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Made by Sunday: Interview With Chaymae Samir

Made by Sunday's Founder on Going Against Her Mentor's Advice and Hiring Staff on Potential

Too often, the best beauty stories go Untold, solely based on a person's skin colour, religion, gender expression, disability, or socioeconomic status. Here, we're passing the mic to some of the most ambitious and talented voices in the industry so they can share, in their own words, the remarkable story of how they came to be — and how they're using beauty to change the world for the better. Up next: Chaymae Samir, the founder of Oxford-based skin-care brand Made by Sunday.

I'm actually from Morocco; I grew up in Morocco before leaving for uni. My initial idea of beauty was extremely simple. It was "make sure you wash your face, make sure you put on toner" kind of thing. I used a rose-water toner that my mum gave me, which is why we actually have two products now called Mum's Right. She was very much into natural, back-to-basics kind of beauty.

My mentor is going to kill me, but everything she told me not to do, I did.

When I moved to the UK, I was really taken aback by the amount of makeup people were using. That was the initial idea behind the company: break away from really lengthy routines or using loads of products. But when I started, I didn't have the capital to go out there and bring out my own products right away. I thought to myself, "How can I get into the industry, make a name for myself, and have something that's differentiated from everyone else?" This is when I started selling the makeup sponge in October 2018. From the get-go, I wanted it to say: "Here's a tool that's going to save you 70 percent of your foundation." From the success of that, we were able to move into skin care.

My company was part of the NatWest accelerator program where they take scale-ups, basically high-growth businesses in the UK, and they kind of push them at the growth level. Then they bring them into the offices for six months, and they help them grow their business. My mentor from there is going to kill me, but everything she told me not to do, I did — and it worked out fine. I'd meet with her every week and say, "I am not happy. I need to bring out the skin-care product. I do not want to branch out into makeup products that I don't believe in." And she was like, "Oh, you need to bring more tools if you want to grow this company from a single product to a hero brand." That was the challenge, going from a star product to a hero brand, to something that people can be attached to as a whole, not just one little thing that you use from time to time. She kept telling me to "go into makeup tools, go into makeup products". And I just didn't want to do that because it felt like yet another makeup brand.

"I'm trying to hire based on potential, not on background or what you've done or where you went to school."

During lockdown, we weren't working from the offices anymore, and I just said, "Screw it," and I just did it. We weren't allowed to be in an office or warehouse, so I converted a room into a stock room, and I was doing the orders myself because I had to continue building this company and I had to keep sending products and really proving that this was going to work. And it's funny because we're very big on sustainability, but in lockdown, I could not find glass bottles or glass containers anywhere because everything shut down. I remember the only kind of container I could find were e-cigarette containers, so we got loads of those bottles, and that's how we started making the Super Serum, and switched to glass bottles when companies opened up again.

During the second lockdown, we moved to a bigger space with a warehouse and office. Now we have product-making facilities at the office and everything is made in-house. In doing this, we're incorporating every team member and making everyone feel part of the team. Usually what you have is employees in the office that are very remote from the people at the warehouse. But to get to the Made by Sunday warehouse, you have to go through the office. We also have lunch together as a team every Friday, and it's a really nice dynamic seeing everyone sitting down and chatting.

We're currently a team of nine right now, but I'm hiring for five more positions currently. I'm really trying to hire people that would otherwise not have had a chance of getting that job, if it makes any sense. I'm trying to hire based on potential, not on background or what you've done or where you went to school. It's a different kind of hiring. For example, in our customer support team, we have someone who is Spanish, and she just moved here so her English isn't the best, and she's very aware of that. When she came to the interview, she said, "I cannot find a job because no one in Banbury wants to hire me. And when I get hired, no one wants to talk to me because I have an accent." She's doing great right now. How would you expect her to learn English? And how would you expect her to be really useful to the society if you don't give her a chance? I very much relate to that. I'm not from here. I was an immigrant in so many countries before the UK, so you always feel like an outsider, but I'm really trying to give a chance to people that wouldn't get a chance otherwise.

Image Source: Made by Sunday
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