Fantastic business ideas are often sparked by a desire to create the best product for yourself and your family. For Polish entrepreneur Agata Borzym, experimenting with skincare creams and cosmetics snowballed into a successful family business run by herself, her sister and her mother. The company, called Hagi Cosmetics / Hagi Baby has been a pioneer of natural ingredients, and is now looking to expand abroad.
A family affair
“I’ve always been creative,” says Agata. “I studied theatre, and then worked for a while in the creative sector. Having children though caused me to think about pursuing something closer to my family.” As it happened, 2 members of Agata’s family – her mother and her sister – were thinking about their futures at that time. “My mother is a really inspiring woman,” she says. “At the age of 50 she decided to study cosmetology, and my sister decided to join us in starting a business. All 3 of us found ourselves in this amazing moment together!”
The first products were created and trialled at home, while Agata and her sister studied current trends and read the latest literature on beauty care. “This was an exciting time, as Poland was only just opening up to the world of natural cosmetics,” says Agata. “The market was very small. We spent the first 2 or 3 years just researching and making things for ourselves, and then giving some samples to our friends.”
The company was formally launched in 2014, with a line of products including scents, bath salts and soaps containing natural ingredients. Her background in creative arts meant that Agata was instrumental from the start in the design of packaging. The company currently has 10 employees, and with business prospects opening up abroad, the company has just moved to bigger offices.
Inspired by motherhood
Another interesting development has been the launch of new line of natural skincare products for babies. “This is something that is really connected with my life,” says Agata. “Like any parent I want the best for my kids.” Agata decided to launch only 5 products, including a nappy cream containing hemp oil, knowing that parents are often overwhelmed with choice. The new range recently won an international design prize in Oslo.
Agata recognises the difficulties facing many working mothers. “You know that your kid’s childhood only happens once, but at the same time you sometimes have only 1 opportunity to make a success of your business,” she says. “It can be very difficult. One of the biggest challenges I faced was having the confidence in myself to say that I’m as good at this as any man.” Becoming an entrepreneur is also not for the faint-hearted she says, but for anyone with energy, patience and a degree of stubbornness, the journey can be very satisfying. “You only live once,” she says. “Every minute of every day is valuable, so you shouldn’t spend it on doing something you don’t like.”
In the short time since the company was launched, the natural cosmetics market Poland has becoming extremely crowded. As a result, Agata is speaking with investors and looking into possibilities of taking her products abroad. “I’ve just come back from China,” she says. “With moving into the new office, all this feels like the next step forward for our business.”