Today’s business market is more global than ever, with women making international boss moves from coast to coast. In a special series on women entrepreneurs of the diaspora, BlackEnterprise.com will bring you highlights on power females who have taken their passions and made them profitable — from North America to Europe to Africa and everywhere in between.
Clare Eluka is the founder of a revolutionary allergy-free, candida-free, botanical-based luxury skincare brand. Premae Skincare launched in London to fulfill the need for allergen-free cosmeceuticals. The gap in the market was identified by Eluka as a result of her personal struggle with candida albican, a wheat, dairy, sugar and gluten intolerance.
Eluka’s seven-year search for a cure led her on research journeys around the world, resulting in the creation of her brand, whose products are manufactured with 100% vegan, natural and unrefined ingredients.
The British entrepreneur sat down with BlackEnterprise.com to share the driving force behind her business, overcoming the recession and how she was able to fill a unique void in the vastly saturated beauty market.
BlackEnterprise.com: What was your career path prior to starting out in business?
Eluka: At the age of 16, I worked for the Body Shop as a part-time makeup artist. I went on to earn my Bachelor of Arts degree in drama, with film and Television while I worked at Bobbi Brown Cosmetics as a senior artist. After I graduated in 2006, I worked as a freelance makeup artist and then became a beauty journalist.
In 2009, I decided I needed a back-up plan and became a qualified school teacher, as the freelance makeup artist jobs dried up at the start of the recession.
As one of the 2.5 billion allergy sufferers worldwide— I suffer from four core allergies—it was imperative for me to bring sustainable beauty products to the market.
What’s the story behind your brand name?
Premae Skincare is a raw food diet for the skin. The name Premae is two words put together: premium and formulae—epitomizing the brand’s uniqueness and prestige.
What steps did you take to launch Premae Skincare?
I created a solid business plan, with optimistic and realistic profit and loss. I reviewed the USP and conducted massive amounts of research. I spent two years trying and testing the formulae on humans. I am completely against animal testing.
I got rid of all the toxic and negative people in my life who were draining my energy and blocking my success. I only network with other entrepreneurs and business people, as they understand the pressure and mental state you are in, which can sometimes be frustrating to friends.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering starting a beauty brand?
Study the business side first. If you are a creative person, do the math first. If you are a business person, go and study chemistry or work in the beauty industry for at least five years. Get some solid experience in both sectors and combine them. Also, build a strong marketing team and maintain quality and integrity at all times.
To find out more about black women entrepreneurs, visit at Twentytenclub.com.
Octavia Goredema, MBE is founder of the Twenty Ten Club , an award-winning, U.K.-based networking organization and resource designed to connect, inspire and support black female entrepreneurs. Named one of the UK’s Social Enterprises of the Year at the Future 100 awards, the Twenty Ten Club was a Leadership in the Community finalist at the 2011 Network of Aspiring Women Awards and a Best Business Blog finalist at the Black Weblog Awards in 2010—the only British site to reach the finals in the business category.