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.