So, is business still a Man’s world? In the boardroom maybe, but in the world of Beauty it still is, and I firmly believe always will be, a Woman’s world. The Beauty industry is full to the brim of successful female entrepreneurs and without a doubt, still growing. The great thing about this industry that sets us apart is that it’s no closed casket. Women in any industry are inspired by Beauty and equally have an inspiring effect on the Beauty Industry. Politicians, actresses, style icons, singers, all have an impact on Beauty. Women all over the world made a choice to follow their dreams, and this in itself is a true inspiration to us all. I’m not saying being a Man is easy, I appreciate them having a natural instinct for protection and leading the way, but I am truly inspired by Women who have acquired this very instinct alongside bearing children, dealing with menopause, looking after the home and so much more. We all have someone we look up to or are inspired by, whether it be your Mother, Sister, Friend or even Cheryl Cole. I’m not sure about you, but when I hear of female Celebrities going through a rough patch, divorce, cheating husband, serious illness etc, it reminds me they’re still human and if they can handle it with dignity and move on with their life on full display to the world then we can most certainly handle our own affairs with dignity in private and evolve into a stronger person.
There are so many influential and inspiring women within the Beauty Industry that have followed and succeeded their dreams through trials and tribulations that face the majority of Women today. The late Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics Inc is an exemplary case in point. Mary Kay Ash was honoured as leading female entrepreneur in American history and at the time of her death in 2001, Mary Kay Cosmetics had over 800,000 representatives worldwide and reaching well over 1.7 billion consultants to date. After going through a divorce with her first husband she started working for a direct sales firm but left her position after a company promotion went to a man ‘she’ had trained within the company rather than to her deserving self – highly frustrating to say the least. Mary Kay Ash then turned her hand at writing a book to assist women in business and I’m sure her experiences alone were enough to fill the pages. The book turned into a business plan for one of the most well known and respected beauty brands today; Mary Kay Cosmetics. She started the company up with her second husband and a $5000 investment, but another tragedy struck as her husband died before the store could open. Anyone who’s been through this can relate to how difficult it is to even go from day to day let alone continue with business as usual. Regardless, Mary Kay Ash still opened up her store in Dallas and her son Richard Rogers took her late husbands business place. The brand grew rapidly to what is today a worldwide known successful beauty staple. Mary Kay Cosmetics, to me, shows unity between women worldwide. Commission earnings make it easy to work from home and are compatible with motherhood, making it possible to work when you want or need to. It takes some serious focus and determination to make sales if you know that’s your only income, not forgetting that a natural knack in selling would be a huge benefit.
What I love about women like Mary Kay Ash is when they succeed at their dreams and go beyond what they imagine, they still have the time to add bits on the side, like charitable work. Their chosen or self made charity foundations nearly always reflect their own life experiences. The Mary Kay Ash Charitable Foundation was established in 1996 and is committed to two aspects; lending their support to medical scientists searching for a cure for breast cancer, uterine, cervical and ovarian cancer as well as committing to providing grants to women’s shelters and supporting community reach programmes with the aim to end the epidemic of violence against women. When purchasing cosmetics at a store it’s rare that we stop to think about what that particular brand does for women today, apart from enhancing our natural beauty. When you actually do take a minute to think about it before handing over your cash, you feel ‘good’ about spending your money on something that does far more than just beautify you.
Lately, a few inspiring women have caught my attention, and most importantly the media’s attention. I feel these women have not only accomplished their goals and dreams within the Beauty industry but are about to go much further than even they expected. The great aspect about their services or products is that in some small way they are uniting women.
Cupcake – Members club and Spa for Mums and Mums-to-be
I think this is a fantastic idea and although I don’t have Children as yet, being the eldest daughter of four, I very clearly remember my Mother’s frustration at trying to look good whilst bringing us up. Somehow, she managed to look fabulous and still does to this day, although it’s good to know that there are easier options for mum’s these days that fit into a Mothers schedule far better than what I remember. Cupcake is a modern yet comfortable and welcoming space specifically designed to suit family life. Cupcake not only have award winning Beauty rooms offering over 40 different face and body treatments, but also classes from Power Plate to Pilates; unlimited gym usage; classes and courses for the little ones; Mini Cupcake Club Crèche welcoming children from 4 Weeks to 5 Years; a ball pool play room and a fantastic Café to meet up with friends or get a nutritional hassle-free bite to eat. If that wasn’t enough already, they offer some fabulous face and body treatments for the Dad’s, all this whilst the little ones are playing in the room next door. Cupcake also offers antenatal classes and talks which are great considering you could be going to the same place after birth.
What I love about this place is that the Founder Karen Hastings, really didn’t leave any stone unturned. Cupcake offers activities for the little ones ranging from baby massage, Budha Babies, Tin Pan Annie music making classes, Little Chef’s cooking classes and Baby Picasso! Older children can catch up on homework in the quiet spot and hop into the play room for some WII, games or movies once finished. Gosh, the list really does go on for this little gem! I haven’t even covered everything Cupcake offers so it’s definitely worth a visit if you’re a mum or mum-to-be as you’re sure to meet like-minded people here. There are 3 locations in the UK; Parsons Green, Putney and Wandsworth. Be sure to visit their website www.cupcakemum.com for more information.
The founder of Cupcake; Karen Hastings graduated in Washington DC and followed with an MBA in London. After working in Minnesota, Karen joined American Express as a Consultant in Customer Relationship Management and rapidly worked her way up to Marketing Director. Karen created the unique concept of Cupcake after observing a gap in the market whilst most of her friends where starting families. A place where Mothers and people with children could go to socialise, get pampered and feel part of a community. When I asked Karen how she feels her business creates Unity between Women, she replied ‘the very essence of Cupcake itself is the fact that we build a community of mums. Our main principles are about community, wellness and indulgence. Research from various sites, for example on Netmums, has shown that around 60% of mums in the UK want more or better friends – that is what we try to provide at Cupcake. Essentially, a community within a community. It is a place where like-minded mums can come and share their ideas – for example, our Mumpreneurs club for entrepreneurs that are mums. And we support more active mums, for example if they wanted to run a marathon, they might join our running club. At cupcake, we want women to share the passions that they have, in addition to being mothers.
Karen Hastings, Founder and CEO of Cupcake.
Karen raised £1.2m and project managed the site build from scratch to the haven it is today. In the next 5 years, Karen plans to open 10 more clubs showing that your dreams certainly don’t have to end once you’ve reached your goal. Women in general have had a big hand in inspiring Karen’s Cupcake venture, ‘Over the years, I have had several women mentors and advisors and they initially helped me develop the concept. Almost all of our investors are women who help fund the actual site. The support that I’ve gotten from these women has been invaluable from both the guidance and mentoring side, as well as all of their generous investments’ Says Karen.
There are countless Women, role models, style icons, beauty ambassadors etc that have defied the stereo type and fulfilled their dreams and aspirations to be a whole lot more than just a Woman. And these very women were inspired by someone. In my opinion, unity in Women has been around a lot longer than we ever knew, suppressed by modern day politics. I truly believe it’s a case of uncovering it rather than creating it.
Written by Nina Ubhi