The SME Story: Amina Grimen and Ayat Toufeeq, co-founders of Powder.ae
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The SME Story: Amina Grimen and Ayat Toufeeq, co-founders of Powder.ae

The SME Story: Amina Grimen and Ayat Toufeeq, co-founders of Powder.ae

Powder.ae is a direct-to-consumer, content-led e-commerce business focused on retailing clean beauty and skincare in the Middle East

Amina Grimen and Ayat Toufeeq, co-founders at Poweder.ae

What is the core business model of Powder.ae?
We are a direct-to-consumer, content-led e-commerce business focused on retailing clean beauty and skincare in the Middle East. We typically focus on skincare, haircare and makeup with sophisticated formulations. Our current offering includes global clean brands and niche and boutique luxury brands from the US, Australia, South Korea, Canada and beyond. From the packaging to the brand messaging and quality of ingredients, we consider several different factors when it comes to choosing brands to support.

What gap did you see in the market that necessitated the need for such a company?
We started Powder when we realised that we were both going through a similar situation. We were both struggling to find the guidance we needed to help us solve our skincare problems, and didn’t have access to the exciting niche products that we had been reading about in blogs and following on Instagram locally. This is the reason we set out to create an online clean beauty space where our customer has access to choices which reflect their values. We recognised early on that there is a considerable gap when it comes to quality, in-trend, Arabic, and regional content, and we intend to close this gap.

Does focusing on clean cosmetics make good long-term business sense?
Absolutely. We believe that the clean beauty movement will continue its upward trajectory. Consumers here and abroad are gaining a deeper understanding of what they are applying to their faces and they ultimately will influence the market. For example, the more we make clean, sustainable choices in terms of our spending, the higher the standard becomes for conventional brands as they try to keep up with growing expectations when it comes to sustainable, cruelty-free production and packaging. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Powder.ae focuses on retailing clean beauty and skincare products
Powder.ae focuses on retailing clean beauty and skincare products

What are some of the biggest challenges that you have encountered as an entrepreneur?
For a small but growing startup such as ours, raising awareness in an expensive and crowded digital market is a challenge. Additionally, finding and attracting the right talent on a budget is never easy. The talent is here, but finding someone with skills who is ready to play the long-game takes time. Also, we would like to take on a seasoned executive who is a proven operator and who has scaled up an e-commerce business, while offering substantial ownership. We would welcome another partner to the business who can help us to execute and deliver upon our ambitious vision to be the region’s leading clean beauty destination.

What are your expansion plans?
We are on a growth trajectory and will be introducing several new clean brands over the coming months. We also entered Saudi Arabia late last year and introduced some exciting clean beauty brands including an exclusive partnership with RÓEN Beauty, a cruelty-free and vegan makeup brand from Los Angeles. During the lockdown, we witnessed a surge in sales and demand for our beauty offering. This encouraged us further to go after funds to build on that momentum.

We are launching a $200,000 bridge to round-out our pre-seed round. We staged the round to show traction from early investments and then secure additional capital to double-down on our growth. We started outreach to investors weeks ago and hope to close the round in the coming weeks.

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