Anyone who works in beauty will tell you that it’s a fun, inspiring place, full of creative ideas (and the occasional free sample!), but exactly how do you break into the beauty industry? In this series, we’ll be chatting with beauty industry insiders to find out what their jobs involve and the paths they took to get where they are now.
From makeup artists and beauty editors to social media assistants, brand founders, and web developers – these stories are proof that you can enter the beauty industry via any career path.
Meet Sharon Chuter, founder of UOMA Beauty.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
A pilot! No joke – it was all I ever dreamt of as a kid, taking to the skies on endless journeys.
What attracted you to the beauty industry?
I came into this industry by accident, but I stayed because I love the transformative power of beauty. The tools it provides for self-expression and the role the feeling of beauty plays in people’s lives (especially in women’s lives) is why I stayed in beauty.
What did you study and how did this guide your current role/how do you use the skills from your degree in your job?
Well, I studied business, so it is very valuable to me as an executive and always has been. Although personally I’ve found that in business you learn a lot from real life experiences.
What skills and experience do you need to succeed as a brand founder?
I think to be a founder you must firstly be passionate about something. There must be a problem that exists in the world that you just can’t stop thinking about – I think that’s always the first step. The second step is having a good amount of trust in your intuition. You have to trust your instincts because the life of a founder is a crazy one. It’s important to believe that you can do whatever you are doing better than very established players in your field who have been doing this for a very long time, are better resourced than you, and have a lot more money than you do. When you think about it that way you see the craziness that underlies entrepreneurship.
What does your day-to-day entail?
No two days are the same. The life of a founder is one of juggling more balls that you can realistically manage but somehow finding the space to keep them all in the air.
What are some common misconceptions people have about your job?
That it is super glamourous, ha! It’s hard work. The other misconception is people think beauty is a thing chicks do, you know… What people don’t appreciate is the complexity of building a beauty brand. Beauty products are chemicals, so it’s a merge between the creative arts and pure science. When you are creating a product even decisions about what colours to make in a particular texture is really guided by what’s possible with the molecules. Then after that there are decisions to be made about packaging, so you have to think and test for compatibility. A lot of formulas are volatile, so you always have to test for the perfect marriage between the formula and the packaging. So yeah, the business of beauty is very complicated.
What is the best part of your job?
Connecting with people and sharing stories – it’s the best part of what I do. Through beauty I can talk about really deep issues and be a part of the solution. That’s super rewarding for me.
What has been the most surreal moment of your career so far?
The UOMA Beauty launch day – I couldn’t believe it was all happening. It’s still surreal to me that a concept that was in my head first became tangible products and now I hear other people talking about it and that’s something that will take me a while to get used to.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to start their own beauty brand?
Just start! Don’t over think it. Figure out what you are bringing that’s unique to the table and then start. That’s the scariest part because you have a blank sheet of paper so people get overwhelmed by what the first step is. Just do something – decide on a name and register the domain, register the business – you can change it later if you get a better brain spark but start somewhere and don’t be afraid to pivot.
What deskside essentials are vital to you doing your job?
I’m always on the road so this question is not one for me, haha! My essential is head phones. I can’t live without them. I am always listening to music. It’s the thing that brings me the most joy.
What’s your top piece of beauty advice?
Love yourself – you are beautiful. Beauty comes from inside out and not the other way around. And then my next advice is love your skin. It is the canvas for your makeup, so treat it right and you’ll see the difference.