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Empowering South Asian Beauty: Samreen Arshad's Vision for Inclusivity

Samreen Arshad of SamreensVanity Shares Her Journey of Creating a Beauty Brand That Champions South Asian Representation and Community-Driven Growth

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Devin: What is your superpower?

Samreen: I truly think my superpower, Devin, is my ability to connect with people.

In today's episode, I had the pleasure of speaking with Samreen Arshad, the inspiring founder and CEO of SamreensVanity. Her story is a testament to resilience and the power of community in shaping successful ventures.

SamreensVanity is a luxury cosmetic line dedicated to elevating South Asian representation within the beauty industry. Samreen identified a glaring white space: despite 2.1 billion South Asians worldwide, there wasn't a single cosmetic line aimed specifically at their inclusion. She saw this as an opportunity to create something transformative.

"Our brand is made for the community, and it’s founded by the community," Samreen said. This philosophy guided her decision to launch a Wefunder campaign, choosing community-backed investment over traditional venture capital. She wanted her investors to feel a personal connection to the brand, ensuring that their contributions would lead to meaningful impact.

Samreen's journey to founding SamreensVanity is as unique as it is inspiring. Despite facing postpartum depression and not having a background in makeup, she taught herself the craft at the age of 30. Her resilience shone through when she applied seven times for a job at a high-end retailer without success. This rejection fueled her determination to create a brand that represents minority women and immigrants like herself.

With only nine SKUs, SamreensVanity has already made significant strides. Their innovative dual-ended lipsticks caught the attention of major retailers like QVC and Costco. Now, as part of the Tower 28 Incubator Program, Samreen is gearing up to pitch to top retailers and expand her brand's reach.

Looking ahead, Samreen envisions SamreensVanity becoming an international brand, serving markets in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia, where there is a growing demand for products that reflect their cultural values and needs.

I am continually inspired by entrepreneurs like Samreen, who not only identify opportunities but also create solutions that empower and uplift their communities. SamreensVanity is not just a beauty brand; it’s a movement towards greater inclusivity in the industry.

In our conversation, Samreen's passion and dedication were palpable. Her vision for the future of SamreensVanity is bright, and I have no doubt that she will continue to break barriers and set new standards in the beauty industry.


1. Introduction and Business Overview: Samreen Arshad, the CEO and founder of SamreensVanity, discusses the inception of her luxury cosmetics line aimed at elevating South Asian representation in the beauty industry. She recognized a market gap and launched her brand during the pandemic with initial products like eyeliners and dual-ended lipsticks.

2. Product Line and Strategy: Samreen explains that her brand currently offers nine SKUs, including innovative products like dual-ended lipsticks. Starting with eyeliners to test market needs, her strategy has been to grow slowly and steadily rather than flooding the market with products. This approach has led to partnerships with QVC and potential opportunities with Costco and Shark Tank.

3. Incubator Program: Samreen is participating in the Tower 28 incubator program, which is a ten-week initiative founded by Amy Liu. The program includes classes led by industry leaders, and it concludes with the opportunity to pitch to major retailers like Sephora and Ulta.

4. Vision and Growth Plans: Samreen envisions international expansion for SamreensVanity, citing interest from regions like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. She emphasizes that her brand, which has a strong customer base and minimal returns, is poised for significant growth once it ramps up marketing efforts.

5. Wefunder Campaign and Investor Relations: To support the community-driven ethos of her brand, Samreen opted for a crowdfunding campaign on Wefunder where individuals can invest. She highlights the backing of Backstage Capital, founded by Arlan Hamilton, and encourages potential investors to participate, emphasizing the collective potential for significant returns.

How to Develop Connecting with People As a Superpower

Samreen’s superpower is her exceptional ability to connect with people. This natural talent allows her to build genuine relationships, fostering trust and collaboration that drive her success as an entrepreneur and influencer.

Samreen exemplified her superpower when she connected with Arlan Hamilton, the founder of Backstage Capital. Without any immediate intention to seek investment, Samreen genuinely engaged with Arlan, showing interest in her work and attending her events. This authentic connection led to Arlan eventually offering to back Samreen’s fundraising efforts, illustrating the profound impact of building sincere relationships.

Actionable Tips for Developing this Superpower:

  1. Be Genuinely Interested in Others: Focus on learning about people rather than trying to impress them. Show genuine curiosity about their stories and experiences.

  2. Be Open and Vulnerable: Don’t be afraid to share your own strengths and weaknesses. Openness and honesty foster deeper connections.

  3. Voice Your Admiration: When you’re impressed by someone, let them know. Acknowledging others’ achievements builds rapport.

  4. Start Building Relationships Early: Don’t wait until you need something to start connecting. Build relationships well in advance of when you might need support.

By following Samreen Arshad’s example and advice, you can make connecting with people a skill. With practice and effort, you could make it a superpower that enables you to do more good in the world.

Remember, however, that research into success suggests that building on your own superpowers is more important than creating new ones or overcoming weaknesses. You do you!

Guest Profile

Samreen Arshad (she/her):

Founder and CEO, SamreensVanity

About SamreensVanity: SamreensVanity New York offers rich, lush, and vibrantly pigmented essentials for creating captivating looks. Our mission is to offer products that are kind to your skin and good for the environment while feeding your creative soul. We are a clean and conscious brand that creates vegan, cruelty-free and paraben-free cosmetics.

Celebrating the True You!


Company Facebook Page:


Instagram Handle: @samreensvanity

Other URL:

Biographical Information: As the owner of SamreensVanity, my mission is to create clean, vegan, cruelty-free and paraben-free cosmetics that are kind to your skin, good for the environment, and feed your creative soul.

With a Bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Michigan, I have the skills and knowledge to manage and grow my brand, which is Halal and Kosher compliant and designed for all skin shades and gender expressions. I also leverage my social media marketing and communications expertise to showcase top fashion and beauty brands, designers, and products across digital platforms and forge relationships with key influencers and collaborators.

SamreensVanity New York is for those who wish to celebrate the skin they are in and express their unique and authentic selves. I am passionate about elevating the rich heritage of South Asia and empowering people to embrace their beauty and diversity. SamreensVanity – Celebrating the True You!

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We host changemakers who are using regulated investment crowdfunding for social impact--impact crowdfunding--as impact investors or social entrepreneurs, catalyzing change with leadership skills we call superpowers.