The story of the brand begins with the story of Evita Joseph Asare, an erstwhile mechanical engineer whose one visit to Paris changed the course of her life. Starting from an engineering class of only 4 women in a class size of 126, Evita has channeled her passion for designing and building machinery to designing and producing makeup products to enhance the modern woman.
SLA contributor, Emma Kwenu Smith, caught up with the CEO of EJ Makeup, Evita Joseph Asare, to share her business journey and some of the significant milestones all SLAyers can learn from.
Mixing Mechanical Engineering and Makeup – how did the journey begin?
As an active member of Women in Engineering (WINE), I got the opportunity to attend a 6 weeks course in France. There, I got indoctrinated into the world of beauty and makeup. My first experience with makeup was in a MAC Store where I was told I needed a concealer.
Upon arrival to Ghana, I jokingly told all my colleagues in the office they needed concealers too. That trip gave me access to products and since, I have always been complimented on how I wear my makeup. Gradually, it dawned on me that this was a good opportunity to challenge myself to create a sustainable business in the beauty industry.
I got some books from Bobbi Brown and Kevin Aucoin and I enrolled in a beauty school during my maternity leave. Right after, EJ Makeup was born.
Additionally, what would you say is the innovative idea behind Evita Joseph Makeup?
Our vision is to provide world-class beauty and makeup product that flatters the women of color, boosting their confidence to stand up and stand out.
I started a blog to share my looks, products review and others. Through my blog, I was able to establish trust among my readers. Many people asked for product recommendation and these products were difficult to find locally, so I started my online beauty store – EJ Beauty Store.
We focus on products that flatter skin tones and yet, are basic to work with. Most of the products are made for professionals, so we make sure that our products are easily available, are of good quality and also are competitively priced.In 2014 and in 2016, we won the Best Beauty Retail Store in Ghana- Evita Joseph Asare Click To Tweet
How has your engineering background played a part in managing the Evita Joseph business?
Engineering has dared me to be stronger– it gave me the confidence to try new things outside my scope. Looking at our past, engineering was not the forte of women. Gradually, we are bridging that disparity, but for a woman like me who found herself then in a male dominated industry, I was inspired and challenged to do more. And that has not changed.
Through engineering, I have learnt to take up the daunting duties and I’m able to contextualize the tools of my profession. From conceptual product development stages to the production stage, I now understand the process of building and re-engineering concepts to meet customer needs.
What skills do you draw from your background as useful in managing the EJ business?
Critical thinking and analysis are the bedrock of every engineer. Since starting EJ Makeup, it has proved to be a very relevant skill.
Also, contrary to popular opinion, engineers are also tasked with marketing their design ideas to stakeholders. With this background, my marketing, communication and networking skills have been honed since I have to convince others that EJ Store is the go-to place for all your makeup needs.
How has the makeup space transformed over the years and what is the future of makeup and the beauty industry in Ghana and also globally?
Globally, makeup is booming and Ghana is no exception. Every day, I wake up to a new social media page for a makeup artist in Ghana. The industry is growing and getting more competitive. MUAs of today are highly educated individuals -some having BSc and Masters degrees. The industry is no more for the less educated as it used to be.
The future of makeup in Ghana is both promising and threatening. It provides a market for beauty brands like Evita Joseph who retail original local brands globally and strategically research, design and manufacture suitable products.
Conversely, the challenge that we face is in controlling the influx of fake beauty products on the market aimed at taking advantage of vulnerable and unsuspecting users.
The beauty industry is thriving, and many are being enticed to jump in and make money off this trend. What pointers will you give anyone who also wants to enter the industry?
Well, start by having a mission and vision– it gives you a direction. Also, too many of us jump into a business without doing due diligence, so do your market research and do it well.
This can be as simple as knowing your targeted clients or as complicated as understanding the very ingredients that are not suitable for specific skin types- the last thing you would want on your hands is using ingredients that are damaging to people’s faces. Remember to always leave room for feedback, this is how you will grow.Finally, do not worry about starting small- good things take time- Evita Joseph Asare Click To Tweet
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