Sirine Swed’s affinity for false eyelashes led to a career change that’s enhanced her quality of life
If all else fails, bat your lashes.
Sirine Swed worked in pharmaceuticals for 15 years before realizing her passion was in an entirely different industry. She began her career as a fresh-out-of-college sales rep and moved her way up to VP of sales and marketing at Warner Chilcott—a position she excelled at even though her heart wasn’t in it. While on the job, one of Swed’s priorities was to look polished and professional, and for her that meant never leaving home without false eyelashes—a $100 per month habit.
For Swed, timing was everything. While she was pregnant with her son, the pharmaceutical company she worked for was bought out and her position was eliminated, providing Swed with the opportunity to start her own business in the beauty sector.
“My passion has always been beauty. I was always researching new beauty products and trends,” Swed tells Moneyish. And as a sales superstar, she knows that if you’re passionate about what you’re selling—it sells itself. Swed believes that lashes enhance everyone’s look and her own affinity for them makes pedaling them as easy as pie.
“I was spending $20 on MAC lashes that I’d wear once, maybe twice before having to throw them out,” says Swed of her desire to create an affordable and high quality product. The Denver, Colorado-based mom who loves the city of London and says she tries to visit as often as possible founded Battington (as a nod to London’s Paddington Station) in 2015, and in her quest for affordable and high quality lashes, she discovered that silk was the material that would set her apart from other retailers. “Silk doesn’t get brittle and you get about 25 uses out of each set,” Swed claims. Her lashes are held together by a cotton band, available in black and clear.
Since starting her company, Swed has been focused on customer retention. She knows that quality is the key to making sure people patronize her. “We test our silk and 3-D silk lashes with expert makeup artists and get their feedback about what works best,” Swed says. Celebrity makeup artists Preston Meneses and Amy Clarke are among those who have given positive feedback.
When she launched in 2015, Battington was completely self-funded, but in the year and-a-half since then, they’ve done a small round of friends and family fundraising. “The CFO and president of the pharmaceutical company I worked for are investors,” she shares. And she relies on their experience running a $2 billion dollar company when she turns to them for input. “I also look to my husband for guidance because he owns and runs his own companies,” says Swed.
Her husband is a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and it’s through that network that she’s been able to find a packager, one of the many components that has led to her company’s success.
The next step in Swed’s start-up is the introduction of an app that will allow customers to upload a photo of themselves where they can virtually try on different lashes. She’s also launching a lash starter box, complete with everything needed to apply lashes which will be exclusive to Birchbox for two months before it hits the market on its own.
Her lashes are available at Ricky’s NYC, limited Anthropologie stores, Credo Beauty and West Hollywood’s Violet Grey.
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