Sue Nabi, former worldwide president for international beauty brand giants L’Oreal and Lancôme, began her long career in the industry in 1993 as a sales representative. 25 years later, the beauty industry expert is the CEO and founder of the luxury vegan skincare brand, Orveda.
The Algerian-born French entrepreneur, who holds a degree in engineering and an MBA in luxury marketing, saw the beauty industry as the ideal space where she could marry her scientific knowledge with her marketing skills. As reported by Observer, Nabi dedicated years of her career to climbing the ranks at L’Oreal, filling various roles. She acted as a brand manager for men’s deodorant brand Speed Stick for a short period of time, but was soon promoted to marketing director of L’Oreal following an acquisition of Maybelline. Soon, she was promoted to president of L’Oreal, where she worked to diversify the age range of models in the brand’s marketing campaigns. Eventually, she was offered the role of president of Lancôme, which she accepted.
With years of beauty industry expertise behind her, Nabi soon pushed for L’Oreal to allow her to apply her marketing knowledge to reinvent one of the brand’s existing companies. However, L’Oreal denied the request, leaving Nabi feeling that the brand did not appreciate her valuable skillset.
“I was 44 years old, I thought it was the right time. I still had the energy and the ideas,” the female entrepreneur said. “They were under-using me in a way. Business is supposed to be about thinking of the future and building new things, but today big companies mostly grow by buying smaller brands. They have very little growth coming from their biggest brand.”
Can you believe Orveda is 1?! ? As we celebrate our birthday month, we are delighted to share with you, via Stories, behind-the-scenes, “best of” moments that, cumulatively, have made this year so extra-ordinary. Looking back on Year One, Nicolas and I can only thank you for believing in us and our vision of an alternative, inclusive, “with, not against” kind of beauty — one that is kind, honest, and, above all, delivers on its promise of excellence, efficiency and integrity. Four years ago, my inspiration for the brand came from many sources and ideas bubbling in my head… from the way Tesla was changing the energy game, to the sacred tree in James Cameron’s Avatar, a Toaist approach to business, and new-wave music from my youth that influenced my initial ideas about beauty… The culmination of three years of ideas, inspiration, passion and dedication was Orveda, and its launch in July 2017. And this last (or first) year? A lot of heart, energy, patience (a quality I realise is a true gift!), great passion, unbelievable support, incredible memories and milestones — personally and professionally. We hope you enjoy our highlights with us as we share our top moments over the course of the next few weeks… (and if you’re interested in reading about the origin and inspirations behind Orveda, please click the link in our bio to read our exclusive story). Once again, thank you for being a part of this exceptional adventure. Sue & Nicolas xx
After having her ideas rejected by L’Oreal, Nabi announced her resignation and in 2014, pursued an endeavor of her own: Orveda. In a market saturated by new products, Nabi pioneered a gender-neutral luxury skincare brand utilized “clean” ingredients and eschewed cheap ingredients such as phenoxyethanol preservatives and mineral oils. Instead, Orveda promises its users “glowing” skin by using prebiotics, a “healing” enzyme derived from bio-fermented deep-sea bacteria, and kombucha. While not all ingredients are “natural,” Nabi said that“the idea is to use the cleanest ingredients possible and none that are potentially dangerous.”
Nabi prides herself on Orveda’s marriage of science and nature to create vegan beauty products that are good to skin and the planet: “I choose things that are sustainable, that will not deplete nature’s resources, but that also have a scientifically strong track record. I don’t want to use the latest active, I want to use the stuff that scientists say works.”
Orveda, which officially launched in 2017, has been compared to the luxury skincare brand La Mer, except it is cruelty-free and vegan. It is available online and at the luxury retail department store Saks Fifth Avenue’s NYC flagship location. Londoners can find Orveda’s range of cruelty-free skincare products exclusively at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge.
Last May, Nabi was featured in international fashion magazine Vogue’s list of the 25 women shaping 2018.
Image Credit: Orveda