Fashion / Beauty

Rock Star Beauty Guru Brings Her Skincare Chemistry to Houston — Sue Y. Nabi Reveals the Secrets of Merging Science and Business

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BY // 04.30.20

There was rain, then sunshine, then rain, then sunshine in London on Thursday, when PaperCity had a virtual sit-down with rock star beauty  industry force Sue Y. Nabi, founder of the all-pure vegan skincare line Orveda. Our interest in Nabi (who led both L’Oréal and Lancôme as CEO in her storied career) and the line that she has created rests on the fact that The Houstonian’s Solaya Spa & Salon is the only spa in the country to carry her coveted brand.

Let us begin by saying that Nabi is not your typical beauty-brand entrepreneur, for she knows as much about the chemistry of the products as she does about the marketing. The brilliant Algerian, who has a degree in biochemistry and an MBA in luxury marketing, called Paris home for the two decades that she scaled the career ladder in the beauty industry. Now, rainy London is her home base with co-founder Nicolas Vu . This is where the duo oversees every aspect of her skincare line.

Nabi admits that her education employed both the right and left sides of her brain — and with good reason, she excelled in both sides.

“My father was an engineer, and my mother was an artist, so I grew both sides of my brain at the same time,” she tells PaperCity. “I am comfortable about science, business, and creative things.”

As CEO of the two biggest brands in the world, Nabi notes, “It was an amazing position to see what was happening worldwide … There was a thinking that there was a space for a high-class skincare line that was the best of the best in terms of formulation, efficacy, stability, safety, and, most of all, ethical production … It had to be vegan.”

Think the vegan version of La Mer. It’s pricey, but nevertheless it has devotees.

While already launched in Europe, Orveda had had little introduction into the states other than being carried by Saks Fifth Avenue. Last summer, after reading a Wall Street Journal story about the line, Renae Cassam, GM of the Trellis Spa and Solaya Spa & Salon by The Houstonian, reached out to Nabi. A team flew to London to investigate the products. A bit later, Nabi was invited to Houston to check out The Houstonian’s plans for the ongoing remodeling of the highly regarded Trellis Spa. While in Houston, Nabi visited Solaya, the satellite location in Highland Village.

“We spent the day with Renae and the team and observed the Trellis plans and those for Solaya. We were super excited on both sides,” Nabi says. “This is the way we decided that Solaya would be the first and only spa at the moment to have the Orveda line.”

Don’t miss the full video of Shelby’s interview with Nabi above this story.

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