KAI CONVERSATIONS WITH ... AJA FRIERSON
we are thrilled to share this week’s kai conversations with aja frierson, ceo/founder of habit cosmetics (@habitcosmetics). as a black woman passionate about both plant-based nutrition and makeup, aja saw a need for representation in the clean beauty space. her brand, habit cosmetics, features non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free ingredients, multi-tasking formulas with skincare benefits, and sustainable packaging. aja's goal is to create clean beauty for colorful people, with trend-relevant yet wearable colors for all skin tones.
aja's relationship with kai began when she discovered the kai eau de parfum growing up. the fresh white flower fragrance became the scent of malibu in her memory. today, aja truly embodies kai's “breath*life*flow” lifestyle by striving to live in the present and spend more time taking care of herself and others.
we are truly inspired by aja's dedication to inclusivity, sustainability, and wellness, and can't wait to see what she does next. join us in exploring aja’s incredible story and powerful mission to help make the beauty industry more diverse and sustainable. also, we encourage you to follow her amazing brand @habitcosmetics on instagram and check out her gorgeous line (here)!
but that's not all! head over to our instagram (@kaifragrance) to enter our special giveaway collaboration with habit cosmetics.
how did you first discover kai? please share a memory of your first-time using kai, which product it was, and anything special you noticed during your experience
i grew up in la, and my mom would bring my sister and i to malibu on the weekends. on one of these trips, we ambled into little gift shop at the country mart and discovered a gorgeously-scented kai perfume. in my memory, that fresh white flower fragrance is the scent of malibu.
how do you embody kai’s “breath*life*flow” lifestyle?
that sounds like a wonderful goal! i’m not sure that i do embody it at the moment, but i do strive to always spend more time living in the present.
how did you start your career? and how did you end up with your current role?
i was working as a colorist for a shoe company, choosing the colors and materials, when i became obsessed with nail polish. painting my nails every week was a stress reliever, a basic act of self-care, and having a fresh manicure made me feel confident and put-together. and in the process of buying polish and painting my nails every week - essentially so much unintentional market research - i saw a gap in the market for a product that offered everything i wanted: trend-relevant yet wearable colors that would work on all skin tones, formulas that do more than just provide a pop of color, and beautiful packaging with a focus on sustainability. so i spent two years on development and launched habit in 2013.
what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
if you run through life, you’ll miss it.
do you have a mantra you live by?
happiness is a choice.
what’s your beauty secret? or must have beauty product?
drinking 60 ounces of water every day, sunscreen no matter what, and dry body-brushing. all of these practices are relatively cheap, and of course you can do more, but i can’t really get away with less.
go-to lipstick color?
i usually focus strong color on my cheeks, so on my lips i love using our organic multi-use color in mod squad, which is a soft rosy nude (that we’re finally getting a restock of in october!).
what color nail polish are you wearing right now?
who is your role model?
i feel like oprah is a role model for almost every woman in business? but i’ve had one picture or another of oprah as my phone screensaver for maybe 10 years now. based on what i’ve gathered from her interviews, her images remind me to always do my best, no matter how small the task, to not fear failure, and to trust in the unfolding of things. i’ve always loved dolly parton for her attitude, style, confidence and kindness. kathy kartalis, one of the only female executives at the shoe company i worked for, was a great example of success, presence and persistence in such a male-dominated field. and i probably would never have even thought i could start a business if not for the example of my mom, a successful serial entrepreneur who still guides me in business decisions to this day.
how would you describe your personal style?
some form of athleisure on most days, because i’m always aspiring to get a workout in if not actually exercising. but when i’m dressing up, i love color and texture.
what do you love most about where you live? any secret spots you love to go to?
malibu is famously beautiful and serene. being here feels like you’re not in la even though you’re just a short drive away. as for secret spots, i love walking up to the serra retreat monastery. it’s mostly uphill, so it’s a little bit of a workout, and you’re rewarded at the top with lovely landscaping, colorful terra cotta tiles (at one time manufactured by the founding family of malibu), and a gorgeous view of the water.
describe your perfect day.
a rainy day spent milling around the house, watching tv in bed, and then ordering takeout.
favorite date spot?
via veneto in santa monica.
i haven’t been yet, but lake como in italy. where i have been and would love to go back would be marbella in spain. i also love visiting idaho.
soups. most pies, savory and sweet. my boyfriend’s aglio e olio pasta.
anything with the kai fragrance is worthy of obsession, but i would say my introduction to kai, the eau de parfum, is my favorite.
morning person or night owl?
ideal way to relax/unwind?
taking a long walk, playing with my crazy dog, and also curling up in bed watching a good show
what book are you reading currently?
“the haunting of hill house” on audiobook
what’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done?
starting and scaling my business