Welcome to the next instalment of the #beautyinsider Q&As, where you can read first-hand about how beauty experts got into their field of work, what they are working on and how they got there. This month’s guest is Nadine Oei, Founder of vegan and cruelty-free make-up brush brand Loella Cosmetics. Offering professional, high quality makeup brushes at affordable prices, the London-based brand certainly knows how to make a colourful splash on Instagram feeds. From fiery red-tipped brushes to mermaid aqua hues, your makeup tools won’t go unnoticed. Here Nadine reveals the inspiration behind the brand name and the beauty trends to look out for.
1. Hi Nadine, thank you for being my Insider Q&A guest this month. Let’s start from the beginning: every beauty brand has a story, what’s Loella’s?
I had just decided to leave my corporate job and career in banking and was looking for something more creative yet still challenging to do. I’ve always been very interested in ‘adjacent’ niche segments within a larger industry as I feel there are often a lot of overlooked opportunities. In this case, I was looking into the cosmetics industry and instead of focusing on the actual main product of makeup, I started looking into the tools to apply the makeup with. I felt there was a lot of room for professional grade makeup brushes that balance out style and affordability, whilst also being vegan and cruelty-free.
2. I always find the inspiration behind a brand name intriguing – how did the name Loella come about?
I wanted the brand name to really reflect the brand ethos, which is all about empowering women through beauty and in life. This comes back in our bold use of colour, the strong collection names and I also wanted the brand name to reflect it. After a very, very long search, I came across the name Loella, which means ‘famous warrior’ and I thought that was the perfect reflection of what the brand stands for.
3. Loella’s partnership with #iamtheCODE is an important part of what you do – why did you choose this collaboration?
When I started Loella, I always knew that it was very important to me to set up a brand that also gives back to the community, regardless how small or big we are. As mentioned above, I wanted the brand to empower women and personally, I believe education particularly in tech and STEM areas plays a huge role in empowering girls to partake in the future. So, when by total coincidence I met the founder of the #iamtheCODE foundation in a coffee shop I was working in (which is a whole other story!), it really felt meant to be and our partnership was born.
4. What exciting projects are you working on right now?
Haha, I am afraid that is a trade secret, but we are working on some exciting new brush sets that will focus on sustainability as well as expand our range with more diverse and precise professional brushes.
5. As founder of Loella, what so far has been your proudest career moment?
My proudest achievement has been creating our latest collection together with professional makeup artist Sarah Exley. Sarah is Head of makeup at X-Factor and Love Island, so to get someone from her calibre on board has just been such a privilege. It took us a year to design the final brush set, and it has been so amazing to see her talent and experience come through to create this ultimate professional brush set which has now been used at TV studios and by celebrity makeup artists all over the world.
6. Insider news please! What beauty trends do you think we should look out for?
In terms of skin and base, I think we will see a continuation of the so-called ‘Skinimalism’ – glowing, dewy skin that looks natural and effortless. Interestingly, I think that in contrast to that, it will be all about strong, bold eyes. Since masks are probably still around this year, people likely will want to make a statement with their eyes and also enjoy experimenting again after such a long time in lockdown. So I expect the use of colour, graphic liners and bold smokey looks to make a strong comeback.
7. And finally – what do you get up to in your spare time?
At the moment, we are knees deep in house renovations, so I am spending all my spare time on educating myself about interior design. Much like designing for Loella, I am loving the creative process!
If you have any burning questions you’d like to ask Nadine why not leave a comment below? Or you can get in touch with her directly on Instagram.