Playing in Makeup makes serious dough

Playing in Makeup makes serious dough

By Kediesha Perry
Observer writer

Sunday, September 27, 2020

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DESPITE the downturn in global economic activity brought on by COVID-19, Jamaican-born, New York-based entrepreneur Yolondo Salmon-Thomas is forging ahead.

Salmon-Thomas is the principal of cosmetic company Playing In Makeup by Yolondo, which generated more than US$1 million in revenue as of September 15, 2020. This is an increase of 560 per cent over the total revenue for 2019.

“My company has really grown over the past year, making over a million dollars in the pandemic,” Salmon-Thomas, 31, told the Jamaica Observer.

“My products are affordable, yet the quality is unmatched. My customers are a mixture of white, black and Hispanic, and most of my customers come from all over the world such as France, Dubai, Australia, Japan, Canada, United Kingdom and Russia,” she continued.

Salmon-Thomas said her items are sold locally in stores in Kingston, Clarendon and St James.

Now, she is focused on helping women draw on their creativity to express their unique identity.

As she states: “What makes me feel meaningful every day is the ability to invigorate other women to be the best version of themselves.”

Salmon-Thomas said she is happy to use her Jamaican heritage to establish her own make-up line.

Today, the brand is internationally recognised.

“One of my most popular products is my eyeshadow palettes which I call Jamrock where I use Rastafarian colours to highlight my heritage. Jamrock eyeshadow palettes are my top sellers,” said the owner of the cosmetic company.

There are seven eyeshadow palettes, some of which are Jamrock Universal, Jamrock Matte, Jamrock Extreme, Jamrock No Limitations, and Jamrock Rebirth.

She has gained a growing customer base with her make-up tutorials online via her Facebook page, which has attracted more than 93,000 followers.

“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.

The cosmetic company owner has used a mixture of online channels and traditional advertising to build her multi-racial and multi-cultural customer base.

A certified make-up artist, she is renowned for her popular online tutorials that highlight her fast-selling original make-up, sold at a fraction of the cost offered by her competition. The collections include: highly pigmented eyeshadow palettes, mixed-race contour palette, luxurious eyelashes, and lip glosses.

“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 School in St Catherine. She lost her mom at eight, and migrated to the US with her father in 2006 when she was 17. Her first job was at a fast food restaurant. As a result of her hard work, she earned a salary increase within two weeks of being hired but that amounted to just 10 cents per hour.

Nonetheless, she realised the importance of maintaining a positive attitude and thus, tempered her determination to become successful in life. Her strong work ethics, positive attitude, and drive to succeed never wavered. In fact, she entered the health-care field, which allowed her to accumulate modest savings. She started her company in 2018 without financial assistance.

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, before becoming a certified make-up artiste.

Not resting on her accomplishments, Salmon-Thomas expects additional growth from revolutionary, in-demand products and through focusing on customer retention and acquisition.

She is married to Rayon Thomas with whom she has two young daughters.

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