This Women’s History Month, we’re putting a well-deserved spotlight on female founders in the fashion, beauty, and lifestyle space. Next up, entrepreneur Mary Ann Taylor, who’s the product and travel obsessive behind game-changing site, Caileur. The DTC company allows people shop for TSA-approved minis of their favorite luxury buys (think: everything from Sisley to Supergoop for him and her). The result? Your tried-and-true routine is still a breeze on the go—whether you’re just nipping to the gym or jetting off to a far flung destination. Read on to hear her story—and to gain some insider tips on how to arrive at your destination in style!
What inspired you to create Caileur?
I wanted to create a website that gave people access to their favorite luxury brands in mini/travel size. I always had a hard time finding my favorite brands in travel size, and I didn’t like having to go to five different salons to grab them. We also created the site so people could discover new brands, and try them out before purchasing the full size.
Before you founded Caileur, what industry were you in?
My background has always been in e-commerce. I moved to New York City after I was hired at a creative agency called Code and Theory, [where] I learned a lot about brand building and website development. Then I moved to an e-commerce company and my combined passion of e-commerce and brand development gave me the confidence to start my own company. I’m so grateful for the professional experience I had, and the amazing people I got to learn from.
Where does Caileur’s name come from?
The name is derived from the word ‘tailor’—I wanted a unique name, and Caileur is pronounced the same as ‘tailor.’ We are a company that allows you to shop different skin and hair care brands. You can go on the site and mix and match from a variety of products to create a mini set tailored to your your needs.
Caileur products focus on travel, which slowed down considerably due to the pandemic. How did Caileur respond to this global event?
I have really always defined travel as being on-the-go and that included going to my visit my parents in the same city, taking a weekend trip, or traveling to the gym or my office; so that aspect of travel was not as impacted by the pandemic. Pre-COVID, Caileur was the answer to never checking a bag on a flight and never being without my favorite brands that I loved in my everyday routine. Obviously, we have been impacted by the reduction in travel, but during the pandemic we quickly pivoted to service clients by offering a way for them to try products when they were faced with the no tester policies that were put in place at stores during the beginning of the pandemic. While customers were not comfortable—or not able, in some cases—to go into stores for consultations, they could order trial size products from Caileur before making an investment in a full size product at full price.
Do you have any anecdotes about favorite memories or experiences from when Caileur was coming together?
I can’t tell you the number of my friends that have had their products confiscated at TSA! When you invest significant money on a product, the worst thing is when you accidentally forget TSA regulations and it has to been thrown in the trash bin. I wanted to fix that, or make it less stressful for people to travel with expensive products. One of my friends had $400 worth of Kerastase full size hair products that her mom got her for Christmas confiscated because she forgot that full size products don’t meet carry-on airport regulations.
You have so many established brands in Caileur’s roster, from Oribe to Joanna Vargas. What goes into selecting a brand or product for your inventory?
When curating our offering we look to established brands like Sisley and Oribe, men’s grooming brands, and emerging brands such as Moon Juice, Virtue Labs, and Loops. We are clearly identifying brands who have a strong offering of deluxe size sampling or discovery sets. We are excited about many of the conversations that we have had in 2020 with amazing brands that we will be adding to our curation in 2021.
How do you choose which products go together for Caileur’s travel kits?
When we review the curation for Caileur travel kits we are thinking about how we can make our customers lives easier. Oftentimes they want to try a full skincare or hair care regime, and so we look to offer kits that provide that. And other times they are interested in a kit that allows them to try an assortment of our best sellers or products that cross multiple categories. Caileur kits are a great gift for the holidays, bridal parties, and also great for men.
Let’s talk travel! Where are your favorite places for a getaway? During ‘normal’ times at least…
I love big cities. Hong Kong is one of my favorite cities to visit: there is so much to do and I love the culture of the city. I went to Hong Kong when I was 22-years-old, for a little over a month for a college study abroad class. I packed seven suitcases, and I think the experience changed me. It was crazy to have seven suitcases for only one month, but I was so unsure of what to bring so I obviously overpacked! I loved having all kinds of things with me on the trip, but it was so stressful carrying seven suitcases. I’ve done a complete 180 and I am now the most minimalist packer. My bag check fees were over $200 both ways and I haven’t checked nearly one bag since that Hong Kong trip! After that experience, I’ve always planned exactly what to pack and I’m focused on making travel as simple as possible.
What are the types of products everyone should pack with them on a trip?
At Caileur, we believe that everyone should always practice self-care, regardless of whether they are at home or on the go. They should never sacrifice their skincare regime or preferred hair care products. Our customer invests so much time and money in taking care of their body, their face, and their hair, so they want to use those same products they are using at home when they are on the go—even if it is just for the day. With Caileur, it is easy to always have everything you need already in your bag, and it takes up very little space!
What are some products that you cannot live without when traveling, and why?
I always like to keep my routine when on the go. I definitely bring my own shampoo and conditioner, because oftentimes the products at the hotel or travel destination don’t always work with my hair type. I have long wavy hair, so I need a hydrating conditioner to keep my hair from breaking. I have friends that have curly hair, color treated hair, straight hair, etc., and we offer shampoos and conditioners for all those hair types on Caileur. I also like to bring my own face moisturizer and eye cream, those are my two favorite products to take care of my face. When I’m traveling, I feel more relaxed and confident when I keep my routine.
Have you discovered any amazing brands this year you can let us in on?
One of the brands I’ve discovered this year that I really like is Indie Lee. It’s a great, clean skincare line, and it’s also very effective. Indie Lee was launched in 2013, and the line is remarkable. I like to use clean brands with simple ingredients for my face and body.
What are your goals for Caileur in the next year?
Our goals are to continue to build awareness of Caileur and to be a destination for mini and travel sized products. We are always working to add more brands, give people access to more products, and make bringing your routine with you for travel as simple as possible.