If you have ever wondered what it takes to create your own beauty products that work just for your skin type and needs, then wonder no more. Entrepreneur Conny Oberrauter, or The Cosmetics Chef as she is better known, is taking her expert skills and knowledge in formulation and helping people to create their own high quality and effective beauty products at a fraction of the cost.
LoA found out more about this unique business that is busting the myths around the cosmetics industry, from its inspirational founder, Conny Oberrauter this month.
What does your company do?
My business is all about showing how easy it is to make your own beauty products. I sell the recipes and kits to make your own products. My business inspires people to be creative and to create their own magic.
“My business inspires people to be creative and to create their own magic.”
What inspired you to start your company?
People often asked me what products I used on my skin and I mostly replied that I made my own. I felt so spoilt being able to make whatever I wanted to make exactly what my skin needed. I had access to the most incredible potent actives and I could make myself power products that really worked. I realised that this is a privilege. Most woman have to buy what is on the shelf and hope for the best that their hard-earned money has been well spent. Why shouldn’t we all be able to make what we want for our own skin needs?
We customize everything in our lives. Our cell phone covers, our fashion, our food. Why should we be stuck in the old ways and buy only what is offered to us? Apart from the incredible freedom of being able to make your own products. It saves so much money. Instead of paying for a brands massive marketing budget, you buy the actives directly and can use the right amount needed to see real benefits.
A silly example, but when you order a hot chocolate in a restaurant, it’s never as nice as a home-made one right? That’s because the restaurant will use the least amount possible of chocolate powder to make it taste great, but also to maximize their profits. At home you will add one or two more teaspoons for extra richness. Or you will add some real chocolate and make a super decadent treat. Cosmetics are the same. The actual product inside the jar is less than 10% of the cost. Why should you pay so much more for all the extra costs? Making it yourself means you cut out the middle men and spend 100% cost on the product. So instead of paying R100 for a R10 product, you are getting a real R100 product that would normally cost you more than R1000 in stores.
Another bonus is that it is planet friendly. You only make what you need when you need it. The waste that is created in mass manufacturing of cosmetics is incredible. Making it at home is far less wasteful.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
I am an expert formulator and I am sharing all my knowledge and secrets with everyone. I am being open to how the industry works and am happily giving away all the secrets. I’m showing you exactly what goes into everything. Everyone else likes to keep their recipes secret. I am standing up and telling everyone what is real and what isn’t. I’m not jumping on the latest trend to get you to buy my products. I am creating products that will truly benefit your skin/hair. I am also going against the grain and telling you the real stories. Cosmetics are not dangerous, toxin loaded products. Other brands may want you to believe that, but usually only to benefit their own marketing strategy. Time to start debunking those myths and let you make your own decisions based on real info and not marketing twists.
“I am an expert formulator and I am sharing all my knowledge and secrets with everyone. I am being open to how the industry works and am happily giving away all the secrets.”
Tell us a little about your team
The team at this stage is just me.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I first started my journey by opening a consulting business in 2009. I did formulation development for people who wanted to start their own cosmetic brands and ranges. I helped people take their dream from product idea to product launch. I had been running my consulting business for approximately 8 years and was looking for a way to take my passion and expand it. I wanted to make the know-how of making your own cosmetics more easily available to everyone. Not just the select few who had the means to develop their own cosmetic brands. A friend of mine actually sparked the idea on how to do this. I bought a Thermomix, which is an incredible kitchen appliance that can do so much. My friend asked me if we could make cosmetics in it, and I immediately said no. In my mind you had to have a fancy lab with technical equipment to make decent products. My lab had everything to create amazing products, why on earth would I make cosmetics in the kitchen.
The seed was planted and after a few days I started playing. I took my decades of research and development experience and applied that to making products easier with everyday ingredients. That’s when I decided the first step would be to publish a recipe book with all the tips and tricks to make incredible quality products at home. The business grew from there. I started offering workshops and also made more premium products available as well.
I also wanted people to know more about the real science behind cosmetics. The information that is out there is often so far off track and the marketing hype around ingredients is insane. The easiest way to give people the real info was to write blogs. So I also myth bust the crazy and scary stories around cosmetics and ingredients.
My parents were also entrepreneurial and had their own businesses. Sadly their businesses did not do as well as they hoped and they had many failed ventures. They eventually went back to formal employment. What I learnt from this was that even if doesn't work out it is ok to try. If it fails, I can always go back to getting a normal job and there is no shame in going after your dreams. The shame is not even trying to give it a go.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I would love to expand the business on a global level. I want everyone in the world to have the freedom of making their own amazing beauty products suited just for them. If they do not want to make their own, then I at least want everyone to know more about what they are buying. I want all consumers to know the truth behind the brands they love, not just blindly believe what the marketing campaign is.
“I would love to expand the business on a global level. I want everyone in the world to have the freedom of making their own amazing beauty products suited just for them.”
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Having the freedom to explore my ideas gives me the most satisfaction. I also love the control of if it's meant to be, it's up to me. I don't have to wait for someone to tell me it' okay to do something. I just go out there and grab the opportunities and make them happen.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
If you want to start something on your own, plan ahead as much as possible. Work extra hours and save up as much money as possible. Keep your own expenses low. Having the financial reserves in your own account takes a lot of pressure off when you are trying to make your dream work. If possible, try get a part time secured income source. Even if it’s a part time job while you build your business. The more of your own money you are prepared to invest in your own business, the more seriously you will take it, plus the more seriously others will take you.
When you get to a stage when you need investment, the first thing potential investors will look at it, is how much you invested in yourself. Do whatever course you need to do to learn what you need. I am still learning every day. I often read that you should outsource everything you don’t know, but I disagree with that. If you don’t know about something and rely on someone else to do it with as much passion as you would, you could lose out. Even if you don’t do the task, make sure you understand enough of it to know what to look for and what to expect. Don’t be taken for a fool because you are ignorant of something.
Most importantly – Just do it. Believe in yourself and go out there and show the world your talent. It’s up to you to make it work.
Contact or follow The Cosmetics Chef
Why LoA loves it….
It is always inspirational to meet and talk to women entrepreneurs who believe in doing things differently for the benefit of everyone - real impact makers and industry shakers. What makes Conny Oberrauter so different is that she is building a business that creates a platform for her considerable knowledge sharing about the beauty formulation industry. She is not only debunking myths, but also empowering consumers to create their own unique product formulations at a fraction of the cost. Conny is a great example of the power of sharing to make a real difference in so many ways. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa