A few years ago, we started bringing together successful Egyptian women, under one roof as part of our #Hanefra7BikiEmta campaign and now we decided to extend this into a series of articles highlighting some of the most successful women across diverse fields.
A platform led by women for women and the first online beauty portal in Egypt, Source Beauty brings together the best beauty products in the market under one platform. The inspiring Lydia Schoonderbeek, who is the founder of the platform, decided to help Egyptian women easily find local beauty products, with the aim of inspiring them to nourish, enhance, and make the right beauty choices tailored specifically to them.
The platform provides affordable local beauty brands under one roof to bring out a healthy, natural look by highly qualified beauty experts, Lydia prepares the ground for women to feel comfortable in their own skin, far from Instagram perfection and social expectations, by educating them about the local beauty products available in Egypt, all under one roof.
Can you tell us more about yourself and background, and how did you come up with the idea of Source Beauty?
I’m half-Egyptian, half-Dutch with over 15 years’ experience in the fashion industry. Where I have extensive international experience, having lived and worked in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, London, Leeds, and Munich for brands such as Harrods, Harvey Nichols, and a luxury eyewear company that designed for Vivienne Westwood, Missoni, Moschino and Dunhill. I have an MBA in Fashion from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts in London, and was Managing Editor at Cairo West, a publishing group in Cairo, Egypt for five years. A dedicated mother to Youssef, I have brought all my experience and expertise to launch my vision for Source Beauty.
Source Beauty always hammers on featuring local products. Can you elaborate more on why this is important?
Our mission is to decode the often intimidating beauty world which leaves people in a state of confusion. The aim of Source Beauty is to inspire you to nourish, enhance, and make the right beauty choices tailored to you. The platform is led by women for women, providing them with the choice to choose local alternatives to their self-care routines, and an opportunity to get their brands known to women, as they source all the region’s best products. The Egyptian market is brimming with export-grade skincare and hair care opportunities that are undiscovered locally. Our aim is not only to provide an affordable solution to beauty products but also to empower women by educating them and giving them relevant information about what is available in Egypt.
“I believe in this quote which I read from a book called; The Hard Thing about Hard Things – “No one prepares you to be a CEO, you become a CEO by being a CEO.”
What are some of the challenges you faced to prove yourself as a successful woman in your field?
My ambition for Source Beauty is to inspire you to feel great about yourself, using local beauty products. Many Egyptian women buy products abroad when traveling – not only expensive but inconvenient – having to wait until you travel, carry baggage through airports, dealing with customs, etc. We have some amazing fun and effective local brands produced by highly qualified beauty experts, which are often better and produced using natural organic ingredients. Source Beauty is a showcase for these Egyptian products, many of which actually sell their essential oils and ingredients to big fashion brands in Italy and Europe.
We have some amazing fun and effective local brands produced by highly qualified beauty experts, which are often better and produced using natural organic ingredients. Source Beauty is a showcase for these Egyptian products, many of which actually sell their essential oils and ingredients to big fashion brands in Italy and Europe.
Did you face any challenges when you first started setting up your business and how did you overcome these challenges?
I wanted to change the online buying experience in Egypt, and create a more fun and personal experience. As Source Beauty is the first online beauty portal in Egypt, sourcing the best beauty products in the market under one platform, with convenience. The buying experience is fun, easy to use, and all on one platform – attention to detail with design, packaging, and communications – which we’re used to when buying abroad but not so much in Egypt. All these aspects of the business have proven to be challenging, but perseverance and hiring the right people make all this achievable.
What do you think needs to be done to encourage more female entrepreneurs to follow their dreams?
I believe in this quote which I read from a book called; The Hard Thing about Hard Things – “No one prepares you to be a CEO, you become a CEO by being a CEO.” There are growth stage challenges that every startup faces but staying focused is key. Moreover believing in the long term ambitions and the potential of your company.
What’s next for Source Beauty?
The way I look at it is that we’re building this people-powered beauty ecosystem. We have a direct relationship with every single person who buys something from us, unlike other eCommerce companies that have been built through retail channels. The reason being we think that through using technology, we can do three things very differently, than what all beauty companies have done in the past. One is channel. The second is discovery, and the third is listening at scale. And right now we need to fine-tune this.