The Jakarta Post
For local makeup enthusiasts, BLP Beauty is synonymous with affordable yet good quality products. Founded by makeup artist-slash-beauty influencer Elizabeth “Lizzie” Christina Parameswari, the brand took a small step by launching lip coats online in 2016.
Fast-forward to 2018, and BLP Beauty has expanded its product range to include lip stain, eyeshadow pen, brow definer, fake eyelashes, eyeliner and face powder. The brand now also owns an outlet at Lotte Shopping Avenue in South Jakarta.
The trio, CFO Adinda “Dinda” Ayu Ristiyani, COO Monica “Christa” Christasia Maharani as well as Lizzie who acts as CMO and CEO at the company, shared their hopes, dreams and the challenges they face in the beauty business with The Jakarta Post.
Question: Where did you get the idea to establish BLP Beauty?
Lizzie: In the beginning, I was working at a multinational company and was responsible for [YSL Beauty]. [After a while], I realized that if I continue working at that company, I could only have [a positive] impact to the people around me, and I felt the calling to do more.
I resigned and began my career as a makeup artist in 2011. During that time, it was tough to be a makeup artist. We had to look for clients and media partners who wanted to use [our] service. But my passion in the beauty world grew.
After working as a makeup artist and beauty influencer for five to six years, the same feeling came, my comfort zone was disturbed. I wanted to contribute more to this country. I then found the way, which was establishing my own [beauty] brand.
The year 2015 was the starting point, I began to look for a manufacturing partner that was willing to make products in small quantities. I searched “Indonesia makeup factory” on Google and called them one by one to look into the possibility of producing a small quantity. After visiting three or four factories, I finally found one willing to do it. I felt so happy.
BLP Beauty was born on June 20, 2016.
The vision and mission were simple: I wanted to contribute more to this country. Not only for the people around me but for [people in every] corner of Indonesia. Who knows, in the future, we may bring BLP Beauty to the global scene.
Q: What were the challenges you faced while establishing BLP Beauty?
Lizzie: I faced tons of challenges, as I did everything on my own.
When I wanted to establish the brand By Lizzie Parra, although [it was] small, it was a big dream. I followed all the required steps to create a company, prepare the documents, taxes and business permits.
Other entrepreneurs may focus on sales or products, but I [tried to complete all the documents].
It was a challenge, as I did not [hire] an agent and did not have a partner.
Furthermore, the office only had four people and we had limited funds. We opted for the online platform as we could not afford to open a store or enter department stores.
Because of [our] limited knowledge about e-commerce and the limited staff, we did not know how powerful social media was. When we launched the product on June 2016, the website crashed, and we had not hired any IT staff. We had to [work really hard] to fill all the orders. I had to pack, send the parcels to couriers and share the receipts.
[In addition to] human resources, we also found challenges in [creating] the system and entering the industry. There were many big companies with large capital and distribution channels. As for us, we had to find a way to enter the market. Thankfully, [the brand] was well received, and we have survived until now.
Q: As women, did you find any gender discrimination while establishing BLP?
Dinda: We were lucky enough to grow up in a supportive environment. Our family and friends were quite supportive [seeing] us women establish our own business and open our own office.
But we realize that not everyone is as lucky as us. Therefore, BLP Beauty promotes women empowerment, which starts with our office. At BLP Beauty, those who take maternity leave get not only three months off but are also entitled of flexible working hours for three months after the leave.
We never experienced gender discrimination. However, our business partners were surprised to see how young we were.
Q: What do you think about the future of the makeup industry in Indonesia?
Dinda: The future seems very bright.
Indonesia has a big population, so the market can still be penetrated.
With regard to industry players, things have changed. Now, many factories welcome small brands. The competition is tighter, but that drives brands to be more innovative.
Still, I think research and development needs to be improved.
Read also: Cosmetics industry disrupted by new players
Q: There are many new local makeup brands. What sets BLP apart from the competitors, and how do you respond to the current trend?
Christa: BLP Beauty is the most approachable [makeup] brand for Indonesian women. It was established by Lizzie Parra, an everyday Indonesian girl. BLP represents girls coming from different backgrounds, such as college students, young mothers and anak kosan (those who live in rented rooms), and people can relate to BLP.
Regarding the new local brands popping up, I think it has a positive impact. As the number of indie brands increases, the number of trends will increase as well, prompting people to start considering local products instead of only international brands.
It also depends on us, on how we improve our positioning and segmentation without being influenced by new local brands.
Q: How does it feel to work with your sister/friend? How do you separate personal and work-related issues?
Christa: It is fun, and [sometimes] it does not feel like working. Knowing each of our personalities and strengths makes it easier to divide the responsibilities.
However, it is quite hard to differentiate our personal and work life. We set boundaries; we try not to allow work issues to affect our personal lives.
Q: Christa, as a mother, how do you divide your time between work and family? Any tips?
Christa: One of the perks of working in one’s own company is the flexibility. I can manage my working rhythm. On the other side, sometimes we are required to work 24 hours. Here, we need to have good time management and know the priorities.
Q: What is next for BLP Beauty?
Lizzie: We have a lot of dreams. But in the next three to five years, we want to expand our distribution channels and increase the product line, providing [customers with a wide range of products] from head to toe. (wng)
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