Gazelli skincare is a family business, and after graduating with a degree in Business Strategy, Visual Communication, and Marketing, Jamila Askarova joined to expand what her mother had built and bring it overseas to the European market.
We sat down to talk to her at the beautiful Gazelli House in London’s South Kensington about how she came up with the idea to develop the skin care line into a lifestyle, brand, how she maintains a balanced life, and how to unwind and relax.
The skincare is the heart of the business.
My mother is a genetic scientist and she’s behind all the formulations we have. The business itself is over twenty years old now, and it’s from Azerbaijan. I was born into the family business, and I’ve taken it a step further by building on what was created by my mother originally and making it a well-being and a lifestyle brand.
I think me and my mother are like two halves.
She’s the formulator, she’s the heart and the core of the brand, and the beautiful treatments we’ve developed and then I am more about creating moments for the client and the branding of it. It’s really about building a community for us, you can come and meet like-minded people. Everything is about you as a whole.
It can be potentially challenging. In a mother and daughter relationship, the mother always knows best. But what works great for us is that we’ve found our individual roles in the business, they’re very different but they also compliment each other. She’s in charge of all the formulations, and I build more the lifestyle around it. We respect each other, but we’re building a brand that works for both generations.
People nowadays aren’t just looking for a skincare routine or a great product, they’re looking for something bigger.
The house concept was very important for us, we started five years ago in Harrods. We started with just presenting our skincare, we could see that people wanted to talk about their emotions and connect with people in lots of ways. So it’s homey here.
We’ve built a great community. The house comes alive with people in it, the social floor is open to anyone, anyone from the street. The treatment floor is locked for our members, and members have the first right to reserve a seat for our events.
As a business we understand, you are going to be stressed . . .
You are going to be running, you are going to be balancing whatever it is that you want to balance. In the end, it’s not about changing your life completely it’s more about finding manageable, little steps to achieve that balance.
So for me, it’s about being realistic and planning my week realistically. I have diaries, I love to write in the diaries, it brings some system to my crazy ideas and everything. But also, I think when you have it on paper you can allocate it to specific days, give yourself realistic time frames. Then you stop being so hard on yourself and actually get stuff done.
Stress for me comes with lots of sudden change. It comes from balancing family and work, but you need to be realistic and be here full-time. When I’m at work I try to be here full-time and not wishing I was with my son, and when I’m with my son I don’t answer any phone calls. You can’t be in a thousand places at once, you have to take care of yourself in order to be helpful and be a rock to the people around you. Try to pace yourself as much as you can, but boxing helps as well!
The worst thing is when you’re asked whether you’re stressed.
It just tips you over because you’re like “Of course I am.” We’re trying to make the whole experience a positive one. We know you’re stressed. We’re not gonna pre-sell you things, we’re just going to sit down with you and help you define where the root of that tension is and work with you on that.
Don’t try to fix your food and be really healthy and not take care of the other parts.
And yes if you’re in France and you have an amazing dessert, or a week of desserts that’s fine, as long as you come back to something that works for you. And always listen to yourself. If you have something and it doesn’t go down well, don’t have it again! I love my coffee, I have that in the morning. So it’s just balancing and having those indulgent moments.
I never go for drastic changes, we don’t do drastic advice.
I try to sleep the correct hours, go to bed and have a good seven or eight hours. If you’ve had a good sleep you’re able to function well. I travel a lot and the biggest problem with travel is that it’s very difficult to eat well when you don’t know where you are and snack, snack, snack. I try to have a full meal three times a day. Hot water with lemon is great in months like this, and where you can, you should work with a great nutritionist!
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