Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in beauty and cosmetics but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shaina Azad, CEO of SUVA Beauty, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
SUVA Beauty is a bright, bold, and innovative cosmetic brand that is leading the way in colour cosmetics. The SUVA Beauty customer may already be knee-deep in colour, or they are trying a neon pink eyeliner for the very first time. We have successfully created our own community where our customers, enthusiasts, and pro artists can share their work and create "weird" and interesting" makeup looks without fear of judgment.
Tell us about yourself
My name is Shaina Azad, and I’m the founder and CEO of SUVA Beauty cosmetics. I started the brand out of my backpack while I was working as a Makeup Instructor and TV/Commercial Makeup Artist here in Vancouver. I initially developed products for myself that I needed for my kit. Eventually, that turned into a passion for product development and creating fun and vibrant products that I knew my POC community needed. All my Pacific Islanders and South Asians flocked to my door to pick up products that had cultural significance in the colour stories, shade names, and the overall brand presentation. Seeing people that look like me being represented is vital to everything we do at SUVA.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
One of my biggest accomplishments has been being able to scale and grow SUVA Beauty to what it is today. In the past few years, we have landed and fostered amazing partnerships with global distributors like Morphe, Beauty Bay, and Super Drug, all on top of managing the growth of our team and being a role model to my two young boys. As a woman of color it’s been extremely exciting getting messages from other Fijian and South Asian women who were finally able to see themselves represented in the world of business and media. I like to quote Mindy Kaling “it’s so weird being your own role model.” Jokes aside, representation is still lacking. As someone with a platform, I will continue to lift up my community and ensure we have a seat at the table.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the biggest challenges is the balancing act of being a business owner and a mother. Within the first year of starting my business, I also started planning for a family and became pregnant. Five years later and I am still unable to operate at even a 50% capacity. A lot of people do not realize that mothers who also own and operate their own companies do not receive maternity leave or childcare subsidies/support. It was difficult to breastfeed while having a meeting, change diapers at my desk, and deal with mom's guilt from all the critics while trying to grow my business. This challenge continues to this day with school closures, daycare closures, and trying to manage your team remotely while raising your children. I am a Mentor and Speaker for The Forum and WeBC here in Canada, which are the largest women in non-profit business organizations. The statements of over 180,000 women entrepreneurs were recently submitted and debated in our Legislative Assembly. We are rallying the experts to make a conscious effort to support women in the workforce. Progress is slow, and it can feel defeatist. Even if I am unable to see the effects of our fight immediately, I only hope that the next generation of women will be able to benefit.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- If this is your passion, don’t listen to the naysayers.
- Connect with a really good mentor(s).
- Find your grit. You’re going to need it.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
So happy to be a part of GoSolo's class of amazing entrepreneurs! I hope to see more women and women of color thriving and dominating in their industries!
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email firstname.lastname@example.org; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
Feel inspired to start, run or grow your own subscription business? Check out subkit.com and learn how you can turn "one day" into day one.