We caught up with Farah Naz (Biochemistry 1999), Founder of EX1 Cosmetics, a multi-award winning make-up brand to Hollywood’s finest, designed exclusively for women with olive skin tones. It is the first cosmetics range of its kind in the UK and Farah was named as ‘The UK's Most Promising Female Entrepreneur’ for her contribution to the cosmetics industry. She tells us about her motivations, career highlights and her future plans for the company, as well as explaining how her Imperial background has helped her along the way.
What is your fondest memory of your time at Imperial?
"Being surrounded by brilliant young minds every day and being taught by some of the most the inspirational talents in world of science. It really makes you feel like you are part of something great. Also having a campus that is so closely positioned to Hyde Park, I spent some amazing summers with people who are now lifelong friends."
Tell us a bit about the work that you are doing now.
"I created the first line of cosmetics in the UK that caters exclusively for women with olive skin tones. I wanted to create a product range that has all the hallmarks of a premium brand but is available to women at an affordable price point."
How has what you learnt at Imperial helped you in your career so far?
"Having a background in Biochemistry was invaluable in formulating my product line and gave me an understanding of things at the raw material level. More generally, I learnt the importance of asking questions in order to drive change. Imperial is the perfect engine to turn bright young thinkers into tomorrow’s industry pioneers."
What have been your career highlights and lowlights?
"It was brilliant to see how well the brand has been received by both the public and the media. We managed to gain distribution with leading retailers across the UK and went on to become the no.1 selling make-up product on Europe’s largest online beauty store. We have also enjoyed some fantastic press coverage and have been featured on TV and radio, picking up some great awards along the way. I don't believe there are lowlights in entrepreneurial business, only challenges. Usually one of the greatest challenges is getting your first round of funding, when you have nothing tangible to show investors other than your concept and enthusiasm."
What are your plans for the future?
"We intend to work with the best in new cosmetic technology to increase our product line and continue creating high performance, beautifully packaged products. We are also planning to expand into International markets which have the relevant demographic to our products."
What would be your advice to current students?
"Be prepared to take risks and improvise. If an opportunity presents itself, take it. Unexpected directions you had not initially planned for can benefit you in ways you never thought possible."
What are you most proud of in your career?
"Working incredibly hard to deliver a stellar product."
Do you have a favorite quote or saying?
"I believe that William of Ockham was correct when he said 'Entities should not be multiplied unnecessarily'."