It’s that time of the year again! The NYX Face Awards are back and better…
It all started with a lost makeup bag. During a short visit to London, Nomfundo Njibe had to shop for new beauty essentials and was intrigued by the selection of retailers selling affordable products from indie brands. This led her to create her own digitally-native makeup line, Chick Cosmetics! Keep reading to learn more about a typical day in Nomfundo’s life, where she finds inspiration and what’s in her makeup bag.
- My name is: Nomfundo Njibe
- My social handles are:
- Find my website at: chickcosmetics.com
1. Tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get involved in the beauty world?
I’ve had an affinity for beauty for as long as I can remember — from playing with my mother’s makeup and mimicking beauty pageants with other kids, to sneaking in lip gloss and eyeliner in middle school.
My background is in Training and Skills Development. I worked a 9-5 job while studying for my Bcom Human Resource Management degree as a Training Officer for a renowned gaming and slots company. After a few years working in big corporate, I quit out of frustration to move up the ladder in a male-dominated industry and moved to Johannesburg.
2. You started your own digitally-native makeup line, Chick Cosmetics, with a focus on the millennial market. Can you tell us more about the inspiration and story behind your brand and mission statement?
My inspiration came about from a short visit to London. Having lost my makeup bag in flight, I had to shop for new beauty essentials. Coming from South Africa, I had never seen so many beauty retailers selling all the affordable products from indie brands I knew from the internet and magazines. Being a curious cat at heart, I started researching and learning more about this indie beauty industry I wanted to be a part of. The rise of brands on Instagram fueled my passion to start Chick Cosmetics.
Our mission is quite simple: “Beauty for all”. We created the brand to bring diversity and inclusivity through modern color cosmetics. Our demographic market is Gen-Z and millennials because most beauty products are not targeted to this age group, even though they are the trendsetters and influential in brand awareness. Our objective was not to create a brand exclusively for one segment of the population, but rather to design a product that would appeal to beauty consumers regardless of their background. Diversity and inclusivity have now become the norm among young audiences, which is why we looked to make it part of our brand DNA from the beginning.
3. What does a typical day in your life look like?
As a morning person, my day usually starts from a 5 a.m. cup of coffee or tea. Lately I have been a tea person as a way to monitor my caffeine intake. During this quiet time, I read up on important news within the industry and also try to catch up on my personal social feeds (the only time I ever have for my personal social media). Depending on my schedule for the day, I attend a pilates or spin class at 6:30 a.m. My spin class is an instant mood booster which I usually need for my day.
At the office, it’s a lot of emails and phone calls. As a growing beauty startup, I’m still involved in all the day-to-day operations of our brand from public relations, social media strategy and marketing plans to general admin work like order fulfillment and finance. I’m constantly researching new trends, ingredients and products. Since we are now in the fast beauty phase, we only have a very limited time from idea to production to our consumer. The best part of my day is definitely content creation like taking product photos our social and also brainstorming strategy with my team. After work I try to take my English bulldog, Lebron for his daily walk. I am obsessed with watching investigation channels, most of my evenings are spent watching them for hours before I retire for the day.
4. How has being based in Johannesburg, South Africa inspired you and your approach to the beauty industry?
Being beauty brand based in Johannesburg, South Africa has been a constant challenge. Our local beauty industry scene is growing tremendously. Aside from the big names like Estee Lauder, L’Oreal and Revlon, there are still less than ten digital beauty brands here and we are all still learning and growing together. We always take a page from international brands and being a season late from the Western world has helped us in timing our summer and winter collections.
We have positioned ourselves as a disruptor within the beauty industry that serves the millennial girl. This generation spends more time online and has deep connections to bloggers and influencers. Our ability to leverage social media has allowed us to become a well-known name in the industry in a short period. However, in order to remain competitive and successful, we need to be mindful of challenges.
5. Can you tell us more about Chick Cosmetics cruelty-free policy and why it’s meaningful both to you and your brand?
Millennials are changing the way consumers purchase their makeup. The industry has seen a drop in traditional, mainstream cosmetic sales, but a growth in sales for independent brands. This reflects a change in consumer preferences, as consumers are no longer sticking to one brand but rather choosing a variety of brands with different product lines to choose from. This group is also increasing the demand for cruelty-free and non-toxic makeup, as they are more aware of harmful chemicals in their products than previous generations.
Our cruelty-free policy is that none of our products, or the ingredients that we use in our products are tested on animals. As an animal lover, I make sure that we take the right due diligence from our manufacturers for each ingredient to make sure that they are not tested on animals and obtaining sustainable raw materials that does not result in the suffering or death of any animal.
6. As if running your own cosmetics company wasn’t enough, you also have The Chick Blog, dedicated to talking about all things trending in the beauty world. How do you stay up to date with trends and where do you find inspiration from?
I love writing and I love reading! We realized from onset that most of our audience were interested in the behind the scenes of our brand and also news from the beauty world. The Chick Blog was the perfect outlet to share such content with our cult. South Africa is going through a major beauty revolution and we are using our platform to help push that cause. I’m inspired by Glossier’s Into The Gloss, Huda Beauty’s Blog, Allure, Refinery 29 and of course Digital Beauty HQ. I have a special mailbox signed up for the best newsletters and blogs where I study and take inspiration from.
7. What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the beauty industry?
Learn all you can about every and any aspect of the beauty industry you are involved in. Leave your ego at the door and look at things more from the viewpoint of how it benefits your team, your group or your brand, rather than what you will get out of it.
Be passionate! No matter what the obstacles are, no matter what anyone says, the beauty industry is all about passion and making newness happen. Also, learn as much as you can about digital and social media. This is really a great advantage you can bring to any beauty company. Even if it’s not your job (yet), be familiar with all the emerging brands, understanding how and why they are different. Networking will get you far.
8. What is one thing you have accomplished in your career that you’re extremely proud of?
I would have to say the launch of our Pro Sculpt Beauty Kit collection with what we called the “World’s Most Beautiful Brushes”. At that time, we knew we had a good and loyal following but we had no idea how crazy our cult was. Before launch day we had more than 6,000 people on our waiting list; when that fateful day came we sold out in a couple of hours. I remember working from home that day and watching my Shopify notifications go off. It was a very humbling feeling. It also got us major press which opened our network. It’s a cutthroat industry and it’s very rewarding to know you are recognized by the greats who have been here for decades. This has given us a lot of credibility to our consumers.
9. Okay, we have to ask – what’s in your makeup bag?
Chick Cosmetics, of course! I carry our Baked! Setting Powder and brush or microfiber sponge with me all the time. Some other products in my bag include Fenty Beauty Pro Filter Foundation, Beauty Bakerie Lip Whip, Glossier Boy Brow and Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Interested in learning more from professionals in the digital marketing and beauty industries? Check out the rest of our As Told By series.