Founder & CEO of Peacefull, Salama Mohamed tells us what it takes to build a brand from scratch and how integrity is important for engagement.
Words & Creative Direction: Amy Sessions
Photographer: Žiga Mihelčič
Cover Star: Salama Mohamed
Fashion Editor & Production: Dan Robinson
Production: Olivia Morris
Makeup & Hair: Michel Kiwarkis at MMG
Videographer: Ahmed Abdelwahab
Fashion Assistant: Sarah Joseph
Bespoke Suit: Suited & Booted
With special thanks to Stellar Studios
What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
The first 30 minutes of my day start off with gratitude journaling. It is a habit that I am proud that I started (and kept at it!), because those brief reflections on moments that I was and am thankful for have drastically changed how I perceive certain situations and adjust what I should focus on. Afterwards, my AM Peacefull skincare routine is in full swing. I head down to the kitchen for breakfast and spend the rest of my morning with my family until we kick off the day ahead.
Peacefull was born as a range designed to help men and women be at peace with themselves and embrace their skin for all its qualities. Is this the core DNA of the brand?
Absolutely! With the realization that I was not alone in my search for clean, inclusive and effective skincare, creating and launching Peacefull was truly done so as a labour of love. Another key aspect at the core of Peacefull’s DNA is that the formulas are specifically tailored to the region’s needs and furthermore, they are entirely backed by science. Peacefull is made for the region, by the region and it is certainly people-powered. We want you to feel at home in your own skin.
How challenging was refining the production of your products and is there a huge amount of red tape around launching a skincare brand?
The challenging part was firstly researching and learning about which active ingredients will provide the required results depending on the needs of our region. After finding the right balance and amount of each active ingredient, we ensured that our products – from the formula to the packaging – underwent rigorous testing so that they are presented at the highest standard. The process of red tape is warranted to a certain degree be- cause launching a skincare brand must be taken seriously – these are products that are applied directly to our bodies and companies should be held liable should their products put people’s health at risk. Given the various kinds of skin tones and types, Peacefull is dermatologically tested for sensitive skin, regionally focused and always, formula-first.
How do you define which will be the new products you will take to market and which has been your favourite to date?
Firstly, I ask myself, “What does my skin need? How are our weather and climate affecting my skin?” From there, my research into the right active ingredients begins. I believe in the healing powers of natural, botanical-based items. It is hard to pick a favourite because each of the products in the Hya, Centella! a collection specifically serves their purpose in supporting and repairing your skin’s health.
How has having a following across social media supported the growth of Peacefull and is integrity the vital ingredient in what you create?
Having a supportive following did allow Peacefull to organically grow and to raise and spread awareness both to the online and offline community. I highly regard my following as an extension of my family, because of their absolute support. Thankfully, Peacefull had a welcoming platform to showcase its results and effectiveness – and to educate the public on their creation and clinically proven ingredients as well. Integrity is a vital ingredient; So are precision, innovation and intention.
Peacefull is focused on clean beauty. Was this key for you from the outset?
Always, especially because I am blessed with vitiligo – and am well aware of other people’s skin sensitivities, whether it be eczema and rosacea to psoriasis and acne-prone skin.
How do you balance the creative and commercial sides of the business and do you feel more drawn to one than the other?
I make it a point to find the ‘sweet spot’, the right balance between my creative and commercial sides. My creativity knows no bounds and I rely on my commercial know-how and experience to keep me grounded and above all, realistic. I am more drawn to my creative side because it leads me to create entirely innovative formulas that fuel my passion for helping others, starting with skincare.
How many people are on your team now and did you start out alone?
I did start out alone with the vision of Peacefull and the research – However, most importantly, I never felt alone. I built Peacefull in the confines of my own home while simultaneously growing my following who helped me find my voice and refine Peacefull’s ethos accordingly. Currently, Peacefull has a small yet mighty internal team of dedicated, loving and passionate professionals who all play a pivotal role in Peacefull’s expansion.
What would be your advice to other entrepreneurs regarding taking on investment from external parties? Is it necessary?
Nobody has the same entrepreneurial journey. The best advice I can give to entrepreneurs is to continuously educate themselves, to in fact invest in themselves and when needed, ask for help and guidance from experts within their desired fields or industries. External parties can be beneficial and helpful in many ways, other than fiscal. They can also offer support, advice, direct and sometimes, that is worth more than an investment.
What have been the biggest challenges to date and how did you overcome them?
I expected the external and logistical challenges that come with launching your own business – as any aspiring entrepreneur will surely tell you. My biggest challenge started off internally, finding the courage to translate my vision into fruition. I knew that in doing so I am exposing myself, my insecurities and sensitivities to the public, sharing with them my personal struggles as well as my journey of self-love and acceptance. Once I realized that, my story had to be told for it is not only my experience with skincare but a universal one. I overcame my internal challenges by in fact allowing myself to open up to others.
How do you approach scaling without compromising on quality?
Preserving quality is of utmost importance. We ensure that every unit we create is placed under rigorous testing so that they can withstand any issues – for example heat brought on by harsh weather conditions. When it comes to scaling, we make sure from an operational perspective, that it is done in a timely manner. Scaling comes naturally, so we dedicate our entire focus on the product’s quality and longevity.
Have you had any mentors along the way and if so, what knowledge did they impart?
My main mentor has been an internal drive. I believe that a mentor can be presented to you in any form and shape – and does not necessarily have to be an “individual”. My internal drive taught me to follow my instincts, stay self-motivated and how to manage speed bumps along the way.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Get ready to fail. It is harsh advice but has so much truth to it. We feel ‘failure’ way before it is actually the reality. I’ll tell my younger self that it is truly the only way to learn and to build resilience.
You celebrated your first anniversary of Peacefull in June. How did you know it was the right time to launch your business and what was the final catalyst?
We are so proud to celebrate Peacefull’s one-year anniversary! However, it was a concept that took years in the making. When it comes to any kind of launch, there never really is a supposed ‘right time’. You must take the plunge and dive in. And that’s what I did – the right time is the time you decide it to be. The final catalyst was an overall feeling, that moment of serendipity that overpowered me to take that crucial first step.
This is The Entrepreneur Issue – what does this mean to you?
This is an honour and privilege because it is a testament that hard work does pay off. The ‘Salama Mohamed’ of a few years ago, with a dream to launch her own clean skincare line, with a dream to be an entrepreneur, would be in awe. For Peacefull, an idea and a concept that ventured into the unknown without any certainty of success, it means that it has fulfilled its role of being a brand that people can rely on. It means that Peacefull’s overall message of self-love and inclusion is a collective belief.
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