I first met her online in one of our many business support groups on Facebook. She was friendly and never tired of answering what I could only imagine were really a redundant series of makeup questions that I asked her. But it was on my trip back home to Montreal in February of 2015 that I finally experienced this quiet yet bodacious makeup artist. I was so green in the makeup world back then, and figured if I was going to start selling makeup, it would be good to have it professionally applied. She showed up at my mom’s crib after completing a makeup gig in the same neighbourhood. She was tall, curvy and gorgeous. Simply put, Nandi Cox was a bombshell.
This mother of 4 transformed my view of makeup and of myself forever. Before that session, makeup to me was a form of vanity and I would not have admitted it to Nandi back then, but I didn’t think she could do anything for me. Water, soap, Vaseline and go, that was my beauty regime. My expectations were low, but I was hoping that she would show me what was possible, and that she would leave me with the confidence I needed to really start a successful makeup business. It was fun. We chatted about business, marriage and everything in between, and when she was done and I looked in the mirror, it was clear that there was way more to me and Younique Cosmetics than met the eye.
She understands that her power as a makeup artist lies not in changing the way other’s see her clients, she changes the way clients see themselves
Fast forward two and a half years and my slight makeup inclination has turned into a full fledged beauty promotion and online marketing venture. As for Nandi, she leads a team with Younique and boasts a MUA career that she never imagined would happen. From teaching makeup application classes to makeup gig offers from Croatia, what a difference 2 years can make. I decided to profile this lady on L&L this week and just like our first encounter, there is still so much to Ms. Cox than meets the eye.
So why did we join Younique? My one reason back then was to master online marketing. Now, almost 3 years later, it’s so much more. When I asked her that same question, her answers were surprisingly similar. Here’s what we agreed on…
Younique is a great cosmetics line because they are committed to being one.
“When I was first approached with Younique, I was a devout MAC user” Nandi, explains. “I wouldn’t buy anything else but MAC. Then I got the new presenter’s kit and really saw the opportunity that the company was offering, it didn’t make sense not to try it. Younique is on par with the large makeup brands most of us know. Just like MAC and NARS and URBAN DECAY, they have products that are superior and they have some that I’d pass on. Being a woman of colour, I was more drawn to Younique’s shimmers rather that their matte pigments at first. Their contouring kit was less appealing to me than their BB cream, which I can tell you is still the best on the market right now.” Come to think of it, Nandi did tell me that on our first meeting, and she was right. Younique’s BB Flawless gave me dewy summer skin all winter long. That NEVER happened with any other product. Nandi also told me that if I had oily skin, Younique’s Glorious Primer might not be the best option. That impressed me.
I’m a makeup artist first and a Younique rep second, I’ll never advise my clients to buy something that isn’t the best option for them. Never.
This company’s intention is to offer the best to it’s clients, no matter what.
As time passed and Younique kept coming up with more and more new products, it became clear that this company was a major contender in this multi-billion dollar beauty industry. “For Canadian black women, especially in Quebec, it’s difficult to find the right foundations, and colours that really pop.” We both agreed that the Younique colour gamut for complexion products and lip and eye pigments were diverse.
What sets Younique apart is how responsive they are to client and sales rep feed back. A perfect example was how within months of their initial launch, Younique added deeper skin tones to their liquid to powder Touch foundation. It showed us as reps that they care about their existing women of colour clients and understood the emotional implications of not being able to match our complexions. Being reps of colour ourselves, that makes it easy to sell foundations to clients of colour. It can also make it hard for us to justify any obvious gaps in the complexion products the company offers. Younique really gets that. And their sales reps have confidence in them. No company is perfect but some companies, like Younique, are more eager than other to fix their mistakes.
Being reps of colour ourselves, that makes it easy to sell foundations to clients of colour. It can also make it hard for us to justify any obvious gaps in the complexion products the company offers. Younique really gets that.
The Nandi filter
If there’s one thing Nandi knows is beauty and technique.”I love colour. Bold, pigmented, colour that really pops. If there’s one thing I know is how to use colour to put a spotlight on your best features” To her, real beauty has nothing to do with what you look like but more with how you carry yourself.” She understands that her power as a makeup artist lies not in changing the way other’s see her clients, she changes the way clients see themselves.
So twelve years later, where is Nandi Cox? Well her ambitions have surpassed the MAC discount card she got when she became a certified MUA.
“I knew I wanted to be an MUA when I was buying out the MAC store”, explains Cox. Initially it was only to get the discount card that came when you became certified. Right after getting her certification, Nandi was getting only a few jobs, mostly bridal gigs from people she knew and referrals. But her passion was real and it wasn’t long until she was being asked for her business card. “Business card?! I was just doing this for fun, you know, just because I loved it so much. Finally I realised that I could do this, like really do it.” Now, Nandi’s perspective and vision is limitless and includes having her own beauty bar. “As long as I’m making women feel beautiful I’ll love what I do. I want to breathe it, I wanna taste it.”
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR THE 2ND PART OF BEAUTY & THE HUSTLE WHERE WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THE ART OF THE MUA AND MONITIZING YOUR MAKEUP