Marlena is the founder of Reficis, an ethical, vegan beauty brand that she developed for many years before launching to the world. After studying in law, Marlena decided to follow her passions to have her own business and here she chats to House of Coco and tells us more about that journey…
Tell us a bit about your journey with Reficis to getting where you are today?
I have always been in contact with the business community and the beauty environment. I was following studies of law at Geneva’s university while planning to have a business in ethical and ecological domains, mainly in fashion and cosmetics.
Even though I grew up with people who were in business, I had to learn everything by myself. Cosmetology was a new area for me. I followed herbalist studies with specialisation in green cosmetology.
Sale or use cosmetics and create natural cosmetics are different things.
I was motivated and determined to build my idea, to change the world at my level.
I spent two years conceiving formulas for each product, testing hundreds of plants and ingredients. I did it every day from 7:00 in the morning to 9:00 in the evening. I never stopped until I was fully satisfied by the results.
Your products are natural and vegan, why did you choose this?
I chose to produce vegan cosmetics because I’m convinced that all lives deserve respect. You can find in plants all you need to sublimate your skin. Nature holds forgotten secrets we must bring up to date. For this reason, I followed herbalist studies with a specialisation in green cosmetology. I am deeply convinced that we can produce luxurious natural handmade cares without any animal ingredient, totally cruelty free. I want to show that natural craft cosmetic can be ethical, elegant, glamour with love and compassion. Vegan cosmetic is ecological in essence.
When I design a product, I want it to be effective but especially I want to bring happiness to people, no matter your skin color, your beliefs, your gender etc.
What has been your highlight since launching the brand?
One of the highlights is the first time someone told me that his facial acne started to heal after just a week using Reficis care. Before that, she tried pharmaceuticals for years. I was moved because our face is our first identity card.
It is hard to face challenges of life when you have something which gives you complexes.
I realised that I can bring something positive to people, help change their lives.
I can sublimate uniqueness of everyone with my vision of natural vegan swiss cosmetics.
Describe the brand in 3 words?
The three E’s: Elegance, Efficiency, Ethics.
Tell us about your ideal customer?
People who buy Reficis products have 25 to 55 years old. They generally love culture and have interest for ecology or animal defence. They consider that beauty is important as well as health. They look for natural, ethical and luxurious products. Despite these particularities, it’s important to mention that Reficis products are for everyone, anyone wishing to turn to natural products (without green washing) ecological, ethical, authentic, handmade, elegant and Vegan.
Tell us what a typical day in your life looks like?
Every day is different but there are things that I do every day. To begin my day, I enjoy having a walk in the woods very early in the morning when people are still sleeping. When I am back in my office, I look at my e-mails and my schedules. I have calls with my partners. I check the status of the tests with my voluntary testers. I go to the lab and I restate some products, test some plants and I do all lab work sometimes alone and sometimes with assistants. Then, I have a check in social networks. It’s difficult to make a formal list because every day is unique.
What do you like most about being a #girlboss?
Creativity. I like having an idea and see how it evolves and takes shape. I also like never having the time to get bored.
You are obviously well travelled, where is your favourite place to go?
My favourite places in Europe are Berlin and Taormina. In Switzerland, it’s Zurich and Thun. I have not yet visited London but I plan to do so in the near future.
Who/what inspires you?
I am inspired by everyday life. The persons I admire are Meryl Streep and Oprah Winfrey.
Are there any sources you go for support with running your business?
My man is always there for me. I also have the support of few friends.
What are your plans for the brand in the rest of 2016?
We would like to be more present in social networks, communicate more with our customers inside and outside of Switzerland (for example Canada, UK, Germany). We would also like to organise an event in London or in Zurich. We would like to sell our products in a physical shop in Zurich and in London. To finish, we plan to sell our products in few physical shops in Asia.
Did you always know that one day you would be a #girlboss?
I always knew that I wanted to create something, to improve people’s lives ethically.
If there’s one #girlboss activity you could get better at, what would it be?
Delegating. I always want to do everything myself.
For people aspiring to run their own company, what advice would you give?
Be patient, be strong, be positive. Surround yourself with people you really trust and positive people. Do not hesitate to take risks. Make a good business plan. Be selective with your business partners. Build a wall between the private life and the professional life but remain simple and pleasant.