Innovative Women in Beauty and Cosmetics | Laura Xiao of Henne Organics | Exeleon

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Redefining Organic Beauty with Scandinavian Elegance

Laura Xiao











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As we celebrate Women's History Month, it's fitting to shine a spotlight on the remarkable women who are shaping the future of the beauty and cosmetics industry. Exeleon Magazine's latest issue features some of the Most Innovative Women in Beauty and Cosmetics, showcasing their creativity, entrepreneurial spirit, and dedication to redefining beauty standards.

In an industry often associated with glamour and aesthetics, these women are breaking barriers and driving meaningful change. From developing sustainable beauty products to promoting inclusivity and diversity, they are challenging conventions and inspiring others to do the same.

These women are not only reimagining beauty but also empowering others to do the same. Through their work, they are challenging traditional beauty standards and encouraging people to embrace their individuality.

Their stories serve as a powerful reminder of the impact that women can have when they are given the opportunity to pursue their passions and drive change.

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Laura Xiao

Founder - Henné Organics

Laura Xiao

Redefining Organic Beauty with Scandinavian Elegance



Xiao is a visionary entrepreneur and the Founder of Henné Organics, a luxury organic lip care brand that seamlessly blends the purity of natural ingredients with the elegance of Scandinavian design.

As the founder of Henné Organics, Laura Xiao has carved a unique niche for herself in the competitive beauty industry, championing sustainability, ethical practices, and natural ingredients.

Fittingly, Laura Xiao features on the Cover of Exeleon Magazine's Most Innovative Women to Follow in Beauty and Cosmetics.


Laura Xiao's story begins in China before moving to the United States at a young age.

Growing up, Laura was deeply inluenced by her father, who instilled in her a love for table tennis. She excelled in the sport, playing professionally and representing the US on the national cadet and junior teams. Her experiences as an athlete taught her valuable lessons in discipline, accountability, and the importance of embracing both victories and losses with grace.

Despite her success in table tennis, Laura knew that the sport


was not her ultimate career path. The limited opportunities for professional table tennis players in the United States, coupled with her desire for a broader impact, led her to explore new avenues.


The inception of Henné Organics is a story that intertwines love, passion, and a profound appreciation for nature and design. It all began in the summer of 2005, when a chance encounter at a sports competition in Florida led Laura to meet a 'charming Swede' who would later become a signiicant part of her life. This unexpected meeting quickly blossomed into a deep connection, and a few years later, Laura found herself relocating to Sweden.

Adapting to the harsh Swedish winters was a challenge, but the breathtaking springs and summers captivated her. The beautiful landscapes and the ease of access to nature transformed her from a city dweller into an avid nature enthusiast. Her longstanding admiration for modern Swedish and Scandinavian design found a new companion in her growing passion for natural and organic beauty—a movement that Sweden had embraced early on.

It was in 2014, when Laura and her husband moved to the Nevada desert, United States, that they both encountered a common problem: very dry and cracked lips due to the arid climate. Despite trying various lip balms, none seemed to work effectively, and their aesthetic appeal left much to be desired.


This predicament, coupled with Laura's growing restlessness and lack of inspiration in her current work, ignited a spark. The idea of launching her own line of organic products had been a lingering thought since her early 20s, but she had always felt the need to wait for more experience and inancial stability.

In 2015, Laura's passion for Swedish design and organic beauty coalesced into a tangible idea, and eventually, a business venture. The concept was clear: to create a line of organic beauty products that not only performed exceptionally but also exuded the elegance of Scandinavian design. Laura envisioned products that she would proudly display on her bathroom counter or carry as a chic accessory in her luxury handbags—products that deied the stereotype of "eco" products being visually unappealing.

Recalling the challenges of starting Henné Organics, Laura mentions “The overall process was a bit dificult since everything was new to me. I'd never created a physical product before, so I had to learn how to source the packaging, ingredients, get trained and learn how to properly formulate, get certiied organic by USDA, etc.”

The brand's inaugural product, the Luxury Lip Balm, was a direct response to Laura's personal need for an effective and aesthetically pleasing lip care solution.

Henné Organics was born out of this vision of "true ecoluxury beauty." The brand is a testament to the belief that organic and natural beauty products can be both highly effective and aesthetically pleasing. It's about

embracing the best of both worlds without compromise.

For Laura, this venture is more than just a business; it's a family endeavor that holds a special place in her heart. She invites everyone to join her in celebrating the beauty and elegance of Henné products. Together, they can redeine the standards of organic beauty and prove that it can be as luxurious and stylish as it is effective.


Beautiful Products That Truly Work


Crafting Luxury

At the heart of Henné Organics lies a fusion of organic luxury and Scandinavian design, a relection of Laura Xiao's deep-seated passions. The brand embodies a harmonious blend of the purest organic and natural ingredients, many of which are sourced from the Nordic regions, with the sleek, minimalist aesthetic of Swedish design. This unique combination sets Henné Organics apart, offering a touch of elegance and simplicity in the world of beauty.

Henné Organics is more than just a beauty brand; it is a tribute to Laura's Swedish connections and a celebration of women. The name 'Henné,' meaning 'Her' in Swedish, underscores the brand's dedication to empowering and pampering women every day. It's a reminder that luxury isn't just reserved for special occasions; it's something that can be woven into the fabric of everyday life.

Over time, Henné's philosophy and vision have naturally evolved, but the brand has remained true to its core ethos. In a world where fast fashion and leeting beauty trends dominate, Henné Organics stands out for its commitment to quality, sustainability, and timeless elegance.

Laura believes that creating a truly remarkable product requires careful thought, time, and attention to detail. This dedication to excellence ensures that each product is not only luxurious but also meaningful and necessary. Henné Organics is not about quantity but about the quality and signiicance of what it brings to the table.

As Henné Organics continues to grow, it does so with a clear vision and unwavering commitment to its principles. The brand's journey is a testament to the power of staying true to one's values while embracing change and growth. It's a celebration of organic luxury, Scandinavian design, and the everyday moments of pampering that every woman deserves.




Women in

Beauty Cosmetics &

As Henné Organics continues to grow, Laura remains at the forefront of innovation in the beauty and cosmetics space. Her story is a reminder that with passion, perseverance, and a commitment to sustainability, it's possible to create a brand that not only succeeds in the market but also makes a positive impact on the world.


Expanding the Brand

Under Laura's leadership, Henné Organics has expanded its product range to include lips, face, and hand products. Each product is meticulously crafted to ensure it meets the brand's high standards of purity and eficacy. Laura's dedication to sustainability is evident in every aspect of the business, from sourcing ingredients to packaging and shipping.

She mentions, “When you have a Henné product in your hand, you're truly holding a labor of love. From formulation to branding to production to packing, every Henné product is created with the utmost care and attention, and all of it is done in-house by our small but mighty Henné team in the quaint and nature-illed city of Wilmington, North Carolina.”

For Laura, sustainability is not just a buzzword; it's a way of life. She believes that beauty brands have a responsibility to minimize their environmental impact and contribute positively to society. This philosophy is relected in Henné Organics' commitment to using recyclable packaging, supporting fair trade practices, and donating a portion of its proits to charitable causes.


A Visionary Leader Driving Change

Laura Xiao's success with Henné Organics is an indication of her entrepreneurial skills and her vision for a more sustainable and ethical beauty industry. She is an advocate for transparency in beauty products, believing that consumers have the right to know what they are applying to their skin.

Laura Xiao's leadership extends beyond her business. She actively supports environmental and social causes, using her platform to raise awareness and drive change. Her eorts have not gone unnoticed, as she has been recognized as a trailblazer in the green beauty space.

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The King’s Crown

An Interview with Award-Winning Cosmetic Chemist –Ginger King

As an award-winning cosmetic chemist and the founder of Grace Kingdom Beauty, a New Jerseybased cosmetic product development irm, Ginger King has dedicated her career to creating beauty brands from concept to launch, including formulation.

With multiple patents and awards to her name, King's expertise and contributions to the beauty industry have been recognized by some of the most prestigious organizations and publications.

She has served as Allure magazine's Beauty Judge for Breakthrough Products since 2017, received Yahoo's Diversity In Beauty Award in 2018, and judged the Beauty Packaging Award in 2019. Her

insights are valued in New Beauty Magazine's Brain Trust since 2020, and she has been an Iconic Fragrance Judge for Elle Magazine and an Iconic Skin Product Judge for Shape Magazine in 2023. Additionally, she is a NEXT Beauty Award Judge for Beauty Matter in 2023.

What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the beauty space?

I was born into beauty, as my mom was the irst woman to bring a Shiseido boutique from Japan to Taiwan. I never realized those early inluences until later.

I came to America when I was 16 years old and started wearing makeup. Originally, I


wanted to be a makeup artist, but being Asian, I was expected to have a PhD or at least a master's degree. So, I decided to major in chemistry and eventually became a cosmetic chemist.

You emphasize a 360 approach to beauty business. Could you elaborate on what this approach entails and how it sets you apart in the industry?

Most careers in beauty involve working in silos. If you are a chemist, you may not be familiar with marketing, and vice versa. Since my early interest in beauty, I have worked in every single aspect of the industry, starting from being a beauty consultant at a cosmetic counter where I learned what consumers want, to R&D in formulation and marketing on how to promote the products. I even worked as a cosmetic raw material salesperson, so I understand where innovation comes from.

You can dream big, but if you do not have the raw materials to support it, it will not happen. I also worked in manufacturing, so I am one of the very few who have 360degree experience in beauty. That is what I bring to my clients, where I create their beauty brand from concept to launch, including a formulation they can own.

Tell us about your latest venture, FanLoveBeauty, a clean vegan beauty brand. How did the inspiration from mentor Daymond John of Shark Tank shape this venture, and what

goals do you aim to achieve with it?

I was with Daymond John at an event. He took out a lip balm and used it in front of me. I thought, if it's something that close to him, in his pocket, on his lips, it must be mine.

He had some health issues previously, and what he was using, I actually frowned upon. So, I created a vegan lip balm with him in mind.

He's a business mogul who inspires people, so I dedicate my line to entrepreneurs who want to be as great as him. If you use my lip balm, you can speak like a shark.

As a mentor and inspiration to others, what advice would you give to aspiring cosmetic chemists, entrepreneurs, and individuals looking to make their mark in the beauty industry?

If you really want to be in beauty, take whatever job you can get, because eventually, you will realize how everything is connected. Only when you truly embrace every aspect of the beauty industry can you be more eficient and creative in creating the next best thing.

What emerging technologies or trends in skin treatment, color cosmetics, fragrance, hair, and personal care excite you the most, and how do you stay ahead in incorporating them into your work?

There are more and more talks about linking wellness and beauty to be holistic, and there are also scientiic advances in new peptides that target speciic concerns. I go to a lot of trade shows and am also a speaker at several beauty conferences, as I believe the day you stop learning is the day you fall behind.

What are your future goals for Grace Kingdom Beauty and FanLoveBeauty, and how do you envision your impact on the beauty industry evolving in the coming years?

For Grace Kingdom Beauty, I really enjoy working with indie beauty brands that have a purposeful mission, and seeing their success is my success.

For FanLoveBeauty, it started as a pet project, but I want to have a stronger impact on aspirational beauty, as beauty should not be just on the surface. FanLoveBeauty is obsessed with inspirations from our daily lives and creating meaningful products that beneit mankind.


The Importance of Mentorship for Female Leaders

In today’s dynamic and complex professional landscape, mentorship shines as an inspiration, guiding individuals toward success and nurturing their growth. It also gives them a competitive advantage if pursued strategically. Amidst the intricacies of modern workplaces, mentorship isn't just advantageous; it's essential, especially for female leaders breaking barriers and challenging societal norms.

As the Founder and CEO of Begin Development, I've personally witnessed the profound impact of mentorship on female leaders' journeys. I've built mentorship programs at multiple organizations because I believe in and see irsthand the impact on junior and mid-career employees.

Transitioning from a contributor to establishing my own women-led irm, I'm committed to cultivating a

thriving career in people development for myself and others. Mentors and mentorship communities have played an invaluable role in this success.


One of the primary functions of mentorship is to create growth opportunities through guidance and wisdom. Female leaders face complex challenges in the workplace, ranging from gender bias, work-life balance, mental load, and lack of representation.

A mentor can serve as a guide, offering support and perspective during crucial times. At one point in my career, I was a prime candidate to leave the workforce due to my age, gender, and newly added children. My insightful male boss allowed me to have a lexible

schedule and work from home as a working mother. When he retired, the company no longer allowed this policy. Though, I didn't want to leave, I changed my trajectory to move on because it was dificult to imagine being the kind of mom I wanted to be with the commute, travel, and long hours.

This led me to start my own company, Begin Development. I had a key female mentor at that pivotal moment that encouraged and enforced me to make that leap of faith.

Moments like these illustrate the possibilities when women have great mentors by our side versus when the corporate structures continue to promote gender inequality within the workplace.

Even as I started on my entrepreneurial journey, I


continued to utilize the power of mentorship. I was able to navigate the obstacles of entrepreneurship more effectively and develop the conidence to pursue my ambitions as a Founder.

With effective mentorship, women can continue to thrive and grow, progressing on the same earning potential path as others while also providing a space to champion other women in the workplace.


In male-dominated industries, breaking barriers and stereotypes is an ongoing battle for female leaders or women working their way up the leadership ladder. Mentorship provides a platform to challenge the norms and carve out a space for women at the table.

By connecting with mentors with challenges like mine, I've been exposed to a wide range of expertise. show that Studies mentorship increases conidence levels among female mentees, helping them navigate challenges

with resilience and self-assurance.

According to two studies by the Harvard Business Review, employees with mentors are more likely to receive promotions and salary increases compared to those without mentors.

Around 71% of executives choose to mentor employees of the same gender or race. Therefore, mentorship, self-awareness, conidence, and positive self-talk foster a culture of inclusivity and diversity, further helping pave the way for greater representation of women in leadership roles.



As female leaders progress in their careers, we must pay it forward and mentor the next generation of aspiring leaders. A study by Catalyst found that female employees with female role models were likelier to aspire to leadership positions and stay in them. Mentorship creates a ripple effect, catalyzing positive change within organizations and

About the Author

Malika Begin is a people and organization development leader and the founder of Begin Development—a business consulting irm that works with companies to build strong, healthy cultures. Built over a decade of experience in the people development space, Malika's signature style and dedication to team health are powered by her belief that leaders who invest in their employees, excel in conlict and communication

communities. By serving as mentors, we as women can empower others to reach their full potential.


United, women, and men can dismantle outdated norms and relentlessly pursue the obliteration of glass ceilings hindering women in the workplace. With more advocating for better systems and lexible ways of working, we create more opportunities for talent, especially women.

Mentorship emerges as a formidable instrument to chart our course forward. It transcends mere ascent to leadership; it embodies the ethos of uplifting others on our journey. The time has come to embrace mentorship as an indispensable cornerstone for cultivating the future generation of women leaders, paving the way for a more radiant, inclusive tomorrow for everyone.

skills, and foster collaborative teams are the biggest asset to a successful organization.

Malika's work spans that of startups and brands in tech, media, marketing, and entertainment, and her client set includes a breadth of companies from Magnite, BOND, and CreatorIQ to SKIMs and Good American, and even Delta Airlines and YPO.


In conversation with

Laura Osorio

What makes you a powerful woman?

I believe what makes me powerful is my resilience, I have been able to overcome many challenges in my life and therefore it makes me that much stronger at the end. I integrate the same thought into my leadership by not allowing anything to get in my way towards success.

What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the skincare space?

From a young age, I always loved everything about beauty and skincare. Eventually I wanted a bigger purpose in life and loved helping people, so I decided to mix my hobbies and my aspiration into one career, Licensed Esthetician and Skin Care Specialist.

Talk to us about Lola's Beauty Bar and

what makes it the #1 Skincare Salon of Tampa Bay.

Lola's Beauty Bar was founded on the basis of women empowerment and making them feel better not only about their appearance but also from within. Our goal is to give resultdriven results but also allow every person to feel welcomed, treated with the utmost respect, and be given all the knowledge to continue their journey of self-care at home. We are the #1 Skincare Salon of Tampa Bay because we offer the best quality products, luxury treatments, and an amazing customer experience.

As a female entrepreneur, what has been the journey like for you? If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

As a female entrepreneur, this journey has had very high highs and very low lows. It was

“We are the #1 Skincare Salon of Tampa Bay because we offer the best quality products, luxury treatments, and an amazing customer experience.”

very hard to start from scratch and work my way up as a business owner and a service provider. The main thing I would do differently would be having mentors very early on in my career to help guide me better.

What would be your advice for women entrepreneurs who are struggling?

The main advice I would give for women struggling to take a risk and leap of faith in their business is to trust yourself and give it your all. When we believe in ourselves and give it all the motivation and nurture our business, everything else comes together.

There are multiple advancements being made in the beauty and cosmetic space, what do you think is the future for the industry?

As many things are changing in the beauty and cosmetic space, I believe this industry will have a lot more technologies that we can help treat our clients and therefore we need to stay on top of education and products to provide the best results and treatments.

Finally, what does the future look like for you and your brand?

My brand has so much coming. As I plan to rebrand and grow my team, I see Lola's Beauty Bar becoming a medical spa as I inish school and become an Aesthetic NP. I am most excited to see my clients take advantage of these amazing treatments I will be offering and seeing all my hard work pay off.


A Pioneer in Aesthetic Innovation

Interview with Dr. Randa Jaafar

Can you share more about your journey from specializing in pain management to founding FILD Studio in the heart of New York?

My roots in pain management have catapulted my career in aesthetics and given me a deeper and multifaceted approach to treating patients with injectables that have multiple uses. Botox is used for pain and for aesthetics. So, if I can get rid of my patients' pain and give them a beautiful cosmetic effect, I think I beneitted them much more than the average "cosmetic injector".

Pain management is also why I started treating patients for weight loss, because a lot of painful conditions come from being overweight or obese. If I can decrease someone's weight, they will have less pain and feel more beautiful.

FILD Studio emphasizes a premium client experience free from misconceptions about injectables. How do you educate your clients about the safety and eficacy of these treatments?

At FILD, our utmost priority is ensuring a premium client experience that is rooted in transparency and education regarding injectable

treatments. Safety and assurance are extremely important to me. Our procedures are conducted with care and expertise by our skilled injectors. I always like to emphasize the minimal risk that is involved with the injectables – there's less than 1% chance a patient will experience complications such as bleeding, infection, or nerve damage. The most common potential risks are bruising or swelling, which typically diminish within a week post-treatment.

Prior to any procedure, each client undergoes a thorough consultation session. We discuss the beneits of the treatment and carefully review the individual medical history and whether they have any health issues including thinning blood, pregnancies, or allergic reactions to other injections they may have previously had. If this is the case, they are not deemed eligible to proceed with the treatment.

A question I typically get among our patients pertains to the duration of the results. I like to inform them that illers typically last around 6 months, while Botox lasts approximately 3 months. Also, the body gradually breaks these substances over time. By educating clients about the natural breakdown process, it allows them to understand that it's not an abrupt cessation of


effects but rather a gradual decline:

Ÿ 1 month: 30% decrease

Ÿ 2 months: 60% decrease

Ÿ 3 months: 90% decrease

Lastly, we always address concerns regarding the quality of the products used in our procedures. It's important to reassure patients that our Botox is not diluted; rather, its breakdown is a natural process that occurs within the body daily.

Injectable treatments for wrinkle prevention can vary widely in approach. How do you personalize treatments to meet individual client needs and expectations?

I always like to start with understanding previous experiences and preferences with my patients. We initiate the consultation process by delving into the patients past experiences with injectable treatments.

Rather than rely solely on external reference like a photo of someone else, I prefer to understand what the patient loved and what they disliked from their previous treatments. This involves them showing pictures of themselves rather than other people or celebrities. This type of insight allows me to tailor the current treatment plan to align with their preferences and goals.

Also, it's important to recognize

that each individual has unique aesthetic preferences. Whether it's achieving a more natural appearance or opting for a more dramatic transformation, I take the time to understand their expectations. We often ind that men tend to prefer a neutral outcome, while women often seek a lifted appearance, particularly around the eyes.

For clients considering iller treatments, I prefer to employ a hands-on approach for visualization. I let them hold a mirror to watch every single step and demonstrate the effects of iller. I start with one side of the face irst, allowing the patients to witness the immediate results. This provides an interactive experience and allows the patient to provide feedback in real-time, indicating whether they want more or less iller to achieve their desired look.

Unlike iller treatments, the effects of Botox injections may take 7-10 days to fully manifest. We let our patients know about this timeframe by emphasizing the importance of patience in observing the inal result. It's critical to set realistic expectations with Botox and that if they do want more, it's a gradual enhancement. Also, I always emphasize that Botox wears off naturally over time, whereas illers can be dissolved at any time if needed. This reassurance is important to me and shows that the treatments we are provided are unique to each patient and their evolving needs.

A Day in My Life

A day in my life is often a whirlwind of activity, with work taking center stage most of the time. Sometimes it feels like all work and no life! Especially, with the constant stream of calls and emails that demand my attention. I've found myself relying on Uber recently to get around, using those moments to catch up on emails and texts.

My schedule varies day by day, but on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, I head into the ofice after 2 PM. The other days, I kick off my mornings at a cozy coffee shop, armed with my computer to tackle meetings over the phone and sift through various documents like reports and patient lists.

I make it a point to prioritize spending time with friends, especially since I don't have family nearby. Whether it's grabbing dinner or a quick drink after work, these moments of connection are essential to me.

I recognize that my life currently leans heavily towards work, with only a fraction left for personal activities. But I try to make the most of those moments, whether it's indulging in some retail therapy or hitting the gym. Whenever New York has a sunny day, I love to sit outside at a nearby park and just take in the sun. It's all about inding those small moments of joy amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.


As a leader in cosmetic medicine, what advice would you give to young physicians interested in entering this ield?

As a leader in cosmetic medicine, the most valuable advice I can offer to young physicians aspiring to enter this ield is to prioritize the happiness of your patients above all else. Each patient is unique, with individual desires and expectations, and it's crucial to tailor every single treatment to meet their speciic needs and goals.

Mastering the technical aspects of cosmetic procedures is undoubtedly important, but the true skill lies in understanding how to make each individual patient happy. This means actively listening to their concerns, preferences, and desires. I've realized with my years of experience that it's not just about the inal outcome of the procedure, it's about the overall experience and how you make them feel throughout the process.

If you want to be successful, put the patient irst and ensure that their

wants and needs are at the forefront of every treatment plan. By focusing on what they want and actively listening to their feedback, you can create personalized treatment plans that truly make a difference in their lives and how they feel.

What are your future aspirations for FILD Studio? Are there new technologies or treatment methods you are excited to explore or introduce to your clients?

My future aspirations involve expanding to multiple locations and reining our business model to better serve our patients. I'm particularly passionate about enhancing our marketing efforts to reach a wider audience and make our services more accessible.

One area I'm especially passionate about exploring is the integration of weight loss drugs into our offerings. I've seen irsthand how much joy and conidence cosmetic treatments and injectables can bring to our clients, but I truly

believe beauty is about feeling comfortable and conident in your own skin, regardless of size or shape. I want to help our clients achieve their desired weight goals and feel empowered in their bodies.

There's still a lot of stigma surrounding weight loss injections. Many people have feelings of shame or fear of the potential risks and side effects. I really want to break those barriers and reduce the labels associated with seeking help to look and feel your best. It's essential to create a supportive and nonjudgmental environment where patients feel comfortable exploring their options and making informed decisions about their health and wellness.

Ultimately, my goal for FILD Studio is to be a trusted partner in helping my patients look and feel their best, inside and out. It's important to continue embracing new technologies and treatment methods, while also prioritizing compassion and understanding.


Miranda Voth Lashing Out Loud

For Miranda Voth, her journey began with a passion for creativity and an analytical mind, but it was her desire for freedom and expression that led her into the world of beauty.

Miranda Voth is a dynamic entrepreneur and a visionary in the beauty space. In 2015, she took the leap to pursue a Medical Aesthetics diploma and quickly found her niche in lash extensions, a service that has remained a core part of her service till today.

In this Interview with Exeleon Magazine, Miranda Voth talks about her journey, starting her own business, and her ight against stigma.

Can you share your story of transitioning from a background in marketing to becoming a certiied lash technician and medical aesthetician?

I started working in advertising when I was 22, in social media for brands. It was a job that required creativity but also an analytical mind to igure out what content worked best for our clients online. But it was also a very tough industry that changed fast and often. I was working evenings and weekends; it was creatively draining and came with a lot of feedback without the autonomy to ix the problems. I felt like I was giving away so much of myself and not seeing the returns I wanted for my work. I would come home from stressful days at work and look up “best careers for women” or “what industries are up and coming” to see if I could transition my skills to something that it me better.

Then in 2014 I was laid off from a company I absolutely loved working for and felt like no matter how much I gave to this company, I was just disposable to them.

One night in my Google search, I saw an article about a team of Toronto girls who


were offering laser hair removal, and it piqued my interest.

In June 2015, I went to college to get my Medical Aesthetics diploma. While in school, I took a lash extension course so I would have a job on the sides. To this day, lash extension has remained as my most popular service among customers.

I offered beauty services from my home as a side hustle for years and in 2020, I inally quit my corporate job to open a full-time skin, lash,

and laser business.

What inspired you to enter this industry and become a beauty entrepreneur?

I had always loved beauty treatments and was an early adopter of lash extensions, having my irst set done in 2011. So, I knew I could have some inluence with my friends and family to try my treatments.

I think when I was younger, I didn't

know the power a beauty entrepreneur could have. But once I realized how much freedom, money, and peace it could bring to my life, I wish I had taken the leap sooner.

The one aspect I love the most is that when there's a problem in my business, I have the ability and power to ix it myself.

Can you discuss the process of launching your own line of beauty products? What was the inspiration behind it, and what


steps did you take to bring it to market?

When I irst launched our Lash Extension Cleanser, there was really nothing on the market that was client-facing. Lash supply companies sold lash cleansers for technicians to retail, but it wasn't common.

I was noticing my clients leave their lash extension appointments and instead ask me on how to take care of their lashes, considering there was nothing in the drugstores for

their aid.

Lash extensions require specialty products to cleanse them as the glue doesn't hold up well with the use of oil or glycerin. So, I hired a cosmetic chemist who helped me create the formula. We then found a lab that was willing to take my small quantity order and we oficially launched the cleanser in 2016! I have been selling it to salons, spas, and customers online and in my shop. But my big goal is to have it in a Shoppers, Rexall, or Sephora one day!

Balancing work and personal life is crucial yet challenging. How do you manage this balance, and what advice do you have for other entrepreneurs?

Having your own business means working never stops. Even when I am on my days off, I am always answering direct messages from clients, creating marketing content, and thinking of ways to expand my business.

But one thing that helps is that I try to schedule my down time and stick to it. I try to plan out what needs to get done when I get to work so that the list is available when I have down time. If I don't, I tend to waste precious time in my workday and the consequence of that is I end up working on my days off. Sticking to the plan, and having one in general, always makes me more productive.

I also think having a supportive partner helps so much. My partner gives me the freedom to get things done and doesn't take it personal that I work 6 days a week because she knows everything I put in, we see the returns of it.

How do you use your platform and business to promote diversity and inclusion within the beauty industry?

This has always been something that was a priority for me. Part of my story about working in advertising was how I always felt men were awarded the exciting projects, promotions, and given the opportunities, even though I had the same experience or work ethic as them.

This was a driving factor in why I


wanted to be my own boss one day. I am a woman who identiies as queer and Indigenous, so I have seen how the business world favors particular groups above others.

In my business, I strive to offer aesthetic services for all skin types, and I actively stock products that are made by people of color for people of color. For instance, many of my lash supplies are from an AsianFemale owned Canadian Company and one of the skincare lines I offer is owned and formulated by a South Asian owner.

I also do my best to feature diversity in my marketing by displaying different beauty ideals, celebrating different cultures with my posting strategy, and of course supporting causes I believe in such as Every Child Matters and sharing other Indigenous entrepreneurs' work.

Looking to the future, what are your aspirations for My Beauty Lab? Are there any upcoming projects or expansions you can share?

My goal was always to get my Lash Extension Cleanser into a larger retailer since they don't carry anything like it yet! So, I will be working towards that this year.

I am also slowly building clients in Toronto. Hopefully I can open a second location for our service business in Toronto soon!

Christina Flach
President & CEO | Pretty Girl Makeup

Embr a ci n g B ea u t y...

In this Exclusive Interview, Christina Flach shares about her journey, her beliefs, and Pretty Girl Makeup.

Christina forayed into the beauty and fashion industry because she wanted to witness all the fun, excitement and glamour that comes with it, while overcoming her own challenges and struggles. Christina Flach is the President and CEO of Pretty Girl Makeup — her celebratory shoutout to all the girls to make them feel beautiful.

With more than 20 years of experience in the business, Christina uses her knowledge to create stylish and trendy lip, eye, and face products. She is passionate to deliver one-of-a-kind high-end beauty products that are mixed and matched with natural ingredients, and other essential oils.

Besides creating luxurious beauty experiences, Christina dons' multiple hats gracefully. She is a Sepsis Awareness Advocate, grief expert and shares her experience across various platforms like magazines, podcasts, blogs. She also successfully runs her own blog — Love, Life, Laugh and Lipgloss and is thrilled to start a new skincare and makeup line with her partner, Jordan.

What according to you makes one a transformational leader? How do you integrate the same thought into your leadership?

I think a transformational leader selects a team of experts that can come together and work as a highly functioning team. I try to integrate that thought process into my leadership, by having open dialogue with my team, respect for what they do, and most importantly letting them have the creative freedom to excel in their speciic area of expertise.

Talk to us about your growing up years. What is your earliest memory as a leader that you can remember?

My childhood was interrupted by my mother being diagnosed with brain cancer when I was eight years old. As the oldest child, I had to step up, to help around my home with cooking and cleaning. Not having a mom that was physically and emotionally available because of her disease, was challenging as I was going through my teenage years and wanted a mothers' guidance.

I think that as the oldest child of a terminally ill parent, it forced me to take charge to support my dad and my sister and my mother as best I could, which I think helped me later in my life. I have not let these tragedies make my life tragic, rather it made me stronger and resilient when faced with bumps in life's road.

What prompted your interest and subsequently your foray into the beauty and fashion industry?

I have always had a love of fashion and beauty products. Looking forward to the latest magazines to see what the latest trend was. Watching celebrities on television and looking at all the beautiful faces at the award shows deinitely trained my eye for beauty.

I'm a very visual person so I think I wanted a life that was full of beauty, not just with clothes and makeup, but also my home being decorated, clean, organized but at the same time cozy and inviting for my family and friends.

What led to the formation of Pretty Girl Makeup? What was the idea behind its name?

As a mother of 5 that was constantly in a battle of drinking water and putting lip gloss on while I drove my kids to school and all their activities. I could not ind a lip gloss that lasted long enough that was not matte or drying out my lips. I decided to contact a beauty chemist to formulate my own lip gloss that was long lasting, hydrating, and good for my skin.


The name Pretty Girl came about when I was in Hawaii with my family and friends sitting by the pool. My kids had inally gotten to an age where I didn't need to be in the pool with them, my friend Claudia made the funniest comment," Honey, we're just sitting here looking at magazines, lying in the sun acting like Pretty Girls!"

That made me laugh so hard, but I also thought every mother that is working and trying to get everything done in her day, is a Pretty Girl and deserves to be made to feel like one. I thought that was the perfect name for my company and being inspired by the creators of Beneit cosmetics. They had fabulous packaging and very whimsical names. I remember making lists and lists of funny names like Private Jet, Let's Go Shopping, Soulmates, Love of my Life, Day at the Spa, that I wanted to name my products.

Being the CEO and Founder, what role do you play in the day-to-day proceedings of the company?

The irst thing I do when I wake up is check in with my amazing assistant Mayah, who keeps my calendar organized with meetings, documents to look over, interviews I may have. Next comes checking in with my partner Jordan, followed by checking in with the marketing team and sales. I want everyone on my team to feel like they have access to me when they need it. But I also want them to have the freedom to do their job. I know what's going on with everyone and get inal approval, but I always think it's best to let the experts on my team do what they do best.

What is the approach followed by you and your team in order to ensure optimal client satisfaction?

We are constantly watching industry trends and listening to our clients via email and social media. My agents still book me on photo shoots, which helps to keep me in a creative mode and not just being a CEO. I love having my artistic outlet, working on these shoots and being able to work with my team at Pretty Girl to run at the highest level possible, being proitable and we are very proud of the products that we sent out into the world.

What has the journey been like for Christina Flach over the years? Looking back, what would you have done differently if you were to start again?

My journey over the years has deinitely had its ups and downs. My son Beau passing away on Christmas day when he was 4 1/2 months old 15 years ago deinitely affected my career professionally but also personally. I went through a divorce and learning to grieve my child while still being a mother and trying to run my business was really tough. Then my husband Ken Flach passing away in 2018 from Sepsis, and dealing with the pandemic, have been more obstacles that I have learned to ride the waves of. If I look back on what I would do differently, I would be a lot gentler on myself. Looking back, I know I did the best I could with the situations I was dealt with. I beat myself up emotionally, not feeling I did enough each day and feeling like a failure when in reality I was still just going through emotional turmoil and grief.

What would be your advice for emerging women leaders in the beauty space?

The best advice that I could give anyone in the beauty industry or in any other space is that if you love what you're doing so much, you won't mind working the long hours, seven days a week and not earning a ton of money at the beginning. But if you love what you're doing and are passionate about your goals, I know that hard work pays off and you will be successful. Loving what you're doing is contagious and people can feel your positive energy.

What has been the biggest roadblock during your journey? What has been your biggest learning?

I think the biggest roadblock I've had was not getting a business plan sooner and getting investors to expand. I have learned that being uncomfortable is actually part of the process, will only make you stronger and more conident in the end.

Finally, what does the future look like for you, both personally and professionally?

My future is looking very exciting, my partner Jordan and I are going to be partnering with two other investors to create a new line skincare and make up line. I am open and excited about all new adventures in my business and personal life. Having balance in my life is key for me being successful in my professional life. My heart is full, and I am very happy!


Lioness Games debuts first board game Biome on Kickstarter, races to over $200K in days

Lioness Games, a new entrant in the board game industry, has made a remarkable debut with its irst game, Biome which has raced to over $200,000 in orders on Kickstarter within days of its launch. The game, inspired by the founder's passion for board games and nature, was funded in a mere nine minutes, attracting over 3,500 backers from more than 20 countries.

Biome is a nature-themed strategy game with 120+ different plants and animals. The game is for 1-4 players, emphasising card

placement and tableau building. Players navigate through the four seasons, each impacting their biome differently, as they strive for biodiversity and activate unique abilities of lora and fauna to win. As players progress through the game's four seasons, they must adapt their strategies to the changing conditions, making for a dynamic and engaging gameplay experience. For example, each Spring, players place baby animal tokens in straw nests and in Summer time, they must protect their baby animals from their opponent's predators by playing

plant cards. The unique wooden components and player interaction make for a dynamic and engaging game gameplay experience.

Leonie Grundler, the founder of Lioness Games, former tech industry professional and a longtime board game enthusiast. She worked at Airbnb in Germany and found inspiration for Biome during her time spent in board game cafes in Berlin. "Living in Berlin is where my love for board games went from being just a hobby to a passion” recalls Leonie Grundler . After nearly 18 months of development, Biome is ready for people to enjoy.

Kickstarter has proven to be an invaluable platform for small game publishers, with games being the largest category, accounting for 30% of all money raised. The success of Biome highlights the importance of building a community of followers months in advance of launching a game on Kickstarter.

Despite the board game market being a $14 billion industry, less than 4% of top board game designers are women and Lioness Games aims to bring a fresh perspective to the industry. Leonie Grundler added: "I never thought I would make a board game or run a


Kickstarter campaign, but here we are, a few days in and $200,000+ in sales. I love nature and board games, so it was natural that my irst game would be nature, speciically biodiversity, themed. At Lioness Games, we're changing that narrative by creating games that resonate with a broader audience. Our lagship game, Biome, is a testament to this, offering a unique blend of strategy and environmental education.”

The game's engaging mechanics and educational value have already garnered praise from nature lovers and gaming enthusiasts alike.

Jamie Williams, who runs the TableTopTikTok channel on TikTok remarked: “I have not been this excited about a game in so long. This game scratched every itch I could possibly have! It is so

thematic and the pieces are incredible. This game is phenomenal.” While the designer of the board game Dusty Droz, cofounder of Dux Somnium Games and the creator of Botany , added: “I absolutely love how Biome's art and gameplay make your habitats come to life as you play through the game. You can imagine your birds nesting in the tree cards, your opponents' predators slithering across the table, and your giraffe ambling across your board. If the immersion by itself wasn't enough, the way you use your cards and their positioning to build miniengines and combos throughout the game is just plain fun”.

Looking ahead, Lioness Games is committed to designing unique games that spark joy, facilitate connection, foster strategic thinking, and drive wonder among

players. In line with the game's theme, Lioness Games is committed to giving back to nature. A portion of Biome's proits will be donated to the Wildlife Conservation Network to support their mission of protecting vulnerable wildlife

Paul Thomson, Senior Director of Conservation Programs at Wildlife Conservation Network , commented: "Biome is so rewarding! Its beautiful cards and pieces, the objective of creating a diverse and resilient environment -it has us hooked. Our team at the Wildlife Conservation Network loves how the game helps you strategize how to protect the species. It's perfect for nature lovers and game enthusiasts alike.”

For more information about Biome and to support the Kickstarter campaign, visit: Kickstarter Page


Survey Reveals Women’s Concerns Over AI Impact on Jobs and Personal Security

Arecent survey conducted by Axios/Morning Consult has highlighted signiicant gender disparities in attitudes towards artiicial intelligence (AI), with a majority of women expressing concerns over its impact on their children and personal well-being. The survey found that 53% of women would not allow their children to use AI products, compared to only 26% of men. Additionally, only 4% of women were open to letting their offspring use AI chatbots, while 31% of men were comfortable with the idea.

These indings are consistent with research from the Pew Research Center, which indicates that women are more apprehensive than men about the use of AI in medical diagnoses and treatments.

Experts believe that this gender gap in AI perception can be attributed to three main factors: fears about economic security, personal security, and the disruptions caused by rapid technological change.

Economic concerns are particularly pronounced among women, who are worried about the potential job losses and transformations that AI might bring. Research from the McKinsey Global Institute suggests that AIinduced job cuts will disproportionately affect women without college degrees, who are overrepresented in entry-level positions most vulnerable to automation.

Personal security fears are also prominent, with the rise of "fake

nude" and "revenge porn" incidents primarily targeting women. The digitalization of crime has led to an increase in online inancial fraud, identity theft, and harassment, further exacerbating women's concerns about their safety in the digital age.

The disruptions caused by megachange, including shifts in business models and organizational structures, add to the unease. Women worry about the potential negative consequences of these changes on their well-being and that of their families.

In response to these concerns, experts are calling for proactive measures to address women's fears about AI and other emerging technologies. This includes improving women's representation in science and technology ields, enacting laws to protect against gender-speciic digital crimes and ensuring equitable workforce policies to mitigate the impacts of technological disruptions.

As AI continues to shape our world, it is crucial for policymakers, business leaders, and tech innovators to take women's concerns seriously and work towards creating a more inclusive and secure digital future.

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