The profession, previously seen as shallow and lightweight, is now multidimensional - and growing entrepreneurs and millionaires.
In May, hot on the heels of a flying visit to New York - to get inspiration from BeautyCon, a mammoth beauty festival on the cutting-edge of international beauty, products and trends - Durban-based Yasmin Kathoria and Johannesburg-based Kanchana Moodliar launched @BeautyRevolution_za.
The focus? Inclusiveness. Diversity. Reshaping beauty standards to include the previously excluded. A community of beauty creatives - product users and people in the industry - who push the envelope and defy the norms.
“Beauty has been Caucasian-specific for a long time. But the human face of beauty encompasses the magic in everyone of every race, age, ethnicity, size, shape, sexual orientation,” said Moodliar.
“Part of our purpose is to create a growth launch-pad for beauty entrepreneurs, bloggers, YouTube stars, make-up schools, make-up artists and others working in the many different beauty niches,” said Kathoria.
Kathoria and Moodliar are the South Africa directors of Innate Motion, the global strategy consultancy that steered Unilever and Coke, among other big-name brands, to reframe business challenges as human challenges and to make purpose and social impact the driver of growth and profit.
As has become the norm, they launched @BeautyRevolution_za on social media: Instagram and Facebook. Their website followed last week.
The movement will transition from “url to irl”- “in real life”- with a beauty festival at the Sandton Convention Centre next April 6 and 7. Durban-based events guru Evan Roberts will produce the event.
“Unemployment is one of the biggest problems South Africa faces,” said Kathoria, who points out the beauty industry is now creating scads of jobs - and growing numbers of millionaires, many of whom start off on social media.
She mentioned Swiitch Beauty’s Rabia Ghoor, who started her range in her bedroom and online and had “made it” by age 18.
Singer Rihanna launched her instantly successful Fenty Beauty range on Instagram “successful because she focused on diversity and in her foundation range accounted for every shade from albino to black Nigerian”, said Moodliar, who uses the foundation.
“It’s the first I’ve found that matched my skin tones without having to blend different colours.”
Now, beauty has switched to embrace all age, any (or no) gender, all ethnic groups, any shape and size.
“In South Africa there are still many under-served groups,” Moodliar highlighted. They hope their Beauty Revolution will redress this.
The spin-offs? Among other things, self-acceptance; self-appreciation; self-confidence. And more entrepreneurs.
One needs only look at the number of nail salons and hair extension pros, barber shops, hairdressing businesses, spas and other allied beauty businesses to see the potential for growth. They intend to have representatives of all these players as online fans and at their festival.
“Make-up is recession-proof and ‘make-up artist’ is now as legitimate a profession as doctor or lawyer,” said Kathoria.
The Sandton conference will include panels, mentors and celebrities speaking about their success, giving guidance and having fun while inspiring and encouraging new potential beauty entrepreneurs.
Follow Kathoria on Instagram @yasminkathoria and Moodliar @kanchanamoodliar