This June marks Kia-Charlotta’s 3rd Birthday and we thought what better time than now to tell you our story of why we created Kia-Charlotta. It’s been an exciting and adventurous time building Kia-Charlotta and we are super happy and proud of how far we have come. But what’s more – this is all still just the beginning. Check out the video and blog post to learn more and also learn about our birthday sale!
The Story of Kia-Charlotta
I founded Kia-Charlotta with Alex in 2016 and the launch of our online shop www.kia-charlotta.com was in Summer 2017 with the market entry product as a 100% vegan, premium 7 free (now 14 Free) nail polish. The vision with Kia-Charlotta is to create an amazing product portfolio of 100% vegan natural decorative cosmetics i.e. make-up with the mission to make vegan cosmetics the norm.
WHO ARE KIA & ALEX?
The founders of Kia-Charlotta are myself, Kia and Alex who is not only my business partner but also my now fiancé. I am originally from Finland but have lived in Germany since 2013 and I am 30 years old. I have a bachelor’s degree in tourism management and a master’s degree in international marketing. I met Alex in 2011 in Portugal and we have been together since and we got engaged in 2018. In 2016, when I decided to start Kia-Charlotta, Alex quickly wanted to “join the fun” and we have built the company together ever since. It took us over a year (from March 2016 to July 2017) to build the foundation for Kia-Charlotta including product development, website, corporate design and procurement which is why the company has actually existed since 2016 but only starting operating in 2017. Alex prefers to stay behind the scenes whilst I am the one who communicates the brand and our products through things like blog posts or social media. I have always loved brands where the customers could feel close to the founder and that’s what I wanted to give our customers too. I truly feel it builds a strong and valuable connection between our customers and myself when I am communicating with them through platforms like social media. I think it’s important that people know there is a person who is passionately behind the brand and its values.
I have also been or lived vegan since 2014 which is an important factor for the reason, I decided to bring Kia-Charlotta into this world.
WHY VEGAN COSMETICS?
My idea for Kia-Charlotta came because at that time (in 2016) I had been living a vegan lifestyle for approx. 2 years (now 6 years) and I realized that the one thing that seemed unnecessarily difficult to find was 100% vegan make-up products including nail polish. I chose or “switched” to a fully vegan lifestyle in 2014 when I had informed myself about all the cruelty that is behind the meat & dairy industry but also behind leather, silk and wool as well all the animal derived ingredients in cosmetics. The main reason for choosing a vegan lifestyle was always to not contribute in exploiting animals for the sake of my food, clothes or cosmetics (but I love the environmental benefits as well as health benefits too) but I also knew that this lifestyle had to be adaptable to how I live now (and back then). I have always loved being able to create make-up looks and make-up has just always been a part of my beauty routine. But finding good quality 100% vegan natural make-up seemed somewhat impossible (especially at the time).
Long story short, I decided to simply “do it myself”. More and more people are choosing to live a vegan lifestyle and even those who are not are often very willing to try out 100% vegan and cruelty-free brands and products if the quality was right. Furthermore, I had always had the dream of starting and building my own company, but I also always knew that I could only ever do that if I found something, I am truly passionate about and Kia-Charlotta just seemed like the right thing to do at the right time.
WHY VEGAN NAIL POLISH?
The market entry product for Kia-Charlotta was a premium quality, 100% vegan nail polish which should also be as natural as possible. Nail polish was the first product also simply because it was one of the first products that seemed to be impossible to find natural and 100% vegan. Most red nail polishes had carmine (a red pigment derived from cochineal bugs) in them and the ones that were vegan…well they weren’t very convincing in their quality. It was also so annoying that many vegan products or brands had a very unattractive branding as if almost to shout out that vegan is something that is “not so fancy” or “not so good”. If the mission is to reduce animal exploitation in all industries than it needs to also be attractive for the non-vegans and/or anyone who likes things a little glam and chic – like myself.
It was very clear from beginning on that creating a 100% natural nail polish would make no sense. Over the years I have tried a lot of recipes and formulas and any nail polish that tried to be 100% natural just didn’t work. When it comes to nail polish it’s best to choose a “free from” nail polish and at Kia-Charlotta we started out with a “7 Free” nail polish. However, myself and Alex never stopped researching and looking for ways to make it even more natural and toxin free. In 2018 we updated our recipe as well as our free from list into 14 Free. We love this recipe and use it still today, but we have also been working very hard on trying to upgrade it into something even more natural and we think soon we will have some exciting news for you.
WHY THE NAME KIA-CHARLOTTA?
You might already guess that Kia and Charlotta are my first and second name and there is a story to why we chose to name the brand after myself. Honestly, I never wanted to name the brand after myself, and the original brand name was actually “Lilja Beauty”. However, right before we were about to send some nail polish bottles for printing, our patent lawyer informed us that “Lilja Beauty” was not a good name to go public with since he saw serious conflict potential with other brands. That meant we had to find a new name and find it fast if we wanted to launch on time. We gave 20 other name suggestions for our patent lawyer with Kia-Charlotta in there “just for fun” but in the end Kia-Charlotta was actually the only name that he would pass as acceptable. So honestly, I didn’t really have a choice at that point, but many of my friends were also saying that it’s a beautiful name for a brand and that it would also be easier to translate personality into the brand if it was named after myself. Today I could not think of a better name and I have actually received a lot of good feedback about it but, I am not going lie, as a Finn who is taught to always remain humble in all ways possible, it always seemed very weird naming the company after myself. With time I got used to it and I guess it’s sort of cool. And my mom is of course super proud.
As mentioned in the beginning of this blog post, Kia-Charlotta’s mission is to create a portfolio of 100% vegan & natural premium make-up products. In fact, one day we want to be known as the number one brand for affordable, premium quality vegan make-up. We started with nail polish and built our brand with this one product for two and a half years. In the beginning of 2020, we “finally” launched our new product, our vegan natural nail polish remover. For now, however we think we are going to leave nail polish and nail polish remover as our nail products, and we are already in the midst of a new product development within make-up which has nothing to do with our nails. Product development is a long journey for any company but especially for our small team at Kia-Charlotta We also will always rather take our time than rush anything to make sure we truly create the best product possible.
To celebrate our 3rd birthday we decided to have a little birthday sale. Head to our online shop and enjoy reduced prices on a lot of our nail polishes and sets. Prices starting from 9,90€! The sale is on until 21.06.2020.
That was the short version of the story of Kia-Charlotta, how it all started and why our mission is to make vegan beauty the norm. If you have any questions or would like to learn more make sure to let us know in social media or the comments below. We wish you an amazing day!
Lots of LOVE,
Your Kia-Charlotta Team
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