Welcome to the Emirates Woman weekly series ‘How I got my job as…’ where we speak to some incredible entrepreneurs and businesswomen both based in the UAE and globally to find out about their career paths that led them to where they are now; what their daily routines look like; the advice they’d give to those starting out; and the hurdles they’ve had to overcome.
This week we chat with makeup artist and entrepreneur, Aimee Connolly, Founder of Sculpted by Aimee Cosmetics. Throughout her years as an artist, Connolly has been a regular makeup contributor for tv shows, in columns for print and working on some of the biggest photo shoots.
She felt passionate about creating products she felt were missing from the market all in line with her ethos of making makeup easier. The brand prides itself on its inclusivity as it holds over 30 shades of foundations and concealers catering to every skin tone and undertone. Not to mention that all Sculpted by Aimee products are made with good-for-you ingredients, SPF protection and so much more!
Having now launched in the UAE at FACES and soon in the KSA, the brand is now making its mark in the Middle East.
To understand more, Emirates Woman sat down with the brand’s founder to learn about her career path and how she’s converted her passion into a full-time business.
What was your favourite subject at school?
I absolutely loved Biology. I was a total science nerd which I suppose is not too dissimilar now to my love of ingredients in products and being in the laboratories of our factories.
What was your first job?
My first job was working with Urban Decay in a department store when I was 16. It really developed my love for makeup and learning about customers, formulas and make up application.
What brought you to Dubai?
The Middle East expansion has always been a goal of mine for Sculpted. I think it’s such an interesting market full of creativity and amazing beauty inspiration. It’s a place where all levels of makeup and looks are celebrated and I think as a brand it’s exactly where we want to be – inclusive and for everyone.
What inspired you to enter the beauty space and launch Sculpted?
I was inspired from a very young age as I always had a love of makeup but what really accelerated it was my first part-time with Urban Decay. I spent years working as an artist before launching the brand, so I really felt that I had nurtured my craft and gained lots of experience understanding what customers wanted from beauty and service; that was ultimately invaluable to the launch of my brand, Sculpted.
Talk us through the inspiration of your products.
I have always celebrated makeup that was easy to use and made you feel good about yourself. It has very much stayed with us in the brand since my days as a makeup artist. You’ll find a lot of multi-purpose products within the range which lends to our ethos of “making make up easier, for everyone”. We’re big on travel-friendly products too which emphasise that a little amount can go a long way and make you feel fabulous at the same time. I am also obsessed with skincare and good-for-you ingredients and this is something that we very much feature in every product and that we really place importance on with our factory in South Korea.
What are the key elements of your role?
As CEO and founder, my role is really directing the strategy of the company and ensuring that all departments speak to each other and work together. I am constantly thinking of ideas, ensuring that our brand story, growth and marketing is on point whilst prioritising our customer and ensuring they’re at the forefront of everything we do.
Talk us through your daily routine.
Every day is different! Some days are full of calls, meetings, and planning while other days, I might be filming or at shoots. Regardless of how busy work is, I always try to get some exercise in – I love a good Netflix show and socialising with friends and family.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to follow in the same footsteps?
Trust yourself that you can do it. I think it’s super important to know your product/customer and really tailor your business story to that given it’s such a busy and competitive market.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received?
It came from my mum and it was to trust my gut. I think when you’re younger getting into business or potentially just doubting yourself at times it can be hard to not doubt yourself to the point where you don’t proceed. For me, my gut is so powerful and usually directs me really well so I’ve learned that it’s so important to listen to it.
And what is the worst?
To not prioritise your people. Some advisors growing a business can have a different perspective on how best to grow and what to prioritise as you develop the strategy. One of the worst bits of advice I received was to not focus on people which thankfully I didn’t listen to. The people who work on your team make the magic and any business would be lost without them. We’re all on the journey together and I couldn’t do it without them.
What has been the biggest challenge you had to overcome?
There have been so many but like any self-funded business, cash flow can be an issue and a stressful worry at times too. We had one very challenging time toward the beginning of our story but thankfully it was all ok!
What are the future plans for your brand and tell us how it feels to have Sculpted now expand into the UAE and KSA?
We’re on a real growth trajectory now so it’s very exciting. The plan is to keep growing our quality product line whilst focusing on expanding the brand across the UK, UAE and KSA.
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