How indie beauty plays a role in the drive towards gender equality

indie beauty gender equality

It was International Women’s Day last weekend, which is a global day to celebrate the social, economic and political achievements of women. According to UN Women, the 2020 International Women’s Day offers us a great opportunity to:

  • challenge gender norms,
  • empower each other,
  • celebrate diversity,
  • break stereotypes,
  • reject the binary,
  • mobilize, and
  • take action.

For that reason, we want to talk about the way that indie beauty is playing a key role in the drive towards gender equality.

Formula Botanica’s mission is to empower women with the skills to change their lives through organic formulation and indie beauty business. We are proud and excited to see the change that indie beauty can bring about for female entrepreneurs and we want to empower more women to see the opportunities available to them in indie beauty.

Female-Led Businesses in the Beauty Industry

Many women start their own business in order to break free from social constraints and gain financial independence. The current boom in indie beauty allows women to easily set up their own business in the beauty industry, which is why we weren’t surprised when a recent report on gender and small business in the UK highlighted that the beauty industry has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs with a total of 76.8% female led businesses. The wellness industry, which often overlaps with the beauty industry is also predominantly female with 62.83% of female entrepreneurs.

The business categories with the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs are:

Business Category Percentage of female entrepreneurs
Hair and Beauty 76.8% Female
Gifts and Occasions 67.62% Female
Consumables 63.75% Female
Wellness 62.83% Female

Data summarised from UENI, 2020 report on gender and small business.

However, the study also found that women are more likely to run a business as a one-person company than have four or more employees. The study found that female-led companies make up only 23.44% of businesses with a larger employee count. Similarly, the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report for 2018/2019 found that globally, 2.5% of women entrepreneurs and 5% of men entrepreneurs have more than 20 employees. 

For that reason, when it comes to some of the well-established large multinational corporations in the beauty industry, change is happening at a slower pace and women aren’t always represented in the same way in lead roles and management positions. Many of the high-level jobs in major multi-national brands are still filled by men. One of the exceptions to this rule is industry giant Unilever, who, according to Cosmetics Business, for the first time has an equal split between women and men in its management positions.

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Women lead the way in Indie Beauty

These statistics did not surprise us at Formula Botanica, as women make up over 95% of all of our new students. In fact, we have consistently seen that our community is predominantly made up of women from all over the world. Our award-winning online courses empower women with the skills to change their lives through organic formulation and indie beauty. At Formula Botanica, we have witnessed first-hand many of our students and graduates changing their lives by creating the business of their dreams.

Women are leading the way in indie beauty, starting businesses all over the world and empowering others around them in the process. The dramatic rise of indie beauty brands is also undoubtedly changing the face of the industry, with women founding and then leading multi-million dollar brands. Recent success stories such as Drunk Elephant or IT Cosmetics are examples of female-founded brands that have gone global. 

Listen now to our podcast: Are indie beauty brands selling out by selling up?

We are proud to support women in business and our own CEO, Lorraine Dallmeier is an example of what is possible for women in the industry. She talked about her incredible journey, taking Formula Botanica from a side hustle to global business in the She Means Business Podcast.

Listen now to She Means Business: Growing a side hustle into a global business with Lorraine Dallmeier

Indie Beauty in the Drive towards Gender Equality

We know that entrepreneurs contribute to economic development, job creation, and different aspects of well-being in society. We also know that the number of female entrepreneurs across the world has been gradually increasing in recent years. According to the recent GEM Women’s Report, an estimated 231 million women were starting or running new businesses in 2018/2019.

Gender equality is expected to increase the support for female entrepreneurship, but we think that the opposite is true too: indie beauty entrepreneurship is helping in the drive towards gender equality by helping women create their own futures and shape their own lives. 

Indie beauty plays such an important role in driving forward female-led businesses because many women need to work at home, which means that indie beauty entrepreneurship can be a practical solution to earn income. Our graduate success stories contain dozens of great examples of women creating something bigger than themselves.

Be inspired: Graduate Success Story: Jale Demirci launches Jalue in Turkey

Be inspired: Graduate Success Story: Celebrating Organic Skincare Entrepreneurs in Africa

Be inspired: Graduate Success Story: Shelly Ann Winokur launches Kiss Kiss Goodnight in the USA

Be inspired: Graduate Success Story: Karen Potgieter launches L’Abeille in South Africa

Nonetheless, we still have a long way to go when it comes to reaching gender equality in business, particularly when it comes to raising venture capital and supporting minority-owned businesses. However, the way that the indie beauty sector is currently showcasing such a high proportion of female-led businesses suggests that this sector plays a role in the drive towards gender equality and will continue to do so. After all, let’s not forget that women have played a crucial part in shaping the beauty industry and the beauty pioneers behind some of the largest brands in the world, including Estée Lauder or Helena Rubenstein, are women who started their own independent brands that went on to be global successes.

For that reason, we want to celebrate the global community of women driving forward the indie beauty sector and we hope you join us on this mission in accelerating gender equality through indie beauty entrepreneurship. Next time you have the chance to buy a new lotion, balm or serum, make sure you support your local green beauty artisans.  




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