Beauty box founder urges female entrepreneurs to work together

Tia Roqaa pictured with her Beauty Box at Gloss Chelwood Drive, Leeds..30th August 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
Tia Roqaa pictured with her Beauty Box at Gloss Chelwood Drive, Leeds..30th August 2017 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
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The founder of a beauty products subscription service is urging female entrepreneurs to help each other realise their goals in the business world.

Tia Roqaa, who at the beginning of this year launched Roccabox after being made redundant from her previous job, says support from other women in the beauty industry has helped with her firm’s exponential growth.

Roccabox has already a membership base of 500 and has outgrown its previous base, the social enterprise Paperworks.

Roccabox, which puts together boxes of beauty products curated by industry experts such as bloggers and ships them off to customers at a subscription fee of £10 a month, is now also offering an in-store ‘Beauty Pic n Mix’ option at independent salons and boutiques in Yorkshire.

Ms Roqaa has been working with fellow Leeds resident Em Sheldon. The influential fashion, lifestyle and beauty blogger has been a keen supporter of Roccabox since inception. More recently she has curated her own collection of beauty products to be sent out to members.

“Em is probably one of the biggest bloggers in Leeds if not the North,” Ms Roqaa says. “I met her when I was in my previous job and we just clicked.”

She added that women can help empower each other and would-be female entrepreneurs shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to other businesswomen.

Ms Roqaa said: “The biggest thing is never think that you are on your own. There’s always going to be somebody that can give you the right advice or the right platform. There’s plenty of selfless people in the business world that want others to succeed.”

The internet is also a invaluable tool, says Ms Roqaa, pointing to her own business as an example. Not only does Roccabox utilise the power of bloggers and social media, Ms Roqaa also learnt how to build a website from scratch using the internet.

Roccabox has now moved to bigger premises at Mosaic in York, where the start-up’s fulfilment is being done.

Ms Roqaa has grand ambitions to expand the business including growing a sister brand with fitness and nutrition products.

She said: “The business model will be exactly the same. But it will be for gym goers so it might have some proteins, some supplements, some kind of health food snack, things like that.”

Women play a significant role economically and female entrepreneurship should be encouraged, says Ms Roqaa.

“Economically the beauty industry is one of the biggest industries in the world,” she said, adding that the sector is predominantly dominated by females.

Ms Roqaa has used her marketing and digital skills to craft a following online. But the entrepreneur is aware there is an audience beyond the blogosphere and that’s the reason she has started working with independent salons to offer the pick and mix service.

She added: “I’d love to be doing 100,000 boxes a month and eventually be in a position where I’m well respected in the beauty world and perhaps end up on the board of directors for some big brands.”

‘Coming back to Leeds was the best thing that I ever did’

The founder of Roccabox started off in the fashion and beauty industry doing PR in London.

She then decided to return to Leeds and is pleased to have launched Roccabox in her home city.

Ms Roqaa said: “I’m happy that I’ve come back to Yorkshire and done this.

“Even though I’ve lived in London it’s nice to be able to do it in Yorkshire and we have a massive advantage here that a lot of the UK, especially London doesn’t have.

“We have all the resources we need here.

“The way of life is affordable. There’s a great business community here.

“London, if somebody wants to be successful it’s a great way to start out, learn and get all these contacts but I think coming back to Leeds was the best thing I ever did.”