every skin type. We carefully select our ingredients such as oils and plant extracts, which we blend with antioxidants to create a gentle and highly effective natural makeup solution. We are friendly and try to help users and retailers as much as our budget allows and always listen to consumers and retailers.
Q. In your opinion how has the beauty industry developed over recent years and how does your business align with these changes?
The beauty industry is now listening to what customers want, and all are creating something that another company does not have. The ingredients used have come a long way, with companies minimising chemicals that are considered harsh. My business aligns with customers who are already focused on using the best natural products available. And as an owner, I am always open for opinions, as it only makes my products stronger.
Q. What are your plans for the future of your company?
To continue expanding and getting the Ere Perez Natural Cosmetics brand in the minds of all natural-conscious women of today and in the future. To help communities and produce some products that will be just for charity. There is a lot to do in Mexico and Australia. I hope I can help others make their dreams come true.
I’ve already helped one; our sales manger Jorge Pereira is an amazing musician and composer. His outstanding focus and dedication have made this company grow in numbers of retailers. This job has given him the opportunity to produce his first CD. One of his pieces is available on our website. It is just so delightful to listen to his compositions.
Q. What advice would you give someone wanting to start their own cosmetics brand?
Make sure you are passionate about what you are doing, as this will push your business forward. Don’t think in business first, first believe in your product and learn to love your body and people that want to follow your dream. There is no company owner or creator that could survive with the weight of the dream, without good health and an enthusiastic team. Having your own business is not about being independent; it is about listening to everyone and letting them do what they know. It is about focus and discipline – of which I still think I have a lot to learn. Researching the market should be done at all stages of the business cycle, not just at the beginning. And keep your eyes and ears open to all cosmetic brands and their direction; always be unique and create something that no matter what, will have a special reason for why your started it.
My favourite quote:
Yesterday was history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a gift.
Take life and enjoy it, this moment will never be yours again, it will be history. Make history using your energy and skills at your best.
For more information, contact Ere Perez Natural Cosmetics (02) 9130 3582.