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How I Got Here: Ere Perez on building her eponymous beauty brand from the ground up

IMAGE VIA ERE PEREZ

WORDS BY IZZY WIGHT

“Many of us know how hard it is to work multiple jobs to get ahead, but it gives you resilience and a strong work ethic. It makes you passionate and inspired to fight for the life you want.”

Have you ever stalked someone on LinkedIn and wondered how on earth they managed to land that wildly impressive job? While the internet and social media might have us believe that our ideal job is a mere pipe dream, the individuals who have these jobs were, believe it or not, in the same position once, fantasising over someone else’s seemingly unattainable job.

But behind the awe-inspiring titles and the fancy work events lies a heck of a lot of hard work. So what lessons have been learnt and what skills have proved invaluable in getting them from daydreaming about success to actually being at the top of their industry?


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Welcome to How I Got Here, where we talk to women who are killing it in their respective fields about how they landed their awe-inspiring jobs, exploring the peaks and pits, the failures and the wins, and most importantly the knowledge, advice and practical tips they’ve gleaned along the way.

This week we’re delving into the career journey of Ere Perez, the founder and Creative Director of the eponymous makeup and skincare brand, Ere Perez Cosmetics. With a focus on holistic ingredients and nourishing, natural beauty, Ere’s brand fuses her colourful Mexican culture with the bountiful nature of the Australian landscape.

Celebrating the brand’s 20th anniversary this year, Ere reflects on her humble career beginnings. Gaining her qualifications from a university in Mexico, Ere moved to Australia with the dream to formulate an effective mascara without the nasty chemicals. Working multiple jobs to fund her experiments in natural beauty, Ere created her Natural Almond Mascara – the product that would start it all. Here’s what she’s learnt along the way.

What do you do and what’s your official job title? 

I am the founder and Creative Director of Ere Perez Cosmetics. I work every day in our beautiful Bondi office, creating new products and trying my very best to create new sustainable beauty solutions. I’m very hands-on with the brand, it’s my first baby and very precious to me.

Take us back to when you were first starting out. Did you study to get into your chosen field, or did you start out with an internship/entry-level role and climb the ladder? Tell us the story.

I’ve always had an interest in nature and natural healing. My grandparents were scientists and natural healers, and my Mum was the best at-home beauty creator… she used to put raw beetroot on our cheeks for blush! After high school, I obtained my Bachelor of Nutrition and certification in naturopathy, bach flowers and acupuncture at a university in Mexico.

When I came to Australia, my interest in natural beauty and wellness sparked the idea to create a mascara that was natural with safe, nourishing ingredients and no nasty chemicals. This was in 2002, and it’s been amazing to see the beauty industry embrace clean and natural beauty over the years. Back then, there were not a lot of [natural] options and I wanted to do something about that.

I went to visit Sydney’s health food stores and introduced them to my mascara. I looked after those important relationships with retailers and was so grateful to the first ones who said yes! The brand expanded, product by product, to the full range of makeup and skincare we have today. This year, we’re celebrating 20 years!

I’ve come a long way from my early years in Sydney when I was babysitting and teaching swimming to kids in Bondi. I also worked as a waitress. I was so determined to do any job I could as I worked toward my bigger goals. Many of us know how hard it is to work multiple jobs to get ahead, but it gives you resilience and a strong work ethic. It makes you passionate and inspired to fight for the life you want.

What challenges/hurdles have you faced getting to where you are now? Can you tell us about one in particular?

Coming from Mexico, I’m a native Spanish speaker with English being my second language. In my earlier business days, language barriers were a challenge. I remember an email in the early 2000s when a client asked for my MOP (method of payment) and I explained to her how I mopped my own floor. How embarrassing! I called her to apologise and we had a great conversation and bonded.

I see everything as an opportunity, even when you feel like you’ve slipped up. People are people, even in business, and finding that human connection goes a long way. I still talk very fast and have to remind myself to slow down so people can understand me!

What do you want people to know about your industry/your role?

That clean and natural beauty doesn’t mean it’s sustainable. These days, the beauty industry needs to focus on clean formulas, but also on doing our best with sustainable packaging options. Beauty needs to be better and less wasteful – and this is my top priority.

As a consumer, you must do your research, just because something says it is eco or refillable, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good option. There are a lot of refillable solutions that are still full of excess packaging. It doesn’t really make sense!


What’s the best part about your role?

Witnessing changes in the beauty industry and knowing I can contribute to it. It’s amazing to see how beauty and essential products have adapted and changed over the decades and generations. I do feel like we’ve influenced some of this, especially in Australia.

We no longer need to sacrifice our health and the planet’s health for beauty anymore. My team is another thing I love about my role. Everyone is so incredible, we’re like a family. I’m also proud to work with my husband. We’re a great team in life and in family and it’s beautiful that this has translated into our brand also.

What would surprise people about your role?

That it’s not always glamorous! I’m very hands-on in my role; I like to get my hands dirty. I’m very no-fuss and I don’t expect people to do things I wouldn’t be prepared to do myself.

You can find me testing new creations on friends on family and experimenting with ingredients. I even love saying hello on Instagram sometimes! Everything is important and I like to put myself into all parts of the business.

What skills have served you well in your industry?

Multitasking is a skill that has served me well. I move fast, think fast and juggle a lot in a short amount of time. I think at times, people don’t understand how I work. I also come and go.

I don’t have a desk at work and I don’t like sitting down, so I only go into the office occasionally and encourage the team to do the same. I’m always moving. I think coming and going the way I do gives me time to think, reset and get all my thoughts and ideas out.


What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a role like yours one day?

In 2022, we need to try and solve problems. We should be innovating and making things better. Look for what you can do in the world of beauty that makes a positive difference. How can you use your skills and find your niche, benefitting people and the earth? Innovate, innovate, innovate.

What about a practical tip?

Be patient. You don’t need a detailed plan to get started, you just need the will. Take a step forward every day, even if it’s just one per cent towards your 100 per cent. We’re such multitaskers these days and it’s so easy to burn out.

Don’t forget – our bodies need good food, proper sleep and water. You must take care of yourself and your body to have longevity and the ability to pursue your long-term industry goals. ‘Self-care’ became such a trendy term during the pandemic, but it’s true! Look after yourself.

@ereperezcosmetics

Read the rest of the How I Got Here series here.

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