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Jazz Shapers

Shaper: Farah Naz

Transcript

Elliot Moss
Welcome to the Jazz Shapers podcast from Mishcon de Reya. What you are about to hear was originally broadcast on Jazz FM however music has been cut or shortened due to rights issues.

Welcome to Jazz Shapers with me, Elliot Moss. It is where the Shapers of Business join the Shapers of Jazz, Soul and Blues. My guest today is Farah Naz; Founder of one of the UK’s fastest growing beauty brands EX1 Cosmetics. Farah’s interest in beauty began aged 6 when her mother wouldn’t let her wear nail varnish, she raided the kitchen cupboard and decided to make her own with some cornflower water and blue food colour – 20 minutes later it came off. No problem though because it looked fantastic until then. A few years later having trained as a biochemist, Farah was frustrated by the lack of affordable cosmetics for women with her skin tone. It didn’t seem right that many women with darker skin had no choice but to buy premium brands just to get a decent colour match. So she decided to start from scratch and create her own unique blend of pigments, in fact the first line of cosmetics in the UK to cater exclusively for women with olive skin tones, and I have the same skin tone so I am probably going to be looking up this brand soon. The formula featuring yellow and gold pigments at an affordable price was an instant success. We will talk to Farah about the rise of EX1 Cosmetics and challenging beauty and industry standards too. That’s all coming up in a few minutes here on Jazz Shapers. We’ve also got brilliant music from amongst others, Roy Ayers, Milt Jackson and Mr Stevie Wonder. That’s today’s Jazz Shapers, here’s Aretha Franklin and Moody’s Mood For Love.

That was Aretha Franklin with Moody’s Mood For Love, super scatty, super jazzy which is lucky because it is Jazz FM and it’s Jazz Shapers and my Business Shaper today is the Founder of EX1 Cosmetics and it’s Farah Naz. Hello and it’s lovely to meet you.

Farah Naz
Hi, lovely to meet you to.

Elliot Moss
Farah, tell me about this 6 year old self. So many times I talk to people and there is always a little bit of a history of whatever it is they end up doing, and I had Marcus Wareing on a few months ago and he said he was interested in cooking and ingredients from a really young age because he was surrounded by his father who was in the fruit business and so on, what was it for you at that age, if you can remember, that intrigued you about making nail varnish?

Farah Naz
Yeah I think I was pretty much like most other kids my age so I was quite a girlie little girl and loved playing around with sort of things like make-up – I loved the idea of make-up but actually of course my mother wouldn’t let me wear anything so that prompted me at quite a young age to try and see if I could find a way around this and I would just literally raid the kitchen cupboard, start blending ingredients together, get a bit of food colour, mix it all up and then sort of apply it you know, on my face, on my nails and it was just fun really.

Elliot Moss
And it sounds like two things have happened because obviously you – I say obviously because I know this but if you are listening you won’t know this just yet – you went on to become a biochemist, you went on to do a biochemistry Degree.

Farah Naz
I did yeah.

Elliot Moss
You did. So there must have been something about the making as well as the product at the end of it that was intriguing. Did you, through your teenage life also start to think I am quite interested in science and I am quite interested in making stuff and if so, where do you think that came from?

Farah Naz
I think the whole thing is probably underpinned by just having an inquisitive mind and oddly enough actually raiding the kitchen cupboard and biochemistry does have sort of commonalities, I think both of them you are sort of mixing and blending things and you are creating and you are formulating so I think you know, it really was borne from just being somebody that liked to question things all the time. I was quite inquisitive, I wanted to sort of play around with things and I think it was just that combination of playfulness and being inquisitive that probably is you know, the definition of creativity.

Elliot Moss
And where did that come from, if anywhere? I mean was… because in your own upbringing was that encouraged? It sounds like it was or was it more that as you said, you found ways round things, you found ways to kind of be creative?

Farah Naz
Yeah it’s a really interesting one. I’ve never really known if this is a product of sort of your environment when you are very young or is it your upbringing, it is innate. I am not really sure. I think that probably because I was the youngest child, I was one of three, I think by the time I was you know born, I think my mother had kind of probably kind of given up and was a lot more relaxed and there was a lot less rules.

Elliot Moss
That makes sense.

Farah Naz
And I think I kind of got away with sort of experimenting a lot more and just sort of you know, just… she wasn’t so sort of rigid probably as she was with my older siblings and I think that kind of flexibility and freedom probably did contribute to sort of being somebody that was quite creative, having that sort of freedom I think as a child.

Elliot Moss
Fast forward a bit to EX1 Cosmetics today, what’s the offer in your own words because I mentioned it’s about make-up for those with olive skin and as you can see, I have olive skin.

Farah Naz
You do yeah.

Elliot Moss
I do. I don’t wear much make-up although I have thought about it and from time to time I do but that’s a different story, for a different time. Tell me about the business as I said, in your own words, what’s it delivering on? What’s the gap in the market?

Farah Naz
So the gap in the market I felt was to do with foundations, particularly complexion based products that were affordable and available on the high street and accessible and that were mainly targeted towards women who have an olive skin tone. That doesn’t just mean medium skin tones, it actually can be you know, you can be fair and be olive. You can actually have very sort of deep skin but it can still be underpinned by having these sort of yellow undertones to your skin and so fundamentally it was about creating a range of products for what I believed were an underserved group of women.

Elliot Moss
So obviously in other countries and I lived in India many years ago, there are products which talk to women with darker skin colours but actually often in those environments truthfully and I was there 20 or so years ago, it was about becoming whiter which I always found quite shocking for me as a Western guy living in India when I did but it was just you know, all fair and lovely I think and it was a big product. You have sort of gone in reverse which is to say ‘you’ve got great skin, how do you enhance it?’ For you as a women now looking back on you know, your own journey in terms of wearing make-up and things like that, what role does the make-up play in the confidence that you are trying to build in the women that you serve?

Farah Naz
Yeah so I think that you know, the idea behind make-up is a very, very… it’s a very, very personal thing and I think that some women feel much more confident wearing make-up, some women are quite happy going without make-up and I think it’s just a very personal choice. My personal belief is to create products and give women the option and you can use the product how you wish so I completely agree that you know there was, there was a trend in part of South East Asia and I think it still exists where people use things like foundation to lighten their skin for instance. I don’t think that’s so prevalent here anymore, I think you still see it, it’s not something that I personally would advocate, especially for my brand. For me foundations are about enhancing your natural skin tone, it’s about working and embracing with what you already have and making your complexion look its best possible rather than trying to use the products to sort of you know, make yourself darker or make yourself lighter and I think there is just you know, it is just one of those things that people who are very, very fair sometimes want to tan and people who are quite dark sometimes want to be lighter and…

Elliot Moss
I just want to be as dark as possible actually, I mean I am one of those… you know I go to a hot place and I am like ‘bring me the sun’ which is you know, people go but you are dark already, I go ‘yes but I want to be darker’. I mean it is a totally… my point is it is totally personal.

Farah Naz
It’s a completely personal thing, I think so yeah.

Elliot Moss
Tell me about how you go the business up and running then because you are a biochemist and then you morph into this… you are no longer 6 you are now kind of an adult and you are going ‘I am going to create this business’. How did it start in the very, very beginning?

Farah Naz
I think it was, it literally just starts from a concept actually and I think it snowballed from there so unfortunately I have to be honest, I didn’t have any sort of grand plan, I wasn’t one of these people that started with a big business plan and thought right, how am I going to make this happen, I think it was very much driven by getting going, starting, questioning everything. I think that the first thing that I did was to start asking questions, it is something that I had been instinctively doing anyway as just a consumer as a make-up user and it was those questions that weren’t answered in a way that I was happy with. So I’d look at market reports, I’d look at industry research and I would find that I don’t think this really makes sense to me and I felt that that prompted me to go deeper and deeper and deeper and I think it was just much more of a snowball effect to be honest.

Elliot Moss
And in the early days when you are spending time doing this, were you working doing something else at the same time or did this become the full-time thing that you were trying to build?

Farah Naz
I think at that time you know, it was something that I was looking to build. So I had sort of you know, dedicated myself to it at this point. I really didn’t know how to start to be completely honest, it was very much a bedroom business. I just put a phone line in, a separate phone line in, it literally was that classic kind of bedroom business scenario.

Elliot Moss
And now the business has been funded up to the, you know, tune of around 5 million pounds plus. What are people investing in Farah?

Farah Naz
Well I think you might have to ask them that concept, that question.

Elliot Moss
What do you think because obviously people, again I have met many people, many businesses are funded, they sit there, they raise money. What do you think they’ve bought in you?

Farah Naz
I think it is two things probably. I think investors will invest in your vision so you need to find a group of people that will support your vision and they wholeheartedly believe in the proposition that you have, so I think that’s absolutely critical and fundamental. I have been told by investors on a few occasions now that actually they are investing in me, especially when you don’t have anything tangible to show people and they have literally said to me ‘you know Farah we are investing in you’ and so no pressure at all but you know, I think they want to ensure that you are somebody that has an unwavering belief in this vision and that you will, you will see it through because ultimately you don’t want to be, you don’t want to invest in the kind of person that is not completely and utterly dedicated to making this come to fruition.

Elliot Moss
And of course right now you are in I believe Amazon, Asos, Boots, Feel Unique, Urban Retreat at Harrods and many other places and expansion to the Middle East and US so something is working and those people who have invested, well done.

Farah Naz
Thank you.

Elliot Moss
Much more from my guest, Farah Naz in a couple of minutes but first let’s hear some words of advice from one of our partners at Mishcon de Reya for your burgeoning business.

There are absolutely loads of ways for you to enjoy all our former Jazz Shapers and indeed to hear this programme with Farah again as well. You can ask Alexa to play Jazz Shapers and there you can hear many of the recent programmes or if you pop Jazz Shapers into iTunes or your own preferred podcast platform, I think that’s the terminology, you can enjoy the full archive. But back to today and back to Farah Naz, Founder of one of the UK’s fastest growing beauty brands – I love it when I get given those – fastest growing one of, EX1 Cosmetics – nice name too, it’s Farah. Talking about the people investing in you, talking about the fact that you’ve actually got this business now which is working, just a quick thing on the name, where does the name come from? EX1?

Farah Naz
So originally the idea was Exact Match make-up and the idea was that you know, we were going to set out to provide a product, a foundation that would match your skin exactly and then when I came to sort of filing the name there were just some legalities around the fact that you couldn’t have anything descriptive so unfortunately the real answer behind that is that I was told I had five minutes to come up with a name and I just went EX1 – there you go and it sort of stuck.

Elliot Moss
Isn’t it glamorous. The world of business. You can’t beat it. And in terms of the team that you started to assemble, so we’ve talked briefly about the beginning and it was your bedroom and it was a line and all that. When did you hire your first employee?

Farah Naz
So I first hired someone when I had my first seed round and that gave me the flexibility of actually making that first hire.

Elliot Moss
When was that? About 4 or 5 years ago?

Farah Naz
Yeah it was about 4 or 5 years ago and she was somebody that came from a cosmetics background, she had a couple of years’ experience behind her and actually at the time I was literally working in a 100 square foot office and I was renting this space from a mortgage broker in the suburbs of North West London so it was probably the least glamorous place you could possibly imagine.

Elliot Moss
It is where empires begin, it is where empires begin Farah.

Farah Naz
Apparently so.

Elliot Moss
I mean you have got to start somewhere right. I remember talking to Jo Malone and she said she made some products for some guests that came for dinner, she gave them to them and they went ‘well that was amazing, can I have another one?’ and off she went and that was in her own, you know, kitchen literally. And so employee number one, what did it enable you to do? In those early days, just talk me through a little bit about what one actually does to start to build a business like this?

Farah Naz
Wow, I think the journey of every business is going to obviously be a little bit different. For us we are a manufacturing business so it was around you know, making sure that our production schedules were running on time, it was very much a time to sort of get retail partners on board and to build an actual very basic business model which is your distribution and then your product and service.

Elliot Moss
What was your first product out of interest? What was the very, very first one?

Farah Naz
The very first product that we launched was the current hero product which is the Invisiwear liquid foundation.

Elliot Moss
Tell me about it, I am genuinely interested, I am not… what does it do because I am a man and I don’t know very much about make-up Farah.

Farah Naz
Yeah, no of course. So the idea behind the foundation was that we wanted to create a product that was designed for women, as I was saying with sort of yellow, golden undertones to their skin and the stats sort of show that 78% of women are not happy with their current foundation and in a billion dollar industry you wonder why that is the case and when you look at stats or actually when you look at sort of market research, it shows that foundation is the number one purchased product in the entire cosmetics industry which is testament to how important it is to women to get that product right. It’s called foundation because honestly it is the base product and it is the canvas for the rest of your make-up. So to me it was a little bit alarming that you know, 78% of women are not happy with you know, or they would switch their current foundation. We are here to provide an alternative so the idea behind the brand was to actually have a completely unique product offering so what we do is, you know my background obviously is as a scientist, I use that background to re-look at pigments and I started looking at the pigments that the industry was using, I found that brands were just literally going from light to dark, they had a spectrum, they were just blending up oranges and pink basis and you can’t actually really do that for olive skin tones and actually for a lot of skin tones and it hasn’t really been challenged in years and years and years, people have just sort of run with it and being at the consumer end of it, instinctively understanding there was an issue, the idea behind this product or this first line that I created was to provide an alternative to women who were just not happy with the way the industry was currently manufacturing foundations.

Elliot Moss
And in terms of that kid who was 6 who was playing with stuff in the kitchen, there you are now as an adult, are you at the beginning overseeing the fusion of the different pigments to get the thing that you want or is that then delegated or, I just want to be clear on how hands on you really were in those early days?

Farah Naz
I would say very hands on. I actually create the products in Milan, Italy. Milan is the home of the highest quality emulsions in the world. It’s a bit like when you great chocolates and the come from say Belgium. It’s a craft actually and it’s a know how that the Italians have had for years and years and years which is hard to find elsewhere in the world so that’s where we create the products and I teamed up with a team of scientists in Europe, we just put our heads together and we started innovating. I was very involved in the process actually right at the raw material level from looking at actually exactly what went into the products, so yeah no I was extremely hands on. It was blood, sweat and RND for about two years.

Elliot Moss
Lucky you were a scientist because I think it would have been tricky if you weren’t. Stay with me for much more from my Business Shaper, that’s Farah Naz and she is the Founder of EX1 Cosmetics and she started making it herself. Here’s the music, it’s Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery with Dahlia.

We’ve mixed the music up somewhat here on Jazz Shapers, there was Milt Jackson and Wes Montgomery with Dahlia, something a bit different there. Farah Naz is my Business Shaper today and we’ve been talking about how hands on she’s been and how Milan, which I didn’t know, is the home of make-up. That makes sense, home of fashion and all sorts of stuff as well. Of the areas that you have had to look after as the Founder of this business, what have you found the most difficult bits? Whether that’s financial, whether its distribution, whether it’s manufacture, whatever it might be. Which area has been the most difficult and how have you managed to cope in that area?

Farah Naz
I think that’s a really tough one because I think when you are running a business it is so multi-faceted that you know, you get challenges in every possible area you can imagine and you get challenges in areas that you never even thought of so you know, that can run from anything from production schedule, so if a major celebrity wears your products at a red carpet event and then you sell out the next day, you know, it’s hard to forecast production schedules when you don’t have a clear historical track record of growth and when you are going through massive, a massive growth phase then you know, to get that right is very challenging.

Elliot Moss
Tricky.

Farah Naz
It is and it has resulted in a lot of out of stocks you know, when I launched our really, really pale shade of foundation when I did a range of shade extensions on the foundation, we were out of stock for a product for seven months just because it would sell out so fast. So that’s been difficult. I think other areas which have been you know, are always a little bit stressful, I think is fundraising and I would say not so much because we you know, have something to show. I think that when you are in the very early stages of funding in fact, especially that seed round when you really don’t have anything tangible to show people, you are literally selling people a vision and you will get a lot of people who will be you know sort of thinking that you are a little bit crazy and they just sort of advise you to get into a 9 to 5, trying to sell that vision and get people on board and actually part with cash you know, is quite hard to do.

Elliot Moss
Now you said before about, I want to talk about that, parting with cash – ‘Less than 1% of VC funding, Venture Capital funding goes globally to women of colour. Investors need to change their culture’ you said ‘and start taking note of the phenomenal unexploited potential of investing in diversity’. There is a lot said about diversity, in my lifetime it is definitely the noise has gone up and quite rightly because issues that need to be addressed. You are a woman of colour, in your own words, you have Pakistani origin. You don’t really talk about that because I imagine it is like, well no I am just a person and I happen to be, this is my origin and so on. But is it… have you noticed, is it more difficult for you as a woman and a woman of colour to raise money do you think? And if so, how have you managed to break through?

Farah Naz
Yeah it’s a good question. If I am entirely honest about it, I don’t personally feel like this has been an issue for me. I feel that if you have a very, very strong concept, a very strong proposition you will find people who will, who will join you and support you…

Elliot Moss
And you are you. I know we don’t know each other well but you are you and you are incredibly impressive, you are smart, you are a biochemist, you understand this business, you know what you are doing, you did your homework, you know what you are talking about, you are going to be highly investable.

Farah Naz
Oh thank you so much.

Elliot Moss
But that, if I understand what you are saying then, that is much more important the fact that your gender is X and your colour is Y or do those other two factors still play a role?

Farah Naz
The stats would reflect that you know, there is an issue, that people are not getting funded. I have to say that you know, again like I said, it is really not something that I feel that I faced. I have had rejections, I’ve never… you know for funding. I didn’t ever attribute that to you know my skin tone or my gender or anything like that. I mean I don’t really know what goes on in the minds of people but I certainly am not a believer in thinking that I am, that I am competitively disadvantaged somehow because of you know, my sex and because of my skin tone. I think I am very much a glass half full kind of person. I meet people, I tend to think the best of them and I you know, I personally have not had a problem. Having said all of that, I do acknowledge that there is a problem in the industry and not just this industry, you know, in funding in general that yes the stats show that you know, less than 1% of women get funded so there is something wrong and I would just encourage women to you know, just keep pushing forwards and know that if you do keep pushing forwards maybe, maybe I don’t know, maybe you do have to try that bit harder but it’s well worth it and you will get there in the end if your proposition is strong.

Elliot Moss
Stay with me for my final chat with Farah Naz, plus we’ll be playing a track from Stevie Wonder. That’s all coming up in just a moment, don’t go anywhere.

That was Stevie Wonder with the iconic Living For The City. I am with Farah Naz just for a few more minutes and we’ve been talking about all sorts of things from making stuff through to confidence, through to the role that gender and colour might play in the funding world and so on. I just want to turn superficial for a moment, deliciously superficial so we can do it very easily. The kinds of people that wear your make-up for those people that don’t know, Adele, Rita Ora, Paris Jackson, you can tell me if I am wrong on any of these, Bianca Chopra, Kylie Jenner – I think I’ve heard of her – Margo Robbie, who I love, Rami Malek as well. Amazingly high profile even if you are not in that world of popular culture A-listers pretty much all of them from the world of music to fashion and through to film and so on. Why? How did they find you? What have you been doing that’s so successful, you’ve reached that group of people?

Farah Naz
Yeah to be honest I never ever built a business to provide products for Hollywood A-list celebrities or pop stars or anything like that, it was very much a product that was created to be affordable, it is only £12.50 and to be made for the everyday girl who just couldn’t find something that matched her skin tone. I believe that it probably came from the fact that it was a very strong product actually. It was something that was completely different. There is no other product like it on the market so you won’t get foundations of this shade anywhere and what we found was that it actually started with an unnamed super model that was shooting somewhere and got hold of the products through her make-up artist.

Elliot Moss
Unnamed as in you are not going to tell me but obviously this super model has a name?

Farah Naz
She indeed has a name and unfortunately I don’t want to get into trouble so I won’t say who it was but…

Elliot Moss
That’s really annoying isn’t it. Everyone is going ‘who is it?’

Farah Naz
I’m so sorry.

Elliot Moss
Don’t tell me, it’s fine, it’s fine.

Farah Naz
And…

Elliot Moss
You can tell me afterwards.

Farah Naz
…I will. And she basically I think tweeted it and from there it just ended up on the dressing tables of huge Hollywood names and because we are in the world of sort of social media, these things get picked up by the press so the press would see it on the dressing table of a massive actress while she is getting ready, it would get photographed and the next thing you know they would be calling me about for interviews and things like that.

Elliot Moss
So you are telling me this wasn’t a set up. You are saying actually genuinely it just picked up and that famous people started using your stuff?

Farah Naz
Yes absolutely that’s how it all began.

Elliot Moss
Did they want to meet you all these people?

Farah Naz
I wish they did. I wish they did.

Elliot Moss
I was going to say, surely there should be some invites to some really cool things. But on that side, the fact that you talk about the juxtaposition between its £12.50 product, that is for a mass market and here are people picking up… obviously that doesn’t hurt your business, it’s brilliant for your business. What does success look like as you go forward? Is the metric just purely number of sales or is the metric the kind of people that are using it.

Farah Naz
For my shareholders it is probably sales. I think to be honest with you I am very much driven by getting the brand out there to the people who I think it could help actually. That’s the most important thing to me. So it is about distribution, it’s about getting it to people easily and affordably. I think that is fundamentally the most important thing. I think it is a brand we are really, really lucky that we’ve had the support of a lot of people actually so you know, we’ve had some amazing awards that we have picked up along the way, so we’ve been nominated for Best Brand by British Vogue for 2018 and you know, a number of other awards and accolades that have really supported us.

Elliot Moss
And you’ve got an award, you’ve got an award, sorry to cut across…

Farah Naz
I have.

Elliot Moss
…Business Woman of the Year 2018 London Asian Business Awards and received Most Up and Coming British Pakistani Entrepreneur from the High Commissioner of Pakistan a few years ago.

Farah Naz
I did and then, thank you so much and now I sound like I am bragging a little bit because I did pick up another one a bit more recently than that last year for Business Woman of the Year, so that was great.

Elliot Moss
So all these things are nice but it doesn’t seem to float your boat, that’s not what you are doing it for?

Farah Naz
Yeah completely not at all. I mean it’s very, very nice to have awards and you know, it’s a bit like getting a pat on the back saying well done you know, all the hard work is paying off and it’s working so it is definitely really, really supportive, it’s very encouraging and I am very grateful to the people that have nominated us, be it the public or be it the awards people themselves so it’s great. I think my focus is very much on the business itself in terms of products, in terms of innovation, I really hope that I can continue providing really high quality products at an affordable price for women out there and I do believe that the industry as it is at the moment, it is an amazing industry to be a part of and I think there are a lot of things about the industry which are unbelievably archaic and it is those types of things that I would like to try and change as much as I possibly can.

Elliot Moss
Give me one example of the change that you would like?

Farah Naz
I think that it would be nice if there was a greater understanding of formulas to be honest. There is a lack of understanding with people in general that they don’t really know the difference between high end formulas and drug store formulas for instance. So we know in the industry that at the formula level there is no difference in price between the most expensive designer brand and between a high street product and for me it’s about creating products that don’t have eye watering mark-ups, that’s really, really important without compromising quality in any way. I kind of feel that it would be nice if that message was out there a little bit more. It’s nice to buy into luxury brands, I think that’s great and it’s a lifestyle thing and it’s a choice and there are some great brands out there.

Elliot Moss
But where’s the quality? What you are saying is you should also correlate that with quality, it is not all about the brand name?

Farah Naz
I think that in this industry its peddling a myth if you sort of equate price and quality together unfortunately you know, I think customers and public should be aware that you are buying into a lifestyle really, you are not even paying for the packaging and so the philosophy behind my brand was to create the highest quality products in the world, I mean we actually come from the very same labs that bring, you know, that are behind those exclusive designer best-selling brands and yet we retail at £12.50 and I think it is really nice that you know, we are used by celebrities because they have the choice of using whatever they want and so yeah, I think, I think the public is, is quite receptive to that and is responding well to the products because the proposition is sincere I hope.

Elliot Moss
You can’t really go wrong with quality. It’s been lovely talking to you, thank you so much. Just before I let you disappear today, what is your song choice and why have you chosen it?

Farah Naz
I have chosen Bill Withers, Can We Pretend. I was going to go for something that was a lot more uplifting and motivational as an entrepreneur but I’ve gone for something which is just nice and relaxing.

Elliot Moss
That was Bill Withers with Can We Pretend. The song choice of my Business Shaper today, Farah Naz. She talked about the importance of being curious and playful and from a very young age, that’s exactly what she’s been. She talked about questioning everything. I think that’s a really fundamental trait of an entrepreneur, nothing is right unless you think it is right and finally she talked about the importance of what she does as being a craft – ‘it’s a craft’ she said and I absolutely loved that when she said it.

You can hear our conversation with Farah all over again whenever you’d like to as a podcast just search for Jazz Shapers or ask your smart speaker to play Jazz Shapers. Or if you’re up nice and early on Monday, you can catch this programme again just before the Business Breakfast at 5.00am. We are back next Saturday from 9.00 with our next Business Shaper, Dr Ben Maruthappu, Co-founder and CEO of CeraCare, a multi-award winning technology company transforming social care. Up next after the news at 10.00, it’s Nigel Williams with great music, interviews and live sessions too. That’s it from me and Jazz Shapers. Have a great weekend.

We hope you enjoyed that edition of Jazz Shapers. You will find hundreds more guests available for you to listen to in our archive. To find out more, just search Jazz Shapers and iTunes or your favourite podcast platform or head over to mishcon.com/jazzshapers.

Farah Naz is the Founder and Owner of EX1 Cosmetics, a cosmetics brand known for providing the ultimate “skin-on-skin” effect, producing a range of complexion-based products including foundations, powders, blushers and concealers to help you achieve perfect looking skin.

Struggling to find her own perfect foundation that was affordable, Farah used her biochemistry background to launch EX1 Cosmetics, providing consumers with a product range that truly matches their skin based on their undertones. EX1 Cosmetics has become a red-carpet staple and a favourite amongst Hollywood royalty, including the likes of Adele, Kate Hudson, Rami Malek and Kylie Jenner.

Growing to become one of the most popular cosmetics lines sold on LookFantastic.com, the world’s second largest online beauty retailer, the Telegraph has branded Farah a “cosmetics guru”, who is “changing the landscape of the [beauty] industry” (Forbes).

Follow @EX1Cosmetics on Twitter.

Interview highlights

I think my whole journey has been underpinned by having an inquisitive mind.

I’m somebody that liked to question things all the time.

The combination of playfulness and being inquisitive is the definition of creativity.

Fundamentally it was about creating a range of products for, what I believed, were an underserved group of women.

I believe in creating products to give women options.

Investors will invest in your vision, so find a group of people that will support you and wholeheartedly believe in your proposition.

We are here to provide an alternative.

The idea behind the brand was to actually have a completely unique product offering.

My focus is very much on the business itself in terms of products, in terms of innovation, and I really hope that I can continue providing really high quality products.

Shaper: Jenny Biggam

Jenny Biggam is the Co-founder and CEO of the7stars – the UK’s largest independent media agency. Having known from an early age that she didn’t want to go to University, but wanted to just get stuck into the world of work, Jenny found herself at a small marketing agency in Soho. After roles at Zenith [...]

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Jazz Shapers - 4 days ago

Shaper: Sir Rocco Forte

Sir Rocco Forte is the Chairman and Co-Founder of the luxury hotel brand, Rocco Forte Hotels. With his grandfather and father in the hospitality business, Rocco’s approach to customers was shaped at an early age – treat guests differently because they are individuals. From spending school holidays working across his father’s company, the Forte Hotel [...]

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Jazz Shapers, Jazz Shapers Live - 2 weeks ago