While working as a professional photographer, Moscow-born Katerina Karpova decided to radically change her life. Here, she shares the story of her natural cosmetics brand Pure Love and explains why her life experiences and failures have proved useful in the end.
After studying at art school and working in the advertising industry for a while, I became interested in photography. This was to become my first long-term career – for eight years I took commissions from various Russian magazines and never imagined any other life for myself. The turning point came when I decided to enter the Rodchenko Moscow School of Photography and Multimedia, and was rejected. I was so disappointed with myself and my abilities that I decided to abandon photography altogether, and cosmetics became my new passion.
By accident I stumbled upon a forum in which professional cosmetologists and chemists discussed recipes and technological procedures – and I started trying out some of the formulas. Looking back, you could say that I was a natural: chemistry was easy for me in school, and later on I shot only film and developed it myself. I got hooked on the experimentation, on the feeling of being fully responsible for the final product. Little by little, I honed my skills – and my skin condition improved as well. At the age of 33, still feeling somewhat conscious of my self-education background, I passed the necessary exams and enrolled at the Mendeleev University to become a certified pharmaceutical chemist.
At the same time, more and more of my friends started using my recipes so it was only logical that I should start my own cosmetics company. It was five years ago, and now I am still working 24/7: managing operations, working out new formulas, catching up with scientific breakthroughs, developing marketing strategy, and still finding time to spend with my family. Of course, I don’t do everything alone, and the ultimate goal of Pure Love’s dedicated team is to make effective products as well as make information on cosmetic medicine available to those who need it.
It’s not always easy. There are still fears and insecurities, but I have learned to turn them into opportunities for self-improvement. There was a time when I felt that my art was meaningless, but now I am a grown woman and don’t need to validate myself. I’m thankful for all the experiences I have had in my life and believe that they just helped expose and develop what had always been in me. You just follow through to prove to yourself that you can do better. If there is a passion, if there is a love, everything falls together and something good can come out of it.