Jackie Mgido left Zimbabwe about 24 years ago; now that’s a long time. Always a dreamer, Jackie wanted to do the unexpected and always wanted to feel fab.
In the United States, she looked into what she loves best and found that was everything to with makeup and hair. But, you know that struggle with being African and having passions that are considered outside the norm. First, Jackie did what her parents wanted her to do then after that she decided to go with her passion because it just felt natural.
Jackie Mgido is a talented makeup artist and founder of Vault cosmetics.
Where did your passions originate?
As a little girl I was very insecure, I never thought I was cute. I grew up at a time where there was a division between whites, coloured and blacks. I grew up in a time where women bleached a lot in order for them to be noticed.
That’s where it all started; I also wanted to be noticed. I wanted them to say, “Hey, you’re so pretty!” but I realised early that bleaching cream wasn’t going to do that for me.
Your passions sprouted from wanting to be noticed as a dark skinned girl just like the light skinned girls were noticed. What are some of the things you would teach your daughter about loving herself?
I have a 9 year old daughter. I will continue to speak of kindness to her. You can teach your child confidence all you like and tell them you are who you are but if inside they don’t feel it, it’s a misdirected arrow.
When you are kind to other people and people start seeing you for your heart, they really start seeing you for your beauty. Because it will just draw in those people, your popularity goes up; you attract the people that are amazing and your confidence goes up.
What would you say are the fundamentals of maintaining a business and keeping it going after you have started?
Connecting with your customers! They are the ones that make your business, if you lose that connection with them, then you have completely lost it. Let your customers drive whatever it is that you are selling. Yes, I am the expert but my customers are the ones that buy the stuff, so if I am not giving them what they want and what they like then it’s not going to sell.If you lose connection with your customers, you have completely lost it - Jackie Mgido Click To Tweet
The fundamentals are:
- Understanding your customer
- Connecting with your customer
- Letting your customer drive your business
Where do you see Vault in 5 years in terms of sustenance of your business?
So far Vault has been a trendsetter, we started a revolution. Vault is fostering the mind-set of people trying to start their own businesses, the mind-set of people wearing things that they’ve never tried their whole entire life and most importantly the expansion into other countries and education.
Education is key! We are going to be one of those makeup lines that are an education-based and that have hubs all over the world not just in Africa. It’s going to be one of those makeup lines where the customer also feels a sense of ownership because its important for the customer to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves.
Have you felt like changing people perception and the mind-set around makeup has been easy in Africa?
I’ll speak on Zimbabwe particularly because it’s my culture, I know the people because I am part of the people. Interesting enough it is harder to show and it’s easier to show and tell. Our philosophy is, teach it, feel it then they’ll buy it.
The reason Vault has grown so much in four years is because it’s been a little easier for us to show and tell. So changing the mind-set hasn’t really been that difficult because we are getting people to understand why they are wearing makeup. When, people come in we ask them why they’re wearing makeup. “Are you wearing makeup for you?” That changes everything!
Who is the most interesting person you have put makeup on?
Charity, she’s a newspaper vendor in Msasa, Harare who stands with a bunch of men at the traffic lights and sells newspapers. Charity had no exposure so she never thought, “If I put on a suit, high heels and glasses, I could sell more”.
When we saw Charity and I told my girls we had to Vault her. Now not only does Charity have her glasses, she has her lip-gloss and she can fiercely sell her newspapers. Sometimes, she works for us at big events, handing out pamphlets to attendees. When I’m in Harare, I make time to go and see her.
Which man would you love to put makeup on?
All the ministers in Zimbabwe