Profile: A Family Affair

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A family business can create a focus for the next generation, building a drive to take the company to the next level. For Cristina Samuels and Jennifer Isaac, co-founders of MODE Cosmetics, the family business drove them to start a business of their own. These two sisters were immersed in Zela International, a cosmetics manufacturer. Samuels worked in sales and marketing, while Isaac focused on product development.

MODE was born as the two experimented with a line of cosmetics that incorporated health, fashion and nature. “Natural products give the impression of all or nothing—all crunch and no glamour, or all glamour and no benefits,” said Samuels. “I knew that there was this void in the market, and if I was interested in this idea, other women would be also.”

The 250 SKU line is influenced by ingredients and new formulations. “When we tell people that we are developing these new products, they get really excited. I feed off the energy, and it lets me know we’re going in the right direction,” said Isaac. “We have many new proprietary ingredients and formulations that we are developing, which we are very excited about.”

The sisters grew up in a world focused on fashion and health. “My parents are the most alluring and elegant people I know, and they lead healthy lifestyles,” said Isaac. “I recall my mother rubbing the peels of mangos on her face for a mask as an added bonus when she would peel fruits and vegetables for me. My father is a 40-year industry veteran who showed me that great quality products can be delivered at great price points.”

With fashion playing heavily into the design of the line itself, color plays an important part in the overall line production. “Color trends are what we look out for—from the fashion world to the streets. Then again, color never goes out of style. It is ever evolving and limitless,” said Samuels.

Fundamentally, the line is built around natural ingredients to promote a healthy lifestyle, but Isaac and Samuels also recognized the limits in using all natural ingredients. “When we first began research and development, we wanted to create a color cosmetics line that was all natural, but we learned very quickly that the performance of the products were subpar—the product variety, selection and color palette would be greatly limited and the efficacy and quality of the products would be greatly compromised,” said Samuels. “We knew that we could not stand behind sub-standard products just to claim all natural.”

Natural ingredients, including kosher certified ingredients, are used wherever and whenever possible within a given product formulation, and through the creation of products that feature a balanced use of naturals, the company has plans to grow with the natural and organic movement. “By continually adding and diversifying product categories, including foreseeing a natural men’s product line, [we] will build MODE’s reputation and presence as a leader in affordable natural products,” said Samuels.

By positioning themselves as a leader in affordable natural-based products, the company hopes to gain consumer loyalty that translates into market share on both domestic and global levels. “Whoever tries our products becomes an established loyal customer, and, in turn, they tell their friends,” said Samuels. Utilizing word of mouth and distribution channels such as pharmacies, supermarkets and online retailers, the company also hopes to build on this position.

“There are many trends that are here today and gone tomorrow. Natural and organic ingredients have caused the biggest change in the industry and have become more visible, leading many big players to take note. Consumer demand has proven this is not just a trend,” said Isaac.

Back to the October issue.


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