Mathebe Molise is the founder and CEO of Beauty on TApp, an aggregator of beauty brands that empowers small beauty brands by giving them a shopfront to showcase their products or services. Mathebe shares her background and what led her to start Beauty on TApp, as well as how she differentiates her business in a heavily saturated industry and how she centres herself when she has too many projects going on.
Mathebe grew up in Johannesburg and went to Redhill School before pursuing a Bachelor of Accounting Sciences at Wits to become a CA(SA). She joined the financial services team at EY during her articles and focused on the insurance industry, but managed to do bank regulation audits, which gave her banking exposure. After a secondment in Boston, she got a credit analyst role at Rand Merchant Bank, where she worked before starting Beauty on TApp.
Mathebe was always passionate about creativity and wanted to be a fashion designer when she was younger. However, her mother convinced her to become a CA(SA), which she did. She stumbled upon the beauty industry because of her craving for creative work and had some skills, such as braiding her own hair and doing her own makeup. She started Beauty on TApp as an app that was a marketplace for beauty services, trying to fill a gap in the market for people looking for small mobile beauty services. Over time, the business evolved into an aggregator of beauty brands.
Beauty on TApp differentiates itself from the competition by giving consumers a bespoke beauty shopping experience. In South Africa, department stores focus on big international brands, and other beauty retailers have closed down, leaving mainly pharmacies retailing cosmetics. Beauty on TApp fills the gap by putting everything on one platform, essentially giving people the option to buy multiple brands in one basket. Furthermore, Beauty on TApp empowers small beauty brands by giving them a shopfront to showcase their products or services. In addition, Beauty on TApp builds trust with potential customers by being reliable, educating people, and being factual and honest about beauty products. The social media posts are focused on educating people rather than promising them certain results in a certain amount of time. Consumer education is crucial when it comes to cosmetics, and BOT delivers quickly and has open lines of communication for customers to reach them, which has really differentiated the business in the market.
One key piece of business advice that Mathebe has learned since starting Beauty on TApp is the importance of controlled business growth. She believes that you should not let your business run away with you to the point where you cannot fulfil customer orders or where you are constantly dropping the ball. Beauty on TApp’s growth has been gradual and calculated, which is what has made it successful. They have managed to keep their promise to customers, which is efficiency and quality.
if you want to build a network in the beauty industry but do not know anyone, Mathebe recommends starting on social media by following certain brands and influencers and building your own little niche community around you. Going to beauty expos is also a great way to meet people in the industry and make connections.
Technology has transformed the way we shop for beauty products. Gone are the days when we had to visit a physical store and rely on a salesperson’s recommendations to make a purchase. With just a few clicks, we can now browse and purchase an endless array of beauty products online, from skincare to makeup to haircare. Not only has this made shopping for beauty products more convenient, but it has also opened up a world of possibilities for beauty enthusiasts around the globe.
Sharon Manzini, Digital Publishing Intern, Dip in Journalism