A fusion of two of her passion which are beauty and skin care, Zarina Weston founded Kenzina, a skin care business with a mission to create professional skincare products for home and salon use in sustainable packaging that is ethically made and never tested on animals.
Starting with the Kenzina Rejuvenating Eye Masks in 2020 and Kenzina Plumping Lip Masks in 2021, Zarina shares that they are now in the development stage of exciting new products, with another product to be launched this year.
We were able to chat with Zarina and talk about her company and long-term plan to expand the brand to further cover a larger range of skin care needs.
How did you come to start your business? Was there a particular spark or a significant turning point?
The beauty industry has always interested me.
I had my second child and when she was 2 months old, I decided to become an official distributor in Australia of a few of my favorite skincare brands. However, after 6 months, I decided I wanted to formulate my own skincare products particularly under eye masks. I knew that my eye masks had to deliver amazing results, but also needed to be ethically made, without nasty ingredients, moreover, had sustainable packaging and 100% cruelty free.
Also, I saw the waste generated by the eye mask market where all current products are offered in either 5 or 6 (sometimes 10) pairs per packet. The outer packet is not recyclable, and then sitting within that are individually packaged pairs in more non-recyclable packaging.
When you initially started your business, what hurdles did you face?
I launched my Kenzina Rejuvenating Eye Masks (my first product) on April 2, 2020. My Rejuvenating Eye Masks were ready in March but in March 2020, everything started to change as COVID-19 hit world-wide. I panicked and decided to express air freight my product as I was not sure what will be happening with the international border closures and cargo arrivals. I had to pay 4 times extra than I had anticipated.
Even though I paid a premium, it took 3 ½ weeks for my eye masks to arrive. When they did finally arrive, we were in a nation-wide lockdown.
1,000 units were sitting in my three-bedroom apartment, and I really didn’t know what to do. Australia-wide, people were losing jobs, and I didn’t feel confident I could sell them.
Who or what was integral to you overcoming these hurdles?
Two things – I started to make a plan and take action. I was looking for every opportunity available. I am a strong believer that if you start to look for opportunities, they will present themselves and if you want to do something, do it now!
I decided to set a day – 2nd April 2019 to start my sales. My then current customer database was very keen to try my product. I reached out to a few bloggers and prepared Facebook ads and kept going as hard as I could. Matthew Landers (The People’s Florist) and Nikki Milne were doing Instagram Live sessions. I joined them for a couple of short segments, and as a result I will forever be grateful to both for the doors that were opened from those two sessions.
What makes your business unique?
- Sustainable packaging
- Excellent customer service
- Result driven products
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
I really want Kenzina to grow to a national and international business. I would really like to expand the company and to have a professional only line, and continue to develop products for the everyday person.
I have a few other business ideas in mind, but until Kenzina reaches its full potential, I am not going to start anything else yet.
What is your favourite aspect of being an entrepreneur?
- I love to be in charge.
- I love to use my creative side – design packaging, choosing ingredients.
- I love to see progress even though it’s sometimes slow, but I love to look back and realize how I have grown
- I love I love happy customers
What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?
- Be patient
- Believe in yourself
- Think like a big business
What do you believe was the best decision you made in business?
To actually bite the bullet and start my business. Even though it’s sometimes hard and even though it’s not paying my bills at the moment, I love what I do. I have a million ideas in my mind. I meet amazing people and I learn so much every day.
Outsource the skill or learn the skill?
I really like to learn something new, but I also understand that I can’t learn everything and I also want to support other businesses that have the skills I need. I am starting to learn to outsource.
Who are the people around you that allow you to thrive and give support?
My husband. When lived in Perth (now Sydney) and didn’t have family there. I keep telling him that without him, Kenzina would never exist
What keeps you going in difficult times?
I read somewhere when somebody said “Who said it will be easy?”. When it gets hard, I say to myself “Who said it will be easy?”. We all read or watch successful stories, but most of the time even if they look like AN overnight success, it took a long time and a lot of hard work for the person to build it.
Do you have a business app you can’t live without?
- Internet banking