‘When I was growing up I often went with my mum to have skincare consultations at Harrods and Selfridges and we rarely got that personal superior shopping experience that we really wanted’, remembers Kimisha Lala, founder of luxe cosmetics site, Panache Cosmetics.
This memory stuck with her: ‘I had a vision of being able to offer excellent highly-developed products to customers in the comfort of their own home.’
Kimisha wasted little time getting stuck into her business idea: ‘I studied business at university with the thought of running my own business one day. After my degree I worked in the family engineering business and applied my study to the real world.’
This grounding provided a solid business base and an all-important nest egg: ‘We built the business up to a substantial level and I used some of the money I made to develop Panache and make my dream into a reality.’
It’s not all been plain sailing, though, as Kimisha explains: ‘My biggest challenge was being taken seriously. I was very young working in a sector that was very competitive and alongside people that were predominately senior to me.’
Her rapidly growing business – she’s steadily adding new products to the site - is testament to her staying power.
The quality and efficacy of the products, such as naturaBisse and Steven Victor MD, is central to the scientifically-leaning Panache approach: ‘I choose brands developed by dermatologists that boast scientific evidence, are made with quality ingredients and, above all, actually work!’ she explains. ‘I wanted products I would feel happy with my mother using.’
Citing her customer as ‘any woman who wants her skin to look radiant and youthful’, Kimisha’s future plans are grounded in continuing to research new product lines and keeping her customers happy. She’s in no rush to conquer all of her dreams at once: ‘I’m part way there but I have many more aspirations that to fulfill at a later date!’
So what advice would she give other women with business aspirations to realize?
‘Follow your intuition, always be optimistic, pursue your own dreams and, most importantly, listen to advice but make your own decisions.’
2007 – Launched Panache Cosmetics Ltd
2003 – 2005 – General Manager at Rohan Engineering Ltd
2001 – 2002 – Customer service representative at Sitel Corporation
2000 – 2003 – Business Studies, Kingston Upon Thames University