It was a simple YouTube video which sparked Ima Asali’s ambition to establish Mellow Cosmetics. Despite not knowing where to start or what to do, Asali threw herself into it. She started with lipstick – “lipstick has never been out of trend!” – working on a creamy matte formula with colours to suit different skin tones. Her determination to work for herself and see her son growing up gave her the ambition and motivation to succeed. That was in 2014, and Mellow Cosmetics has gone from a modest one to ten sales per month to now selling her products online all around New Zealand, Australia, U.S and Canada, as well well-known retailers.
Asali moved to Auckland from Iran as a child, going on to study Management and Human Resource Management at Auckland University of Technology while managing retail stores in the Auckland CBD. The inspiration for Mellow came when she was watching a YouTube makeup tutorial while on maternity leave after a number of years working at an insurance company.
The name ‘Mellow’ is intended to reflect the values of the brand. “’Mellow’ in the dictionary means colourful, soft and free from harshness which represents my brand perfectly,” she said. All Mellow products are cruelty-free, paraben free and vegan. “When I first started I thought I care about people and animals so I decided to make this brand as ethical as possible,” she explained. “I wanted to reduce the nasty chemicals from my ingredients and did not want my manufacturers to test my products on animals.”
The team is small, only three at the moment, but is growing as demand increases. Asali is the sole designer; “However, my husband always helps and inspires me with new names and ideas too!” Asali will design a new product and work closely with the manufacturers to turn the idea into a reality. “Creating a great formula and beautiful eye catching packaging are my top priority,” she said.
Being stocked in retail stores is one of Asali’s top goals – Mellow started retailing in Farmers in July, which has been going well. Mellow is also stocked at Tryano, a newly established department store in United Arab Emirates. “I want Mellow to be the top selling makeup brand in the major department stores in the western world, working with David Jones, Myers and Sephora is definitely a huge goal,” she said.
Despite her lofty ambitions, she doesn’t want to lose sight of what is important. Retail therapy and beach days are her main hobbies, as well as meditation. “Creating and designing makeup is my passion but I have a bigger goal and that is to help and support women and children in need.”