Business

Playing in MakeUp gets serious

BY KEDIESHA PERRY
Observer writer

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

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Jamaican-born New York-based entrepreneur Yolondo Salmon-Thomas has turned her hobby into a full-fledged business.

Over the past two years she launched her own make-up line, Playing in make-up by Yolondo, using Rastafarian colours: red, green, gold, and black.

“These are powerful colours and they represent my culture and also to bring a uniqueness to the makeup industry. The main colours for me are red, black, green, and gold which very much represent Jamaica. I cater to everyone, and internationally, more people are gravitating towards Rastafarian culture, it's eye-catching,” Salmon-Thomas, 29, told the Jamaica Observer.

“My line brings a uniqueness to the industry, because most palettes have a black casing and ours is multi-coloured and it represents our vibrant Caribbean culture,” she continued.

She has established her own cosmetic line in an office on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, New York — Playing in Makeup by Yolondo LLC — with a capital investment of US$10,000. Since then, she has shrewdly built her business into a successful, and profitable going concern. She has trademarked her designs and established a limited liability company which specialises in wedding make-up and special event make-up,

“My next goal is to get a full line of make-up that is suitable for all women of all races,” she said. “It is always a pleasure to help you find your own beauty. I have a deep belief in providing a great service and being professional. It is essential to me that, while we have great fun during your personalised make-up session, you walk out feeling absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful.”

According to a recent financial report, the global cosmetic products market was valued at around US$532 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach approximately US$863 billion in 2024.

She hopes that she can carve out a bigger slice of this lucrative sector.

“For me, make-up is a creative form of self-expression. And it's really good fun to play with, I've been playing with make-up my whole life, and now I am making a living from it,” she said.

Hailing from Mitchell Town in Clarendon, she is a graduate of Old Harbour High. She migrated to live in the US in 2006.

She began working as a make-up artist in 2011, doing gigs backstage on reality shows, video and photo shoots for reggae and pop artistes.

She eventually attended make-up school in New York, in order to gain certification, and for the past five years, she had been a certified, professional make-up artist.

She has gained a growing customer base with her make-up tutorials online via her Facebook page, Playing in Makeup by Yolondo LLC. She has attracted more than 12,500 viewers.

The New York-based make-up artist has used a mixture of online channels and traditional advertising to build her multiracial and multicultural customer base.

“The first live Facebook video we did, I got a few viewers and that inspired me to keep doing it. My client base really increased after a few months as people were captivated by the vibrant colours. I have mostly US customers but I now have customers in France, Ireland, England and the Caribbean, especially Trinidad. I started with no followers, no one knew me, but I hired public relations personnel and got celebrity endorsements to also grow my business,” said Salmon-Thomas.

This summer, she wants to launch two additional palettes to supplement the cosmetic line that already includes eye shadow palettes, highlighters, luxury mink eyelashes, matte lipstick in 12 shades, make up brushes and even a Jamrock make-up kit. She is particularly proud of her Jamrock Universal Eyeshadow palette.

“I name my eyeshadow palettes which has 30 different shades with words that Jamaicans use every day such as irie, zeen, gudgud, fluffy, ya-so, wah gwaan etc,” she said, laughing.


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