With smarter consumers and clever purchasing decisions, the beauty industry is constantly evolving and innovating to match the needs of the customer. Christine Karan of Oman Magazine recently sat down for a chat with the founder and CEO of K7L, Areej Sultan Al Essa to know more about the brand and how different it is from its competitors.
Hello Areej, Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I am the founder of K7L, a cosmetics brand inspired by Arabia. I was born and raised in Kuwait and studied English Literature with an MSc in Criminal/Justice/Substance Abuse Policy & Treatment from Suffolk University in Boston, MA.
My beauty career started in 2004 when I established Beautylicious with the effort to offer customers in the Middle East unique luxury brands from all over the world. Beautylicious now distributes beauty brands such as Oribe, Alterna Haircare, KISS USA, Morjana, and BCL across the Middle East region.
I am also an avid animal lover and advocate of animal rights. I currently have 11 cats living with me and my human family. I spend my free time feeding, rescuing and rehoming the strays of Kuwait both locally and internationally.
What attracted you to the world of cosmetics/ beauty and the business aspect of it?
I was intrigued by the world of beauty! I remember being a little girl and accompanying my mother to the salon where a lady would wash and style her hair whilst another would paint her nails. I was 5 years old and I remember it all being so fascinating. I used to play with the bottles of brightly coloured nail polishes and it felt so exotic and pretty to me.
For the business part, my inspiration came from the thought that the selection of professional beauty brands we had available in salons and spas in Kuwait was very limited 14 years ago. The average Kuwaiti woman visits a beauty salon once or twice a week, and so I wanted to offer something different at the time-brands I had tried abroad and thought would be a great fit for the local woman
What is the essence behind K7L? what does it stand for?
I wanted to create a brand that was tailored to the Arab woman, but that also took into account our Eastern and Western sisters. Many imported beauty brands and products don’t fit our demographic, they weren’t created with us in mind and so lacked the bold colours and pigments that work so well for us. I wasn’t experienced within the makeup industry so I spent a long time researching, studying the market and keeping tabs on what was successful. When I felt confident that I’d studied enough, I decided to create K7L. I wanted to come up with a universally suitable name but that held its roots in the Arab world. To the Western eye, K7L reads as two letters with the lucky number ‘7’ wedged in between. But the number ‘7’ in Arabia has widely started to be used colloquially to denote a hard, guttural ‘H,’ an inflexion not pronounced in the English language. In Arabic, K7L actually reads as ‘KHL’ which means eyeliner. It’s our way of keeping the link alive.
What are the products that K7L have and what is K7L’s bestseller?
K7L is a complete, comprehensive makeup line with more than 300 products to choose from. We have it all – from eyelashes to makeup brushes and everything in between. We are always working hard to create exciting new products and updating our formulas when we have new ones to ensure everything we put out there is the best that it can be.
It is difficult to say which one of K7L is a bestseller since I created them, but I do like some more than others. I find that just because I have a favourite doesn’t mean it is everyone else’s. I love our Waterproof eyeliners, our crème eyeliners, our Matte Lip silks, and our Luxe Matte Lipsticks. I am crazy about our brushes as a lot of thought and effort were put into them to come up with the best bristles we could offer. We have new products in the pipeline that I am so excited about but all in due time.
Today, there are numerous brands – both established and new which are mushrooming almost every day. How is K7L different?
K7L caters to women living in Arabia in terms of the weather; this also means women who live in hot, humid or dry climates can benefit from the extras we have in the formulas. Whenever we can include “waterproof” and “SPF 30+” into a formula you can be sure it is there. We are formulating all our face products have all these goodies and adding skin benefits such as Vitamin E and A and many more.
Tell us about some of your products, especially about the anti-ageing foundation.
Our anti-ageing foundation is infused with ground-breaking tocotrienols, a Vitamin E classified as an anti-wrinkle nutrient, which helps combat the effect of stress on the skin, a known ageing accelerator. We add powerful anti-oxidants that are gentle on the skin that help protect it from free radical damage. It is perfect for all skin types and ideal for women 28years and above.
Can you describe your range of make-up brushes?
For our make-up brushes, we import the finest taklon bristles from Japan to ensure perfect execution for all our make-up brushes. The synthetic bristles in taklon mimic the softness of natural hair but not its irregular surface, which traps powders, dead skin cells, chemicals and bacteria. They are ideal for liquid foundation and concealer as they soak up less product than natural brushes so it’s advisable to use significantly less. All K7L brushes are made using feather-soft taklon bristles, are easy to clean, cruelty-free and anti-bacterial
Are you planning to expand your beauty range into skincare and haircare soon?
Yes, we do have plans for them and you will see them in the near future.
You can buy the full range of K7L products from their website, k7l.com and they ship to Oman.