Nothing excites us more than when our women combine two of their favorite hobbies into their business. Meet the women of Heera Cosmetics who did just that with their beauty products and the scientific research behind them.
Q: Tell us the story behind Heera Cosmetics and what led you to start it?
A: “The idea for Heera Cosmetics came during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. We noticed a need for haircare and skincare products that made sense scientifically, were accessible to all people, and were easy to use on all hair and skin types. With our South Asian background and careers in healthcare, we decided to formulate hair care products that we felt the market was lacking. Currently, many products that claim to promote hair growth don’t include ingredients that stimulate hair follicles and the ingredients that are used are known to clog pores on the scalp, for example. The products made by Heera Cosmetics are all natural, with no additives. The ingredients in each product were specifically formulated to not only address common hair health concerns, like growth and overall hair health, but also to provide benefits that have been scientifically proven. Our products do not contain heavy ingredients like castor oil which can clog hair follicles. Instead, we use lightweight, inherently non-greasy oils that have great benefits in addition to being moisturizing. Our star ingredient, peppermint oil, is scientifically proven to stimulate the scalp to promote hair growth. Representation is important in society. Products on the market should be accessible and user friendly for anyone interested in attaining healthy, luxurious hair. Our products do just that and it is our goal to continue to provide products that help people of all backgrounds attain their hair and skin goals.”
Q: What inspires you?
A: “We believe that living a full life in all aspects, especially self-care, is attainable. We are inspired to find new, innovative ways of providing quality self-care products that do not take time away from other aspects of life. We are inspired to find solutions to hair and skin concerns that are scientifically backed. In addition to this, we are inspired to provide solutions to issues with diverse representation of culture, religion, and ideas. Through our own personal journeys, we hope to show people, especially ambitious young women, that anything is possible. We also find inspiration in the privilege of being able to share our cultural and familial heritage with the world.”
Q: Any new projects or launches coming up soon?
A: “We are currently working on nail care products and nail accessories. In addition to branching into nail products, we are working on implementing hair accessories that support healthy hair practices as well! Additionally, we are in the beginning phases of developing a skin care product. Along with these new products, we are working to streamline the production of our hair elixirs by working with a Black owned manufacturing company. Not only was it important for us to take our business to the next level by producing our hair elixirs with a manufacturer, but we also decided to work with a Black owned manufacturer so as to stay true to our goal of increasing representation of Black and Brown businesses. We can’t wait to introduce our new and improved hair elixir formula in a few months once our manufacturing process is complete!”
Q: How has being a part of The Women's Creative impacted you and your business?
A: “Initially, we wanted to join The Women’s Creative to understand how to grow as small business owners and have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs in the area. This was important because Zoya and Shereen, the founders of Heera Cosmetics, do not have a background in business or marketing. We quickly realized that we needed mentors and guidance in this journey of being entrepreneurs and were thrilled to join a group of motivating and driven businesswomen through The Women’s Creative. We were thrilled to experience the growth of our business and the communication skills we gained through the Procure Marketplace events that we took part in! Not only were we able to make sales, but we were also able to spread awareness of our brand and who we are to the St. Louis community and other amazing creatives in the area. We are so grateful to be integrated in The Women’s Creative and we look forward to the continued growth that we experience through our partnership with the amazing organization.”
Q: Are you looking to partner or collaborate with other local businesses?
A: “Absolutely! We are all about empowering women but also supporting local businesses. In fact, many items and ingredients that we currently use in our elixirs are sourced from St. Louis! We truly believe that by supporting other small businesses, we are also growing as entrepreneurs along with our brand and it is also very important to us that we stay true to our roots as St. Louisans! If anyone is interested in collaborating with us on an idea, we would love to discuss it and hopefully bring our ideas to life!”
Q: It's fun that you have a team! What brought the three of you together and what area do each of you focus on for the brand?
A: “Heera Cosmetics started as an idea. In order to bring our ideas and dreams to reality for our brand, we knew we had to rely on others who would understand our vision and had the skills to bring our ideas to life. Shereen initially came up with the idea of the brand and the importance of highlighting science and Indian culture within our products. She is currently working towards becoming a physician; thus, it was important to integrate smart scientific research in the products. She reached out to Zoya, her sister who is a pharmacist, to help her formulate the products and get an idea of how to fund the business. Shereen and Zoya had the foundation of the brand drafted. However, they needed someone to help with branding and marketing. Shereen tapped into the network she built through her alma mater, Saint Louis University, and reached out to her friend Blake Anderson for help. Blake has extensive experience with technology, software, and digital design in addition to being passionate about Heera Cosmetics. Blake is the creative genius behind the Heera Cosmetics logo and all of the digital aspects of Heera Cosmetics. From there, the rest is history!”
Q: What are each of your favorite products?
A: “Shereen’s favorite product, although sold out, is the Anti-Aging Hair Elixir. The addition of Amla oil in this product seems to have really helped her hair darken and has prevented greys from accumulating quickly. Amla oil is an ayurvedic ingredient that was included in this hair elixir product to provide protection from greys. It truly has helped Shereen attain her hair goals so far! Blake loves how the Heera Hair Elixir has improved the health and shine of his hair and he makes sure to use it every time he needs his hair to have an extra *oomph*. Zoya’s favorite product is the B&B Oil for her brows. It provides gentle stimulation of her hair follicles without causing breakouts on her skin so she can have worry free, full brows daily!”
Q: It's so fun that you're sharing the Indian culture through your brand! Can you tell us more about that
A: “Shereen and Zoya, are first generation American. Our parents immigrated to the USA in the early 80s. Throughout our childhood, our Indian culture was integrated into almost every aspect of life. We spoke Urdu at home in order to communicate with our grandmother, we watched many Bollywood movies, we ate Indian food at home and often brought our dishes to school for lunch, and we never missed a moment to dress up in our cultural attire for weddings and religious events. We grew up immersed in Indian culture all while being able to experience life as Americans. We became used to being the only Indian Muslim students in our classrooms and workspaces which posed interesting opportunities and challenges. We learned how to balance our ethnic and religious background with our healthcare careers over the years. As we grew older, we noticed the lack of South Asian representation in many fields within America. As we noticed the lack of self-care products that support and highlight such a balance, we decided to offer these products on our own! Not only do our products integrate a balance of Indian culture and scientific research, but the brand also itself integrates these backgrounds. Heera in Urdu and Hindi means diamond and it is our father’s pet name for us at home. Diamonds are created by withstanding extreme stress and pressure. Our goal is for our products to help our users attain their hair and skin goals; to help them shine, even when life gets tough and stressful. Through every use, we believe our products will be our customers’ “new best friend.” Our paternal grandmother was an integral part of our upbringing. Because she grew up at a time in India when it was almost unheard of for women to go to school and earn advanced degrees, she emphasized to us the importance of being well-educated, strong, independent women in America while also staying true to our Indian Muslim roots. After her passing in June 2020, we wanted to do something to honor her and pass on her legacy. We hope to start a non-profit organization in her name to support higher education for young women.”
Q: Where can we find you online?
A: “We currently are on every major social media platform! You can find us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We also have our website where you can purchase our products, learn more about the Heera Cosmetics team, and the scientific research that has been integrated in our current products!”