I recently sat down with my friend and fellow beauty product lover, Jessica Kaplan and her mother Norma Caron, the mother-daughter duo behind ooyoo beauty. Jessica and Norma seamlessly came together sharing a love of both beauty and experience in the fashion industry (Norma started and still owns popular Canadian retailer Mendocino) to start ooyoo beauty. Their goal was to provide an easy to wear lip colour for all. No matter what stage of life, where you live, or where you’re going! See our Q&A below.
1. What made you want to create and start a lip product line?
Norma and I felt that there was a space in the market for women who wanted to play around with makeup but were a bit overwhelmed with the idea and didn’t know where to start. We created this line not only women, for anyone who wants to dip their foot in and is curious and needs a starting point.
We want to provide a curated collection of elevated basics that isn’t overwhelming, with great formulations that our clients could trust. They can come to ooyoo and know they have an amazing every day colour waiting for them and also a fun seasonal colour they can pick up and play with.
2. Where does the name OOYOO come from?
Ooyoo (ew-yOO) is a play on the idea of your best friend saying “Ohh you! You look stunning!” It was the name of a curated, elevated basics brand that Mendocino created many years ago, and with the goals Norma and I set out to reach, we felt it was a great fit to revive it.
3. What have been some of the struggles with starting a new business?
Of course one of the struggles with a new business is just feeling out the timing of everything. Getting off the ground, with the right amount of product, with the right colours and formulations, it’s a lot to get under control before you’ve even put yourself out there. Also, who knew all of the business banking and government forms would be so involved! You just have to be prepared with giving yourself enough time to sort through all those things before your business launches.
4. What have you learned so far about starting your own business?
I’m lucky that I come from an entrepreneurial family. I have some of the best examples in my parents who have taught me throughout my life that owning a business isn’t easy, and you can never really turn it off. You have to be able to have conviction in yourself and draw from your own energy to keep going. Having loved ones around you as a support system is also really important.
5. Where do you draw inspiration from and who inspires you?
I have always been obsessed with skin care and makeup for as long as I can remember. I didn’t start to wear makeup until in my teens but the photos in all the fashion magazines were a constant inspiration. I couldn’t resist getting my hands on the newest product, going to the U.S. and getting something that wasn’t available in Canada yet, I loved it and still do! I am always looking to see what’s new on the market and how it differs from things I’ve tried in the past. So I guess, I find inspiration from the beauty landscape and market, including fab makeup artists like Katie Jane Hughes, Pat McGrath and the amazing local artist I’ve been lucky enough to work with like Anna Nenoiu and of course you, Tara! – Aww thank you ; )
More so however, I find inspiration from my friends and the people around me. I take for granted that I can walk into a makeup store and navigate it and all the different formulations and colours. Many of the people around me just don’t know where to start. So working with them to find out what they are looking for and how they’d like to find it in a less intimidating way also inspires me.
6. Tell me about some of the great things OOYOO is doing.
The one thing that we are most proud of at ooyoo is that we are dedicated to giving back to the environment as best as we can. Unfortunately as a small business just starting we can’t be completely recyclable with our packaging but are hoping to get there someday soon.
One way we have committed to showing our support to the environment is by partnering with Ocean Wise, a Canadian charity whose mission is to inspire the global community by increasing its understanding, wonder and appreciation for our oceans.
ooyoo beauty donates $1 from every sale to support Ocean Wise.
7. What makes OOYOO different?
The biggest thing that makes ooyoo different is that we are Canadian, owned and made. That’s getting harder and harder to find in the market. We are thrilled we can support other Canadian businesses by working with them to create our products.
8. What are your favorite OOYOO products?
That’s like asking me to choose a favourite child, but I am having a lip gloss moment right now!
9. What’s new and exciting that we can expect for the fall?
We are excited to be expanding our colour range with more glosses and liquid lipsticks. Our glosses are amazing and aren’t sticky and are so moisturizing. Our liquid lipsticks also aren’t like others, they are more of a velvet finish combined with a stain; they last a long time and don’t ever feel super drying. Also amazing, is that they mix well together for a more satin/cream finish!
I hope you all liked this Q&A, I always love learning who’s behind the line, what inspired them to do this and what they’ve learn along the way. A big thank you to Jess and Norma for doing this with me : )
ooyoo beauty can be found at all 27 Mendocino and M Boutique locations!
Thank for reading, xx