Beauties With Brains: Anna Laudun Beauboeuf and Sandra Gabriel Gachelin
Customers like Mimi Gabriel swear by the products in the beauty line Cosmetiques Laudun. Says Gabriel, “After using the Sweet Feet Repair Foot Creme for a couple of days, my feet feel like silk”. Gabriel isn’t the only one who’s taken by the products, so is New York-based fashion designer Dayanne Danier. Of the product, she raves: “Once I step out of the shower, I apply it to my feet and the results are remarkable. It makes my feet super soft; it’s like getting a pedicure everyday. Everyone should buy a jar of the Sweet Feet.”
Cosmetiques Laudun is the creation of two cousins Sandra Gabriel-Gachelin and Anna Laudun Beaubeuf. Gabriel-Gachelin was born in New York and Laudun Beaubeuf was born in Canada, but grew up in Petionville. Both are of Haitian parents, and met as teenagers. Somehow living in separate countries during their early life wasn’t a deal breaker when it came to starting Cosmetiques Laudun.
The Cosmetiques Laudun products all have an organic base (ingredients include jasmine, seawood, bamboo, honey, oats and the like). Indeed, the firm is an example of how beauty and green can be combined to make a successful, thriving business. The ecopreneurs gave Kreyolicious.com a look behind the scenes…
What’s the biggest beauty emergency you’ve ever had? ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: My son developed a severe form of eczema as a child and was initially treated with prescriptions from the doctor, yet none of them worked. It was then that I decided to turn to one of my grandmother’s recipes, and, within days, the eczema was gone. I was overjoyed! Quite honestly, it was at that moment that I realized I had to share these recipes – my grandmother’s garden was a business opportunity! By the way, to this day, the eczema has never returned, although my son does use the recipe regularly to keep it at bay.
SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: I would say for most women: the biggest beauty emergency is that nasty pimple right before an event. Although not entirely preventable, a good daily cleansing regimen, keeping hydrated, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is very important. Our Michargilda cleanser mask is very effective in speeding the healing time of acne flare-ups.
Prior to starting Cosmetiques Laudun, did you have a background in the beauty industry? SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: Not quite. I’ve always had an interest in cosmetics and skincare. I think it started when I was a young dancer at the School of American Ballet, Lincoln Center, NYC. I was fascinated by the stage makeup tricks used in The Nutcracker and other famous ballets. I also did make-up for fashion shows and I’ve assisted many photographers with make-up artistry. In my study of Fine Art and Surrealism I was also very fascinated with the use of colors in my own art pieces.
ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: It depends on what you mean by “background!” I grew up learning authentic, tried-and-true natural recipes that not only care for the skin, but treat it, as well. My entire childhood was an apprenticeship, of sorts. My grandmother’s “garden formulations” were used on everyone in the family, as well as neighbors and friends. To give you an idea of how prevalent natural skincare was in our family, let me tell you about Sandra’s grandfather. He was a French soldier in World War I, whose job was to treat wounded soldiers. And guess what he used? Herbal medicines! When he returned to Haiti after the war, he would treat both children and adults who were suffering from asthma, colds, eczema, cataracts, etc. And, every single time he discovered a new herbal remedy from a plant, flower, or whatever, he would share that knowledge with his younger sister—my grandmother. So, while I do not officially have a background in the beauty industry, my knowledge and expertise is extensive and proven.
Here you are both—executives at a cosmetics company you founded. When you were in high school, did you feel beautiful? SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: Not at all! Very few teenagers feel confident about their appearance. I wore braces, and I was also a late bloomer. It’s important for young girls to be taught to feel great about their own unique qualities. True beauty comes from within.
ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: Most adolescents worry about their appearances – from the health of their hair to the pimples on their faces – and this certainly results in low self-confidence for many of them. I have to say, though, when I was in high school, I did not worry about these things. Certainly, genetics can work in your favor, but I also know that my skin was beautiful because of my grandmother’s recipes. All teenagers are entitled to beautiful skin, and it’s unfortunate that so many of them suffer unnecessarily.
Your cosmetics line is organic. That obviously very important to you. SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: There is an excessive use of chemicals and preservative used in the formulation of many skincare lines. Parabens speed up the aging process overtime. It also hurts the environment. Animal testing is utterly deplorable. We wanted to go back and recreate the timeless skincare recipes of Anna’s grandmother, my great-aunt Jeanne Gabriel Laudun. She never tested anything on animals and she never used chemicals. All of her products were created using materials found in her garden. Everything that grows in nature has a beauty and health benefit.
ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: Today’s consumer is turning away from chemicals, additives, and Western medicine’s pharmaceutical solutions to unhealthy skin. And, frankly, I think there is a longing for what my company brings to the skincare industry: an inceptive line of products that satisfies both the consumers’ needs andwants. I believe today’s customers demand products that are natural and chemical-free, yet, I also think there is a yearning for time-tested, simple and pure recipes for the skin – that grandma used to use.
Human beings have been taking care of skin for thousands of years, yet it’s only in recent decades that we have turned to chemicals and the pharmaceutical industry to satisfy our skincare needs. Why? For thousands of years, the skin has been properly cared for by ingredients growing out of the ground – not in a laboratory. The earth provides us with plants, flowers, and herbs, many of which have amazing healing and cleansing properties. Why add chemicals?
We at Cosmetiques Laudun have a philosophy based on respect for nature, the environment, and natural health. We believe in organic, pure, and simple skincare recipes that have stood the test of time. We invite you to try the highest quality skincare line available and experience for yourself the benefits of caring for your skin in the most natural way possible: straight from the garden.
When was the last time you went to Haiti? SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: In 2000.
ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: My grandmother passed away in 1999, and I have not returned to Haiti since then. Nevertheless, I do dream of going back, especially to share my experience of entrepreneurship with the young girls there. Anything is possible, and I want to show them that a future of success is within their reach.
For those who want to undertake something similar…say start a cosmetics company, what advice do you wish to offer? SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: Starting a business takes a lot of time and business planning. Challenging decisions will come and sometimes business errors will happen but that is also how you learn. It takes money to make money but it also takes knowing how to spend it wisely and in the right steps to push your business forward. There are no “get rich quick” formulas in this highly competitive market. You have to start with a great product. Look for an exceptional support team of passionate people with a similar vision as yourself. Delegate wisely, give your team members autonomy to be creative and love what you do.
ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: Each of us has a grandmother, grandfather, or some other relative who has a secret recipe for skincare. Write those recipes down! There are millions of different species of plants, flowers, and herbs around the world, with many being specific to certain locations. Do some research, and you may find that your recipe solves a particular ailment. Create products that are natural and simple, yet ones that solve customers’ most common needs. A sample of what Cosmetiques Laudun has to offer. Which of your products is the most popular with your customers? SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: I think the most popular product with our customers is Mitsy Day & Night Anti-aging moisturizer—named after Anna’s beloved late sister Mitsy. ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: “Sweet Feet” is definitely one of the most popular.
Why do you think that is? SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: Our customers have seen positive results after using our all-natural FDA Certified organic skincare treatment. Our anti-aging remedy gives your skin a healthy glow by naturally softening and repairing your skin overtime.
ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: The reason behind that, really, is that it works. The feet are one of those areas of the body that we often neglect, and yet they require daily maintenance—just think of the stress they endure. Unlike a lot of greasy, overly-scented products, Sweet Feet is completely natural and maintains the suppleness of your feet, while also repairing it. My grandmother concocted this particular recipe after I was diagnosed with diabetes at age 9. Like most kids, I wanted to run barefoot through the mud and grass — and just be a normal child. My diabetes, however, made me prone to “diabetic dry foot,” a condition that can severely dry out your feet. My grandmother worried that a cut would have difficulty healing, and so, like always, she trotted off to the garden to formulate a new conditioning foot recipe! My feet have always been baby-soft, and I know that’s because I have used this product since I was a child.
Cosmetiques Laudun is a partnership. What tips do you have for an entrepreneur who wants to team up with a partner for a venture? SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: Effective communication is vital. Both partners should share a mutual vision for the business. Each partner must bring something to the table and work hand in hand. All partners must know and respect each others contributions, because it all counts towards the big picture; which is providing the best possible products for our clients.
ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: My partnership is a bit unusual because it’s with my cousin, Sandra. I know a great number of people believe that it’s difficult to work with a family member or close friend, especially when it’s a business venture that you’ve formed together. Personally, however, having my cousin as a partner is a blessing. Cosmetiques Laudun represents our youth and family, as well as the love we share. Furthermore, we are both passionate about our ancestors’ dedication to natural skincare! For me, there is no better choice than Sandra. My advice to any entrepreneur looking for a partner: Choose a candidate that is reliable, enthusiastic, works hard, and understands the vision of the company.
What milestones are you looking forward to reaching with the company? SANDRA GABRIEL GACHELIN: Our goal is to use our company to contribute positively to society. We also want to continue the increase awareness of choosing a natural lifestyle. We would love our products to be introduced to the global market…I am also looking forward to seeing our products listed on Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things Christmas list! Joy!
ANNA LAUDUN BEAUBOEUF: Our ultimate goal is for our time-tested, all-natural products to take center stage on store shelves, drawing respect throughout the U.S. and Caribbean.
Visit the Cosmetiques Laudun website by clicking HERE.