May 2, 2023
“The tool that you never knew you needed, but now can't live without.” This is the opening line of a customer testimonial for LUNAESCENT, the invention of entrepreneur and founder, Raana Kashani Gregg. Like many women-owned businesses, Raana created LUNAESCENT out of a personal need that was not being addressed in the market: an applicator tool for topical medications and skincare products. Just one year later, Raana reflects on the challenges of introducing a new product into the market, the joy she has found in the support of other women entrepreneurs, and the necessity of self care.
...I was frustrated by how inefficient my fingers were for applying my skincare products (especially oils and serums) and how much product I was wasting.
Why did you start your business? What motivated or inspired you?
I have always been a problem solver and inventor. As a preteen, I had a notebook where I would draw and describe my latest inventions. It was called "My Book of Inventions." When my son was diagnosed with eczema and I could not find a suitable applicator to apply his steroid medication, my inner inventor kicked into action. I needed to know exactly how much medicine I was putting on his skin. However, using my fingers for application made it impossible to measure how much was getting absorbed by my fingers and how much medicine he was receiving. To make matters worse, the steroidal cream caused dermatitis on my fingers which made everyday tasks painful. At the same time, I was frustrated by how inefficient my fingers were for applying my skincare products (especially oils and serums) and how much product I was wasting. These two personal needs plus hearing similar stories from others are what led to LUNAESCENT. After several redesigns, LUNAESCENT is now a multipurpose and versatile tool that is ideal for effective and hygienic application of skincare, as well massaging, depuffing, and more.
What is something you know now that you wish you knew when you started your business?
As a new startup, you get approached by all manner of businesses who want to take you to the "next level" fast. However, fast growth, at the expense of building a solid foundation with your business and growing your community, can backfire.
Why did you decide to join The WMarketplace?
Despite substantial advancements in women's rights and economic status, women still lag behind men in terms of employment opportunities and wages. We are 50% of the population but we see substantially fewer resources directed at us. I believe that the WMarketplace provides a unique opportunity for women-owned businesses to come together and to increase our market share and reach.
What has been the most challenging thing about getting your business up and running?
As a new beauty tool, which is also a new product category, we have had to concentrate on informational and educational campaigns as opposed to pure marketing campaigns. Informational campaigns do not immediately lead to conversions but they are important in building a strong brand recognition and community.
What has been the most exciting or rewarding part of owning your own business?
I am the mother of two teenagers. One apprehension I had was whether starting my own business was going to take away from the care and support I provide to them. However, the most rewarding part of owning my own business has been my children's reaction and how proud they seem to be of my efforts. My daughter even commented on how watching me build this business has provided her with a front-row view of how to be an entrepreneur.
Can you identify a moment in your business that was pivotal in your success? Have you had an “AHA!” moment(s)?
The "AHA" moment for us was when we attended the CosmoProf trade show for the first time as a new business. The beauty industry insiders were universally enthusiastic about our product with many mentioning that they have been looking for a tool like this for their own personal use. It was in those moments that we knew we were on the right track.
How long have you been in business and has your business changed since you started it?
We have been in business for a little over one year. Our business philosophy is to set a strong foundation for sustained growth. This philosophy has served us well in the past year. We have focused on growing our community and offering a high quality and useful product with protections such as 30-day money back guarantee and strong customer service support.
I believe that the WMarketplace provides a unique opportunity for women-owned businesses to come together and to increase our market share and reach.
What communities have been important for you as you grew/developed your business?
The other women entrepreneurs that I have encountered as part of developing my business have been my loudest and most ardent supporters. This has been such a pleasant surprise and everyday I try to pay it forward for other female entrepreneurs with my own actions.
Do you have items, photos or mementos on your desk that inspire you each day? What are they?
My father was a successful entrepreneur. He was also a huge social justice advocate who always championed a higher standard of living for his employees. His picture on my desk is a reminder that being successful in business does not have to come at the cost of others.
Do you have any advice for other women who are getting started in business?
As women, we have a tendency to want to do it all. However, starting a business can easily take over our entire lives. In order to have a successful business that can thrive for many years, it is important to schedule and enforce mental and physical health breaks. For me, my thrice-weekly workout sessions and my huge breakfast bowl of berries, nuts, seeds and yogurt are non-negotiable. That social media post can wait :).
If a journalist were to write a headline about you/your business, what would it be?
This is the opening line of one of our customer testimonials: “The tool that you never knew you needed, but now can't live without.”
Is there a non-profit or other social/mission-oriented business that your business supports? Can you tell us about this?
We support Moms Against Poverty which fights against global childhood poverty by providing education, hunger relief, orphan care, and health care.
Thank you, Raana, for sharing your advice and journey with the WMarketplace!
Launched in 2020, TheWMarketplace is a nationwide e-commerce marketplace for women-owned businesses to sell their products and professional and personal services. Offering favorable terms to its sellers, it also is a supportive community of women entrepreneurs that have access to learning opportunities through the trademarked HER-Commerce™ programs. With over 500 women-owned businesses selling 4000+ products and services ranging from home goods to coaching, in over 35 states, TheWMarketplace empowers shoppers with a new way to find the communities they want to support, including Black-woman owned, Latina-owned, AAPI-owned, Veteran woman-owned, and more. The Her Story Q&A is one benefit TheWMarketplace provides to sellers.