In Conversation with Jennifer Kapahi of trèStiQue
In 2015, you co-founded trèStiQue with your business partner Jack. How did you know he was the right partner for this venture?
Jack had an equal vision for a brand – a brand that simplifies the beauty routine. Also Jack had a complimentary skill set to mine with a focus in operations, supply chain and package development ( whereas I was always focused in marketing and product development).
What advice would you give to someone who is debating bringing on a co-founder, or taking the leap on their own?
It depends on your business and personal skill set. I do believe it is very helpful to have a co-founder if you find someone that compliments you from a skill set perspective and has equal passion and goals for the mission.
What lessons learned working in the beauty industry were helpful in the early days of your business?
I started as a makeup artist working at SAKS and then completed Bloomingdale’s 59th street retail training program which helped me tremendously. I learned about the customer and that no matter what walk of life she came from, that she was always looking to simplify her routine. I also learned most of what I know about product development from the italian cosmetic manufacturing job I had following my retail experience.
Can you share a little more about what makes trèStiQue so unique?
treStiQue is unique because we simplify beauty routines. We make it faster and easier to shop for, customize and apply your makeup routine everyday. Our bag is the size of a coffee cup and perfectly fits into your life no matter where you are going or what your style is.
Did you have to patent any of your innovative technologies? If yes, can you share more about this process?
Yes! We have a design patent on all our products, which showcase a fun, unique crayon-esque cap. We have a utility patent on our mascara because it is the first mascara with a built-in half lash curler in the world!
What is the biggest challenge you have encountered while building trèStiQue and what did you learn?
There are challenges everyday. You have to learn that the tougher times will pass and you have to build thick skin. Tenacity and hard work is the only thing that keeps you going! And of course having a great team is the secret sauce 🙂
In addition to co-founding trèStiQue, both you and your business partner are parents. What lessons have you learned having to balance all these different roles?
It is imperative to have supportive partners ( both at home and in the office) as owning your own business and parenting both require extreme flexibility. Besides that, if you are the type of personality that is super accountable and organized you can make anything happen!
Did being a mom while running trèStiQue bring unexpected challenges? And in contrast, has becoming a mother taught you lessons that you can apply in your business?
You have to multitask like none-other and fight the constant exhaustion. Ultimately you need to make hard choices to be present with your kids and with you work whenever the time calls for each. You have to be OK with constant maneuvering and also saying no to a lot so that you can stay focused.
How has your industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, retail and makeup testers have been greatly impacted by COVID -19. Many companies have moved to become more DTC focused.
In what ways have you had to pivot since COVID-19 hit?
Is your customer still looking for the exact same types of products? Our customer is still looking to simplify her beauty routines ( especially working from home) so luckily our business has been strong. We have shifted to offer more customer service with both live chat and video chat services. We have also extended our return and warranty policy to 60 days to allow for more shipping flexibility and we partnered with KLARNA to offer pay in 4 installments on our routines for those customers wanting more payment options.
Where do you see trèStiQue in the next 5 or 10 years?
Do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline? Trestique is a brand on a mission to simplify beauty routines.. And there are so many routines that are part of our life! 🙂
What does being a Mamaprenista mean to you?
Kicking a** at home and at the office.
To learn more about Jennifer’s inspiring journey building her business, check out her episode here!