Beauty Idol: Beauty by Zara

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We Women of Colour have real issues when it comes to buying products for our hair and skin. There is either the local shops that are packed high and cramped and therefore hardly a pleasurable experience then there are the likes of Boots and Superdrug who are sporadic in stocking the items that we need. Shopping online has its perks but not if you want to look, touch and smell the products before you buy. I came across Beauty by Zara on instagram when the likes of Crystal Afro were raving about it. The store is located in South East London and offers the best in skincare, hair and beauty products for women of all races. It is a one stop shop for large brands such as Morocconoil and KeraCare to small niche ones like SheaMoisture and Aunt Jackies. And if you fancy picking up the odd products from mainstream brands like The Body Shop and L'Oreal then you will find them here too. I caught up with the owner, Aisha Zara Ahmed Bashir who took five minutes out from her busy schedule to answer my questions. What made you decide to set up your own beauty business? I was a chemistry teacher up until my second daughter was born, and I didn’t want to leave her to go back to work. I decided instead, that I would start a business and work from home. My husband had the business acumen so it was only a matter of time before he persuaded me to join him.

What is the concept behind Beauty by Zara? With more and more people opting for healthier, greener ways of living, I wanted to commit to finding brands that are natural and clean and bring them home to the UK.

What sort of research did you do to find out which products your customers would like to buy? Mainly through hair shows and customer feedback

How did you decide on the look and feel of the shop? I’m a highly organised person and naturally I wanted my online shop to be having a simple, clean and modern look with easy-to-use features. I’m still working on a lot of features behind the scenes to make the site even user-friendlier.

What are your future plans for Beauty by Zara? To bring cleaner and healthier hair and skin care products to the UK.

What are your favourite beauty products? At present: I love the hair and skin care products of Camille Rose, Jane Carter, Nubian Heritage, and Dr. Bronners. Follow me on Instagram to see all the products I am in love with.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to set up their own beauty business? Remember: 1. Be fearless. 2. To make it a success, you must make it an obsession.

For more information about Beauty by Zara just visit their website.