An Interview with our Co-Founder, Zain Pirani
At No, Thank You, transparency and inclusivity aren’t just core pillars of our brand DNA, they’re ways of life for our team. This week, we invite you to get to know one of our co-founders, Zain Pirani, a little bit better!
Tell us a little bit about your background.
Zain: Hey Everyone! I’m Zain Pirani and I was born and raised in Pakistan before moving to the U.S. when I was 15 years old. NTY’s other co-founder Graham (Smith) and I both worked in Finance together for over 10 years, but ended up leaving that industry. No matter how hard or how smart I worked, I always felt that I constantly needed to prove myself. As a minority female, I always needed to prove myself. I always felt like an outsider to my bone and it gave me a complex about having a seat at the table. I started developing a chip on my shoulder which was not a good mental space to be in. If a white male was in my shoes had sacrificed what I had and been as successful as I was in my job, he would've been given the keys to the kingdom. Instead it gave me an imposter syndrome when I deserved being at the table just as much and had earned every inch of that seat! For me the glass is always half full still and I am an optimist to my core, despite the challenges. I will be the first to tell you to take what I can out of that experience! I worked with really intelligent and talented folks and I learned how to work hard and fast, something that has totally helped me these days as a co-founder of a startup brand.
What inspired you to start a cosmetics line?
Zain: It was really the efficacy of CBD in our Cream for Relief that turned me onto this great ingredient. Its anti- inflammatory properties worked INSTANTLY and not just on general aches and pains. We got curious about how else we could use this ingredient in other topical products, and so started our journey to build this brand - with CBD at the heart of our formulations. It was extremely frustrating when we started looking around this industry because one product would work great and then another wouldn’t work at all. There was so much inconsistency and no real standard. When it worked and did what it was supposed to, it was incredible.
Part of me was furious how folks can easily misrepresent the ingredient, or cut corners because it was trendy to leverage CBD in skin and bodycare, but the injustice of not adding the proper amount or proper quality of it, really blew my mind - and not just for CBD, but for any ingredient. Two years ago there were maybe two or three companies that were even a known brand in this space and it became our goal to help frustrated clients like myself become more educated without compromising quality and efficacy.
Why the CBD space?
Zain: Like I mentioned, there’s still so much miseducation out there on CBD. There is a lot to learn, uncover and create; a lot of white space in this category which makes it quite exciting. CBD is only ONE of the 100+ cannabinoids you find in the plant. Crazy, right?
Why the name “No, Thank You”?
Zain: Life is too short to accept things in life that no longer serve us. From the ingredients in our products to the beauty standards and adverts being thrown at us constantly. We, personally and as a brand, take a stand to say “no, thank you”. It was my personal therapy after working in corporate America. We are programmed to say yes all the time, so we don’t miss the opportunity we were supposed to land and it is honestly depleting.
We live in a world now, that has been transformed after COVID, we are all saying no-thank you to something these days. COVID was the universe’s way of sending us home and helping us realize that we need to declutter and minimize in many aspects of our lives. This is our way of decluttering the beauty business, using what is needed and saying no-thank you to the rest!
What are some of the common skincare myths you’re looking to debunk?
Zain: Well for one, not all synthetic ingredients are bad. Some ingredients are actually more sustainable and less harmful for the environment if they are created in a lab. It’s important to believe in science and research, rather than preconceived notions about CBD - like that it gets you high! CBD works locally where applied as a calming agent, for your skin, for your mind, your body...it actually partners with your body’s endocannabinoid system and pain receptors to provide fast-acting relief. Everyone has an endocannabinoid system and CBD helps balance it with consistent use.
What was the first product you created for the line?
Zain: relief cream- we knocked it out of the park. The Oil for All Day helped me get rid of the dark spots I have had on my face for some time.
Favorite products in the line?
Zain: For sure our Cream for Relief. As I am getting older, my body is falling apart and I am using this product daily for any and all aches and pain. In the last two months, I have personally gone through some physical pain and this product has been a life saver for me. I couldn’t be more excited for our customers to use this and become fans. I also love our Balm for Lips and I keep them handy everywhere, in my car, in my purse, in my office and near my bed… it has almost become my adult-equivalent of a comfort blanket. Lip balm on, world here I come!
Where do you see the brand going in the future?
Zain: The basics of our brand values (quality, inclusivity, empowerment & transparency) is that whatever we come up with next, it has to work at the core of each product. So we are considering products that might not even have CBD in it if it’s not needed. We want to be a brand that you can trust. What I will say though, is we’re definitely looking into something with SPF… that is an essential part of your skincare routine. We have been testing CBD tinctures, but I have yet to be personally convinced that it’s working without THC.
How does self-care and gratitude play a role in your personal & professional lives?
Zain: Positive or negative, every experience has taken me to the place I need to be right now. I am truly grateful for those who have taught me lessons along the way. Whether they’ve been patient or frustrated with me, I have learned from both equally. I am an immigrant girl from Pakistan. Do you know the impossible task in front of me to come to this country, to feel confident that I could compete and go toe to toe with anyone? Every single day I am grateful for the life I have. I take both in strides, the yes and no. I have so much more appreciation for the duality of life and it’s options. I am acutely aware of the unfair circumstances women in my shoes face every day in Pakistan, even in the U.S. The odds are stacked against me but it sure as hell not going to stop me!
Lastly, for the fun of it, share a funny story from when you were first building the brand.
Zain: I went to bed with the sleep mask on and and forgot to take it off and took my dog for a walk the next morning. I literally had someone turn their car around, pulled over and asked me out on a date. He said because my face was just glowing and it was a sign from the universe that he needed to ask me out. I approved the formula right away!!
Want to learn more about us and why CBD is an absolute must-have in your daily beauty routine? Check out our story and the science behind the brand now, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @NTY.co!