IMAN COSMETICS: HOW COVERING UP A MARKET GAP BIRTHED A GLOBAL BRAND
A wise woman once said if your dreams don’t scare you then they are not big enough. Conceiving business ideas is like biological conception, it begins as an embryo and gradually grows into a full term baby. Iman Abdulmajid had a dream that did scare her. Born in Mogadishu, has very strong roots to the Arab world. She lived in both Saudi Arabia and Egypt during her youth, after the political instability in Somalia caused her family to move. “I’m Muslim and Egypt was a very progressive place. Girls like me could go to school. I completely fell in love with the people and the cultural legacy that goes far beyond the pyramids.
Combining my work with my religion was one of the most difficult things. It is complicated to be photographed in a provocative way, even if the pictures are artful. I shot stunning nudes with Richard Avedon, one of the most iconic photographers ever, and although I was proud of these images when my parents would come to visit me, I would hide them under the bed,” she recalls. “There was no way I could explain to my father that that was art. In fact, I never reconciled posing nude with my religion and family. I always say, may Allah have mercy on my soul if I have not done it right.”
The supermodel had been on set for a US Vogue shoot but an unfortunate revelation would lead to the creation of a business empire. The makeup artist didn’t have any foundation for black skin tones. “When you work in the industry, your looks are your currency. If you don’t have a good appearance, you won’t be booked again – and no one will blame the beauty team or the photographer. This made me start experimenting with makeup from an early stage. I would buy any foundation with pigment so I could mix and match,” she reveals.
Her focus on creating difficult-to-find shades for women led to the birth of the global brand, Iman Cosmetics. Based on her years of experience of mixing her own formulations for make-up artists to use on her, she had a personal hand in the final product and also acted as the commercial face of the company.
The market gap you just observed might be your next big business idea.