READ OUR EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH CARINA CHAZ OF @DEDCOOL AND LOOK OUT FOR 'THE ENTREPRENEUR'S PLAYLIST' TO SEE WHAT TUNES SHE'S CURRENTLY LISTENING TO!
Photography: Alex Mak Photography
WORDS: Carina Chaz & Nazz Ebrahimi
What motivated you to start a business and how did you choose the name of your company?
I created DedCool as an extension of my previous brand, CarinaChaz. DedCool was something that reflected my early twenties. I wanted to create something that was an extension of myself and something I could share with other individuals. It’s so funny, I have been asked so many times where the DedCool name comes from and honestly it's just a saying I came up with like “that’s so dedcool” I fiddled around with names for months and this kind of just stuck.
Who are your ideal clients?
My ideal clients..hmmm…I would say everyone! I am inspired by people who are inspired by me and I am a lover of all types of people. I sell DedCool to men and women of all ages. I appreciate people who are passionate about fragrance but then again it becomes a challenge for me to convert non fragrance wears to the DedCool movement, which I LOVE.
DedCool can be found in Neiman Marcus, Fred Segal, Free People, and TAGS NYC.
CHECK OUT THE "STORES" SECTION ON THE OFFICIAL DEDCOOL PAGE TO DISCOVER MORE RETAILERS WHO CARRY THE LINE.
What inspired you to make products that are vegan and cruelty free? What are some of your favorite ingredients you use?
I was inspired to create Vegan and cruelty free products because of the harms and toxins in most name brand fragrances and products. I am totally against animal testing and will never buy a product that follows those values. Most people are unaware of the brands they are buying/using that harm poor innocent animals.. I like to educate my consumer and people around me.
Who are some eco-friendly and wellness conscious brands in your industry that you admire?
I am a big fan of LaNatura, not only because the creator of the brand birthed me but every product is made with the best ingredients and if it wasn’t for the LaNatura brand, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
How important do you think customer reviews are, such as the ones posted on Yelp and Facebook?
I believe reviews are SUPER important. There is no better feedback than the consumer feedback. I am confident that my brand ensures satisfaction as the reviews have been nothing but positive.
Your 3 keys tips for negotiating a deal:
Believe in what you are selling. Always make a deal. Be confident.
The illustrations of bar codes and sculls on your products are seriously cool. Can you take us through the steps of your product development and branding?
The bar codes represent simplicity and the branding goes back to the whole idea of being uni-sex. The code is universal and can appeal to all types of people. I am always drawn to minimal design and chic displays.
You chose names like Taunt and Blonde for your fragrances. We love that! Do you feel the names that brands choose for their products can make or break their success?
I try and keep the names of fragrance on the down low. Not all fragrances have specific names but there are some that speak for the fragrances. While making a gender-neutral fragrance or product, you want to make sure that you don’t make anything too suggestive so people can create their own associations to the product.
It is so wonderful to see DedCool creating UNI-SEX products. How did you make that decision?
I created DedCool to be unisex due to my infatuation with male fragrance/cologne. The idea behind DedCool is for women wanting to wear male scents without actually having to shop in the men’s section as well as making it universal for all genders.
Did you have any doubts when you were first starting out/ how has failure changed you to keep on pushing?
Of course I had doubts, I hoped people would connect with my vision as much as I connected with it. In the beginning, I was nervous people wouldn’t be interested in the brand because there is a lot of other competitors out there /and of course all good things take time.
Do you think you can start a business if you don't have a degree from a University?
Totally, if you are a hard working individual with passion and have a vision you can 100% create a successful business. Personally, school has never been my “thing”. I love to learn and be around peers, but I had trouble focusing and completing homework due to my scattered mind and excitement to create. I am a student currently and will be graduating in June 2017, but my degree doesn’t have much relevance to my business.
How does it feel to be an entrepreneur at such a young age? What are the highs and lows?
I love being someone that creates things for others. There is nothing more satisfying than people loving your creations and works. I love to inspire people and stand out with the things I do in my day-to-day life. Of course, I have had some backlash over the years and I am quite sensitive so having negativity and being the “fragrance girl” hasn’t always been easy.
What is your management style?
Since I am a student in school, it can get a little tricky to stay on top of everything. I have an office/studio where I work on my off days. Sometimes I am in the office or sometimes I am on the road, overall my management style requires lots of post it notes and staying organized.
Looking back, what would you tell yourself when you were first starting out?
Looking back I would tell myself PATIENCE. Nothing comes easy and nothing is instant.
Best lesson you've learned in business:
Best lesson I learned is to have thick skin. There is no doubt that owning your own business if tough..you will run into all kinds of people..some nice, some not so nice. It’s important to stay true to yourself and your passion.
FIND CARINA'S PRODUCTS AT WWW.DEDCOOL.COM