Meet Fabienne Bolliger, Founder & CEO, reBELLE Beauty
reBELLE Beauty operates in a highly competitive market – when did you found it and what is the idea behind reBELLE Beauty?
I founded during the pandemic, in the summer of 2021 and the official launch was in January 2022. reBELLE Beauty is a Swiss Female Founded Start Up. We want to empower and promote beauty in women and men aged 25+. In doing so, we make no compromises: From production to packaging to distribution – sustainability, fairness and absolute quality have top priority. In addition, we communicate completely transparently with our customers. reBELLE Beauty scores with a clear, comprehensible range of products, which currently consists of four skincare products. The Face and Eye Cream were developed in collaboration with an ETH spin-off. They contain the globally patented active formula OM24®, which is based on natural active ingredients.
You gained experience in the beauty industry before reBELLE Beauty. When was the key moment for you to set up your own business in the future?
It started unconsciously with my first permanent position. I never understood why they didn’t integrate the customer more, guarantee more transparency and communicate with them. Sometimes I had to launch products that I knew very well were not aimed at the needs of the Swiss customer. Of course, a corporation plays in a different league, but here I saw enormous potential for a start-up by acting bottom up. The real key moment came later, when I was running a start-up and realised that I wanted to build my own. Even though the timing during the pandemic itself brought many additional challenges.
What have been the biggest challenges since the foundation?
There are new challenges every day and you learn to deal with them quickly. Sometimes a problem seems unsolvable one day and then new doors open. My advantage is that I already have a lot of experience in the industry and therefore don’t have to pay as much for learning, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t spared certain situations. However, I still remember one situation very well. 3 weeks after the launch, the online shop exploded, I had more than 100 orders in one day and the days didn’t get any less. So I had to change things within minutes, things that were planned for a later date. It was actually a week with little sleep and many new surprises.
How satisfied are you with the development of reBELLE Beauty?
I’m never satisfied, that’s my nature, but I had to learn that you should also consciously notice successes and, in the best case, celebrate them a bit. In the beginning, I was so busy that I partly didn’t notice how much I had achieved in a short time. External people actually had to draw my attention to it. Now I always set myself goals per week and check on Friday whether they have been achieved. I am currently very satisfied.
Where would you have liked more support as a start-up?
It’s difficult to say, because I’ve hardly noticed any support for a start-up. Sure, there are a few guidelines, but you’re still on your own. I found the administrative work, especially the paperwork, time-consuming. I especially remembered that I waited almost 2 months until I had access to the bank account. Don’t know how others pay the bills in that time. But what really helps and that’s how I did it, contact other founders and ask them how they did it back then. Saves time, money and a lot of nerves. Even after founding, a regular exchange with other start-ups helps, especially me, because I founded alone.
Women who start their own business are rare in Switzerland. How did you experience this as a young woman?
I don’t think I perceived it differently as a woman, that is, in terms of founding a company. It’s only bureaucratic in itself, but afterwards it’s part of everyday business life. But here you struggle with the same facts as all women in the business world. Would you really ask a man in a pitch what he does for a living? Probably not. Unfortunately, I notice time and again in my exchanges with other female founders that you really do sell yourself short
What would you advise women to do if they want to start a business?
“Do” Never understood this verb in this context before. But it’s really my only advice. If you know you can do something of your own and you’re on fire for it, go for it. Everything else you will learn along the way.
Find reBELLE Beauty Website here,
and connect with Fabienne Bolliger on LinkedIn.