Standard Talks

Standard Talks: The Business of Beauty

Brilliance met beauty at our summer edition of Standard Talks, hosted in partnership with Black in Fashion Council and Studio Symoné. Darian Harvin, Writer and Founder of Studio Symoné, held court in NO BAR, inviting Diarrha N’Diaye, Lindsay Peoples, Sandrine Charles, and Delina Medhin for conversations about the business of the beauty industry. Each guest brought their unique takes on product, media, PR and art to the stage, with Q&A sessions and early-eve cocktails by Ten to One rum in between.     

The next evening, Black in Fashion Council, The Black Beauty Club & friends clinked glasses to the end of summer at a celebratory dinner in The Penthouse. 

Catch photos + highlights from the conversations below:

Lindsay Peoples, Co-Founder of Black in Fashion Council and Editor-in-Chief of The Cut

On today’s challenges in media: 

“A rule … that we talk about in The Cut is [that] you are allowed to have as many opinions as you want, but you need to properly do the research and actually read the full story before you come to me. This is an …easy way to annoy me because I think people get too excited about a headline or too excited about a Tweet that they see, and then they think that they've read the full story or understand the full scope of something. At most magazines now, [there’s] not even that many of us. So if you're doing a story, you're doing it for a very specific reason.”

Sandrine Charles, Co-Founder of Black in Fashion Council and Founder of Sandrine Charles Consulting 
On the power of hiring inclusively:

“When I was at larger agencies, at one point, I was the only Black person or the only person of color. I would be brought into meetings like, “Tell us about this campaign idea. We're going to shoot it in the hood.” I was like, I wasn’t in the hood — what do I have to do with this? And so I would start speaking up for myself. If you fire me, I'll be fine. I willl find another job. My skills will reflect, but the bigger point was I don't want the person after me to go through that. Once I started getting hiring power [as] a Director, I was hiring a lot of Black people, I was hiring a lot of Asian people, Hispanic people, I wanted our agency to reflect the type of clients we had and I wanted to ensure that [the team] would not be placed in those positions [that I was].”

Diarrha N'Diaye, Founder of Ami Colé
On what was instrumental in getting Ami Colé on the shelves of Sephora: 

“I used to work at Sephora in college every day after school, hustling, going in and doing my shifts and I remember the training. For some reason, everything that happened between the packaging and the unique selling points when someone would come in [that we used] to actually sell a product was in mind. So when I built this actual brand, I was already… thinking about translations on a pack. I was thinking about UPC codes. I was thinking, ‘Okay, we want this to be sleek. We want it to be timeless. We wanted to give that kind of Chanel aesthetic, but we wanted it to pop on the shelf.’ So let’s do orange, let’s do bright. So I was thinking about all of these things, and I was also thinking about what was missing. When I walked into Sephora then, I was still hacking my makeup, grabbing my Fenty and mixing it with the lotion and oil to get that my skin-looks-better look. I thought, ‘How do I approach this to fill that gap?’... eSo I think when [I presented to Sephora], I had [my NPD up until 2024], and they were like ‘Oh, this girl’s ready.’”

On curiosity and constant learning: 

“I’m afraid sometimes that everyone thinks it’s so easy because [the work] is glamorized, and it’s so not. I think it’s worth it and you should totally do it if you’re ready for it. But [having a student mindset is really important]. When I went to Glossier, I was doing product development that I’ve never done in my life. It was the scariest thing to be at a brand at that time that just raised $80 million, fresh flowers every Monday, learning on the job. But it takes a little bit of humility and knowing that I’m going to fail and learn along the way, and whatever scraps I can take while I’m on the floor, I’m going to take that and keep that. That’s how I was able to stomach the ride.”

Delina Medhin, Makeup Artist
On pandemic pivots:

“When COVID happened, I was incredibly scared because I felt like I went from seeing my books filled three months in advance and everything started going away. [I asked myself]: “How can I be in a position of power?” and quite frankly, I was just alone, you know, New York was very lonely during that time. So I started doing [Instagram Lives] every day. Yeah, I was one of those people. I did it for a year for free and then I started making deals with huge brands and that actually turned out to be very fruitful.”

On what qualities she hires for:

“I'm looking for somebody who's confident. People can feel your confidence. You know that person when you sit down in the chair and as soon as they touch your hair, they know what to do? It's like that with makeup too, right? So I have to have confident assistants because if I'm not in the room to do the thing… I need to know that they know what they’re doing.”

For invites to the next Standard Talks, sign up here.


Related Stories

Get on the List and Get Up To 15% Off

Wanna be the first to know about exclusive offers, events and happenings? Sign up for our mailing list and get 15% off your stay in Hua Hin or The Maldives.

Book Now