Brand owner Ekin Ozlen found herself falling somewhat accidentally into her life as a businesswoman, singer and performer. Having been a veteran of the New York modeling industry for years, she eventually turned towards hair care when her stepmother started to experience health issues.
Before she knew it, she had created a formula that was so effective that she was met with unbelievable demand, and would see this turn into her full-time livelihood. But as someone who also possessed a passion for music, she knew that she needed to find a way to combine her creative disciplines. Blurring the lines between her brand and music, she started to feature her products in music videos. Most recently, she collaborated with Mexican sensation Vadhir Derbez for their song “Where You At”, which features Ozlen’s own brand of CBD hand sanitizers.
The brand has caught on so much that it even has celebrity fans, including Rebel Wilson, Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts and Cate Blanchett, to name a few. Read on for our exclusive interview with singer, performer and Keracell founder Ekin Ozlen.
Where did the idea for Keracell come from?
The brand started really out of a need to kind of cure my family’s ailments. My stepmother is a cosmetic chemist and with me having been in the modeling industry for so long, as well as being married to a plastic surgeon, I had a lot of intel and education as far as post-procedure. I took all of that information and combined it with what I felt like was missing as far as what my family’s ailments were. My stepmother suffered from an early hysterectomy and hormonal changes. So her having that problem really accelerated us looking for a cure. And when we found the human stem cell extract component and combined it with the other peptides we were already using in the lab, we couldn’t believe the results.
How did you take your brand from the idea stages and turn it into a fully fledged business?
It was a very word of mouth, grassroots style launch. I think combining a super high-science, clinically validated, results-driven product line with the access and the network I had, was kind of a perfect storm. My husband’s in the hotel and hospitality industry, so I kind of took everything I had learned from him and started just renting suites in Beverly Hills hotels and inviting my celebrity friends. And we would just drink champagne, eat the hotel food and talk about our skin and hair ailments. And I would show them all the products. And before I knew it, all these people were calling me and trying to get the products again and again, and trying to tell their friends about it. So it really blew up very naturally and very effectively.
What is your music background and how did you combine it with your brand?
I started off as a very successful body parts model specifically in New York City and I kind of had a niche there. If you bought any pantyhose at Target, I was the girl for years on the cover of all the pantyhose boxes. So it was wonderful, but I’m an artist, I’m a creative person. And that’s why it’s really funny that I ended up to be this business person, that kind of came out of left-field but I really needed somewhere to drop my creativity. I had a book of poems that I had written over the years, so I just took all those lyrics and I started recording myself making sounds over melodies. And then this Keracell portion came into it. I thought “How can I join these two things together and make it really blow the brand up?” And that’s how it really all happened. I didn’t know how to separate the two, I only thought of them as being joined and they would be stronger together.
What does it mean to you and your image to be seen as a successful businesswoman?
I’m very prideful about it. It’s something that, as I’ve aged, I value much more. When I was younger, it was just about being hip and cool and having kind of a status. And now it’s really about having learned all this and doing something with it. Hair loss is super emotional – people are horrifically emotionally damaged when they have hair loss. So that’s been my favourite part of this whole Keracell process and the whole business person aspect of it, is really helping people. And I feel almost if I didn’t share that it would be so selfish.
What does it mean to you to be able to have personal relationships with clients?
It’s crazy that I actually answer the phone and people are like “Are you the girl on the video?”, and I’m like “That’s me!” I love that people are shocked by that. That’s what we’re missing. There’s now this whole digital world, you don’t have that connection anymore to brand owners and founders. And I think that that’s what really gives Keracell heart because it’s such a high-science brand. It needs to be kind of taken down a notch, and to really be explained to people.
How do you ensure that you continue to grow personally and professionally?
I don’t think I really have a choice in the matter. It’s kind of like, every day you wake up, and you’re like “Alright, what challenge am I gonna be faced with today?” And “How am I going to overcome it?” I kind of just wake up every day ready to grind and ready to fight. And inevitably, learning just takes place. It just happens. Because you as a business owner, especially right now, with the current environment, you are coming in with full armour.
Ekin Ozlen is a singer, performer and founder of skin and hair care brand Keracell. Connect with @ekin_ozlen on Instagram.