Nelly Pitt, Founder of BeautyMix
|DO IT YOURSELF COSMETICS|
Behind the human
Can you introduce yourself in a few words? What has been your background ?
I’m Nelly Pitt, a trained engineer, having studied at Polytechnique and Stanford before working for 15 years in the environmental industry around the world on improving the quality of tap water. In parallel, I had a second career as a mother of 3, before becoming an entrepreneur and founding BeautyMix.
What made you want to start a business? What was your path to entrepreneurship? Did you grow up in a family of entrepreneurs?
I had my first daughter when I was living in China, which brought me face to face with the safety of everyday products because there were a lot of scandals at the time about contaminated milk, children’s toys… I was particularly suspicious of the cosmetic products I applied on my baby, and that’s how I got into homemade cosmetics. I wanted to democratise homemade cosmetics, so I launched my own startup! My goal was also to act effectively for the environment. Nothing really predestined me for entrepreneurship, there were no entrepreneurs in my family, it all stemmed from a problem I faced in my daily life.
What does entrepreneurship mean to you (in one word/one sentence)?
For me, it’s a way to regain control of our lives and our impact on the environment.
In your opinion, what does it take to be a good entrepreneur?
Resilience is really the No. 1 quality one needs!
Can you tell us about the meeting with your partner(s)?
I naturally teamed up with my brother because since childhood, we love to remake the world together and we have complementary skills: he’s a developer and I’m an engineer.
Do you have a role model when it comes to entrepreneurship? A mentor? Someone who inspires you in your approach whether he/she is an entrepreneur or not? And why?
The entrepreneurs who inspired me are close friends who founded a company called CoZie, a zero waste bulk cosmetics company. I have known them for a long time and have followed the creation of their company with them, which has both inspired me and given me the confidence to go into entrepreneurship.
Behind the startup
Can you introduce us to your startup? How did you get the idea? What problem does it address?
BeautyMix is a company that reinvents cosmetics by allowing people to make their own bathroom products. We offer recipes via an application, natural organic ingredients distributed in returnable glass bottles and a small robot that allows people to make their own cream, shampoo or lipstick, at home, in less than 10 minutes. The idea is to encourage people to rethink the way they consume so that home-made products become as natural as ones bought in-store.
What were the major stages you went through in the development of your startup? What were the difficulties you had to overcome?
The first step was the proof of concept, where a first prototype was made and used to present the idea in different startup competitions and to validate the credibility of the project. We won the Start In Cosmetic and Sephora Accelerate competitions. That’s when I resigned to develop the product, especially with X-Up which helped a lot. Finally, there was the commercial launch with the presentation of the product at the CES in Las Vegas in January 2019 and everything that came out of it, since we met with Boulanger who agreed to distribute the product. Difficulties are part of our daily routine. I would say that the hardest part was not finding a French manufacturer for our product.
Can you tell us about your experience at the Polytechnique Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center? How did the center benefit your startup?
As a former X-Up student, it was a homecoming for me. I was thrilled to see that the school had changed so much in 15 years, and that a lot of things were being put in place to foster innovation. The incubator gave us credibility which made it easy for us to find funding for our project, we were able to benefit from their superb prototyping space because they had all the machines we needed, and finally from the network because I was put in contact with mentors in my field.
How is belonging to the X startup community important for your startup?
It was very interesting for me to be able to exchange with the other startups, because we had a lot of common problems on which we could help each other. I received as much advice from the other startups as from the staff at the center. Any advice for an entrepreneur who would like to get started? Don’t worry about having to go all the way to Palaiseau, it’s actually worth it! Joking aside, you really have to leverage this great X ecosystem because the combination of the network, the equipment and the image makes it a really great incubator.