Founder and CEO of Seabenefit and Citlali Chevaili Marketing. San Francisco, USA
Citlali Chevaili took her experience and expertise of working in the skin care product industry, and produced her own line of high-quality items. In 2013, Chevaili introduced the world to Seabenefit, and she has been receiving rave reviews of her products ever since. Seabenefit’s unique line offers customers the chance to truly see a difference in the way they look and feel. By using healing benefits provided by the sea, users can experience real improvement in their skin.
Seabenefit has already seen great success as the company’s seaweed soap wrapped in a loofah is available for sale at the historic San Remo Hotel in San Francisco. But Chevaili isn’t content on just working in the skin care industry.
Chevaili also works in marketing, and she will be opening the doors to her new agency in the coming months. With a focus on social media marketing, she hopes to help ‘give a voice’ to emerging brands around the globe.
Recently, Totalprestige Magazine caught up with Chevaili to ask her about Seabenefit and her new projects.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
The very first time I designed a product. I was walking on the streets and saw a girl using it. I felt validated, because you can have a great idea, but it is reality and the public who are going to let you know if you are right or wrong.
Citlali, please tell us what makes your company unique and stand out from competitors?
I give a voice to unique brands and find out of the ordinary avenues to market their products or services. It is so hard to compete against the giants who have millions of dollars to spend on advertising. I think the internet now is letting small businesses thrive.
Were you ever influenced by other entrepreneurs?
I’ve always admired Steve Jobs, his desire to innovate, although his personal life suffered a bit. It is important to work hard, but you need to find balance between your work, personal life and health.
Instinct versus expertise: which is more important and why?
Instincts. If you rely on your instincts you will gain expertise; no one was ever born an “expert”. You have to work hard at it to become one. Experience and expertise come with age.
How do you find inspiration?
By reading everything that comes my way: books, magazines, newspapers. I love libraries. Another source of inspiration is museums, the streets, traveling and talking to people.
What is the most challenging part of your work?
Finding the time to do all the projects I want to do.
What do you have your sights set on next?
I want to focus on helping women-owned businesses, especially young women starting their own business. It is important to encourage young entrepreneurs to follow their dreams. This is what is going to create new exciting frontiers in business and new jobs.
Citlali, what drives you?
The desire to learn something new everyday. I love merging two separate worlds: business and art. When I combine them is when I feel the most accomplished.
How is a day in your life?
I try to balance my life as much as I can. The balance between business, family, leisure, and health. I usually wake up, have breakfast, work for one or two hours, and then go to a dance studio or do some exercise. Then I touch base with someone important in my life. If I’m lucky I see a friend for coffee or lunch or take the time to talk to someone on the phone. Otherwise, life gets in the way, and you lose contact with people.
Then get ready for a fun, intense day at work. In the evenings, before I cook dinner for my family, I take a half an hour to learn something new. I avoid routine like the plague.
What makes you smile?
Going to the beach, my loved ones, a good joke, and cute animals.
What scares you?
Not much scares me other than the possibility of a third world war.
What is your greatest achievement?
Having owned my own business since I was 21, and always finding a way to work for myself and employ other people.
What is your secret talent?
I am a polyglot… I’m a pretty good dancer; a secret talent?…belly dance.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
Albert Einstein, Edison and Aristotle.
Citlali, do you have any hobbies?
You can find me regularly in dance studios moving to Latin music, pilates, barre class and, lately, Soul Cycle. I am an art enthusiast. I love so many things!
I was born into a polo playing family, the Gracida family, so whenever possible, which is not often enough, I like to watch polo games.
What are you never without?
Music, my iPhone and perfume.
What advice would you give to someone starting a new business?
If you have a good idea, a passion, go for it. You don’t have to start big or wait until you have large investors. You can start small, and build your business from there. When you are a small business, it is easier to implement changes and test different variations of your core idea. Learn about the 80/20 rule. This principle was named after Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. His theory is that 80% of your income is going to be produced by 20% of your work or products. So find your 20%, because this is what is going to generate 80% of your income. The last one is there are two kinds of capital: economic capital and human capital. Do not lose sight of the human side of your business. Money will not bring you happiness, people will.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Never stop learning, and keep an eye on the new generations. What they like, what they do, because that is going to be the future. They will be the ones to make or break your business in the long run.