Personal Finance

Jacque Mgido's makeup is for Africans

Zimbabwean Jacque Mgido, of Jacque Mgido Cosmetics with Lintons Beauty World owner Joyce Gikunda (R) during the product launch for the Kenyan and the East African market under Lintons Beauty World. photo | diana ngila
Zimbabwean Jacque Mgido, of Jacque Mgido Cosmetics with Lintons Beauty World owner Joyce Gikunda (R) during the product launch for the Kenyan and the East African market under Lintons Beauty World. photo | diana ngila 

Women of colour do not buy makeup. That statement seemed to be the motivation that Jacque Mgido needed to venture fully into a cosmetics range for women of colour.

At 18, she set off to the US to study, when she stumbled into the segment that had always fascinated her.

Growing up in Zimbabwe, she always felt insecure about her looks and would be fascinated watching her aunts transform as they put on makeup.

“I felt that makeup did a thing for women, every time I saw them wearing makeup they came alive. I was so curious as a kid on the transformation that makeup could do to someone, inside and out,” she said.

Curiosity grew and she decided to go to school to study the closest thing there was to makeup artistry, cosmetology. This involved hair and makeup with the bulk of the time spent on doing hair and only a couple of hours left to do what she really enjoyed.

“I went to a cosmetology school and I did hair. It was not what I wanted, but it helped me later in life,” she explained.

Once she finished school, she landed her first gig at Clarins.

“Clarins opened my eyes because they did not have makeup for women of colour and that got me curious. It taught me a lot because I would mix makeup to look good. This helped me be a great sales person because I could help people accentuate certain features,” she said.

“As I grew and climbed up the career ladder, I wanted to know who was behind the makeup on the screen, so I went back to school at Make-up Designory {in New York} and got a Master’s programme,” she explains.

She gained experience in different retail segments as well as being a special effects makeup artist in Hollywood.

“I worked on different skin tones, I understood how they started doing makeup, that inspired me and I was like let me dare to make my own products,” she said.
She thought it would be an easy job but quickly realised how expensive it was.

This made her rethink her initial model. At the time, there were several companies doing branding, making the process easier, as all one had to do was pick various products from the ready-made collection.

“The only problem I ran into was that the chemists were not listening,” she said.

“Women of colour need colour, we need to do climatically adjustable products. They were like what? And they completely refused, they said that black people don’t buy makeup. At first I got offended but realised the reason why black women did not buy was that no one was making products for us so why would we buy something that no one was making any for us,” she explains.

Jacque began her search for a chemist she could work with to make products for women of colour.

Most product lines available in the market offered only a one or two colours for the dark-skinned women.

The onset of social media and entry of product lines for colour cosmetics has increased awareness and created demand for the products especially in Africa.

Partnering with Lintons, Jacque Mgido Cosmetics was made locally available from last month, joining brands such as Black Opal, Black Up and Maybelline among others that cater for black skin tones.

“When I started doing makeup in Hollywood that was my biggest thing, special effects to see how you can turn a person into one thing and then into beauty,” said Jacque.

Her first store was in Zimbabwe, with a few pop-up stores in South Africa. Kenya, was a market she was interested to venture into, but was unsure of how to do it.

As fate would have it, managing director of Lintons Beauty World, Dr Joyce Gikunda’s son had mentioned Jacque’s line to her.

“I told him we did not have space, but he insisted,” said Dr Gikunda.

A meeting was set up and Jacque armed with her slides for a presentation met Dr Gikunda in her home, and what was supposed to be an intense corporate meeting ended up as a laid-back chat where she gave her story and that of her brand.

The line initially known as Vault Cosmetics was later renamed and it is now a full range including foundation, concealer, powder, eye shadow, a water proof brow pencil, just to name a few.