DIY. When starting a beauty brand, save your money. Try doing as much as possible on your own. Using platforms like Shopify and Facebook, as well as resources like Canva and Unsplash will save you thousands of dollars.
As a part of our series about “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chloe Sommers, a journalist-turned-entrepreneur. As a journalist, Chloe has interviewed hundreds of celebrities, from President Obama to Tommy Chong. Now, she focuses on giving Americans access to pure Argan oil beauty products through her company, Arganomic.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My career path begins with journalism and my first job at CNN. It was my dream job after graduating with a Master’s in Broadcast Journalism from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. At CNN, I worked my way up in the company to the DC bureau, reaching my career goal of working from the White House. I feel grateful for the experience and working with the most dedicated crew, talent, and producers in the industry.
Next, I set my sights on conquering the business world. Through my PR company, 18PR Pro, I found my niche of working in the health and wellness space. From CBD to Moringa oil, I traveled the world to work with brands launching their products.
Then COVID-19 economic shutdown hit in early 2020. In a matter of weeks, there were no budgets for boutique PR agencies like mine. Nevertheless, I repurposed my skillset and dove headfirst into starting my e-commerce shop and Arganomic beauty brand.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?
In 2014, Ukrainians were protesting anti-democratic Russian influences on their government. I was with CNN at the time and learned the Ukrainian pop star-turned-political activist, Ruslana Lyzhycho, was in Washington, D.C. I immediately pitched her story resulting in a sit-down interview with Wolf Blitzer. Here’s a link to the segment.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Are there takeaways or lessons that others can learn from that?
My news career began at the start of the social media boom and came to its end with the complete takeover. Sadly, now the news is driven by ‘likes’ and SEO instead of solid news judgment. It was the tipping point at which I took a hard look at the state of the media and no longer recognized it. This conflict of interests made me realize the best way forward for me to contribute to society and positively influence others would be to start my own business.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
As a child, I remember my mom taking on two jobs while managing our home as a single mother. She taught me resilience and determination. She also taught me a great life motto, “falling apart at the seams is not an option.”
Through her, I developed an inner strength that got me through the most devastating event of my life, the sudden death of my father. I was only a child, yet I remember his creative and artistic spirit. Today, I take comfort in feeling him checking in on me and my business by inspiring me through our shared love of art and creativity.
Now, I work with my husband to create a future we want for ourselves and our family. He is a source of strength for me as he continues to amaze me with his love and support both in life and business.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. The global beauty industry today has grown to more than a half a trillion dollar business. Can you tell us about the innovations that you are bringing to the industry? How do you think that will help people?
For the first time, Arganomic is bringing pure and effective Argan oil beauty products to the US market. We are passionate about combatting the exploitation of Argan oil by partnering with Moroccan village women for authentic Moroccan Argan oil.
The fact is, Argan oil is native to Morocco. It’s the only climate in the world that can sustain the Argan tree. Yet many companies use cheap Argan oil from Italy or other parts of the world, leaving customers with lesser quality oil. Arganomic is choosing heritage over bottom lines with Argan oil harvested from 300 year-old trees in Morocco, not man-made farms.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the modern beauty industry?
The death of malls. Malls will always have a special place in my heart. (after all, my first job was at a Gloria Jean’s cafe in the Freehold Raceway Mall!) But as a business owner, paying for an online store is a lot cheaper.
User-generated content is HUGE right now. Everyone is posting reviews, making it easier for the best products to rise to the top.
Less financial barriers. Gone are the days when big brands had to spend tens of thousands of dollars on TV commercials and billboard ads. Now, brands can start YouTube channels like our Arganomic Argan Oil Beauty Tips to reach people in a more effective, intimate way.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to improve the industry, what would you suggest?
It should be concerning how little we know about the products we are putting on our bodies. Many people are unaware that typical ingredients like perfumes and sulfates are irritants. A quick fix is simply switching to more natural products.
It should be a crime to market beauty products as ‘natural’ when the ingredients say otherwise. If the product claims the benefits of one natural ingredient, it should mostly be made of it!
We need more educational content online. Arganomic Argan Oil Beauty Tips on YouTube is a place where I can use my journalism skills to answer viewers’ burning beauty questions. Great for the consumer and for the brand, it’s a win-win!
You are an expert about beauty. Can you share a few ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”?
First, stop trying to cover up your imperfections with toxic chemicals and harsh products because they are damaging your hair and skin in the long term. Instead, assess your core issues. Is it acne, eczema, or frizz? Peel back the layers of product that are probably causing your problems to begin with and start fresh. I recommend starting with naturally nourishing pure Argan oil because it works for all types of hair and skin. Remember, feeling beautiful is feeling confident in your skin (and hair!).
Here is the main question for our discussion. Based on your experience and success, Can you please share “Five Things You Need To Know To Succeed In The Modern Beauty Industry”. Please share a story or an example, for each.
- Create a business plan by yourself (or with a partner). Do your market research and competition analysis before investing a single dollar.
2. DIY. When starting a beauty brand, save your money. Try doing as much as possible on your own. Using platforms like Shopify and Facebook, as well as resources like Canva and Unsplash will save you thousands of dollars.
3. Understand digital marketing. With the shift from in-person to online shopping comes the need for website traffic. How will you get people to visit your store?
4. Inclusivity. The beauty industry has grown to trillions thanks to a more diverse group of beauty product buyers. Be inclusive in your wording, and remember, compliments are a great way to engage people!
5. Be genuine. Customers are very educated on the products and ingredients on the market. They are loyal to a beauty brand because they trust them. You earn that trust by being genuine in your messaging and content.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
We are a beauty company that educates people about the ingredients they are putting onto their bodies, starting with authentic Moroccan Argan oil. For centuries it’s been sought after by high society for its hair and skin benefits. It’s so popular that other countries are engineering ways to imitate the unique environment of Morocco! However, only the soil of the semi-arid desert of Morocco can be sure to give Argan oil it’s unique nourishing properties. Arganomic is harvesting from 300-year-old trees for the purest Argan oil.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Back in Marlboro High School, I was part of an award-winning girls basketball team. In season, we were practicing every night and weekend to compete in tournaments all over the tri-state area. It was my life until the day I tore my ACL.
One surgery and six months of rehab later, I was on the court again only to tear my other ACL that same year. It was a devastating blow that ended any dream of mine to play college ball. Tragic, this entire experience taught me to be patient with myself and how to persevere through pain.
On a positive note, I can still enjoy other sports and exercise. Like right now, I love spinning!
How can our readers follow you online?
You can follow me and my beauty business journey on Instagram @arganomic and Facebook @arganomic. Also, be sure to follow me on YouTube for beauty tips on my Arganomic Argan Oil Beauty Tips channel.
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.
About the Interviewer: Jilea Hemmings is a staunch believer in the power of entrepreneurship. A successful career revamping Fortune 500 companies was not enough for her entrepreneurial spirit, so Jilea began focusing her passion in startups. She has successfully built 6 startups to date. Her passion for entrepreneurship continues to ﬂourish with the development of Stretchy Hair Care, focusing on relieving the pain associated with detangling and styling natural black hair. For far too long, people with tender heads have suffered in pain. Until now.