Beauty Idol: Elsa N. Arauz from KARIF


Elsa N. Arauz is the founder of KARIF, an online destination for Women of Colour. It started life a subscription box but has now evolved into She took time out to tell me about how she created her beauty brand. What made you decide to set up your own beauty business? I set up my own beauty business because I wanted to affect change on an industry that treated brown women as a silent minority whose buying power propels a significant percentage of their profits. I was pushed to start KARIF because I was infuriated but at the same time filled with a passion I had never had for anything else before. Soon after I was struck with the idea to start KARIF, I created my business plan and tried my best to put the plan into action

What is the concept behind KARIF? The concept is to make finding beauty products easy and fun. I want to create something that people could rely on for products that were brown girl friendly to take away the stress and the research that comes from finding a product that works well on your skin or hair. You won't have to walk into a department store and find a shelf coldly labeled ethnic products meant for the "others"; on KARUF you're serviced based on your uniqueness of beauty, style and personality. It's more personal.

What sort of research did you do to find out what sort of products your customers wanted to buy? We have customers fill out a beauty quiz when they sign up for their VIP membership. We ask them questions like, "What's you main hair concern?" or "What is your skin type?", and that gives us enough information as to which kinds of products we can curate for them. And also, the same data gives us insight about our customers to forecast trends in their buying behaviour.

How did you decide on the look and feel of the brand? I'm an anxious perfectionist so this was hard! The brand has been developing since it first started in 2013 and continues to do so. I made so many changes to the logo and the colours but finally decided that our brand isn't much about how it looks like but how it emotionally connects with people.

What are your future plans for KARIF? We're working on KARIF creating an engaging community that women of colour can personally relate to for the beauty products they need. Incorporating data and technology systems into the mix is also a goal we wish to accomplish. Deeper insights on everyone of our customers helps us serve them better!

What are your favourite beauty products? Favourite beauty products at the moment are KoyVoca's Hi-Life Highlighter in Heir, MAC Lipstick in Touch, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Barely Cosmetics Definer Sponge and Nicole Guerriero's Best Damn Beauty Lip Mask.

What advice do you have for anyone who wants to set up their own beauty business? Changing people's lives must be your main goal. Don't get into the business only for the money. Sounds backwards, right? Well I think that your passions inspire you to do your best, the revenue will come afterwards.

You can follow Elsa on Twitter.