Welcome to Byrdie's new series, The Hustle. We're profiling BIPOC women and woman-aligned folks in the beauty and wellness industries who are usually behind-the-scenes. From the cosmetic chemists formulating your holy-grail serum to CFOs driving the biggest beauty companies forward, these women are the definition of career goals, and they're getting real about the journeys that led them to where they are—the highs, the lows, and everything in between.
Meet Carina Chaz, the woman behind megahit unisex fragrance brand, DedCool. You’ve probably seen its trademark barcode branding splashed over your feed or while scrolling through Revolve’s curated selects. With an emphasis on sustainability and accessibility, Dedcool offers double-take-worth scents featuring vegan and cruelty-free ingredients, biodegradable formulas, and recyclable packaging, all while using zero water. Leaning into her love for cologne and masculine scents, the Chilean-Italian-American has created long-lasting fragrances made to mix and match or wear alone. In a world filled with hustle-culture-boasting entrepreneurs, Chaz keeps it real, and we’re here for it. After launching her business back in 2016 at only 21-years-old, this LA cool girl is one to watch in the world of clean beauty. Keep scrolling to learn more about Chaz's journey.
What led you to want to launch DedCool?
DedCool launched very organically. When I started in 2016, I had no intention of establishing DedCool as an entity. I simply made fragrances for myself as I struggled to find non-toxic scents that really allured me and shared them with friends and family.
The green beauty world then is nothing like it is today, and the "green" products that were on the market were considered "hippy-dippy." I envisioned a product that could be a take on my aesthetic and align with a "cool" young conscious consumer (like myself), without all the "junk" in traditional fragrances.
What's a typical day like as the founder of DedCool?
A day at DedCool...Where do I even start? Every day at DedCool is different. Uniquely enough, we have our own manufacturing facility (which is wonderful), so we’re able to oversee all production and make sure quality is up to par. The admin office is right above our lab, so if we need samples or have any bright ideas, we simply go downstairs and make it come to life.
Days look different depending on what’s launching or what project we’re working on at the time. Weekly check-ins with our teams are top of mind and collaborating with all our creators and designers. If we’re not creating new fragrances, we’re creating campaigns and marketing assets for our socials. Throughout the day, you’ll hear that slack channel ping, which means we’re up to something exciting.
What is your mission with DedCool?
Our fragrances can be combined or worn alone. Liberated from traditional fragrance forms, we build a new olfactive system. Anchored by approachable fine fragrances, we play with scent to give it new forms: we reimagine functional fragrance. Dedcool commits to using vegan ingredients, water-free formulations, beneficial organic extracts, and sustainable packaging to boost our impact for you and the planet.
Sustainability is at the core of DedCool products. What’s one thing people can do each day to help our environment?
No brand or human is perfect. I support every individual in their sustainability journey, whether that involves switching to a reusable water bottle or taking it to the next level by composting. It’s important to do what works for you. At DedCool, we want to make sustainability accessible to everyone. We do our best in educating [the consumer] and innovating formulas, packaging, and manufacturing with best sustainable practices. We encourage everyone to explore their inner "conscious consumer" and would never shame people for doing their absolute best.
What was something that shocked you about the beauty industry?
The most shocking thing I've seen recently is the VC dollars funding these "indie" brands. We’re seeing such a spark in the green beauty space (which is amazing), but I'm wondering if VC brands are still considered "indie."
As the beauty world expands and green beauty turns more mass market, we’re seeing marketing dollars fund these amazing new incentives. I think it’s great to see brands invest marketing budgets on education and innovation.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced thus far with DedCool, and how did you overcome it?
I would say my biggest obstacle is hiring. Being a manager is challenging, especially as a young founder with zero experience. It’s a full-time job managing a team (as I am sure many of you already know), so I’m in a phase of figuring out my financials (it’s been a whirlwind due to growth) in full transparency.
I’ve been working off of small budgets and bootstrapping because that’s all I know and how I’ve always been advised. Four and a half years later, and I just hired a CFO (thank goodness). We’re working on a plan for a better hiring structure so I can then move forward with my creative process and hand off some of the day-to-day tasks to the experts.
In an industry where beauty standards are constantly changing, and trends are forever evolving, what motivates you to stay consistent and true to your brand?
Luckily for DedCool, we were ahead of the trend and were founded on gender-less, clean sustainability "beauty." Beauty standards are evolving, and so are consumers. This is a wonderful transition as brands strive to merge into better and more sustainable practices alongside product offerings. I am seeing a big trend in expression and think it’s amazing that our world now demands more inclusivity and brands are delivering.
What’s your beauty philosophy?
Beauty starts from within. Drink water, sleep restfully, laugh often, eat whole and good foods and explore therapy (if available to you).
The best piece of beauty advice passed down in your family?
My mother swears that drinking water is the only thing that’ll keep skin young and hydrated. She just turned 66 and looks like she’s 40.
"Lotions, potions, and cream come afterward. And never forget about the neck"- Sabina Chazanas
If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?
I’d tell myself to separate from the social media "noise." Trust your gut and move forward with that vision and intention. It’s easy to get disillusioned based on what people are posting, and might I add, it's distracting.
What’s on the career horizon for you?
At this point in my career, I’m working on scaling the business to grow as much as we can at our current capacity. From there, we’ll explore working with funds to then get to the point of acquisition. I would say this is most of my founder friend’s goal. It’s challenging to own a brand, but it’s very rewarding. I’ve made endless friends and learned more than I could have ever imagined.