The beauty industry has come a long way, however, it still has some distance to cover before it can be a platform of inclusivity and empowerment.
This is the view of AMAZI, a group of companies that aims to innovate opportunities, platforms and models which champion the economic inclusion of women. The group launched a holistic skills development and employment creation programme that trained young, unemployed women to become beauty professionals and introduced them to the world of work through a 12-month learnership at AMAZI stores.
The group believes the first step in transforming the industry is to create spaces that women of colour are comfortable in. According to AMAZI, the industry has largely escaped the call for inclusivity in its practice and ownership.
Says Divya Vasant, AMAZI CEO and founder: “The exclusion of women of colour in the industry’s marketing, its storytelling and its value chain has left the limited narrative of what beauty is, unchallenged. Simply put, brown and black women are the workforce that provide beauty experiences but have little representation in the business decision-making process. By bringing radical change to the way beauty is defined, understood and practiced, AMAZI is creating opportunities for women of colour through community.”
Women empowerment is more than two words, continues Vasant: “We need to place easily accessible education and skills development into the hands of women who are determined to change their circumstances and, thereby, change the economy.”
To this end, AMAZI recently launched its online Virtual Knowledge Hub, which is geared towards meeting the needs of women of colour.
As there is strength in numbers, AMAZI is calling for women to collaborate rather than compete with each other. This means reaching out to one another and forming digital communities to share, learn and to support each other in their personal and professional growth.
Vasant advocates that beauty professionals of colour become their own PR person and use social media to do it, by sharing posts of their work and with permission, happy clients. She continues: “When you are purposeful in what you do, you will connect with an audience that shares your values, your beliefs and your passion. If you don’t have an Instagram, YouTube or TikTok page, get started and watch your community grow.”