Years ago, I remember seeing Nora Al-Ramadhan perched atop a stool in a mutual friend’s New York City studio-sized apartment kitchen. She was hunched over her laptop, and typed thoughtfully as she paused to ask our group of girls if we felt that there were “any products we loved that hadn’t yet made it to Kuwait?”
I knew she was working on an SME with her sisters Dana and Sarah, and that our mutual friend was designing their website and logo, but I had no clue that the Apotheca dream in 2013 would turn out to be the beautiful store in Salhiya that’s giving our nation of beautyholics something that they’ve always wanted.
As someone who knows the ladies personally, let me tell you that if there’s one family we could trust with our skincare and faces, it’s the Al-Ramadhans. Widely known for their flawless skin and striking beauty, its no wonder that the three gorgeous sisters have turned their talents for spotting the best products on the market into an enterprise to benefit the ladies of Kuwait and the region.
Perhaps what we found most endearing is how the sisters work together harmoniously, and attribute their ability to do so in having grown up in a household that is primarily dominated by motivating women. According to Nora, co-founder and General Manager at Apotheca Beauty, having an incredibly inspiring, health-conscious mother and her sisters by her side made the decision to pursue the Apotheca dream a natural one, as their upbringing truly sparked her love for all things beauty. As for Dana, her appreciation of beauty and makeup was passed down to her by her mother, who she also endearingly claims to be a “huge influence” on her life. When it came down to Founder and Managing Director Sarah, beauty is clear obsession, and she’s been finding the ‘right’ collection of beauty products since a young age.
“I’ve had far from perfect skin as a late teen into my early 20s,” says youngest sister Nora, but with her glowing, dewy skin, we find that sentiment hard to believe. Perhaps it’s because of her reported expert skill in curating products? Nora says that her troubled skin had led her to experiment with all types of products ranging from harsh dermatologically-prescribed to organic regimens, which eventually guided her to the best of the best in the market. Coupled with middle sister Dana’s skill for sourcing the best beauty treatments across the world, and eldest sister Sara’s love for travel and sense of adventure broadening her horizons with brands and practices, Apotheca had a strong basis to succeed in Kuwait’s selective market.
The sisters’ journey began in 2011, when a Los Angeles-based dermatologist connected with the sisters about a potential business opportunity in seeking a distributor in the Middle East. They put their talents to work, assessing the market carefully and after months of research, they unveiled a strategic gap in the market for specialized beauty products. At the time, the supply for niche products was almost nonexistent, but demand was clearly on the rise. Fast forward to July 2013, and Apotheca Beauty was launched as the first online beauty destination to bring niche beauty brands to the region. Nowadays, Nora manages logistics and regional operations out of Dubai, while also focusing on the expansion of the company. Taking care of the retail operation and all contracts in Kuwait is Dana, and Sarah manages the financial aspects of the business and directs the strategic growth of the company also out of Kuwait.
Today, the Ramadhan sisters proudly showcase a plethora of award winning skincare and makeup brands through Apotheca Beauty. Our favorites that they carry are definitely Malin+Goetz, Lime Crime and the magical Sarah Chapman products – routines so powerful, that I’ve seen it transform people’s lives within a fortnight. They also hold exclusivity to retail all Anastasia Beverly Hills products! Say goodbye to fussy brows and do yourselves a favor by popping over to their Salhiya boutique for a pen.
What do you most value in your friends?
What we most value is having someone to talk to when you need advice, a second opinion, or perhaps when you just need to vent after a hectic day. It always helps to talk out loud and bounce ideas off of a friend whom you trust.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
We believe that happiness comes from within, so if you are happy and comfortable with yourself then that is perfect happiness. Happiness is also entirely perspective, and what may be one’s personal happiness may not be someone else’s.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Nora: I would say the trait I constantly need to improve and work on is patience.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
It is easy to become all consumed in your daily life, that often times others can forget what it means to be considerate of other people’s time, feelings, and efforts. Taking a moment to think about another person’s needs and point of view can make a wonderful difference.
Which living person do you most admire?
Nora: This is different, because there are so many inspirational people I admire in the world. I can’t say that there has been just one person that has inspired me throughout my life. However, I have found inspiration in several women, and actually some of the women we at Apotheca work with, such as Anastasia Beverly Hills and Sarah Chapman. Women who came from humble beginnings and a staff of simply, “themselves” before building the magnificent empires we know of today. Not only were these women able to succeed, but they were able completely change the way certain industries operate and totally set new trends!
What is your greatest extravagance?
Nora: I love to shop and invest in high-tech, top of the line kitchen appliances. I enjoy cooking and really enjoy to cook with innovative appliances that make your life easier in the kitchen! I use my nutribullet daily, and am always on the look-out for the latest sous vides.
What is it that you most dislike?
Nora: What I most dislike would be driving. I am not a fan of spending hours in a car and risk getting stuck in traffic. I tend to feel like my time can be better spent elsewhere, so I try to avoid driving as much as possible.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Nora: I have always wished to be more proficient in languages. Unfortunately, languages do not come as easy to me as they do for others, and I have always admired people who can speak 3+ languages fluently.
If you could have any job, what would it be?
What we are already doing! We are fortunate enough to be doing the job we have always dreamed of and re blessed to be able to share this with our family.
What would you consider your greatest achievement?
We would consider starting Apotheca to be our greatest achievement. It has been an incredible journey these past few years, and we are lucky to say that it is never a dull day when you do something you are passionate about, with people you respect.
What are your favorite words to live by?
Do what makes you happy and success will follow.
For more information, check out @Apotheca_Beauty on Instagram and visit the Apotheca Beauty boutique in Salhiya Complex’s M2 level in Kuwait City.