For The Girls: Introducing Beauty Beat, The UK’s First-Ever Beauty Festival For Women Of Colour
Mark your calendars: 3-4 December
Mark your calendars: 3-4 December
When it comes to beauty options for women of colour, the available selection has always been wafer thin. However, in recent years, disruptor brands such as Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty and Olamide Olowe’s Topicals have risen through the ranks, and created an inclusive range of products for women of all skin types.
Despite the significant progress made in these areas, Black female consumers still experience a significant level of exclusion from the beauty and skin health products. In a 2022 analysis by The Black Pound Report, the multi-ethnic consumers spend roughly £230 million every month on health and beauty products but 4 out of 10 of these consumers struggle to find cosmetics and skincare suited for them shades.
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Noticing a gap in the market for women of colour, Donna Dia, a luxury event specialist with over 20 years of experience in curating meaningful cultural moments, created Beauty Beat–the first-ever beauty featival for and by women of colour. Inspired to bring her wealth of knowledge to the beauty world, Dia created The Beauty Beat after realising that, despite working in the events industry for years, she had never attended a beauty event that spoke to her as a Black woman that felt prestigious, showcased the brands she spent her money on, or included Women of Colour speakers that she follows. She shares with the NATIVE:
Described as a “love letter to women,” Beauty Beat is a two-day event taking place in central London over the 3rd and 4th December. With brands such as NARS, Mac Cosmetics, Laura Mercier and more slated to have a presence at the beauty festival, attendees can also indulge in all things make-up, skincare and haircare while enjoying four panel talks by some of the biggest and talented names in the industry—from Patricia Bright to Candice Brathwaite.
Through Beauty Beat, Dia hopes to enable female customers to feel celebrated in their own right, while also triggering a positive uptick in investments for Black-owned beauty brands, particularly with regards product functionality, quality and advertising which would enable women of colour more pleasurable shopping experiences. “I hope that it normalises prestige, luxurious and lush beauty events for women of colour and black beauty. I also hope it helps the industry to further regard us as serious spenders in the space and to really recognise how powerful black women are as a consumer demographic,” Dia shares.
Ahead of the event this weekend in central London, the NATIVE caught up with Donna Dia to talk about the beauty industry, its dearth of positive representation and her grand plans for the Beauty Beat.
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Our conversation which follows below has been lightly edited for clarity.
NATIVE: Can you provide some context of your experience in beauty and events so far. How long have you been in both industries?
DONNA: I’ve actually been in events itself longer than I’ve been in beauty. I’ve been in event production for just over 20 years and that has mainly been in the creative space. Fashion events, beauty events and the likes. I’d say I produced a mix of events but I worked on my first beauty event about 10 years ago.
What inspired you to launch The Beauty Beat?
I suppose it comes down to having been in events for so long and producing really large scale events for brands such as Estee Lauder, Chanel, London Fashion Week and loads others. I noticed that the type of brands and events I became used to producing were very different to the types of events that I was attending as a Black woman. Personally, there just seemed to be a disconnect maybe because as an event producer you look out for different things.
What I found was when I was going to events that were targeted to women that look like me, they were never in Central London. I noticed that at these events, there were not many or any prestige brands and the execution was not at the same level, as the ones I was used to producing. It seemed to me that there was a very large disconnect. That’s where The Beauty Beat came from. I just thought, this doesn’t make sense because in the UK, women of colour spend billions on cosmetics every year, yet there is still no beauty event for us.
What do you hope The Beauty Beat achieves within the bigger picture?
I hope for two things. I hope that it normalises prestige, luxurious and lush beauty events for women of colour and black beauty. I also hope it helps the industry to further regard us as serious spenders in the space and to really recognise how powerful black women are as a consumer demographic. They need to understand how much money we spend and how dominant we are in beauty spend then provide adequate representation for us according to that might of spend.
What would you say influenced you choice of brands for The Beauty Beat?
The first brands I approached were the brands that I use. The brands that are in my makeup bag and my makeup cabinet. It just made sense to choose them. NARS is a brand that I use, my girlfriends use it as well. You’re always seeing a NARS foundation or a NARS product when you’re with your girls. I thought it would be best to approach them. Same with BareMinerals. All of the brands I went to first were the ones that I was most personally familiar with.
What would you say guests can expect or anticipate from The Beauty Beat?
I really just want them to have a great time. I want the attendees, especially the black women and other women of colour, in-person or online, to feel really celebrated and see themselves represented in a beauty event that is in Central London that is luxurious and feels premium. Also for them to feel like they’re the focus. They can go shopping and get some really great discounts. Also to hear from the incredible panel of speakers that we’ve been fortunate enough to secure. Just to have a great weekend and enjoy all of those different elements.
Is this an event that’s going to be recurrent? Perhaps yearly or bi-annually?
Ultimately, I’d like it to be a bi-annual experience and beyond that there are women of colour and black women outside of London so that’s another mission. For now, let’s just get the first one wrapped up.
Get your tickets here.
Featured Image Credits/The NATIVE