ABOUT THE WRITER: Kate Gubanyi is a wedding dress designer and fashion writer who loves to turn a pretty word.
We now see the impact of social media on small business. New generation entrepreneurs are adopting streamlined marketing methods to offer consumers high-end products at a level of affordability previously unseen. Makeup artist Hong Le is one of a new generation of entrepreneur and she's doing business her way. Sporting choppy red locks and the standard Aussie accent, Asian-Australian makeup artist Hong is part of a new breed of entrepreneur that has side-stepped traditional career paths to become a force to be reckoned with in the world of small business with launch of her makeup business Le Rouge Beauty.
Like any good entrepreneur, Hong pays attention to the little details. Having created the products herself in New York, her makeup arrives beautifully packaged, is vegan and gluten-free and not tested on animals. Hong has kept her range affordable by offering a streamlined business model, free from old-fashioned marketing techniques while relying heavily on social media and word of mouth. “Buyers flooded with marketing messages are choosing to place more trust in word of mouth," Hong says. "Most of my clients and makeup sales come from friends of friends."
As well as running an online business selling high quality affordable beauty products, Hong has her finger in every aesthetically pleasing pie. When she isn't doing makeup and styling hair for weddings and formals from Brisbane and the surrounds, she is working on beauty, fashion and bridal photo shoots for The Courier Mail, Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival, David Jones as well as her recent work with MyCityLife for photo shoot Sustainable Lifestyle With Bakery Lane. Hong decided to branch out into selling her tools of the trade because of high demand from her bridal clients for good quality touch-up products. Her new line of cosmetics is stocked in Ubermen and used by makeup artists Australia-wide, and focuses on meeting the demands of the everyday business woman - particularly the busy bride - wanting to look great. “I was continuously asked by brides, including bridesmaids, and mothers, 'where do I get a good powder, lipstick, or blush from that will last?’ I wanted to anticipate any problems or needs a busy bride may have leading up to her big day, and provide solutions to those."
Entrepreneurs like Hong relying heavily on social media are in a unique position to stay ahead of the trends while also setting the trends. What's in fashion is recorded in real time from her Facebook page, on Instagram and her YouTube videos. “Right now on these digital platforms”, Hong says, “brides are opting for more loose hair styles and romantic makeup. Nothing dramatic," she notes, "just simple yet elegant." For every women to achieve a romantic look, Hong says, her Luxury lipsticks in Pink Truffle, Angelina, Whisper Rose and Starlet along with Onyx Luxe Creme Liner in a pot, brow balm and liquid shadow shimmering eye highlighter are a winning combination. "To play up her eyes,” Hong tips, “a soft smokey eye in neutral tones with a bit of shimmer to highlight will work wonders."
Soft nudes and pinks for lips are always popular." I would recommend my Luxury lipsticks that give a soft look but won't need to be re-applied too often," she says. "To be more daring, go for a bright bold red lip with toned down eyes, so that she doesn't draw too much attention away from the overall look. My liquid lipsticks - which are bright and bold - are great for a red lip, where as my luxury lipsticks are softer and more neutral." Hong says brides are looking to trends to create their look. "A bride's main aim is to stay fresh looking throughout her big day," she notes. "From walking down the aisle to the first dance, she wants her lipstick to stay pigmented and her foundation to look natural, but flawless."
Hong claims her new products are professional quality is necessary for a makeup artist to apply them. "The liquid lipsticks are my main product. They are a cross between a lip gloss and a lipstick packaged in a tube with an applicator which is very easy to use without a big range of makeup artist brushes,” she notes. “The formula is high in pigment, which means it is long lasting." Hong says everyone loves the formula, which is super smooth without a drying feeling and ideal for all seasons. She says it was important to her that her customers knew how to use her products. “I don’t want people to buy it and tuck it away because they don’t know how to apply it,” she points out. “I offer free makeup lessons to teach my clients the best and easiest way to apply them.” Hong says this new range is a good all-purpose basics range that is affordable, yet high in quality. "It has a year-round colour theme and is suitable for many skin tones and ethnicities,' she says. "Makeup artists freelancing in the industry will also benefit from the products as they are hand picked for durability and longevity."
Photographer: Elizabeth Grinter