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Here’s how one woman built her beauty empire online

Stephanie Ozuo
by Stephanie Ozuo
Published on 27 April, 2018

Aysha Ali is the founder of Certifeye, a fast-growing e-commerce beauty brand that sells both makeup and male grooming products.

Aysha founded Certifeye business from her family home in Buckinghamshire in January 2016. Her company now boasts more than 20,000 customers from across the globe—including the US, Canada and Australia. 

We interviewed her to tell her story of how she built her business with the power of the internet. 

 

Q. Hi Aysha, let’s start with the basics. Can you tell us a bit about your background?

My name is Aysha Ali, I’m 27 years old, I was born in Buckinghamshire, England to Pakistani parents. My love for makeup started at a very young age; I’d always experiment with the little makeup I had. I’d try out looks on my Mum and Aunty whenever I had a chance. 

Q. What inspired you to launch Certifeye? Did anything in particular make you want to enter the beauty business?

The birth of Certifeye was a spur-of-the-moment type thing.

I went makeup shopping one day to a well-known cosmetics store, but the customer service I received wasn’t good and I left the store feeling upset and frustrated; makeup shopping is meant to be an exciting and fun experience.

I realised that, if I ever sold cosmetics, I’d want my customers to feel warm and welcomed. This inspired me to start my own business. 

Combining my love for makeup, creativity and customer satisfaction, Certifeye was born.

Q. You’ve got a fantastic presence across social media — what was your strategy to attract your more than 150k followers?

With social media, I don’t rest. I’m constantly posting pictures and tutorials. I like to keep engaged with my followers, and I often sacrifice sleep to tap into far-away markets in different time zones. 

 

Q. You’ve managed to get the endorsements of popular beauty influences such as NikkieTutorials and Daisy Marquez. How have you managed to work with such high-profile names in the industry?

My favourite part of running the business is reaching out to influencers. I regularly send them products and promotional material and, in return, they review me on their channels and social media pages.

Their feedback is so important for my business, as they give me suggestions on how to improve not just the products, but the entire customer experience  from shade range to packaging.

Many were happy to showcase and endorse Certifeye on their profiles and spoke positively about my business.  From then, I knew there was enough space for Certifeye in the industry and it had potential to go global.

Now I have over 20,000 customers from around the world.

Q. How much Instagram traffic do you attract? Does your IG profile drive many of your sales?  

Instagram is the main platform which drives both sales and engagement for the business and accounts for 75% of my total revenue.

Q. I saw your l feature on Beauty Insider20 million views! What was that like and how did it come about? Did it have a big impact on your business?

When they approached me with the opportunity to feature on their page I was absolutely thrilled! It blew up the Facebook and Instagram.  My website was overwhelmed with orders, which ballooned from the normal 150 per-week to more than 3,000and in just 5 days! 

It was amazing exposure for my brand and I’m still so grateful for the opportunity.

Q. I hear the beauty industry is incredibly fast-paced.  How do you keep up with the latest trends to stay relevant?

I introduce new products by first listening to what customers want. I use the poll feature on Twitter and Instagram to gauge reception and collect feedback. I’m constantly online, which is why I’m able to notice the latest trends and then incorporate them in product releases.

For example, I recently launched ‘Certifeye Man’ to break into the male grooming market, after my following made it clear this was something they’d be interested in. 

Q. What advice do you have for businesses that aren’t online and don’t know where to start?

Get online and get your branding right to get people’s attention. Respond to queries in a timely manner and promote what you do heavily. The good reviews will follow, and your business will take off.

Q. What’s the most important piece of advice you have for someone planning to start a business?

Being consistent and keeping your customers happiness should be at the foundation of any business. My first month trading was slow; I sold 1 eye glitter for £8. I didn’t let it dishearten me, I carried on. I pushed my  business on all all social media platforms. I sent emails and DM’s until my fingers were sore. I was on a mission to make it.

Certifeye is offering you a 10% discount on all products excluding sale items with the code UENI10

 

 

Stephanie Ozuo
Stephanie Ozuo
Stephanie Ozuo is a Marketing Executive and social media influencer based in London. She is passionate about social issues and politics and her opinions have been featured in Buzzfeed, RT, and Al Jazeera.
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