At Summer Stories, we've asked our favourite changemakers for their best summer read. We got in touch with Alexys McKenzie of Dubai-based beauty startup You Beaut to find out what fires her up.
Alexys, tell us your favourite summer read.
I would have to say Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. It's not your typical chick-lit beach read at all, it's a memoir by the founder of Nike. It takes you on the twists, turns and perils of launching and running your own business.
I must admit I'm not normally one that reaches for business books (I prefer escapism through fiction!) but after I started, I found I couldn't put this book down. It was so refreshing to hear someone speak so frankly about some of the hardships they faced launching their own business, the toll it took on his personal life, the travel, the grind, the startup curve. Or as I like to call it - pure wrath. I read this over summer in the middle of launching my own business and I was grappling with some serious Imposter Syndrome at the time so found some comfort in the pages knowing that what I was feeling was completely normal and the light at the end of the tunnel is not only visible, but worth it.
So Alexys, that's a perfect way in for you to tell us about You Beaut.
is a tech and data-driven beauty stylist platform. We listen to our customers' beauty concerns, goals, lifestyle and budget to match them to the best beauty products for them. We send them their handpicked full-sized products and samples of each allowing them to try everything first in the comfort of their own home and only keep what they really love. Our boxes are like our customers, no two are the same.
We launched about eight months ago with an idea that spurred from sheer frustration with the beauty industry. I found that retailers weren't listening to the customer and was fed up with the lack of transparency and claims brands and retailers were able to make due to lack of regulations. Every moisturiser was the best and every mascara promised the longest lashes ever - basically all marketing speak (and I would know as this is exactly where I came from!) so it was time for a change.
Beauty companies shouldn't dictate how people feel about themselves or how much money they spend which is how and why we are so different and this is our North Star. We curate and offer a unique experience to our little beauts, we hold trust and credibility to our core.
We're launching our new and improved platform in Q1 which on top of offering our styling service will also see the introduction of a replenishment program meaning customers can schedule the frequency of how often they automatically replenish their fave beauty products - which is really exciting! The intention is to expand across the Middle East rapidly and then launch in other international markets. Australia is definitely top of that list!
How did you land in Dubai?
I ended up in Dubai after a series of amazing adventures around the world. I'm from Brisbane originally but haven't lived there for around eight years. I miss it dearly so I head home at least once a year for a good dose of family, friends, Aussie sunshine and humour.
I lived and worked in New York for a while, which I adored but it's a tough city, and if I'm being honest I think I'm probably too much of an emotional being to truly belong there. I also lived in London for a couple of years which I loved - the people, the pace, the work, the seasons, the food - but the weather was a little too grey for my Queensland soul so after a brief love affair we were ready for the next adventure which led us back to Dubai.
My parents lived in Dubai for a while so it felt familiar and I was comfortable with the city. I was offered an amazing opportunity to join a luxury retail group so jumped at the chance and of course who doesn't want a little more sunshine in their life? It's a really interesting melting pot of cultures which I love. It's a brilliant lifestyle and super safe and the opportunities are endless. After a few years working here, I decided to start my own business and here we are today. The group I joined loved my idea and funded it so I'm incredibly lucky and grateful for their leap of faith. Who knows what the next adventure holds but I have big things planned.
We're wishing you the best Alexys!
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