Women With GRITT: Iman Davamoni Of Purely Polished On Revolutionising The Mobile Beauty Industry, Investment And The Book That Sparked The Idea For Her Business

by Danielle Gay

“Finding investment really proved to me that my plan for Purely Polished wasn’t just a siloed vision, and that there were other people who believed in the company as much as I did. It was a great realisation for me.”

Welcome to Women with GRITT: a series where we interview the resilient, hardworking women who have kicked in the glass ceiling and inspire us to do the same.

Our interview with Iman Davamoni, the founder of mobile beauty service Purely Polished, took place before the lockdowns across most of Australia’s east coast hit. As the founder of a next-generation mobile beauty brand, whose therapists bring manicures, pedicures, massages and more to clients at home, her brand was forced to temporarily close.

“This lockdown has most definitely felt heavier,” Davamoni later told me via email. “It’s been over a year and a half since the first one in and it’s getting harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There has been more focus on other industries such as hospitality and they’ve entirely neglected to address the severe short-term and long-term impact on the beauty industry.”

The announcement that New South Wales would begin to reopen on 11 October, 2021,
has given her team “a burst of energy and enthusiasm.”

Davamoni, who came up with the idea for Purely Polished while on maternity leave, wanted to revolutionise the mobile beauty industry. “I realised that there was a big gap in the market that had no real solution to meet the challenges I faced with a baby in tow. I tried searching for a mobile alternative but soon realised that the industry was fragmented and ripe for innovation.”

“The real deep importance of Purely Polished grew and grew overtime. From what was once just an alternative solution for new mothers juggling life’s challenges, to the deeper roots of such key concepts around self, time, innovation and community empowerment.”

In this interview, Davamoni speaks to Gritty Pretty about bootstrapping a business, getting investors, and the book that helped her start it all. 

Let’s learn more about you! Where did you grow up and what are some of your fondest childhood memories that you think have shaped you into the woman you are today?

I spent the first 7 years of my life in Singapore, which was an amazing place to spend my childhood. The country is such a melting pot of cultures, full of life and creativity. My family and I were expatriates and although we wanted to settle down in Singapore it was just too  hard to do, which is why my dad decided to find a new home—Australia.

My mum has a mix of Middle Eastern backgrounds (Syrian/Yemini/Egyptian/Turkish) but born and brought up in Sri Lanka (a long but very interesting story), and my dad was from Pakistan. With that being said, you can only imagine what my childhood experiences consisted of… a variety of cuisines and meals everyday of the week, catching tadpoles, travelling across Asia and visiting family in all sorts of countries like Sri Lanka. The first 7 years of my life really shaped me in more ways than I can ever comprehend.

Where do you think you inherited your drive and passion from?

Growing up, my father was at the core of all of my learnings and experiences with the real world. When in Singapore, I would go to work with my dad during school holidays, where he ran his own business (and several many more), in his own office, with a beautiful and large team. I remember spending my day playing with the photocopier, writing out receipts, chatting to his team and listening to my dad make such interesting calls learning and talking about business and how one day, we would start one together. 

 

What was your first ever job? And how did that job shape you in your professional life

My first real job was at a 5-star hotel in Brisbane. I was studying hospitality management and landed a role as a Guest Services Representative at the Conrad Hotel. I was 19 and it was the perfect job. The skills I learnt from working in the role gave me a solid grounding in customer service and I guess that’s why I’m always growing Purely Polished with a customer-centric approach throughout all our services and experiences. I stayed in the role for about 3 years and then went to work AND LIVE  in Japan.. (and that story is also for another day!).

In terms of funding, how did you get your business off the ground?

When I stumbled upon the idea of Purely Polished, I was in the middle of reading a book called The Lean Start-up by Eric Reis. The general concept of the book is to start a business by spending the least amount of time and capital, whilst testing the idea. I followed the methodology and only spent $250 to build my MVP and launch the concept of Purely Polished.

From there, what were your next practical moves to turn your dream into a reality?

I  managed to continue to bootstrap the business for a few years. The investor landscape is quite interesting and took me some time to navigate but throughout my journey, I’ve  met such amazing people, building life rich relationships, where two of them actually even became investors of Purely Polished in December 2020. 

Finding investment really proved to me that my plans  for Purely Polished  wasn’t just a siloed vision, and that there were other people who believed in the company as much as I did. It was a great realisation for me and has definitely helped us immensely, particularly with growing the team, building up our brand and mission, advancing the industry with such convenient technological models, and getting us closer to our goals.

We just celebrated our 5th year birthday and I am extremely excited to launch all that we have planned over the next few years… and we won’t be quiet about it either.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting out in business?

Challenges on mental health and the sacrifices you need to make. You’re in for the long-haul—but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received? And how did you incorporate it into your life?

When I first came up with the idea to launch Purely Polished, I spoke to someone who advised me to ‘just launch it, don’t waste time making the business perfect’ because every chance you don’t take is a 100% miss. If the company’s purpose is genuine with love, and listens to the needs and missing gaps within the community, it’s all up to the people to give back a response.

If you could only pick five beauty products to use for the rest of your life, what would they be?

My black eyeliner, I’ve worn eyeliner since I was a teenager. It reminds me of my Syrian grandmother applying Kohl everyday to accentuate her beautiful almond shaped eyes. I’m not a fan of thick foundation—tinted moisturiser gives a nice coverage without feeling too caked on. I’m currently using Skin Juice Tinted Moisturiser. I stopped using perfume when I fell pregnant with my daughter and started to use oils instead. I stumbled upon Ayu perfume oils and haven’t turned back! Sage and Smokey Rose are divine. For pink rosy cheeks I use Westman Atelier in Couchette and for a more natural bronzed look I use Kosas in Topic Equinox. Lastly, almond oil—I used this throughout both pregnancies and have continued to use this as a body moisturiser after showers.

What is the biggest piece of beauty advice you would like to pass on to women who look up to you?

My biggest piece of beauty advice is to remember that your uniqueness is true beauty in its raw form where with such practices like self-care, skincare routines and body awareness, and through the use of such services like Purely Polished—they can then be used to empower that essence and become a true accessory to enhance your beauty, not control. Don’t let the beauty industry take over your mind and tell you who and what you need to look like.

 

Let’s learn more about you! Where did you grow up and what are some of your fondest childhood memories that you think have shaped you into the woman you are today?

I spent the first 7 years of my life in Singapore, which was an amazing place to spend my childhood. The country is such a melting pot of cultures, full of life and creativity. My family and I were expatriates and although we wanted to settle down in Singapore it was just too  hard to do, which is why my dad decided to find a new home—Australia.

My mum has a mix of Middle Eastern backgrounds (Syrian/Yemini/Egyptian/Turkish) but born and brought up in Sri Lanka (a long but very interesting story), and my dad was from Pakistan. With that being said, you can only imagine what my childhood experiences consisted of… a variety of cuisines and meals everyday of the week, catching tadpoles, travelling across Asia and visiting family in all sorts of countries like Sri Lanka. The first 7 years of my life really shaped me in more ways than I can ever comprehend.

Where do you think you inherited your drive and passion from?

Growing up, my father was at the core of all of my learnings and experiences with the real world. When in Singapore, I would go to work with my dad during school holidays, where he ran his own business (and several many more), in his own office, with a beautiful and large team. I remember spending my day playing with the photocopier, writing out receipts, chatting to his team and listening to my dad make such interesting calls learning and talking about business and how one day, we would start one together. 

 

What was your first ever job? And how did that job shape you in your professional life

My first real job was at a 5-star hotel in Brisbane. I was studying hospitality management and landed a role as a Guest Services Representative at the Conrad Hotel. I was 19 and it was the perfect job. The skills I learnt from working in the role gave me a solid grounding in customer service and I guess that’s why I’m always growing Purely Polished with a customer-centric approach throughout all our services and experiences. I stayed in the role for about 3 years and then went to work AND LIVE  in Japan.. (and that story is also for another day!).

In terms of funding, how did you get your business off the ground?

When I stumbled upon the idea of Purely Polished, I was in the middle of reading a book called The Lean Start-up by Eric Reis. The general concept of the book is to start a business by spending the least amount of time and capital, whilst testing the idea. I followed the methodology and only spent $250 to build my MVP and launch the concept of Purely Polished.

From there, what were your next practical moves to turn your dream into a reality?

I  managed to continue to bootstrap the business for a few years. The investor landscape is quite interesting and took me some time to navigate but throughout my journey, I’ve  met such amazing people, building life rich relationships, where two of them actually even became investors of Purely Polished in December 2020. 

Finding investment really proved to me that my plans  for Purely Polished  wasn’t just a siloed vision, and that there were other people who believed in the company as much as I did. It was a great realisation for me and has definitely helped us immensely, particularly with growing the team, building up our brand and mission, advancing the industry with such convenient technological models, and getting us closer to our goals.

We just celebrated our 5th year birthday and I am extremely excited to launch all that we have planned over the next few years… and we won’t be quiet about it either.

Is there anything you wish you’d known before starting out in business?

Challenges on mental health and the sacrifices you need to make. You’re in for the long-haul—but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

What is the greatest piece of advice you’ve ever received? And how did you incorporate it into your life?

When I first came up with the idea to launch Purely Polished, I spoke to someone who advised me to ‘just launch it, don’t waste time making the business perfect’ because every chance you don’t take is a 100% miss. If the company’s purpose is genuine with love, and listens to the needs and missing gaps within the community, it’s all up to the people to give back a response.

If you could only pick five beauty products to use for the rest of your life, what would they be?

My black eyeliner, I’ve worn eyeliner since I was a teenager. It reminds me of my Syrian grandmother applying Kohl everyday to accentuate her beautiful almond shaped eyes. I’m not a fan of thick foundation—tinted moisturiser gives a nice coverage without feeling too caked on. I’m currently using Skin Juice Tinted Moisturiser. I stopped using perfume when I fell pregnant with my daughter and started to use oils instead. I stumbled upon Ayu perfume oils and haven’t turned back! Sage and Smokey Rose are divine. For pink rosy cheeks I use Westman Atelier in Couchette and for a more natural bronzed look I use Kosas in Topic Equinox. Lastly, almond oil—I used this throughout both pregnancies and have continued to use this as a body moisturiser after showers.

What is the biggest piece of beauty advice you would like to pass on to women who look up to you?

My biggest piece of beauty advice is to remember that your uniqueness is true beauty in its raw form where with such practices like self-care, skincare routines and body awareness, and through the use of such services like Purely Polished—they can then be used to empower that essence and become a true accessory to enhance your beauty, not control. Don’t let the beauty industry take over your mind and tell you who and what you need to look like.

 

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