We’ve always been harping on the importance of clean, healthy products for our skin—and we’re grateful to have spoken to Hayley Teo, founder of Rooki Beauty, who shares the same vision as us. As skincare entrepreneurs, there’s so much more behind the glamour of the industry. In our interview with her, she reminds us that starting a business is about pacing yourself well, while staying true to the purposeful products she creates. For her, it’s about high-quality superfood ingredients made simple for everyone. Read on to find out the meaning behind the name of Rooki Beauty and her tips on kickstarting a company!
Tell us a bit of yourself and what inspire you to start Rooki Beauty?
Hi Soul Good! I’m Hayley and I started Rooki to fill a gap in the market for people who are new to skincare and confused by the array of options out there. My brand is really all about simplifying ingredients – we use extremely high-end skincare ingredients that are mostly found in luxury and cosmeceutical brands but we make them accessible to the average consumer.
On a personal level, I created Rooki because I wanted to do something meaningful, something that could help women feel better and look better. I used to work in advertising but that didn’t fulfil me. I was tired of selling products that I didn’t believe in. I’ve met women who told me that they’ve reached a dead-end with skincare, women with cabinets full of products that are collecting dust because they either didn’t deliver results or caused bad reactions.
With Rooki, I chose to only create products that I believe in - products that are modern, efficacious and yet hassle-free. It’s been a grand ride and I’ve been enjoying every moment.
What does a typical day look like?
No day is ever truly the same when you’re working in skincare! But I do try to stick to some routines. I like to start my mornings slow and steady by reading up on the latest happening in skincare and checking in with my partners and customers. I love connecting with them because they’re so generous with their insights and I love how forthcoming they are about what works and what doesn’t.
In the afternoons, I’m either out meeting new people or gathering with my team to discuss business plans. The evening is when the real work starts – it’s the only time where I really have some time to develop new ideas, dream up new formulas, and explore new concepts without any interruptions.
Favourite part of your job?
Hands down, creating new products! The entire process is always so enlightening, from ideation to research, testing and sourcing, designing and production. It’s challenging and I don’t think we’ve ever had a completely smooth product launch. But it’s also extremely rewarding and every time I launch a new product, I am affirmed that my passion in skincare can go a long way in helping others with their skincare needs.
Most challenging part of starting your own business?
Being a beauty brand founder is really not that glamorous. Most people think we just sit around playing with skincare all day and trying out the latest skincare technologies – which we do – but that’s not all we do. A big part of running a skincare business is making sure that operations run smoothly, and that cashflow remains healthy. On top of that, generating brand awareness, keeping customers happy…these are all challenges that we face every day. As a young brand, we don’t worry that much about competition. We’re more concerned about outsmarting obscurity and remaining relevant!
What do you envision your brand to be?
I would love for Rooki to be the go to skincare brand when you think of clean, innovative and healthy superfood skincare. Ingredients are the heart of our formula and we try really hard to be as transparent as possible with what we use, so there is no need for any guesswork. The world of skincare can feel big and scary, but at Rooki we distil the essence of what is truly needed to maintain healthy skin.
What does success mean to you?
Success is having the ability to pursue your dreams in a sustainable manner. It’s about living life on your own terms, and being self-reliant.
How do you motivate yourself?
One of the ways I motivate myself is by reminding myself to go at my own pace. The beauty industry never sleeps, and it’s easy to suffer from burnout. What is trendy today may not be trendy tomorrow so I prefer to create purposeful products instead of churning out products based on some set schedule. These releases tend to fare well, which generates a positive feedback loop that is both motivating and rewarding.
What’s your morning routine or daily ritual?
My morning routine usually consists of a superfood smoothie, and a gentle cleanse with either water or my brightening cleanser Honey Matcha Cleansing Drops. Hydration and protection are also really important and I can’t leave my house without applying my serums! I like to keep my mornings simple and fuss-free which sets me on a good footing to conquer the day ahead.
Things you wish you knew before you started your own business
Running your own business is not a smooth sailing journey nor is it an instant catapult to success. You need perseverance to push forward all the potential obstacles – and there will be many. Most of them will catch you off-guard. Don’t take it so hard. Sometimes you simply don’t know what you don’t know. Also, whatever you initially estimated as the cost of running your business – double it.
What’s your advice to those who aspire to be an entrepreneur especially those who’s into natural and sustainable business?
Make sure you have a strong support system and also ask yourself if you are in it for the long haul. This business is not for those looking to get rich quick. It may take years of brand building to even get noticed. And in those downtimes when you’re not making much, you have to keep the faith.
What’s your must-have self-care essentials?
Green Pulp Paste Masque! I use it thrice a week and it’s the first product that I ever launched with Rooki, so it definitely holds a very special place in my heart. It helps my skin glow like nothing else!
What’s your favourite books/podcast/music that you live by? (If you have any)
I’m a big documentary fanatic and my recent favourite is The Imagineering Story. It’s about how Walt Disney built Disneyland. Amazingly inspirational and it really lifts the curtains on how a company can operate while still staying close to its creative vision.