Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in skin care but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Andrea Mourad, Owner of Orora Skin Science, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the owner of Orora Skin Science, North America's first 100% vegan, bioidentical human collagen peptide skincare line. That's a mouthful, indeed! We are a company committed to innovation, sustainability, and excellence. Often when we hear collagen skincare, we immediately say it won't work. The science is clear on that. The molecules are too large to penetrate the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). That's why Orora Skin Science is a revolutionary vegan collagen skincare brand. Our hero ingredient, HumaColl21, DOES get absorbed by the skin because it has been biodesigned from a fermented sugar molecule to actually be small enough to do so. The results are unmatched. In third-party clinical trials, our system (the serum and moisturizer), when used together, consistently performs better than retinol and vitamin c.
We serve individuals who care deeply about the quality and efficacy of the products they use on their faces and on their bodies. They usually have some knowledge about skincare and are looking for a routine that not only fits into their busy lives but, more importantly, a skincare regime that works. Our customers understand the benefits of taking care of their bodies from the inside out and how that loving kindness towards oneself can also be rewarded through healthy, glowing skin.
Tell us about yourself
I was an elementary school teacher. I had been for 15 years. My husband was the skincare guru in the family. He created two skincare brands within a decade, and I was joyfully along for the ride whenever and however I could. While on maternity leave with our second child, everything in our lives changed. Like many of you, Covid hit our businesses hard. Orora was our baby, and we loved it deeply. We had spent many years creating something we believed was absolutely special. Orora was completely innovative, designed to change the way we do skin care in a gentler, more environmentally conscious way. Sadly, just over a year ago, a few short months after Orora soft launched, my husband told me that we had to shut down. We couldn't afford to bring this baby to life any further. I was devastated… we both were. I use both the serum and moisturizer daily, and I am very passionate about and devoted to the skincare products I use. I am also healing from gut issues, so quality skincare that is safe for my body and the environment is part of my wellness plan. I needed to find a way.
After many sleepless nights, long walks, and discussions, I told my husband that I wanted to leave my teaching career and take over Orora full-time while home with my daughter on maternity leave. I didn't yet know the HOW of it all, but I knew that I would find a way. This was a huge decision for our family and a big change for me. Thankfully, my husband, being the amazingly supportive human that he is, agreed to take a chance on me, and the rest, as they say, is history.
My why for doing this work is my children. I want them to look up to me as a strong female leader in their lives. I want them to understand that my role as their mother, although hugely important, is not all that I am. I want to be someone my daughter aspires to be like when she grows up and someone my son isn't intimidated by when he grows up. Through my work, my hope is that my children will learn to dream bigger than the stars no matter how old they get and know deep inside their hearts that their dreams are possible and entirely up to them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This is a hard one because there are so many accomplishments that I am proud of. Being featured in the New York Times for our hero ingredient, HumaColl21, and winning the 2022 Chatelaine Fashion Beauty Award for having the best moisturizer for dry skin were definitely big accomplishments in my books. However, amazing reviews and stories of healing as a result of using the Orora products are an equally big win. Our community is made up of a special collection of humans. When I learn that Orora's message of loving kindness towards oneself and the Earth has changed the way people take care of themselves and each other, that's hugely meaningful to me.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Having complete faith in your business and in your products before anyone else has been the hardest, scariest, and loneliest part for me as a business owner. Knowing without a shadow of a doubt that what you are creating is unique, needed, and entirely worth the grind is all about having that unshakable faith in yourself and what you are capable of. It doesn't always come naturally. For me, it didn't. It takes a lot of practice. The more you trust yourself and the decisions you make, the better you get at doing it. There are so many people who care about you that want to give you their best advice. The problem is, they are not you, and you are not them. What did not work for them may very well work for you because you are uniquely you. There's no one else in the entire world that is exactly like you. That is your power. Having the confidence and trust in yourself to hold firm in your decisions as a business owner in spite of all the well-meaning advice is not only the hardest part, but it's also the most rewarding part too.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Just start. Don't overthink things. Don't try to make it perfect before putting it out into the world. Just start. Progress over perfection always. Each day ask yourself this question… What is the next best thing I can do right now to move the needle in my business? Then do that thing and repeat. Put yourself in the room with people who you can learn from and grow with. People who are already doing what you aspire to do and who are doing it exceptionally well. Start showing up in their conversations on social media and in person. Add value everywhere you can in every way that you can. Ask meaningful questions. Don't be afraid to look stupid in order to learn something new or better understand. Become comfortable doing the uncomfortable however that looks like for you. That's where the massive expansion happens both internally and externally. Last but most importantly, never, ever stop learning. The joy is in the journey, not the destination.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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