Alia and Hend, Cofounders, Boxich

From passion to purpose.

Introducing Cofounders of Clean Beauty subscription service, Boxich, Hend and Alia. Their common passion towards skincare and wellness enabled them to create a successful venture in Dubai. Read more below.

About Boxich

Boxich falls under its sister distribution company, CURATED.

CURATED is a women-led Emirati distribution company representing innovative beauty and wellness brands with ethically sourced ingredients and plant-based raw materials.

Our portfolio showcases non-toxic products that are of the highest quality with recyclable packaging, as part of our values to distribute with an environmental conscious.

1. Tell us how you became business partners on Boxich.

Funnily enough it all just happened by fluke in conversation talking girl talk and skincare! We both share similar interests when it comes to matters of lifestyle, eating etc. as well as all things skin. Finding someone else to talk about CLEAN beauty was a breath of fresh air. We found that we weren’t satisfied with the selection available here in the region which was only saturated by mass cosmetic brands or in some cases Pharma brands which were seen to be the better options. Us both being advocates of skin first over concealing anything (which wasn’t the trend here at the time – it was very makeup focused until recently) we always shared what our hauls were from our travels. It was from there that we started this trial project. We got in contact with brands whom we were actually customers of and pitched the idea of having their products included in a subscription model system to introduce them to the GCC female consumer.

2. What is Boxich and what inspired you to create the concept for this region?

Boxich started off as a beauty subscription box where members would subscribe for a period of monthly, three months or 6 months boxes. Each month our member would receive a surprise beauty box with different clean, organic and natural products each time. Products varied from face and skin, dental, female hygiene, bath and body etc. We wanted to showcase that there are some amazing brands out there catering to all beauty needs as well as provide customers great results without any compromise on quality or ingredients even if sustainably packaged. It was important for us to raise awareness of what goes ON our bodies is just as important as what goes IN our bodies.

3. You focus on ‘clean beauty.’ Explain to us what this means.

Currently there’s a lot of ‘green washing’ or broad marketing terms associated with ‘clean’ and ‘clean beauty’; but to put it simply true ‘clean beauty’ means that ingredients in the product have come from natural plant sources (we focus on ethically sourced) with higher levels of potency in their ingredient formation, without the use of any harsh chemicals or parabens. That doesn’t mean to say that any synthetic or chemical ingredient is bad, because you can still have ones that are synthetic and chemically formed but are clean in their nature – albeit they do not contain the harsher more dangerous chemicals.

Photo by Gabb Tapic from Pexels

"It was important for us to raise awareness of what goes ON our bodies is just as important as what goes IN our bodies."

4. Which type of customer (demographic wise) prefers ordering beauty care home over going to the stores?

The usual demographic has been the millennials and young professionals. However, in the recent years and due to Covid, we found that the demographic has expanded to include more age groups.

5. Since you primarily focus on GCC, how do you customize the offerings to appeal to Middle Easterns with typically darker skin tones and more oily skin, versus if you were catering to those in EU or USA?

We have a very selective curative process when it comes to choosing our brands. Not only do we research before the initial stages of selection, but prior to any communication or commitment, we and our direct circle members try the products to see how it works with our climate and skin. We don’t rely just on reviews. That said, we’ve been lucky in sourcing brands that have a broad selection of consumers from varying ethnicities and age groups to account for rave feedback and reviews. Yes pretty packaging is great, but it’s even better when the product inside actually works and that is the core of what we focus on.

6. In what way did COVID-19 change the way you cater to clients’ needs?

Covid has definitely been a learning curve for everyone. However, like with everything else, shifting focus to the positive silver lining helped us tremendously. The fact that people are in lockdown, and wanting certain treatments and skincare regimens to have those moments of self-care and mood lift amidst the global situation, actually helped us. Customers and clients were more curious and inquisitive about clean beauty so the curiosity on the subject also grew and we found that our sales and numbers increased during those times. Luckily we continued to grow organically.

7. Has there been a change it the most trending or requested products since COVID?

Tools has definitely been a major purchase in all its forms, from the more holistic tools to the advanced tech tools for at home self-care. In addition to that there has been a growth in facial oils where before in the region people were more focused on serums and creams thinking oils would only just clog pores even more or cause skin to be more oily. Thankfully that notion has changed and we’re both happy that it has caused us to love ourselves a good face oil!

8. Which beauty category do you foresee staying popular throughout COVID and even once it’s over?

Skin (face) will definitely continue to grow, as well as haircare. Those are the two major categories here in the region followed by body care. For skin its always anti-aging, exfoliants for more skin clarity and a more unified skin tone and texture, and moisture which in reality is the key to achieving the first two concerns. Hydration is a MUST to achieve skin goals.

9. How do you ease new customers’ minds who are trying your products for the first time?

We definitely get a lot of questions when dealing with new customers who are trying clean beauty products for the first time; it’s always much easier when it comes to tools. However our platform is one where customers can feel safe in asking their questions, where we offer guidance on what would be the most suitable option to tackle any of their concerns. Educating our customers is a continuous mission as we feel there still is a lack of knowledge in the region.

10. You partner with Ounass to distribute your boxes. Tell us the benefits of partnering with another business to reach more customers.

We partner with Ounass under our sister company which is the distribution arm of the business, CURATED. CURATED is where we represent the brands within our portfolio. We like to think of it more as a partnership and an extension of the brands rather than just being their distributor.

Partnering with a large premium retailer like Ounass allows for a more expansive reach to customers across the UAE, KSA – which is a large share of our clientele – Kuwait, Bahrain and even Qatar.

As we mentioned earlier our aim is to truly educate and not only provide; and with the appetite growing here in the region, so does the demand. Therefore retailers such as Ounass are jumping on that wagon and have pioneered themselves to acknowledge their customers’ needs and create that category within their beauty offerings under ‘sustainable beauty.’

11. What is one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs breaking into the home delivery space?

Conceptually and theoretically it may be easy, but in actuality there are a lot of hiccups down the road. Be true to yourself in why you’re offering your service. Because if it’s just to start something without the purpose, you’ll find that the extensive competition can easily shut you down. Find your differentiating factor and build on it. Be kind to yourself when things don’t go as planned because that’s the only and best way you can learn. It will need patience and perseverance so don’t ever compare to what someone else is doing. Understand your space and learn your market, but never ever copy!