Meet beauty entrepreneur, Chancelline Mutemba (better known as Chancee), the founder of skincare brand, Soracare Lab. With a full-time job and no intentions to start a business, the Congolese businesswoman, based in Canada, merely enjoyed using good quality beauty products. However, all changed a few years ago when she became much more invested in what she was putting on her body and what was actually in her skincare products. Taking a leap of faith, Chancelline decided it was time to make her own – not just for personal use, but for thousands around the world too.
In this interview, we speak with Chancee about her life as an entrepreneur, growing this young brand and how she incorporates her culture in her beauty range.
Can you tell us the story behind Soracare Lab?
In 2017, during my maternity leave, I started to take an interest in natural skin and hair care. I started to make mixtures with natural ingredients that I found in my kitchen and began my research on natural ingredients. I noticed the difference in my skin and hair and wanted to continue. I stopped spending a lot of money on store-bought hair care products because I preferred the products I made myself; plus, at least I know exactly what my products contained.
In the spring of 2020, during the pandemic when many were launching new businesses, I was motivated to launch my skincare brand, which is today Soracare. Although I was a little hesitant, I said to myself: It is now or never.
How did you come up with the name of the brand and what does it mean?
The name of the brand comes from ‘Soraya,’ a Persian name, which means princess or jewel – and which is also the name of my daughter. So, instead of naming the brand Soraya Care, which I found a bit long, I decided to cut part of the name and add care.
What’s your career background and how has it shaped your decision to start a business?
I graduated from the University of Montreal in Criminology and went on to work in government. Truthfully, I was, in no way, prepared to go into business. I had no previous experience and launching myself in the business was, for me, the discovery of another world. I had to learn as I went along, sometimes by trial and error.
How have you overcome those trials?
During the early days, when I started my business, the first few months were a bit tough. I didn’t know anything about business and marketing, and how to run a business on social media. Trying to understand Instagram’s algorithm took a long time because, before that, I didn’t really use Instagram. I had a lot to learn and I’m still learning. It was fairly challenging because I had to learn on my own or do research and I didn’t have the opportunity to really have a person to guide at the beginning stage, but I’ve pulled through.
We love the fact that your products are natural ingredients. What do you think of the rise of the ‘clean beauty’ movement?
I believe it’s a very good thing because it contributes to good health, since these are products that are made without toxic ingredients – especially with the rise of diseases such as cancer.
What would you like Soracare Lab to be remembered for?
For our exotic luxury side, tinged with minimalism. I say ‘exotic’ because I try to incorporate a little of my Congolese culture into my brand, with the names of the products, which are in the languages of my country.
If you could choose a celebrity to endorse your brand, who would it be and why?
I would choose Chanel Iman. I love what she stands for; she is a wife and mother like me. In addition, I like how simple and authentic she is, and I believe it fits perfectly with Soracare’s vision.
Where do you see the brand in the next 5-10 years?
I see myself managing one or more Soracare stores in Africa. Being African, specifically Congolese, I really want to invest in Africa.