In the last few years, Nida Faisal has been committed to her true passion for skin care. A lawyer by profession and a strong advocate for mental health, Nida’s fascination on skin care never changed. Holding a dream of one day working for L’Oreal or owning her own skin care business is what lead her to starting Primary – a new skin care business that as of now has two products but holds the promise to deliver more. We had the pleasure of sitting down with Nida as she shared all about what skin care means to her and how genuine marketing and connecting with your audience can make all the difference. Scroll down to check out more!
What does skin care mean to you?
Skin care has meant different things to me over the years. I think 10 years ago, it was all about hating my skin and attacking it and trying to fix it. Now my approach is totally different. It’s my very indulgent and very luxurious form of self care and self love. I know it sounds super cheesy! But it’s my form of self care and self love. It’s really the time where twice a day I give myself the attention because the rest of the day goes by with taking care of everyone else’s needs. So it’s a way for me to check in with myself.
How would you convert someone into a skin care fan?
Well I can tell you how I became a skin care fan! It was when I started researching and using the right ingredients for my skin and my skin conditions, and watching my skin basically transform. It was amazing to see the visible difference that they can make on your skin and appearance and as a result on the way you feel about yourself.
Tell us about how it all started – did you always want to pursue a business in skin care?
So I don’t really remember how long ago this was, but I’ve always had this fixation and obsession with L’Oreal. Not just as a consumer but I just basically wanted to own L’Oreal someday or I want to work there one day. But my legal genes took over very fast, so that didn’t happen. But I did do the next best thing and it was Primary. So it is a dream come true.
Being a lawyer and a strong advocate for mental health, what attributes do they give to your role in Primary?
So as a corporate lawyer, I’ve been involved in the legal side in terms of instructing others on their businesses since I started work. I then became very interested in the commercial and financial side of it, so much so that when I went for my Masters in Law in New York I took as many classes as I could at the business school. Being in a place like New York offers one a very different entrepreneurial environment that you can’t not get sucked into! That was a big source of inspiration for me so that’s where my legal background comes in. It’s very helpful to be a lawyer and have your own business because then you don’t have to pay a lawyer. The mental health part is a little separate. Skin care forms a very integral part of my daily ritual and rituals are key to grounding and soothing yourself. So yes I would say that skin care is a part of my mental health ritual and not just mine but this is something I’m always advocating on our socials. I strongly encourage people to see skin care as something that’s more than skin deep. It’s not about vanity, it’s really about taking care of yourself and make yourself feel good and do that one selfish thing for you.
How did Primary first come to mind?
So Primary first came to mind obviously when I was obviously shopping for skin care over here. This was a time when every time I was traveling, I was blowing my entire shopping budget at Sephora on skin care. It’s really hard to get good quality skin care that’s trustworthy in Pakistan. For the imported brands, you don’t know what pages are reliable and whether they’re selling expired or fake stuff. Usually the price is always three times the amount. The local stuff can be a little hard to trust when they don’t list their ingredients or if they make misleading claims. So it can be a challenge to get quality skin care that’s also fun. So this is the idea behind Primary. It shouldn’t be this difficult to get access to good quality and affordable skin care.
Primary persistently advocates the importance of mental health, do you believe all skin care businesses should do the same? Why?
So I think any business will espouse the qualities and values of the business owners. So yes, to me mental health and self care are central to my skin care experience and that’s why our brand really reflects that. But I think a brand vision or any marketing works when it comes from a genuine place. So I don’t think it’s something that all skin care brands should advocate, but some skin care brands that have been built on those values do advocate it and it’s great!
Tell us about some of your hobbies?
I am kind of a nerd! I love to read and it also a hermit so I love to get some alone time and refuel on my energy. I’m very much an introvert. I also am really into yoga. It’s another thing central to my mental health and self care rituals. Another one is definitely geeking out over skin care ingredients and formulas. Looking up different research on skin care has been something I’ve been obsessing on, so I’m also going to go ahead and call this a hobby!
Given the current situation, what lessons have you learned?
As a business owner we learned quite a few things since the lockdown started. Immediately we started going live, which a lot of people starting doing. For me it seemed natural to connect with our followers who are a very dedicated audience and bridge that distance. I think that was a great move because we connected with people who wanted to hear from us, and also it was amazing to see how much people wanted to get into skin care. People who were previously never interested in getting a routine were developing one, while others who were once scared were experimenting with different active ingredients and acids, were now ready to experiment with them, because if something ever did go wrong then nobody would see you because of everything. So it was the best time to try out new things.
What’s the one piece of advice you’ve always valued?
So I’ll give you some advice that will apply both to skin care and to business that works equally well. It’s to start slow. With skin care you don’t want to add too many actives and too many ingredients or products to your routine at once, because you’ll overwhelm your skin to the point where it’ll be too traumatising and you’d never want to go back to skin care again. So that’s the reason to start slow with skin care. With business start slow because you want to take that time to gauge your market and business. We started with two products over a year ago and this time we’ve learned so much about the local market and about how to source ingredients and what our customers want from us. It’s valuable information that we wouldn’t have been privy too had we started out with let’s say ten products.
What are some things you’re excited to be working on once the current situation eases?
I’m so excited for the new formulations we’re working on. We have some in development that our customers have been requesting that we’ve been dying to make! Can’t really get into it because I don’t want to ruin the surprise. But it is unique formulations that we don’t really see over here.
What sets Primary apart from the others?
So I think something that’s unique about our brand and something that’s important to me is how open and transparent we are. Especially when it comes to our ingredients, so that’s why one can find our ingredients list. That’s something I personally look for and when a brand doesn’t publish their full list I don’t purchase their product because I want to know what I’m putting on my skin. I’m conscious of the fact that I’m sensitive to certain ingredients and that some can be toxic. So I want to make sure to keep them away. So transparency is key. It’s important to us to also not shove our products in everyone’s faces. Whether that’s through our social media presence, it’s about sharing our skin care wisdom. At the end of the day we just have two products, so it’s important to not come off as just marketing all the time. You have to have that genuine information to share and a very genuine conversation to have.
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