To say that Ollia Tzarina has had an international life would be an understatement. Her early childhood was spent between Greece, Russia and Miami. Then came the UK, the UAE, and today, the 30-year-old serial entrepreneur makes her home in the South of France, and is about to launch her second business.
An alumna of the London College of Fashion, Tzarina rose to fashion mag personality status after launching her own fur coat line, Tzarina by Ollia, in 2015. Within months, her designs attracted high-profile customers including US stars Kylie Jenner and Jennifer Lopez. Tzarina’s €6,500 coats routinely sold out within days.
Like all good things, however, fur (and, later, faux fur) fame came to an end, as Tzarina sold the clothing to an undisclosed buyer, for an undisclosed sum in 2018. Now, in partnership with Pakistani businessman Asghar Khan (of Karachi-based Akhtar Group of Companies), she’s on her next business venture.
Q: What are you launching now?
Tzarina: Me and my partner Asghar Khan, whose family owns one of the largest business conglomerates in South Asia, are launching a high-end organic skin care brand named BIO LAB EXOTIQUE. The brand has one sole aim: to show that chemicals are simply not needed when it comes to treating skin conditions such as eczema or even to help collagen production and provide intense hydration. With a precise and unique mix of rare oils, the same if not better results can be found. Bio Lab Exotique offers the opportunity for natural luxury skincare, for everyone. We visited Morocco and various other countries to and instantly fell in love with the peoples passion for all things organic. It’s fascinating how nature in itself provides some of the most potent oils known to man. This is how the idea was born.
Q: Have you done anything like this before?
Tzarina: There is a right place, right time and right people for everything. That is now, for us. Sometimes it’s wise to wait for the right moment.
Q: What's the story of the product, and the process?
Tzarina: We met a wonderful couple outside of Agadir, Morocco, who own their own argan oil plantations. We went to see the whole process of how they grow their plants, extract the oil, and the love they put into their business was amazing. Every seed, every finished bottle of cold pressed oil is super controlled by them. The name Bio Lab is self-explanatory. I added ‘Exotique’ because we mix the base argan oil with other rare, exotic precious oils.
Q: Who is it for?
Tzarina: More and more people turn to organic products for beauty. More and more people are learning about powerful benefits that nature is capable of providing. Our clients are well educated on the topic. They don’t want just the “100% bio” label on the bottle, and hope for the best. No. They want to see tangible results. This is the mindset behind the label .
Q: How are you ensuring sustainability and climate-friendliness?
Tzarina: We have ensured that we will only be dealing with suppliers who produce biodegradable materials in the most carbon neutral way. We were able to accurately assess this during our tour of farms and extraction facilities in Africa and were deeply satisfied.
Q: How are you making sure your growers and suppliers are being treated well and compensated fairly?
Tzarina: As is the case in any business venture, developing a relationship based on trust is crucial in order for the business to sustain itself. This is why we take all our suppliers and employees on board before making any key decisions and follow a strict payment method which we all mutually agree upon.
Q: Given all the other, similar, products on the market, how is yours going to stand out?
Tzarina: We don’t have to stand out. Our product speaks for itself. The market is saturated with products that claim to be 100% organic, when in fact, a simple trip to Sephora will tell you the opposite. Every brand on the market now, that claims to be organic, is actually still packed with chemicals or ingredients that are synthetic in nature .
Organic products in the European pharmacies, upon investigation, turn out to be mixed with mineral oils, which keeps their price so low. Argan oil is not cheap. The process of production is expensive, so real argan can’t be 7 to 10 euros by default. Bio Lab Exotique is the only non-pharmacy brand that uses no chemicals. The shelf-life of our product is shorter, but its most potent natural properties are that it is cold pressed, unprocessed, gives out natural, nutty odours, is full of strong components with a power to preserve, heal, and treat. We are proud of the brand. I am an absolute beauty and skin care freak. I have tested all mixes on my own face for months, and even I am surprised. You have to understand I am a girl who comes into organic skin care from using brands like La Prairie for years, and when I started testing and exploring the power of oil, I could literally feel the components working. I'm now a convert.
Q: What does success look like? What makes you think you can achieve it?
Tzarina: Most people define success as a number or value. But we view it on a scale of how satisfied our customers are, and also all the people working with us throughout our supply chain. As long as we can keep everyone happy, success is imminent.