Emolyne Ramlov is a businesswoman, philanthropist and founder of Emolyne Cosmetics, a British beauty brand.
Born in Ibanda, Uganda, Emolyne grew up on a farm in the beautiful countryside. Emolyne loved the freedom of her childhood in Africa and had great fun helping on the farm after school.
Emolyne Ramlov was nicknamed “Kadogo” which in Kiswahili means ‘small’ or ‘petite’. She is the child of a Munyankore dad and Mutooro mum and she is the sixth child, the eldest girl in the family. At thirteen years old she moved to Denmark with her family.
“When I arrived in Denmark, it was a big culture shock. Everything was different; the weather, the food and the language. I had to integrate and learn Danish for two years before I could join a mainstream school,” Emolyne said.
At secondary school, Emolyne’s ideas about makeup and beauty were challenged. In Uganda, wearing makeup can be seen as an invitation to men. She was not allowed to wear makeup or even grow her hair long. But in Denmark the rules of society were different.
“I remember sitting in class and looking at my classmate who was wearing a full face of makeup and nail polish and I said to her: ‘You are going to get into serious trouble for turning up at school like this.”
She responded: “Relax, this is Europe!”
“At that moment, I realized the rules for women in Denmark were different and my interest in makeup started to grow,” Emolyne said.
When she began to look for makeup, she struggled to find anything that suited her skin tone.
“Life in Denmark was amazing. However, it wasn’t very diverse in the early nineties. As a black person and a minority, there were not many black hairdressers or products for black skin. When it came to makeup, I couldn’t find the colors that suited me,” Emolyne explained.
When she moved to London in 2008, she discovered, once again, that the UK beauty industry wasn’t inclusive.
“I realized that the makeup industry was not offering a choice of colors for different skin tones. I went from store to store, brand to brand and saw the same gap in the market. I did research and still got the same answers. Then I said to myself, I have to change this.”
As the saying goes ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, she saw an opportunity to establish a cosmetic brand that caters for all ethnicities and genders.
Launching the Brand
After a lot of hard work and sleepless nights, in May 2020, Emolyne Cosmetics was launched.
“It was all planned perfectly. I had invited the press to our pop up shop in Covent Garden when the pandemic hit. We had to cancel everything and adapt to new changes by taking a risk and launching online,” she told Chimp Corps.
Emolyne’s products are vegan and paraben free and they don’t contain harmful chemicals.
“We launched with 15 reds and 15 nudes matching across three products; lipstick, nail polish and lip liner. We have now just launched our first ever lip gloss, so you are set for the summer!” she explained.
Soon, Emolyne will expand into the global markets of the USA, Middle East and Africa. There are also new product lines in the pipeline.
“We recently launched our summer lip gloss shades and at Christmas, we are going to bring out festive colors and next year 30 shades of lip gloss,” she revealed.
Emolyne explained that the reason Emolyne Cosmetics has such a wide range of reds and nudes, comes down to the “differences in our complexions.”
“We all have different skin tones and our skin changes throughout the year. What I wear in summer is not what I wear in winter. I have created 5 colors for light skins, 5 colors for medium skinned people like me and 5 colors for dark skinned people. So if I am lighter in winter and darker in summer, I have a variety of colors that suit me to choose from,” she said.
Emolyne is proud of her African, Ugandan roots and has honored her heritage by naming her products after African countries and cities such as Uganda, Marrakesh and Cape Town among many others.
Watch Emolyne’s story here.
Barely three years after launching the brand, Emolyne Cosmetics is already a multi-Award winning brand and has been recognized for its inclusivity.
So far, the company won awards from the Sunday Times, Get the Gloss, Cosmopolitan, Global Makeup and Global Green Beauty to name a few.
This year, to celebrate the launch of her summer lip glosses, Emolyne teamed up with Nataal Magazine (a new global media brand celebrating contemporary African fashion, music, arts and society which has also been nicknamed the “African Vogue”) and the world-famous Victoria and Albert Museum in London as part of an exhibition to celebrate African fashion, music, arts and culture.
All this success is particularly impressive, as Emolyne does not come from a cosmetic science or beauty background.
Emolyne explained how she didn’t let this hold her back when she started her brand.
“Rihanna proved you don’t need to be a makeup artist to create a brand like Fenty Beauty. Victoria Beckham is not a designer. You don’t need to be a designer to make good clothes. All you need is vision and determination,” she reasoned.
“The success of Emolyne Cosmetics is because we have a brand that is inclusive and has high quality products. We have a strong ethos and are on a mission to transform the beauty industry.”
“If you have an idea, don’t be afraid to follow your dream. Believe that you too have what it takes to be successful and be inspired by other people’s success. Failure teaches us to do better next time,” Emolyne said.
And, as for a mother of four, she had plenty of practice managing her time.
When asked how she juggled her career and motherhood she replied: “Just as I have had to find my parenting style, I have had to find what works for me in business. I mainly work from home but I also have a studio where we produce images and videos.”
“I use the time my children are at school to finish my work. When the kids are home the working day ends and I focus on my children. So, it’s important to plan your day and be organised,” Emolyne added.
Venturing into Philanthropy
For the last four years, the London based businesswoman has been supporting Whisper Children’s Hospital in Jinja.
The facility, which is run by Veronika Cejpkova, a Czech National, offers low-cost treatment to over 1,000 children per month.
With the support of donors like Emolyne, Whisper’s has been able to employ more highly qualified medical professionals, streamline managerial systems and employ nutritionists to treat malnourished children.
Emolyne says she is motivated by her childhood memories of accessing medical care and supporting Whisper’s is a way of giving back to the motherland, Uganda.
“Growing up in Uganda, I was in and out of the hospital all the time. Sometime; after accidents like falling off my bicycle, or when I had malaria. I remember how few resources the hospital had and seeing children suffering with burns and other illnesses. It was just really bad. Whisper’s Children’s Hospital does amazing work with vulnerable children and families. I wanted to give back to my community and because I am a mum of four, I connected with Whisper’s Children’s Hospital,” Emolyne added.