Ostatnia aktualizacja: 2022-08-24. Autor: Milena
I’m entering the salon, Sónia is already waiting for me. A broad, warm smile is mixed with a little uncertainty. After all, today she is about to tell me about her dream. A dream born out of the need of the heart which saw the light of day on a small island in the middle of the Atlantic.
We’re sitting down between the cosmetic bed and the hot wax and starting a conversation.
Sónia, I’ve known you for almost 5 years, but my audience doesn’t know you. Will you introduce yourself?
My name is Sónia Luz. I am a beautician and cosmetologist, I have been working in the profession for 24 years. I like my job very much. I like to look after my clients, talk to them, raise their self-esteem. Because this is my job – making an impact on how someone feels about themselves. I can make someone feel better every day and I learn something new every day.
In addition to taking care of your clients in the salon, for several months you’ve also been taking care of them in their homes – by Luz Creme (Luz cream). Where did the idea for creating your own cream come from?
When I started working, I missed a good cream on the market – one that would moisturize well, but also absorb quickly. Because I don’t like greasy hands. So I started to create my own formula.
And how did this formula see the light of day?
There was the pandemic. In March 2020, we were locked up at home. I am a beautician, I don’t have a vacation, and suddenly I had to stay at home for two and a half months.
I watched TV and saw people helping others. They would make masks for doctors, soup for the poor. I also wanted to give people something from myself.
And I started to think – we all sanitize our hands with alcohol many times a day. Shop assistants already have wounds on their hands from the constant use of disinfection gel, children get allergies. Imagine what their hands will look like in 10 years!
I thought that I wanted to create a cream that would help us with covid in its own way.
Cream that soothes irritations and soothes the skin. I am a cosmetologist, I returned to my formula.
Was it ready already?
Not completely. I was looking for the active ingredient all the time.
One day I was drinking chamomile tea and it hit me – chamomile! I immediately checked on the internet that chamomile actually has soothing and calming properties.
Luz cream works by combining urea and chamomile. Thanks to them, the cream has moisturizing and soothing properties. Exactly what I wanted!
What have you done?
I finished my formula and sent it to labs. Within a week, I got feedback! Everything was paused, nobody normal makes new cosmetics in a pandemic. They asked me if I wanted to start production.
I talked to my husband because it was a big investment. He said, „If you believe in it, go ahead!” I believed 100%.
And what was the whole process like?
First there were cream tests – stability, etc. Luz Creme passed all of them on the first attempt!
But basic tests weren’t enough for me. I wanted my cream to be able to be used by everyone, including pregnant and lactating women. Because when you look at the creams, many say that they are not intended for pregnant and lactating women. Mine was supposed to be.
So I put it on a test that could either confirm or destroy everything. Everyone warned me that I would pay a lot of money for it and be left with nothing. Because this test was so important to me that if my cream hadn’t passed it, I wouldn’t have been able to go further into the world with it.
You have to understand one thing – I’m in the Azores. What I’m doing is pure craziness in the eyes of others. I couldn’t make any cream. My cream had to be the best in the world.
And are you happy with the result?
Very! Luz Creme passed this test! And it was a great joy for me! I created a cream that is meant for everyone, for the whole family. It was supposed to be good and affordable for everyone. It shouldn’t be hidden deep in the cupboard, it should be in the living room, where the whole family can use it.
In this difficult time for all of us, I wanted to give people such a moment of pleasure, a moment only for them. Because there’s nothing better than taking a little cream and cream the other person.
And what was the production like?
It was difficult. I did everything remotely, I never left the island. I was afraid of covid and I respected all the rules. Everything went on and on, but I worked with Azorean calm. Because here we must have calmness and patience. We have various limitations. After all, we can’t get in the car and go to Lisbon.
How did it go?
It was very difficult. But I was lucky. Because the lab workers themselves were curious about what would come out of my activities.
They helped me find a factory, a marketing team. This is how we started assembling my team! I wanted to incorporate some personal touch and jokes into our work. So I was gathering people for conferences at Zoom. They said, „We don’t work in teleconferences,” and I replied, „Now you will be!”
Until now, I don’t know anyone personally, but I was lucky with good and well-working people. I even made friends with some of them. Sometimes I think, „Wow! This is really something!”
Sounds great. And tell me something more about the name. „Luz” is your last name, but it also means „light”.
Yes, Luz is my last name, after my dad. The cream didn’t have a name for a long time, people used to call me „Mrs. Luz”, they said „Luz cream”.
One day my daughter asked me: „Mom, what’s the name of this cream?” I answered her, „Luz Creme.”
„Luz” means light, which meant a lot to me. Light belongs to all of us and is for everyone. Just like my cream.
There is sun even on the logotype and the sun’s rays illuminate all of us!
Everything is golden!
Yes, these fragments are now golden. Because I got Selo de Ouro (lit. „golden seal”). I ordered the first batch of the smallest possible, 2000 pieces. Nobody expected it, but in less than a month I was already ordering another batch.
I heard that I deserve Selo de Ouro for such a fast-selling cream. Honestly – I was busy at the time and I didn’t care much about it. I told the lab team to do what they think. And they painted everything gold!
I can see that everything is super thought out! And what are the bags you have here?
This is our bath line!
You know that as a beautician I cannot take vacation time. But I really like visiting various interesting places on the island. In one of these places, I was sitting in a jacuzzi with herbs. I was delighted with the smell! I immediately started to think: how to do it to achieve a similar effect at home, but avoid cleaning?
In the same place in the room I found a fragrant sachet with herbs for a shower. What a smell!
After a long time of thinking, I added to the Luz brand with two new products – I created a product for bath and shower.
What is a bath bag?
These are long stalks of herbs packed in a bag that is supposed to resemble a tea bag. You put them in a bathtub full of water for 15 minutes, and then you go in by yourself. You can wash yourself with this bag because it’s tea, herbs. And at the same time you can relax in fragrant water. It is good for the body and for the spirit. They knew about it in antiquity.
My clients also use it in a clothes dryer. They say the clothes smell beautiful afterwards.
What can we find in this bag?
Chamomile, lemongrass, lavender, and basil.
And in a shower sachet?
The shower sachet smells stronger. Contains chamomile, rosemary, lemon verbena, sage and natural goat milk soap. Because even Egyptian rulers used this soap. And I wanted to give all of us a bit of luxury. You don’t have a way to go to a spa, but you can have an in-house spa.
You can do something for yourself, feel that you are special. Because everyone is special. Everyone also has their own difficulties in life. A home spa is a simple and cheap way to feel better.
Before using it in the shower, you can put the sachet in the nightstand to smell it. Then you hang it in the shower and use it. When the soap is finished, you can use the sachet as a sponge and use your own soap.
Sounds great! Where do you get the ingredients for your products?
All herbs in the bath line are from Terceira and are organic. I sniffed herb after herbs and checked their properties. I chose only those that only have a good influence on us.
The production is carried out by Terra Azórica. Everything is handmade.
In the cream the idea, the formula are from here. But we don’t have a cosmetics factory in the islands, so I make the cream on the mainland. In the case of the bath line, only the fabrics are imported from the mainland.
I want to use what’s ours. If something in my products is not Azorean, it is Portuguese for sure.
You support local business.
At first I didn’t think about it, but the whole factory worked only for me for 6 months! Add to it transport, brokers and a marketing team. So many job places! And when people buy my products, they support not only my brand, but so many people in the Azores and mainland Portugal!
Creating and maintaining jobs is a very important topic! But tell me more – you seem to have another product.
Yes, it’s Cup Luz! You know our famous food blogger who has the Happy Life in Kitchen channel? This is Sara Loureiro, my cousin. When we were preparing the official premiere of the Luz cream, I talked to her about the fact that I’d like to drink my cream. Give myself so much good inside.
So Sara came up with a drink that combines chamomile tea, arugula and pineapple from the Azores. Everyone was delighted with the drink! We handed out recipe leaflets to our guests, and I know that many people took this drink with them to picnics in the summer. Even kids like it! And it’s important that children drink tea, not carbonated drinks.
Let’s go back to the beginning for a moment. How did people around you react to your idea?
First, I told my husband and daughter. They exclaimed: „Ah, that’s why you keep hiding in the corners and reading something!” My family was thrilled with the idea.
But I didn’t tell other people about it. I was afraid of the reaction. Because what would you say if I told you that I want to make a cream?
You’re asking what I would say?
(laughs) No, you don’t count! What would normal people say?
That this is crazy.
Exactly. Crazy. Now imagine people telling me this is crazy. If I’d also believed that this was crazy, do you think I’d have had the strength to act?
So I used the cream in the salon, making it clear to my customers that it was a cream in a testing phase and asking for permission to use it. And what? My clients were delighted! They immediately asked what the cream was, they wanted to buy it. It gave me the strength to continue!
How is it today?
Today I have cream distributors on all islands and in many places in mainland Portugal. In beauty and hairdressing salons, spas, at barbers. Many people sell cream more expensive than me, these are their businesses.
Often someone sees our cream e.g. on YouTube and buys it, their friend tries it out and also orders it right away.
I ship a lot to France, and soon Luz Creme will be available even in the Maldives.
Can one buy your products online?
Yes, we have a website www.luzcreme.pt and there you can order everything to any place. I pack everything myself and take it to the post office 2-3 times a week.
And you know what? People write to me that the cream helped them or brought them relief, for example in skin diseases that they had suffered from for years. The cream is for hands and feet, but people use it in different ways and often give me new ideas on how to use it.
So you learn from your customers! And to finish, would you like to say something to the people who will read our interview?
Luz, light is for everyone. Use it, give it! Luz, light is joy, health and beauty. The essence of life. Share it!
Where to find Sónia and her products?
- beauty salon Margarida: Rua da Guarita 174A, Angra do Heroísmo, Terceira, phone number +351 295 214 950
- website luzcreme.pt