With over 15 years of experience in the fashion sector, Lydia was perfectly prepared to start Source Beauty, Egypt’s first beauty e-commerce website. This Dutch-Egyptian entrepreneur created the perfect space for all those on the lookout for Egyptian beauty products. We speak to Lydia about clean beauty, entrepreneurship, and women empowerment.
You have created a wonderland of Egyptian products. How did Source Beauty come to be?
The philosophy behind Source Beauty came from wanting to create an online retail space like no other. I wanted to stock a highly personal selection of the things I have discovered and coveted in Egypt, coupled with informative, unbiased advice on health and beauty. What’s very different is that we offer impartial advice, and the range of products we stock.
It certainly feels like you also created a network for Egyptian female entrepreneurs, seeing how many of these brands are owned by women. Did Source become a community for Egyptian women who have a passion for beauty?
Everything about Source Beauty is designed to be photographed and talked about, from our packaging to our website, to empowering female entrepreneurs. What’s rewarding is to see women with similar mindsets, looking to improve the beauty industry in Egypt. Women will never stop spending money on beauty products, but we have found they want products that last, have a variety of uses and are available here in Egypt, locally sourced.
We have been witnessing a return to natural beauty and embracing diversity. Did that give a boost to natural products and subsequentially Source Beauty?
Beauty is now more diverse than ever. Compared with fashion, beauty has been quicker to act on matters of inclusivity. Egyptian consumers are looking for representation across a number of beauty categories. Women want to go “back to the basics” and use products that help them show off their unique beauty in the way they feel most comfortable.
Moreover, there’s an increased focus on sustainability in the beauty industry, transparent ingredient sourcing emphasizes eco-friendly production processes and subsequently leads to more sustainable end products. It’s a hot topic across every sector, it’s becoming a particularly important conversation at Source Beauty especially with our millennial and Gen Z customers.
How do you see this movement affecting how women perceive themselves?
A growing number of consumers are rejecting chemical-filled cosmetics for pricey, plant-based alternatives which will eventually change the beauty industry. The space for cleaner, safer, better beauty has grown and is continuing to grow. Consumers are fed up with marketing phrases that have been diluted over time. They want transparency. The future of skincare is going to be more straightforward. Farm-to-face, seed-to-skin — whatever you call it, the clean beauty economy is booming.
What are the obstacles you faced when Source Beauty was starting?
Questioning anything and everything. If you’re really going to change the way people think about beauty, and that local products are equal if not better than their international counterparts, you really have to reimagine the entire experience. Elon Musk isn’t thinking about what a car does or looks like when he’s designing a Tesla – he’s building it from scratch. This is what you need to internalize as an entrepreneur.
Promoting self-care is a great way to empower women. Do you have any stories about how Source Beauty has helped women in that sense?
Source Beauty is all about women and putting them, their narrative and their story at the forefront and giving them a voice and platform. The concept of women helping other women isn’t new. However, the beauty industry is now beginning to see how powerful females in the industry are when they unite and support one another to pursue their dreams.
Most Egyptian women have had to answer the question “Hanefra7 Biki Emta” before in reference to marriage, despite any accomplishments they may have already made, what would you say in response to that question?
I think we all need to have an honest discussion about marriage.