Raise your hand if your car multi-tasks as a mobile makeup application station, your cosmetics case desperately needs a KonMari makeover, or your maximalist travel kit just isn't on-brand with your minimalist lifestyle. If one or all of the above applies, allow us to introduce you to Alleyoop, a genius new Los Angeles-based brand that's simplifying our self-care routines.
Founded by Los Angeles-bred entrepreneur and inventor Leila Kashani, the TSA-approved brand launched earlier this month with nine game-changing body and beauty products that are cruelty-, paraben-, and sulfate-free — and you're likely already familiar with one of them.
Previously on the market as Sphynx (which got rolled into Alleyoop), the all-in-one razor ($15) that comes with a moisturizing pre-shave bar, a refillable water spritzer, and two triple-blade razor cartridges. Complementing that is the Slow Your Roll ($12), an organic and natural essential oil deodorant; the Smooth Operator ($16), a vitamin-packed body lotion that softens stubble and hydrates the skin; Spot Me ($12), a blemish- and ingrown hair-reducing formula with essential oils; and Bottoms Up ($15), a water-based, fragrance-free cleansing cloth.
For your makeup bag, there's the Pen Pal ($25), a throwback to our favorite middle school multi-color click pens — except it's got black and brown eyeliner, mauve lip liner, and shimmer highlighter; Tip Off ($8), which are liquid-filled cotton swaps for removing makeup; Swipe Left ($12), acetone- and scent-free nail polish wipes that leave your cuticles moisturized; and the Multi-Tasker ($24), a four-in-one makeup tool with a concealer sponge and blush, brow, and eyeshadow brushes.
Even better? The brand was truly powered by women: Kashani enlisted 200 female Co-Creators to help develop, research, and test every product and even used the productivity app Slack to keep in constant contact with her beauty-obsessed test subjects. (Take note, aspiring entrepreneurs.)
In the spirit of Alleyoop's name (which also describes the basketball move when a player passes the ball to a teammate who catches and slam-dunks the ball), we recently sat down with Kashani to find out what inspired her to create a Swiss army knife version for beauty, her top advice for fellow product developers, the most important lessons she's learned during her career, and more. Read on below, then shop online here.
What were some "a-ha" moments of frustration that led you to create Alleyoop? What was the first product you brainstormed?
I'm always brainstorming products. Whenever I have a problem, or if something slows me down, I ask myself how can I do this easier and better. I'm not sure which of the products from this line came first because a lot of them were floating ideas for years. I remember getting annoyed every time I would hunt my makeup bag for the brush I needed, which brought to life Multi-Tasker, the 4 in 1 brush. I also always got frustrated when I'm going out at night and have to make the choice, which product can come with me for the evening, my lip or my liner? Needing to save space, Penpal was born.
What were some of the most important lessons — whether good or bad — that you learned from launching your first brand, Sphynx?
I would say the biggest takeaway is testing. Since launching Sphynx I created a group of about 200 women who give me feedback and help test, create, and design product alongside us. These amazing women are in a slack channel with us allowing us to get quick answers and test even the names of products.
What's your top advice for aspiring entrepreneurs, specifically for those who want to invent game-changing lifestyle products as you've done?
1. Passion! I truly believe passion is contagious and helps bring things to life. It will get you through the hard stuff and it will help you stick to your brand ethos.
2. If you're afraid of something, get ready because starting your own business your fears will arise. I think the universe works like that. It wants to show us, you're stronger than you think you are; you can handle that. So don't lead with fear, or fear will follow you.
3. Test, test test. Always test your idea, your products, your website, everything. Not all feedback and learnings will guide you, but most will and that's important.
4. Make a budget, double it… then double it again. That's how much it's going to cost you. Don't always take the cheapest route, because cleaning up from the scraps sometimes cost you more money and time.
Shop Alleyoop online here.