Life on lockdown has meant life lived on Zoom for many office workers today. It’s interesting to see people dressing up only for what can be captured by the Zoom camera, which is usually their top half. And now, did you know you can also leave your personal grooming to Zoom with their Studio Effects feature? Men can apply a mustache or a beard, while women can choose to apply eyebrows and lip color filters.
This reminded me of how personal care and beauty products just moved to the bottom of my shopping list every panic-buying grocery session. And judging by the full shelves in those sections compared to the rest of the supermarket, I was not the only one making this choice.
Much more than a Zoom filter: The Beauty Edit
Thankfully, even knowing there are people like me did not stop Nicole Limos-Morales from starting The Beauty Edit, a one-stop resource on luxury beauty products that later evolved into a business offering curated boxes of upscale and recommended brands.
While the pandemic may have changed the priorities of nearly every single person on the planet, it does not mean that skincare and beauty products no longer have a loyal following.
“Amid the pandemic, I’ve had countless encounters with women who never stopped buying lipstick and who wore lipstick under their masks too. This all the more emphasized what I’ve always believed to be true: Women do it for themselves, and I think that’s pretty empowering,” shares Morales.
“I also noticed how more people have become skincare enthusiasts and have turned to all these regimens as part of self-care at home. I think part of us want that sense of normalcy amid all the changes over the past year and in a way beauty allows us that,” she adds.
Morales explained that while The Beauty Edit launched at the onset of the pandemic, it was not an idea that hatched because of it.
“When I left publishing to focus on the early days of motherhood, I knew I was going to do something on my own eventually, being a writer and editor and a true beauty girl. I’ve always felt there was a gap in beauty social media when it came to more upscale brands and content, quality content at that.”
Her editorial years with Manila Bulletin and Summit Media have given Morales training and exposure in nearly all aspects of journalism and publishing, all of which she brought to bear when she opened her social media account.
“I did not want to be a personality from the beginning so more than myself, The Beauty Edit focuses on subjects, products, services, or technologies. I wanted to deliver editorial content that’s fun, honest, relevant, and useful for readers. Beauty is very visual, and so I felt Instagram was the perfect platform to initially launch it. I also felt that it was on Instagram that there was a real gap that can be filled when it comes to beauty content. Its scale is smaller but I knew I could ensure top quality and bring great ideas to life, and make a huge enough impact at least to the kind of readers I wanted to reach,” she recalls.
If you think opening a social media account is easy, Morales will be quick to prove you otherwise.
“Content is truly king. Every day, I would jot down ideas on my notepad, most of which came to mind while I was in the shower. It was a challenge to be consistent and I spent late nights creating content, from writing stories to shooting photographs and editing videos. Soon and true enough, our platform grew to what it is today, an Instagram account for discerning beauty junkies, albeit with a small following compared to other brands or personalities.”
Morales also coped with red tape challenges when she was ready to turn her passion into a business with the launch of her website and curated boxes. She had to file the necessary business permits with the mayor’s office and the Bureau of Internal Revenue among others through ECQ, MECQ and GCQ.
With her first The Beauty Edit box sold out in 4 days, and the second one running out of stock soon, we asked Morales for the top 3 things that helped turn her idea to a working business.
#First, I was set on what I wasn’t willing to compromise on.
“I will never compromise on my audience, and so that means I also do not compromise on content. With such niche content and as an editorial account first, The Beauty Edit knows that its audience will benefit more from organic growth and traditional ads in the long run. I never bought followers, joined giveaway accounts for followers, or used bots to bloat numbers,” wrote Morales.
“This was how it was able to grow its current following of genuine beauty enthusiasts and discerning beauty consumers. I want The Beauty Edit’s readers to be here because of its content more than anything. All my editorial efforts are directed toward that goal, and I’m happy to be enjoying the fruits of such efforts which include genuine engagement with The Beauty Edit’s audience, conversations and real connections with true beauty enthusiasts.”
#Second, I was willing to go against the grain.
Because of her years in publishing, Morales understands and values editorial freedom. “I avoid paid partnerships that could affect that. In the traditional influencer business model, that is lost income on my end. But of course, I need to earn and make ends meet for the brand to grow so here is where The Beauty Edited Box comes in.
#Third, I set it up properly from the beginning.
Some entrepreneurs prefer the idea of launching their businesses initially through family and friends, wanting to test the market before they go through the bureaucratic red tape. Morales chose to do it differently, even with a growing audience on social media as a potential test captive market.
“I wanted to avoid getting any hitches when it’s finally there so I fixed everything and made sure it was legitimate and official because that’s the only way to also show brands I work with that this is real and serious. Officially it’s The Beauty Edit Incorporated. I have a small team, a lawyer, and an accountant.”
Morales is the first to admit that “launching was a risk, but I had to take it. Each box is carefully curated to be a 'true beauty edit,' where I only include brands and products I've tried myself or featured on the platform. I tapped them myself and I only work with tried and trusted beauty brands, whether global or homegrown, to be able to provide an extensive variety of must-haves for The Beauty Edit[ed] Box.”
“Quality discovery boxes are not easily accessible in Manila, so I thought of creating one for The Beauty Edit to share with my fellow beauty enthusiasts. I think one of the best comments I’ve received is that everything inside is something they’d really want to use—”walang tapon,” to quote a customer.”
And if you think the beauty industry is all pink and roses, customer service is just as important. Morales has been spared so far from any negative feedback or complaints. “I guess it’s really because it’s a small readership of like-minded beauty enthusiasts and so the content is something they relate to or learn from more than anything.”
Instead, her inbox is filled with beauty conversations with readers about products and ingredients and the latest things. And in this time of face masks, face shields and two-dose vaccinations, I can’t help but applaud that she found beauty in the time of the pandemic.
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.