Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.

This week we chat with the co-founders of the vegan skincare brand ROWSE, Nuria Val and Gabriela Salord, who are making honest, natural and toxic-free cosmetics that take care of your skin without harming the environment.

With freshly-produced formulations backed by science, the duo were keen to launch a brand that mimics the therapeutic power of the plants in the most effective way possible. By deconstructing traditional beauty formulations, this skincare brand strongly believes in less is more.

While balancing both work and their personal lives, they’ve managed to create a minimal skincare brand that offers a community more than a product experience suited for each specific need and concern.

To find out more, Emirates Woman sat down with the co-founders to find out more about her entrepreneurial journey as a founder.

What was your favorite subject at school?

NV: There’s this subject in primary school in Spain called “Natural science” which was all about geography, biology and history all together. It taught us the basics of animal kingdoms, plants, how plants grew and reproduced and so on, which really fascinated me.

GS: It was definitely not Math, but I loved History and French.


What was your first job?

GS: my first real job was at M&C Saatchi Group as a consultant in brand strategy.

NV: my first job was acting for a TV commercial when I was just a kid.

What inspired you to enter the beauty space and launch ROWSE?

Both of us were the kind of people that would smash an organic avocado to create a face mask free from synthetics, our entire beauty cabinet was full of herbalist products and random plants that we had discovered through our own holistic research, realising these were amazing super-ingredients for your skin. We couldn’t easily find these types of products and have them in a format that would be appealing to buy and, therefore, it simply made sense as a business.

Talk us through the concept of ROWSE?

ROWSE is a plant-based skincare label, free from toxic ingredients and free from synthetics that damage your skin long term as It’s 100 percent vegan and organic. We use only the best quality ingredients to craft products that will help your skin develop itself in the most natural, efficient and effective way possible.

What are the key elements of your role?

We’re still in a start-up phase so we basically have seven different roles each, but the main things are that Nuria Val is the co-founder and Creative Director, anything that has to do with the image of the brand –from the package design to the campaigns and the social media accounts– is directed by Nuria. Then, Gabriela Salord is co-founder and CEO, she makes sure that the business is running smoothly. Anything related to numbers and performance to the contact with investors is under her wing and lastly, Lamia El Kadiri is our Product Developer and she makes all the formulations from scratch, sources our ingredients and has direct contact with our two small labs in Spain that craft the final product.

Beauty Products

Talk us through your daily routine.

We both have toddlers at home so we balance our day between work and family. The morning will usually be an early wake-up with our daughters, prep for school and for work. Both of our beauty routines are very simple and varies depending on the season and the time that’s in our hands (if we need to be quick we’ll just wash our face and apply the All-Day Serum, if we have time we might go for a full routine or even a Jasmin Cleansing Balm face mask moment). We then drop our kids to school and head directly to the office. For Nuria this varies more, she travels a lot for work and campaign shootings, and luckily Oli (her daughter) is an amazing companion, and her husband is usually always on the trips too as he is her go-to photographer.

What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?

SET OBJECTIVES. Listen to your gut, stay focused, keep on learning. Always have a plan B, things rarely go as you planned them, and that is OK, be flexible and prepare the next steps ahead.

Tell us more about your products.

We have a selection of almost 40 references of 100 percent plant-based and organic skincare for face, hair and body. The main objective is to keep it toxic free. People don’t realize anymore how damaging most of the food and cosmetics industry is nowadays. At ROWSE we produce fresh batches of our formulations to keep intact all their properties and not have to rely on synthetic additives and parabens to maintain the product fresh for a longer period of time. Your skin is a living organism, it suffocates if you apply unnatural ingredients onto it, so we are bringing to the table a selection of skincare that matches your skin’s organic nature.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

“Surround yourself with smart people and listen to their advice. Create yourself a network of experts and founders to share and learn from them. Community is everything.”

And what is the worst?

“Hire a man”

ROWSE Skincare

What’s the biggest challenge you have had to overcome?

Naturally, the number one death cause of emerging brands is cash, so managing our budget wisely was definitely our biggest challenge. As for being self-sufficient. Another big challenge is being continuously agile: set an objective but be flexible.

What’s your future for the brand?

It is very important to us to be able to educate people on skincare. Since the past 100 years the cosmetics industry has gone towards changing one’s appearance instead of nourishing our skin to develop itself in the best and healthiest way. We want our community to understand that you need to nourish your body with good quality ingredients and let go of texturized and synthetic creams that will mimic a healthy appearance on the outside but not on the inside. Long-term, we’d love to go further than just skincare and apply this to lifestyle in general. Your body, your home, your mind. We’d love to build an artist residency in the middle of nowhere and help people connect with nature through the creative and therapeutic power of plants.

For more information you can visit rowse.co

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Images: Supplied