Zoeva founder Zoe Boikou’s 7 Secrets of Wellbeing

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Hearing Greek-born Zoe Boikou’s back story tends to rob you of breath. Now 39, Zoe has spoken openly about the domestic abuse she faced in her early life alongside her mother and younger sister, and how this ‘struggle’ was actually the driving force behind her starting the brand. Determined to liberate her mother and sister from the tyranny they were suffering, Zoe decided the only way to give them freedom and independence was to create a thriving business, now called Zoeva.

Zoe’s ongoing passion for the beauty industry was inspired by her mother who - no matter what happened - put on her make up, including eyeliner (black) and eyeshadow (blue). In 2008, Zoe started selling make up brushes online. She handled everything to do with the first 10,000 orders – from customer service to distribution – from her apartment in Frankfurt where the family had moved when she was ten.

Today, Zoeva offers a really fabulous range of over 260 make up tools and products – from eyeshadows, blush and lipstick to Authentik Foundation, her latest launch which comes in 44 shades and is now stocked in Selfridges, also available online at zoevacosmetics.com. All the products are reasonably priced and very high quality. 

The guiding spirit of the brand, now a global success, is to highlight that ‘make up can be a powerful tool to help women feel more confident, to strengthen their self esteem and encourage them to discover their own individual beauty,’ Zoe explains. The company is committed to working with charities, such as London-based Hestia (hestia.org) to support women in crisis. 

Here’s the support system that Zoe relies on herself.

1. Giving myself some alone time in the morning.  That means I can start my day calmly and create a clear set of intentions about what I want to achieve.

2. Treasuring my family. Having my sister Barbara work alongside me every day is a true blessing. Family is the most important thing to me and, as an entrepreneur, Barbara’s support and encouragement is invaluable in helping me to overcome any setbacks and drive the business forward.

3. Sleeping well and focussing. I sleep for eight hours a night whenever I can to help me focus. Focus is key for a small brand like Zoeva and sleep deprivation can impair my ability to be efficient and effective. Every morning, I define my daily schedule and say no to anything else. I have a clear agenda for meetings, keep them short and exclude any digital distractions. 

4. Being true to myself. Making my own decisions and trusting my instincts is what helped me to reach success. I will always be grateful for the power of social media as it helped Zoeva to grow into the brand it is today. But I am also very passionate about authenticity; I feel that the trend for extreme filtering and changing your appearance to look like someone else is unhealthy and damaging. I want to help empower woman to celebrate their own individual beauty and feel confidence to be their most authentic selves, both physically and emotionally.

5. Looking after myself - face, body and mind. Self-care has to be a priority when you are as passionate and dedicated about work as I am. Taking care of your body and mind is essential to stay energised. Going for a walk and getting back to nature helps me to reset when I feel stressed. I love to read books and listen to inspiring podcasts or watch videos. Some days, simply applying a hydrating face mask (particularly when I’m travelling) and going for a nice meal really does the trick. 

6. Taking time out in a different place. I’m lucky to be able to travel a lot for business as ZOEVA is distributed in over 80 countries but it’s so important to make time to go on holiday with family and friends. Being in a new environment and out of my usual routine is vital to help me find inspiration, gain perspective and realign with my goals.

7. Trying to think and act positively. When I make decisions I try to keep in mind my purpose and what I want to achieve long term. I started Zoeva to show that make up can be a powerful tool to strengthen their self-esteem and discover their own beauty.  So I remind myself of this every day.