But what if there was a community of women who could give you truthful recommendations and reviews, that wouldn’t see you trawling search engines or relying on the lady at the beauty counter who works off commission? Now, with a surge in the use of social media and mobile technology there is a way for women to discover, share, recommend and connect with a community that is also passionate about beauty.
She Said Beauty, a platform for cosmetic lovers the world over, has solved the beauty dilemma. The interactive website founded by two men (yes, men solving women’s beauty woes!) - Ben Aronsten and Kunal Damani – launched the site after noticing a huge demand from women online for their latest beauty fix. I meet Ben and Kunal in their stylish offices in the heart of Oxford Circus and naturally, my first question for the duo was; why the interest in beauty?
“We get asked that a lot” says Ben (left), who hails from Australia and has worked with a number of large corporates advising them on their digital strategy. “For us it wasn’t specifically about beauty, but an industry that had a very fragmented customer experience. People were being forced to research and discover beauty products in a way that wasn’t instinctive.
“With such an engaged and passionate global audience for beauty with so much content being made we wanted to create an amazing community that allowed people to connect with each other.”
“We’re bringing community content from regular women around the world and pairing it with professional content from beauty journalists and experts” says Kunal (right), whose background is in information systems. “In July and August this year alone we have seen over 20,000 pieces of user generated content connected into the She Said Beauty community, from articles and blogs to videos and photos.”
With the demise of print publications and a surge in online editorial and engagement, I ask Ben and Kunal what advantages She Said Beauty had over the traditional publishing model. “Our focus is on aggregation and context” says Ben. “We are bringing content together from a range of sources around the world and our members have the choice of connecting their blogs, YouTube channel and Pinterest boards. Once this content is in our community the members can tag beauty products so that when you visit one of 30,000 products pages on the website you can see great video tutorials, photos of looks created with the product as well as read articles on it.
“Content doesn’t just come from our members” says Kunal. “We also have our own online magazine and we are about to release some amazing features with some of the largest consumer magazine titles out there. We currently have Elle Beauty Director Emma Strenner contributing and she is ultimately the voice of the beauty consumer.”
Should consumer magazines be scared of platforms such as She Said Beauty and their fresh take on interacting with beauty fans? “Not at all” says Kunal. “We want to be seen as business partners rather than a threat and hopefully we can help to drive readership and subscriptions back to publishing houses. We are talking with titles in the UK and USA and in the same way our amazing global community shares their videos, photos and blogs, we want people to be able to read their favourite magazine within the same community.
“We are all about creating an even larger brand and content reach for consumer magazines.”
At just a year old, She Said Beauty is an early stage company that is actively raising capital to drive growth, with steps being implemented already to take their offering to the next level. What advice did the founders have for other emerging entrepreneurs in the digital space?
“Solve a real problem, be disruptive and stay focused” says Ben. “For every success story I hear about there are thousands that don’t make it.”
“As an entrepreneur you are inherently a calculated risk taker and the feeling of creation drives you, so learning how to deal with the highs and lows of the journey is important. Building a diverse network also helps you to gain knowledge across many areas of business and will provide great reference points for sense checking and objective points of view.”
“As an entrepreneur your thirst for knowledge is one of the key things that drive you” adds Kunal. “We are bursting with ideas on new ways to keep growing and we are currently looking into an app that will allow members to scan products in store and read reviews from other likeminded members before making that purchasing decision. We are growing and we want to be the online hub that people come to for all their beauty information.”
To find out more, see the website here
This article originally appeared in the October Issue of Entrepreneur Country Magazine