The IRON List - November 26, 2018

Industry: Eye of the Beholder

Africans are having a necessary discussion on defining beauty amid recent backlash against American celebrity Blac Chyna. For industry-minded individuals, the crux of the discussion is who is the market trying to reach, and whether the market is driven by their perceptions (or vice versa).

While skin lightening products has been a staple for decades in Africa and abroad, money is left on the table if businesses limit themselves to targeting this market demand. Several entrepreneurs - thankfully many who are female and of darker skin tones themselves - are successfully piloting products catered to enhancing the natural features predominately found on the continent:

Nelly Tuikong, creator of Pauline Cosmetics (Kenya)

Tara Fela Durotoye, CEO of House of Tara International (Nigeria)

Evita Joseph Asare, founder of Evita Joseph Asare Beauty (Ghana)

Dr. Theo Mothoa-Frendo, CEO of Uso/African Dermal Science

Social media influencers such as Ronke Raji are demonstrating the strong impact video blogs can have on promoting unconventional yet powerful images of black beauty, as defined by Africans.

Research: Age of Beauty

By the way, science has officially debunked the existence of “universal beauty”. No beauty standard has stood the test of time, meaning marketers are doing more harm than good to their campaigns by pitching a one-size-fits-all solution to attractiveness. Even further, the actual scientific experiments to test hypotheses on universal beauty have not been robust enough to draw firm conclusions.

Read up on the philosophical history of beauty in Africa for more tips and insights regarding the messaging that may resonate the most.

Opportunities: Beauty + Brains

Through the Harambeans accelerator, you can take your beauty (or any other business) enterprise to innovative heights. This competitive program helps African entrepreneurs with scalable, social-impact solutions attain funds and mentorship for their ventures. Apply here.

Networking: ICYMI

If you missed it, Karfi’s IRON Series Webinar opened strong, with its first session featuring Kwadwo “Kojo” Sarpong. Download your free copy of the session here - and don’t forget, subscribers enter a chance to win 1:1 consulting session with a featured expert from the series!