For our latest instalment of our interview series we bring you the dynamic and passionate Marlena Descloux. Marlena talks to us about starting up Reficis Cosmetics and all about the ethos behind the brand and the incredibly handmade, luxurious active ingredients that make all the difference. Read on to find out more…
Hi Marlena! When did you decide to create Reficis?
I wanted to create my own brand since 2007 but I decided to create Reficis in 2012 because there was no 100% vegan cosmetics handmade brand in Suisse romande (the French part of Switzerland) and Reficis was born 2014. I wanted to bring a new concept with values within Swiss market.
Can you tell us a bit more about Reficis products and what sets them apart?
Reficis products are handmade, natural, vegan and totally cruelty-free for all skin types, for all people. What makes Reficis special is its amazing active ingredients; which are between 50 and 99% in all of our products, while conventional cosmetics have rarely more than 20% of active ingredients. Reficis is also different as we never test on animals, and all products are organic, fair-trade and eco-friendly. All our products are certified Vegan and cruelty-free by PETA USA.
Every Reficis product has a story and tells a story; every product was elaborated for a real need:
For example, the lipstick ” Petite coquine ” was inspired by an anecdote of my childhood with my friend Cecilia. Petite coquine means “small scamp” in French. It is how I used to call her when we were kids.
I conceived this lipstick for women who are as I see her and as I see most of my female friends, mother or not, modern, with responsibilities, ambitious, fighters, persevering, generous, who completely assume their feminity.
There is no need to change cosmetics every day or every month. What matters is to use the right product in the right way and to stay connected with the elements and the story of every product. Reficis want to bring a new kind of handmade cosmetics which take into account care, imagination, authenticity, ethics, elegance, art and aesthetic.
With Reficis we want to show that real luxury comes from nature and is authentic and ethical and that we can produce efficient and elegant cosmetic products safe, with 100% non-toxic ingredients. Reficis products contain rare essential oils with high vitality to take care of the skin and for wellness.
Why did you decide to make vegan cosmetic products?
I chose to produce vegan cosmetics because I’m convinced that all lives deserve respect. I am convinced that plants are the best medicine and plants contain the best active ingredients for us. You can find in plants all you need to supplement your skin. I am deeply convinced that we can produce luxurious, natural and handmade products without any animal ingredient, totally cruelty-free.
What did your friends and family think about you starting up the business?
Some friends were excited about it but only a few of them support me. Some felt that it would be safer if I continued to study law (I was studying law at university, before green cosmetology). Many people do not understand what running a business means. My husband who is also my friend is my first supporter.
How do you define your role as an entrepreneur?
It’s about trying to help people as well as you can. Trying to bring solutions to a specific problem or to bring something new to people.
What’s your one health tip?
Drink a lot of water, drink green juice, be active and sleep a lot.
What’s it like being vegan where you live in?
A vegan way of life is still widely unknown in the city where I live. As a vegan, you have to know the good places to go, the good tips to eat and live vegan. People can easily understand why you choose to stop eating meat, but it is difficult for them to understand why you choose to stop eating cheese, fish or eggs. The small retailers don’t think about vegan consumers where I live. I never hesitate to suggest vegan products to retailers. Most of the time, I go to Bern to find what I need.
Why do you think there has been such a rise in veganism over the last few years?
In my opinion, there are three main reasons: health, environment and animal protection. With the rise of diseases and all types of cancer, we notice that human beings have to change the way we eat and live. Veganism is not a guarantee but can help a lot to avoid most of these modern health problems.
I think that people are being more and more conscious that all lives deserve respect; animal life as well as human life. People now know what happens in the meat industry. Everything is connected. If I could suggest something, I will suggest being Raw Vegan.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by everyday life but also by art, and in particular paintings. I can be inspired by a book or by a song. Art is important for me but my experience shows me that inspiration can come from everywhere. There is no limit.
Do you think you have a work/life balance?
I begin early in the morning and finish late in the evening but I always try to find some free time for my family or my friends. It is not always easy. There is always something to do.
What’s the best part of your job?
Without hesitation when the customer contacts me back to tell me that Reficis product solved his or her skin problem. Making customers happy by using Reficis and helping them to solve their skin concerns is the reason I wake up every morning. A smile on my client’s face is my best reward. I also like creating, inventing, connecting things and people.
What words do you live by?
That you can’t achieve anything great without perseverance. Even though the road is long, even though you fall down hundreds of times do never quit the battle. Life is an everyday fight.
What’s next for you?
In the close future, I plan to launch a magazine with news from the brand but also advises, tips and interviews with several personalities and users of Reficis. I want to introduce to my client a new product, a mask, very soon. I am very excited about this.
Merci for this interview! Marlena xx
Interested in trying Reficis cosmetics? Find them here.
If you are vegan brand, blogger or individual and are interested in being interviewed as part of our series please get in touch via email@example.com.
All images by Marlena Descloux.