CIIN’s exclusive interview with Lynn’s Apothecary Founder Lynn Khoury Soubra
You can’t quite tell where you are when you walk into Lynn’s Apothecary. It could be Paris, London, Milan or Beirut… A state-of-the-art beauty boutique in the heart of Beirut’s affluent Saifi Village. It’s not just any beauty that they sell though, and Lynn herself isn’t just any kind of gal. Because looks can be deceiving you might, for the first thirty seconds or so assume that she is just another shop owner, a woman with a dream, and the means to fund it.. That assumption is immediately thwarted the minute Lynn utters her first sentence.. She did not stun me with some impressive vocabulary or a witty joke. Perhaps it’s what she doesn’t say that gave it all away.
Simply put, Lynn knows what she is doing…You can tell that when she embarked on this project she addressed it with integrity, professionalism and a hefty dose of passion. Lynn is vested in her business on a deep tissue level, concerning herself not just with what she stocks, but why she stocks it. This creates a very clear, streamline identity to her brand. Whether you walk into her store, browse her online boutique or surf her social media accounts you come away with the same clean professionalism that is engrained in Lynn and her apothecary.
There is a very fine line between people that know what they want and people that are what they want. While the former might bark information at you, almost reminding themselves of the details along the way, the latter, those that ‘are what they want’ don’t feel the need to over-share. A quiet confidence that leaves a pitter-patter of reassuring nods and engaging smiles in their wake.
There is indeed ‘something about Lynn’. An elusive element that creates a unique persona, and although I would have loved to create a tidy checklist of ‘how to be Lynn’ unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Hence all the rambling ;)) In a word, or two Lynn is atypical. From her beautiful, makeup-free face in the heart of Beirut (frightening) to her impossibly chic casual outfit, and her endearing personalized necklace, delicate enough to be missed, she is not your regular yummy mummy.
Lynn’s apothecary is a beautifully curated beauty boutique. Stocking over 30 international clean beauty brands. Each brand goes through a thorough process before being placed on the shelf at Lynn’s. Expertly tested by their resident chemist for quality and efficacy. Like Lynn aptly put it, just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s effective. In my naive clean beauty mind, it made sense for the natural process to be ‘natural’, but Lynn took the time to explain to me that it is an extremely sensitive process that is greatly effected by the source of the ingredients, the conditions under which the product is created and stored and of course the life span of a product. These items can’t sit in warehouses for years on end, which is an additional obstacle.
In another life, Lynn was part of the corporate world, her career in management at an international agency spanned 10 years. After having her two young girls, Lynn chose to explore her passion for beauty with the creation of Lynn’s Apothecary in 2017. A year into it and Lynn has already established herself as a credible source on clean beauty. Her store is stocked to the brim with popular brands such as Suzanne Kaufmann and Rahua a testament to her professionalism. It’s not that easy convincing good brands to carry their products; their criteria at times reads like a college multiple choice exam.
After all I have said, it is only fair for you all to hear it from Lynn herself.. We’ve asked her to answer a couple of questions for us, so you can see for yourselves!
1 || Why and how did you finally take the plunge and create Lynn’s Apothecary?
When I launched Lynn’s Apothecary I was at a juncture in my life where I had quit my 9 to 5 job at the United Nations, because I wanted to pursue a different path, one that is motivating to me and that rimes with passion, because for me that would be an ultimate achievement in life: working in a field I am passionate about and which is my own.
I’ve always been a beauty junkie and my family in law has been working in beauty services for the past 15 years so I started being seduced by the industry. My husband had also a big role to play in encouraging me to take on that direction. It wasn’t until a trip to Miami a couple of years ago that I discovered clean beauty and it was crystal clear to me that that was the direction I wanted to take, because it made sense, it’s real and it was totally aligned with my own values. After randomly grabbing a clean beauty kit from one of the stores during my trip because I was simply attracted by the all natural high performance message and it was a new brand I had never heard of. I used the products and I was instantly hooked as it transformed my skin and my whole skincare experience. I was intrigued and started researching. This is when I discovered the wonderful world of clean beauty which quickly enough became a passion project. Through my research and later on studies in cosmetic sciences I also discovered the appalling truth that lies behind the ingredients found in products we trust and use daily. I could no longer allow myself to use any product containing synthetic toxic ingredients. I knew that the beauty space in Lebanon and the region was missing out on this segment that is set to revolutionize the beauty industry. So I decided to launch my clean beauty store and online shop to raise more awareness on safe high performance products and introduce for the first time in Lebanon and in many case the region those beautiful brands.
2 || I always feel that when successful business’ are established there is a personal goal to be achieved. I wonder if your two daughters have anything to do with why you created your apothecary? I for one created CIIN with my two daughters in mind for sure, I wanted them to know that life has many faces, and you have the right to reinvent yourself even after a successful career, and at the age of 43!
This is your higher intuitive sense again ? I rarely tell this story, I might have once maybe… I say it candidly that it was my 5 years old daughter that finally gave me the courage and the last push to take the plunge and open my own space. She always likes to play “la dame du magasin” “the sales lady of the store” in every store we go into. I’ve always liked the idea of opening my own space but it has always been an idea that I would entertain in my head for fun thinking deep down inside that it would be crazy for me to venture in this. And it really happened on a eureka moment while the whole clean beauty infatuation was still unfolding in my head and my little girl was at it in one of the stores “mami je peux etre la dame du magasin?” I looked at her and I imagined how happy and proud she would if she could really be “la dame du magasin” in her mum’s store. So it gave me the courage to do something I’ve always dreamt of doing, which is opening my own space.
Of course also thinking of my girls and how it would be wonderful to immerse them young in the whole concept of healthy personal care and being aware and in charge of what they put on their skin. That was also an important factor. And I am so happy I took the plunge!
3 || What would your elevator pitch be? If you were in an elevator and have 30 seconds to convince the people with you to convert to clean beauty, what would you say?
Did you know there are toxicity reports linking thousand of commonly used cosmetic ingredients to major health problems? Hormonal disruptors, skin irritants, carcinogen, developmental and reproductive toxicity- to name a few- are some of the potential health hazards from exposure to certain synthetic chemicals found in our daily personal care products. It is important for your health and wellbeing to be aware and make the switch to cleaner and safer alternatives. The advancement in natural technology has made it so easy to make the switch to clean beauty. Try it, it’s truly life-changing not only for your skin but for your mind as well!
4 || Define clean beauty and what it means to you.
To me, clean beauty is a new generation of products that are revolutionizing the skincare industry for the better and forever. In order for a product to be considered clean, it has to be almost 100% natural, free from any toxic or potentially toxic ingredient, cruelty-free and ethically produced. For us at Lynn’s Apothecary to be part of our selection it should also be high performance. One of the things we always remind our clients is that not everything that is labeled ‘natural’ is in fact clean. A lot of ‘natural’ products out there are mixed with toxic ingredients and still carry the misleading label. Also not all natural products are created equally. There are more complex formulas than others, there are products that take years and years of research and development, sourcing the ingredients is also essential to the performance of the product. So for us it’s not enough to be natural it has to deliver on results too. That’s why our selection process is very rigorous and strict, our ingredients review is conducted by our internal expert PhD in biochemistry then internally vetted for performance. We also like to assign weight to the experience of using a products, how beautiful it is to the senses.
5 || Give us three ingredients found in typical beauty products that scare the daylights out of you?
There are more than 1500 ingredients variations that we don’t allow in our store! Top 3 would be BHA/BHT, Formaldehyde, petroleum derivatives… and of course the parabens…
6 || It is clear that your previous career in management helped you in your second career as a business woman. Where do you see Lynn’s in 5 years time?
As a leading physical and digital space in clean beauty and advanced natural beauty concepts growing outside the boundaries of my dear country.