We want this series to inspire you to use social media to grow every ambition and dream you have for your business and we intend to do it by talking to women all over the globe who have embraced various digital platforms and are thriving.
Did you intentionally set out to be the face of Immortelle Beauty?
Absolutely not! In the beginning, everybody who bought the product bought it because they were a friend or a family member or they were doing me a favor it felt like. So I really insisted on kind of divorcing my personal image from the brand image because I wanted the products to stand on their own and I wanted customers to recognize that they were great products on their own NOT to buy them because they associated them with me. And that turned out to be an intense struggle. So I softened my approach a little bit and decided to start including pictures of myself in my social media feed and we saw how much better they performed than product pictures. And then I started talking directly to customers through Instagram Story in front of the camera as opposed to voiceovers and since then it’s literally been night and day with sales. So it was something I resisted at first and now I look back on that and I wish I could go back and tell myself: “You don’t even know what you were talking about!’
"I softened my approach a little bit and decided to start including pictures of myself in my social media feed and we saw how much better they performed than product pictures."
Sometimes it is the voices you don't listen to that go from a whisper to a scream until you are forced to listen. Are you hoping to grow into a full-scale wellness brand or are you sticking to the ever exciting and expanding beauty and skincare industry?
Definitely sticking to beauty but I want to expand into different areas of beauty particularly skincare and colour cosmetics. I’m not yet a general wellness lifestyle customer. I can barely commit to the gym for a full year. So it would feel disingenuous to me to start selling products that aren’t true to my lifestyle. But beauty runs through every thread of my day in such a variety of ways and I really want to have a line that caters to the customer like me who LOVES all different types of beauty products and services.
We adore your catchphrase “A Little Local Luxury”, does that feed into how you choose your collaborations?
Well, the local part is easy. The luxury part can be tough when it comes to collaborations. As I get more exposed within the local market a variety of different businesses contact me to work with me on events or for me to provide product for them and in this market it’s really hard to say that: “My brand doesn’t fit with yours” because it’s such a small market and you don’t want others to think that you think you’re better than them. We also don’t have a huge number of other brands that openly position themselves within the luxury space. So right now I go with my gut a lot when it comes to collaborations. What other brands feel good to me or true to me? And then I try to figure out how to add that element of luxury to the actual project or collaboration if needed.
"What I find within the Immortelle community is that there’s a high level of engagement with people through direct messaging..."
Describe your work ethos?
My work ethos is the same as my personal ethos which is based on a foundation of integrity. Everything I say about the brand has to be true. Everything we promise has to actually happen. Everything I say I will do in my business operations, I try to do. I remember hearing a foreign fashion executive here say one time “Win at home before you expand outwards” and I think I can do that by my product reputation being as clear as possible and building an unshakeable trust within my customers and that comes from my high standards of integrity.
You reached two thousand followers a couple of months ago on IG. How would you describe Immortelle Beauty’s community?
Immortelle’s community is mainly women who are passionate about beauty and #islandlife, love engaging in new experiences, but are also interested and excited by local products, and by brands that hold themselves up to really high standards. The community also contains a large number of beauty practitioners who are always on the lookout for the next great products to give their own clients an elevated experience. What I find within the Immortelle community is that there’s a high level of engagement with people through direct messaging so that they can ask questions freely without judgment, because there’s still a little self consciousness about engaging openly but we’re hoping to change that!
You've also significantly changed the way you embrace social media. What role did digital play in your job description and how do you describe your social media style?
When I started digital it didn’t have any place in my job description as CEO. We were much more sales driven and I was focused on getting the product into retail stores. The model has shifted in the last two years where digital is now our strongest mode of advertising and marketing and we are hoping soon a really powerful channel for sales for us. However as a one-woman business all of the tasks of strategizing, conceptualizing and creating content fall on me. Thankfully I am now able to delegate out some of these tasks to content creators and my social media manager who all work on contract with me but much of it still comes from my head. My social media style is very casual. When dealing with beauty you never want to seem like you’re preaching or lecturing, you always want to seem like you’re making a suggestion as a best friend. So the style on both my Immortelle Beauty pages as well as my personal pages is very similar like, “Hey sis, i just learned this great beauty tip and I just HAVE to share it with you too!”
"I’m hoping in 2019 I can sufficiently free up enough of my time where I’m planning weeks in advance (going to need a 2019 Social Media Planner!!)"
You can count on it. Care to tell us how you build out your content?
I wish I was more organized about this now but I’m not. I’m still super last minute with content planning and I’m currently focused only on a couple of channels. So a promotion will be two weeks away and I’ll anxiously rally the troops like “WE NEED POSTS TO PROMOTE THIS THING NOW!”. i’m hoping in 2019 I can sufficiently free up enough of my time where I’m planning weeks in advance (going to need a 2019 Social Media Planner!!) and creating native content for each platform, but as of now it’s not happening yet.
You are known for your amazing skin, what do you keep on the bathroom sink?
How much time do you have. Right now there are no less than 28 products on the sink alone and that doesn’t count whats on top my chest of drawers and on my bedside table. People are ALWAYS asking me what I use on my face and I think they expect a cute concise answer, maybe a regime of three to five products and I always have to burst their bubble saying I put a RIDICULOUS amount of things on my face and I would never ever suggest you do the same. My skin is the opposite of sensitive so I can pile things on there, test a variety of textures and use multiple different active ingredients and it rarely reacts but I’m aware that’s not the case with most people. My current products I swear by are Ole Henriksen – Truth Serum (a lightweight Vitamin C Serum),Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic (a glycolic acid toner), Glamglow Glowstarter moisturizer all for the face and of course Immortelle Beauty Body Butter for the body.
You're such a beauty guru, what impact are you trying to create with your line?
It bothers me that we don’t have a culture of beauty in the Caribbean the same way that countries like Korea or Morocco do. We are known to have devastatingly beautiful women but many of those women grow up not being taught about skincare and how to maintain that beauty in the best way possible. I want to establish our own cultural understanding of beauty, i-Beauty if you will (hopefully Apple won’t sue me), as something we can be proud of and I would want Immortelle Beauty to be the bastion and symbol of this type of beauty. Wouldn’t it be great if people around the world said: “I’m doing the latest I-Beauty regimen from the Caribbean?”
You can speak things into existence once it is backed up with the work so why not! What is something that you’ve found to be the most unexpected reward as a result of leading your own brand?
We have a culture in the business world in Trinidad where if you’ve started to make even the slightest wave within your field, people will invite you to sit on a panel or speak on it at an event. I am the type of person who says into the mic at these things, “Guys I have no idea what I’m doing. I was crying in a corner this morning and now I’m on this stage. Entrepreneurship is rough.” And then people in the audience pull me aside and THANK me for being vulnerable in that way. These exchanges have probably been my most unexpected reward thus far. When I started no-one ever said how personally difficult it was for them to attain success. They smiled and shook hands and acted as if they always knew they were born for it. It is truly special to stop pretending for a while and bond with other entrepreneurs to let them know that they, we, are not alone and it’s a journey and sometimes a struggle, but once we work together we can get to the other side.
Photography of Kathryn Nurse with courtesy from owner; Damian Libert; Kyle Walcott Photography; Marlon James; Melissa Yung; Chevonne Attale; Zindzi Thompson
Thanks for reading! 🙂
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