Meet the Mustafa sisters, founders of Sabreen Cosmetics, a clean brand for women of color.

Sabreen Cosmetics

Saliah, Kareemah, and Najiyyah Mustafa are the Co-Founders of Sabreen Cosmetics, a safe, non-toxic, luxury cosmetics brand. Deeply impacted by the passing of their aunt Nabeehah Sabreen, these sisters had the idea to launch a beauty brand that doesn’t sacrifice quality or safety while representing Black women and women of colour in the luxury beauty space. Today, Saliah, Kareemah, and Najiyyah honor their aunt and continue to celebrate her life by inspiring other women to live a life full of elegance, wellness, and luxury.

Each Mustafa sister brings their own unique perspective and skills to the Sabreen Cosmetics brand. As CEO, Saliah handles the daily management decisions and execution of the brand’s short and long term goals; Kareemah manages the marketing, PR, and business development initiatives of the company as COO, and Najiyyah leverages her understanding of fashion, consumer trends, and beauty to keep the brand tapped into the changing beauty landscape as CCO.

 

My first job ever was… 

Saliah and Najiyyah: At Dance Place in Northeast Washington, D.C. Dance Place is a dance studio founded by Carla Bloom. We were able to learn how to effectively manage a dance studio, from front of the house to production. We are honored to have learned so much from Dance Place, as it provided first-hand experience in business operations.

Kareemah: My first job was at a private medical practice as a medical biller. The experience taught me the importance of finance and accounting in a business. 

We decided to be entrepreneurs because… we are passionate about making a positive impact in the world. As entrepreneurs, we are able to utilize our knowledge and creativity to fill gaps in the beauty industry for our patrons. In addition, we are able to honor our aunt in the process. As a legacy brand, we are building our business to be able to pass it down to future generations.

We founded Sabreen Cosmetics because… we wanted to honor the life and legacy of our beloved aunt Nabeehah Sabreen. Losing our aunt so quickly at the ages of 16, 15 and 13 affected us tremendously in different ways. However, through embarking on this journey, we were able to turn a tragedy into something positive to keep our aunt’s legacy alive.

“During our research, we made a shocking discovery: Almost 75% of products marketed to women of color have potentially harmful ingredients.”

We’re passionate about clean cosmetics because… we know the impact that clean cosmetics will have on women of color. During our research, we made a shocking discovery: Almost 75% of products marketed to women of color have potentially harmful ingredients. Many beauty products are formulated with toxic synthetics, petroleum-based ingredients, and heavy metals such as lead, aluminum, and chromium. These ingredients are often linked to a myriad of health complications such cancer, hormone disruption, and developmental and reproductive damage. We are honored to aid in delivering products that are safe for use and safe for the environment without sacrificing luxury, quality, and performance.

Our proudest accomplishment is… creating healthy, safe, and luxury products that our consumers are proud to use as well as building a community where women of color can be represented in the luxury clean beauty industry.

Our advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… to ensure you truly understand and embrace your brand’s mission, your consumers, and their pain points. Understanding your ‘Why’ will serve as your motivation and give you the resilience needed when obstacles occur throughout your business journey.

The thing we love most about what we do is… that it does not feel like work at all. We love everything about our company, and working together as sisters is truly one the best feelings in the world. It has allowed us to form even stronger bonds amongst each other and it is something that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Additionally, we love the process of critically thinking about the pain points of women of color and developing products that truly meet their needs.

If we were to pick one thing that has helped us succeed, it would be… the life lessons that our parents instilled in us as children. 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… 

Saliah: I enjoy collecting vinyls at local record stores in my free time.

Najiyyah: I am a lover of all things luxury and have an extensive sneaker and shoe collection.

Kareemah: I am a lover of luxury handbags.

The future excites us because… the landscape is quite vast for our niche and we are excited to be curators of luxury, elegance, and wellness in the space. Women of color deserve to have access to luxurious, safe products with nuance. 

Our next step is… to continue to inspire women of color to live a divine life of luxury, elegance, and wellness — now and for future generations.

Meet Graydon Moffat, vegan chef turned superfood-inspired beauty brand founder.

Graydon Moffat

Graydon Moffat is the founder and superfood mixologist behind Graydon Skincare, a leading indie beauty brand based out of Toronto. Her previous culinary skills as a vegan chef and background in holistic wellness inspired her unique take on skincare — she started formulating topical products with superfood ingredients, resulting in a powerful and natural line of face, body, and hair products. At Graydon Skincare, you’ll find only plant powered ingredients including botanical retinol, collagen, peptides, vitamin C, probiotics, and even gemstone crystals. All of Graydon’s products are hypoallergenic, non-irritating, vegan and cruelty-free.

 

My first job ever was… Working at Canada’s Wonderland. It was a humbling experience and gave me an appreciation for customer service. 

I decided to be an entrepreneur because… I guess I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit. Before I started Graydon Skincare, I ran a small vegan meal delivery business called Divine Dishes. I created mouth-watering, nutrient-dense meals and delivered them to my customers. 

I founded Graydon Skincare because… I was mixing up superfood skincare creations in my kitchen and sharing them with my friends, yoga students and an esthetician friend of mine. That friend used my “eccentric smoothies” on her clients and noticed impactful results. That’s when I had my aha moment and realized that I could take my superfood skincare to the next level.

I’m passionate about clean beauty because… Skincare empowers people to look and feel their best. Through clean beauty, I have the opportunity to disrupt conventional beauty and make beauty better. I’m so proud to be one of the small companies that inspires the beauty giants to follow suit. That is meaningful work to me. 

My proudest accomplishment is… As an entrepreneur, I’ve accomplished many things that I’m proud of. I’d say my proudest accomplishment so far is aligning with one of Canada’s favourite dragons, Arlene Dickinson. 

“I had a lot of fear about the cost associated with bringing people on board. Eventually, I had to have faith that my ideas and products were good enough and I didn’t need to be afraid of the financial commitment required to build a team.”

My biggest setback was… Trying to do this on my own. I started out as a one woman team, attempting to do everything myself. Starting and growing a business on your own is not an easy task. 

I overcame it by… Hiring my first employee. I had a lot of fear about the cost associated with bringing people on board. Eventually, I had to have faith that my ideas and products were good enough and I didn’t need to be afraid of the financial commitment required to build a team. 

My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs is… Don’t try to do it all on your own. Hire people who can help you and have faith in your business!

The one piece of advice I give that I have trouble following myself is… Make time for self-care! It’s so important but self-care always seems to take a backseat to other things that we think are more important. I have to continually remind myself that taking the time to relax in the tub, do yoga or meditate is beneficial in the long run. 

The thing I love most about what I do is… It’s simple; I love giving people good skin days, every day! 

If I were to pick one thing that has helped me succeed, it would be… Besides hiring, networking has helped me succeed. Feeling the support of other entrepreneurs and like minded people is helpful even if they’re in another industry because all small businesses tend to have similar challenges. 

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… Many years ago, I climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. 

I stay inspired by… My kitchen. All Graydon Skincare products are inspired by superfoods and every single one started as a concoction that I whipped up with my trusty blender. 

The future excites me because… I can see the changes in beauty happening! The divide between clean, indie brands and conventional, legacy brands is starting to converge and beauty will be a better place with more transparency around ingredients and packaging.

My next step is… Continuing with product innovation! I love blending superfood ingredients and finding the perfect balance between ingredient efficacy and cosmetic chemistry to develop clinically proven products that nourish the skin.