Interview: Bohemian Chic Minerals
After years of experimenting from her own kitchen, searching for a solution for irritable skin; Jameela Kosar found the perfect, animal free, vegan and paraben free formula that worked wonders for sensitive skin – a mineral based cosmetic business I was lucky enough to discover.
Hello Jameela, thank you for chatting with me. Tell us a little bit about your background.
My background in the workplace had been direct sales for years but before I was working for the NHS for a few years as an administrator and educated in Marketing and Business.
What made you decide to set up your own makeup business?
When I was younger, I used to go through make up like anything. I was constantly changing products because nothing seemed to really work with my skin. I never realised that I had sensitive skin. It wasn’t until my best friend suggested that I may have sensitive skin and recommended a particular brand that was formulated for sensitive skin. I splurged thinking this should work for me. Within a few days my skin felt worse than ever, really tight, itchy & flaky and then it blistered. The only other time my skin blistered is if I ever got bitten by a mosquito/insect. I returned the makeup and was given a refund but I threw out all my beauty products, all my moisturisers - everything went straight in the bin. At the age of 22, I had the worse skin I could ever have. I use to be self-conscience about a zit and now my face is blistered and looks terrible. It took months for my skin to clear up but the damage was already done. I swore off makeup but it never stopped me from doing swatches on my hand (with a water wipe ready at hand to remove it asap) at every beauty counter I came across.
In 2007 I came across a mineral make up stand in the middle of a shopping centre. The lovely sales woman and I got into a battle of me saying “it won’t work for me, I have sensitive skin”, and her saying “it’s perfect for sensitive skin”. I was so sceptic as I’ve heard all this before and look what happened then. I eventually gave in and gave it ago. I did a patch test on my jaw line and sat there for about half an hour, waiting for a reaction. Nothing happened. I then told her to do half my face and did a bit of shopping. Nothing still. I went back and got the other side of my face done - I bought loads! I bought everything: foundation, blusher eyeshadows, bronzer that had this gorgeous sparkling shimmer to it. I was so excited that I could wear make up again. How could I not! It had been years since I wore any makeup at all, and the fact this didn’t even tingle was fantastic. Towards the end of the day before heading home started to feel a little itchy but I didn’t think too much of it, until I got home and my face was bright red. I was so annoyed. I felt so defeated again, but this time I was on a mission that took an epic turn. I started to google the list of ingredients and found out more than I had intended. Although minerals are great for your skin, you will need to be careful on what types of minerals are used if you have sensitive skin.
So, I narrowed it down to 4 sections: Natural Healthy, Natural Irritants, Toxic and Man Made. It took me almost a year to find the right combination that I thought could work for my skin, in theory. Once I had the mineral on paper, I needed to find a brand that only contained the minerals that I thought would work but I couldn’t find one, which was incredibly frustrating. In the end, the only thing left to do was try and make my own. That in itself was just as frustrating as not finding an already made product.
Was it difficult in the creation process to create a free from (in a lot of things) makeup product?
Yes and no. Bear with me on this - No in the sense that I knew it had to be as natural as possible, so using minerals was the only option. And yes, because trying to figure out what will work on my skin even if it is a non-irritant mineral formula (on paper) was difficult without an actual product. This is where it became extremely difficult, frustrating and so time consuming. I have the mineral that I want to use but to begin the process of trying to figure out how to mix and find a ratio that may work with my skin was difficult and consumed my life for approximately 7 months. Because it was at the theory stage, I still needed to test the combination on my skin, face in particular.
First step was to try a shade that I thought may suit me, which was difficult because I didn’t know what I was. Because I am Anaemic, I couldn’t match my complexion. It would need to match my chest. I realised I’m an olive beige with warm tones that are not quite Yellow/Honey/Gold (Only took me 2 years find that out). Once I understand undertones it become a little easier to mix. Once I knew my shade/tones, it only took another 3 months to actually get a foundation that matched my complexion and thankfully the formula worked (On my sisters’ complexion - she was my tester.) If it worked on her, I knew it would suit me.
What is the range of products you sell?
Over the course of officially trading as a business, I’ve created quite a few products which I’m so proud of. I have a Matt Foundation, Matt and Satin Finish Blusher, Matt, Cream finish Lipsticks, Matt, Satin, Glitter and Shimmer Finish Eyeshadows, Bronzers, Colour Correctors Mascara and my newest addition, which I’m super proud of, High Lighters and not forgetting my brow eye liner minerals.
Do you have a team behind you or do you work solo - If so, what does your working day look like?
I sometimes wish I had a team to help but I work solo and honestly, I love it. The start of my day varies. Some days I start at 5am and some days I have a lie in until 7am. I try and get orders and go through the hundreds of emails before I have to go to my normal job which starts at 9.00am. From 9.00am to 5.30pm I work for a Health and Social Care recruitment agency as an administrator.
When I finish my day job. I tend to get back into the home office and try to start and catch up with all the things that are overdue. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings are reserved for trying to catch up with queries, request and general admin - boring but a necessity. Mon, Tues & Wed evening are reserved for product development. At the moment I’m currently re-formulating an entire lipstick and re-introducing my gloss range which I’ve been working on for a few years now. Thursday mornings are a catch up with our PR and Social Media which, I have to be honest, I have let slide as I’m so time restricted. Thursday evening is the only day where I just want to relax with a cup of tea. It’s important to have an off day otherwise you’ll burn yourself out but I still tend to catch up with emails through my phone (it really never ends). Friday morning is when I do a stock check and Friday evening is when I need to prep for events which I do on both Saturday and Sunday.
How do you make yourself stand out in the competitive world of makeup?
It’s really difficult to compete with the established, well known brands. But so rather than trying to compete with them, I tend to let my brand speak for itself. Most of my customers are either people who have tried the products at the vegan fairs that I exhibited at or from recommendation. So, I could say the way I stand out is by letting the brand speak for itself. We are clean, natural and pure. It’s that simple. #KeepItClean
What are your feelings towards the current makeup brands out there?
I don’t really know how to feel about other brands. I don’t have much to say except, the ones that have made the move to change and go vegan and cruelty free, yay! The ones that haven’t - I wish they would consider it and look more into the benefits of being a cruelty free vegan brand.
What is your ideal makeup look using Bohemian Chic Minerals/ has then been a favourite look a blogger has created using your makeup?
I have an everyday look that consists of Olive Foundation, Boho Blush with Razzmic Berry High Lighter, Money Penny and Naught but Nice eye shadow with rustic brow minerals and mascara.
Amie from the Curvaceous Vegan reviews couple of my pink lipsticks. She also reviews my Razzmic berry high lighter and I love what she has to say about the products: https://www.thecurvaceousvegan.com/2017/12/27/must-have-make-up-picks-from-bohemian-chic-minerals.
What has been the biggest struggle for you since the birth of your business?
The hardest thing is that I’m still compared to other mineral brands which is a massive compliment but I like to think of myself as much more ethical and cleaner which is sometimes difficult to make people see that. The other thing I struggle with is people assume because I’m in the makeup business that I don’t know much about anything else, that I’m a stereotypical MUA that’s pouts all day.
If you could apply an entire makeup look on anyone who would it be?
If I could, it would have to be my on my sister, she been my biggest supporter (after my mum) and she doesn’t really wear much make up. I would love to give her a full makeover with purple smoky eyes (using Bohemian Chic eye shadow) and nude lips (Honey Nector, which is her favourite) with Boho Blush, Razzmic Berry high Lighter. She was the one who encouraged me to turn my research of make up for me, into make up for everyone.
What can we look forward to from Bohemian Chic Minerals in the future?
I’m hoping to expand my lipstick range into more vibrant colours. Recently, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for more “out there” kind of colours and the biggest requests have been for blue and black lipsticks. So, I’m thinking of introducing one off colour twice a year. A summer colour and Christmas colour.
Photo credit to: https://www.instagram.com/acurvyvegan.