We’re continuing our Women’s Month discussion by highlighting fierce female forces like CEO Mbuso Khosa, PR Director and podcaster Rutendo Nyamuda, and Youtube sensations Pap Culture. This time we’re pointing the spotlight at Croatian chemist Mirjana Brlečić Nikel who had to forge her own path in the cosmetics industry.
Living in a male-dominated world is something women have had to cope with since the dawn of time. One industry that has seen women turn this notion on its head is the beauty industry. The turn of the 20th century saw, the likes of Helena Rubenstein and Florence Nightingale Graham (Elizabeth Arden) dominate the beauty and cosmetics industry and later on Estee Lauder. Since then many more females have used their entrepreneurial spirit to leverage their beauty businesses to new heights.
Women set the bar high in beauty
Who would know better than a woman, when it comes to what a woman wants in a skincare product. Hence, some of the most successful skincare brands in the world have been started by women. South Africa has a number of very successful skincare brands that are founded by women and have definitely set the bar when it comes to top-notch skincare.
Well-known brands pioneered by South African women include Africology, Lulu & Marula and Placecol, to name a few. They all saw the gap in the market and realised what women needed wasn’t necessarily available.
Beauty may be a global business but climate and lifestyle count when it comes to skincare. This is why South African women have specific skincare needs and it’s a gap that Croatian chemist Mirjana Brlečić saw and believed she could fill with her Nikel Cosmetics range. “Our active plant ingredients are perfect to help combat the ravages of the sun, which is so prevalent in South Africa,” explains Brlečić.
Women have had to create their own opportunities and crack the glass ceiling that pushed them back. Top jobs in beauty houses across the globe have been mainly dominated by males, but this is slowly changing and women are proving their worth.
Starting your own business takes a lot of hard work and drive. Mirjana Brlečić is one such example. Brlečić launched Nikel Cosmetics after many years of research and practising pharmacy, phytopharmacy and cosmetology. “I realised many of my clients were having bad skin reactions from the skincare products they were using, so in 2004 I launched Nikel Cosmetics, a natural skincare range that would help balance and improve their skin,” says Brlečić.
Launching an all-natural skincare range has its challenges and Brlečić had to put many hours in developing the most beneficial combination of ingredients in a way that also used natural preservatives. Her hard work paid off and she received the 2012 EU Award for Business Woman of the Year.
Giving women their confidence back
A women’s skin has its own unique attributes. Collagen density, collagen loss, menopause and UV exposure alter and age the skin. Many women turn to make-up to hide the signs of ageing and aren’t confident enough to reveal their skin.
“We as women need to get our confidence back and this can be done easily by using the right natural skincare products,” explains Brlečić. Nikel Cosmetics have produced products from natural active plant ingredients that help regenerate and sooth the skin while reversing the signs of sun damage.