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Online beauty brand slaying in the age of e-commerce

While for many the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown brought a great depression, a few people like Tasneem Nagdee took advantage to the situation and launched businesses whose success depended on the internet.

Marble Skin Co, or as the founder and creative director Tasneem, tags it, the squad-approved slice of makeup heaven, first graced the e-commerce scene with its groundbreaking IPL Hair Removal Handseand. ‘‘After months of sourcing, testing and product-refinement, we are so proud to launch our Marble Skin Co. Marshmallow Sponge Beauty Blender to South-African beauty lovers. We’ve been absolutely blown away with this product, which is why we knew we had to share it with our local beauty community!’’ says Tasneem.

Please briefly tell us about yourself and where you are from?

I was born in New Zealand, raised in Australia and have been living in South Africa for 16 years. After schooling at Midstream College in Midrand I went into fashion design at College. It was only after leaving mid-way through my studies that I realized, being an entrepreneur was what I wanted to do.

Tell us about your business ventures?

I started a staffing solutions agency which had over 300 women and men, and placed them and worked myself through other agencies at a wide range of events both locally and outside of the country. I was fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to live and work in India and Dubai. As Covid-19 approached and the events world came to a halt, I made the decision to stop events and go into an industry which was still running and at the fingertips of millions of consumers; the Online Shopping Industry.

Your products have taken the beauty world by storm, can you tell us how the pandemic helped you to pivot?

Our business was started as a result of Covid restrictions, one could say Covid-19 was the thing that pushed me into the online beauty industry. It was a period where women could not go to the laser clinic for their hair removal, and through quick thinking and a bit of creativity, this is how I decided to provide a product to the market which allowed customers access to hair removal, at their own pace and at a fraction of the price. Once we saw high demand for this product, I then quickly learned that niche products are the way to go.

Prior to the pandemic you ran your own eventing business, what is it that draws you to being an entrepreneur?

Bringing value added products to customers, establishing a brand that is associated with quality, and having a positive impact on women through the use of our products.

Which other countries are your products available?

Our focus has been the South African market. We may consider expanding internationally over time.

When did you discover that this is what you want to do?

I always knew I had a good feel for identifying trends, but I was completely invested once we got the ball rolling. It was like confirmation that I had made the correct decision.

How long have you been in the beauty industry?

I have been in the beauty industry full time since Lockdown level 5 began.

So in this age of the Kardashians, beauty is big business, is there still room for new players?

In my opinion, Innovation is key in driving all markets in the world. Without new players, new creative minds, new ideas and new ways of doing business, the beauty industry would possibly lag behind. When you know and understand how the needs of your market changes, your business model should adjust accordingly.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

The initial period of starting the business in the midst of lockdown level 4, was personally the toughest. Some other challenges include finding suppliers, reaching target market with a relatively new product, pricing models, marketing and establishing an online presence.

Copy-cat buyers who brought in the same product as we did, unbranded and cheaper, undercutting us on cost as they did not have the same overheads as we did. This turned into a positive as I then made the decision to bring source a type of IPL device which was more niche and I can proudly say we are the only stockists of it.

What has been the highlight of your business since you started?

The highlight for me would be seeing my business grow and establishing a brand presence. In addition, what started with one product expanded into multiple product offerings.

What can you say to other people who want to get into the business and go e-commerce route?

I would tell them to pursue it and to keep focused. Some key pointers would be to ensure you have enough starting capital and to know the needs of your market/customers. Ensure that you implement good processes with proper record-keeping.



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Editor's note

American novelist Louisa May Alcott said it best when she said “Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.”

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