You're A Boss, Babe: Alicia from Douvall's
Next up in our 'You're A Boss, Babe' interview series, we have Alicia Douvall from Douvall's.
- Tell us how your brand started?
As a model, the founder Alicia Douvall discovered Argan oil ten years ago on her travels, it completely transformed her skin which was dry, red and acne prone... she tried everything before this and nothing worked.
Mother and daughter then 16 years old decided to then go to the semi-deserts of Morocco to find this precious oil, we visited dozens of women's co-operatives until we found the one we work with which is run by women, provides a fair wage, good working conditions and education the oil is hand cracked using no heat or water, its very laborious, it takes 14 years for the argan tree to bear its fruit and it's only harvested 3 months of the year. They produce the finest quality first cold pressed argan oil. We made a deal with them then another and bought 500kg of Argan Oil. We thought, well if it doesn't sell we can give it to friends and family and share this amazing secret we have discovered. We didn't care too much about the business side of things at this point, it was and still is purely from the heart, to help the amazing women in the cooperative to gain their independence and help with the education of their children... especially the girls who traditionally are denied an education.
The brand built from there as more and more people wanted our products, we provided natural, vegan, high quality and trustworthy ingredients that really perform and give back at the same time. We wanted Douvall's products to be eco-friendly and have the best quality ingredients, with that we created a luxury brand that launched in Harrods and then onto Fortum and Mason with a mission to give back and do the most we can to as many charities as we can.
- Top tip for starting your own business?
You must be prepared to take risks and have enough capital to tide you by for the first six months.
- One thing you wish you knew before starting?
It's going to be uncomfortable, if you are not a risk taker this isn't for you. You're going to need help, hire well.
- What’s the best advice you have received on your business journey?
Hire people that know more than you. Don't be afraid to grow and think bigger, your mind is the only one holding you back.
- What inspired you to start your own company?
The brand started with just our close friends and family, sharing great beauty products not for profit.
- Where do you see yourself in 3 years?
Expanding in the U.K. and USA online and in bricks and mortar, we are always outgrowing our premises so bigger workshops and distribution. We have some really exciting plans for the future, we like to do things differently to other brands, being innovative and quirky! So watch this changing space!
- Who is your Boss Babe inspiration?
Inspiration comes from lots of different and diverse women such as sports stars like Serena Williams, totally obsessed with her, to beauty entrepreneurs such as Charlotte Tilbury, her vision for packaging and expansion was great. Both utterly amazing and inspirational women!
- What is your secret to success?
The first question I ask myself is how can I serve women better? What is today's woman needing which she doesn't have? I think the secret to our success is that the customer always comes first, the brand is here to serve women (and men) first, to give back to communities, and to provide the finest ethical vegan, plant based products that help not hinder.
- What is the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?
There are many challenges everyday, like most businesses face, Our greatest challenge I feel is knowing when to hire and to stop trying to do everything ourselves! To step away from your baby a little! We are very hands on, I'm a perfectionist so I drive people around me mad but that's what makes the brand so great, no stone is left unturned.
Douvall's have featured their Lip & Cheek Colour Argan Oils in our September Roccabox.