By Brooke Glasford
The COVID-19 pandemic brought a host of issues; much like an invitation to a friend who brings in five others instead of being the only one present as planned.
In the midst of closing the country, more unemployed, and bills that refuse to disappear, Tahamene Cuffy took the opportunity to have more free time after her job put her in fur (leave to be over sometimes due to the company’s special need usually due to economic conditions.), to launch Palettes and Creams Cosmetics.
Starting a business in the midst of an economic downturn does not seem practical. The bottom line of this bottom line is that Tahamene started a business on proverbial wing and prayer. Four months later that business is booming in Guyana even with it still remaining in England.
So why the beauty industry?
I will preface her answer with some undeniable facts. According to Business Insider, the global beauty industry is valued at more than US $ 500 billion and is enjoying year-on-year growth of between 5 to 7% since 2016. An Instagram search of the hashtag GuyaneseMake-upArtist spied nearly 20,000 professionally made up jobs … and those are just the tagged posts.
With a lifelong interest in beauty, coupled with extensive industry knowledge accumulated in a beauty school, Tahamene saw a gap in the market for British cosmetic brands, and consistent beauty products. “In the past I’ve fallen in love with so many products I bought, but when I ran out of the product, I could never find it again. In a world where everything is constantly changing, consistency is driving our vision at Palettes and Creams Cosmetics, ”she informs.
Growth and reach
The growth of Palettes and Creams in an industry that always seems to require women to socialize was very interesting to me. The fact that the business is ‘active’ and continues to grow, not to mention that it is not here in Guyana, is a significant achievement. Tahamene herself is amazed by its growth, a circumstance that she attributes, on the one hand, to God’s hand on her venture and on the other, an aggressive marketing strategy driven by social media. “Ninety-five per cent of my customers are people I’ve never met, but who have connected with what we offer through the Instagram ads we run. We receive comments every day from people about how grateful they are for Palettes and Creams, ”says Tahamene.
“One of my biggest challenges is also my competitive edge,” says this enterprising woman, referring to the fact that she is not in Guyana. “Although it has been demanding I have an exceptional grassroots team who have really helped me implement a strategy that has seen us grow month on month. The advantage soon became apparent, my current location gave me access to the best products at the best prices I can test myself and ship out immediately. Being in London allows me to bring European brands that are amazing but not as mainstream as American brands, like P. Louise, INGLOT and BPerfect Cosmetics. ”
The future of the industry and Palletes and Creams Cosmetics
While the company is thriving in its current business model, Tahamene reveals that the change to bricks and mortar is imminent. “We are really looking forward to moving the business from fully online to a physical location. “We are excited to provide the best skin care and cosmetic products to our customer base to help satisfy everyday consumers and professionals to form the highest quality standards of artists. We want them to be recognized for using our products, ”she declares.
“One of the ways we want to impact the beauty industry in Guyana is by highlighting the incredible work of local makeup artists. I really don’t think that make-up artists are honored the way they should be … like true artists, ”Tahamene argues. “From the inception of Palettes and Creams Cosmetics, we have been collaborating with big names in the industry in Guyana including, Janice Sandy, Lisa Cummings, Susan Ibrahim, Chontelle Sewett, and Annecia Fitzpatrick. Collaboration with these make-up artists was essential during our brand launch – cosmetics artists were sent a product as part of our PR package and given the opportunity to use and review the product. “
When launching out on your own
This is what Tahamene has to say to anyone who wants to start a business in the current climate. “I was scared to start because I was afraid of failing. Start where you are. In August we started this journey with GY $ 25,000. So far we’ve ‘flipped’ those times over. Every problem that arises, push yourself to rise to the occasion – you’ll be amazed … every time. If there’s one thing I want people to take away from my experience, it’s: “Don’t let fear hamper your dreams.”
You can find Palettes and Creams Cosmetics on Instagram @Palettes_and_Creams.