Beauty Store Business

SEP 2018

Beauty Store Business provides solutions for better retailing! New products, industry news, savvy business moves and important trends affecting both brick-and-mortar and online retailers are included in each issue.

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58 September 2018 | beautystorebusiness.com fter noticing a lack of high-quality makeup and brush options available to Brazilian consumers, Dr. Simone and Rene Xavier took matters into their own hands. Born out of their basement in 2009, the Xaviers created Sigma Beauty, a full line of brushes and color cosmetics for consumers that are now available across the globe. What started as a single brush set has grown to dozens of SKUs spanning makeup, brushes and brush care, as well as a sister brand of beauty tools called Practk by Sigma Beauty. We sat down to talk with Sigma cofounder Dr. Simone Xavier to learn more about how the brand leveraged influencer marketing in its growth to finally "find its place," and what it's like working with a predominantly female team. Beauty Store Business: How did you go from being a molecular bacteriologist to beauty entrepreneur? Dr. Simone Xavier: Being in the academic and research field was always my professional goal. I came to the U.S. 19 years ago to complete a Ph.D. in molecular bacteriology and infectious diseases; at that time, I'd already completed a degree in veterinary medicine and a master's in veterinary pathology. After completing my Ph.D., I remained at the University of Minnesota for seven more years as a professor. While I was studying and working at the university, my husband, Rene Xavier, and I made frequent trips to Brazil to visit friends and family. They requested we bring along items that weren't available in Brazil–many of these requests were beauty products like makeup and brushes. We saw an opportunity to offer these products to the Brazilian market online. At that time, Rene was working as a property manager and had an import/export business for painting tools, so he had experience with manufacturing brushes. Once he saw the makeup brushes that Brazilian customers wanted, he realized we could produce higher quality brushes–for a better price. From there, I went to YouTube and started to research the brushes beauty bloggers used most for essential functions and we created the first Sigma Beauty brush set. I sent these sets to top beauty bloggers and asked for feedback. They absolutely loved the brush set, made videos about it and [when the product became available for sale] we sold out in two hours! With that, we decided to invest more time in this new business and, 10 years later, Sigma is the authority in quality makeup brushes worldwide. What inspired you to start your own company? Both my husband and I are very solution-oriented. My research at the university has always been very applied and Rene has always been a true entrepreneur. He had his first business in Brazil when he was 23. What inspired us to start our own company was a combination of identifying a niche in the beauty industry combined with my drive to put together a functional brush set and Rene's passion for creating new businesses. All of these factors still contribute to our success today. You started Sigma Beauty out of your basement. What were some of the biggest challenges? The main challenge was time. Both Rene and I had full- time jobs when we started Sigma. We basically worked overnight to grow the business. It was a time when we both were getting four hours of sleep per night, but growing this business was so exciting that it kept us going. What is the meaning behind the brand's name? Rene is a civil engineer, so he loves math. Sigma is the mathematical symbol that represents the "sum of all." Rene and I spent a year in Spain and at that time he created Dr. Simone Xavier The world of color cosmetics is booming–and so is Sigma Beauty. Discover how this brand grew from a basement to worldwide distribution. Executive Q&A Courtesy of Sigma Beauty

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