Shreya Radia, is using her new Dubai-based beauty concept to help aid and empower women in a city close to her heart, Nairobi.
Project Beauty is a social entrepreneurship and parent company to two new luxury beauty concepts, that have opened just their doors in Al Manara, Dubai – The Wax Studio and T’sume. Each of the concepts look to provide the women of the region with premium beauty services, treatments and products with expert execution and impeccable cleanliness as a fundamental focus.
At the core of the Project Beauty concept is the ethos to ‘Do Beautiful, Be Beautiful’, which is manifested in Radia’s business model that sees her company donate profits to an African Foundation supporting the impoverished and vulnerable women in Kenya. Here, we catch up with philanthropy’s new beauty power player to discover what we can expect from her inspiring new ventures.
Could you tell us a bit more about Project Beauty and its inspiration?
Project Beauty embodies much more than just the surface term beauty. It’s a campaign and company with philanthropy steeped into its foundations. Depending on the part of speech in which the word ‘project’ is used, Project Beauty defines itself both as a verb and a noun:
Noun: “Project (proj-ekt ) Beauty” An endeavor for ladies to achieve their own beauty goals,
Verb: “Project (pruh-jekt) beauty” To extend our inner beauty outwards toward others.
The company was actually set up to support our foundation in Kenya. We do so by looking beyond beauty and adopting a one-to-one initiative. For every AED100 you spend at The Wax Studio and T’sume, a reusable sanitary pad is donated to a young girl/lady in the impoverished areas of Kenya.
How will you be addressing a gap in Dubai’s already highly saturated beauty market?
Project Beauty offers something different to the UAE’s beauty consumer. The luxury ethos of both T’Sume and The Wax Studio is prevalent throughout with the design and layout of the spaces, the therapists and training we have undertaken, the globally renowned brands we use, we are committed to offering only the best in luxury experiences. With no compromises, Project Beauty is the epitome of luxury in beauty. At T’Sume you will be able to experience the ultimate in luxury with facials by Biologique Recherche with award-winning therapists as well as globally renowned Margaret Dabbs manicures and pedicures. We also have a first in the region concept, The Wax Studio, which is a carefully thought out, dedicated waxing space, designed to ensure that our customers actually enjoy their waxing experience.
What are the go-to beauty treatments and products to purchase at Project Beauty?
Our must-have treatment at Project Beauty is T’Sume’s facial by Biologique Recherche. The Parisian brand has been labelled the Hermès of facials; its blend of ingredients and lasting effects will blow you away. Each facial is carefully put together using boosters to address the specific needs for your skin, which means that you get a completely bespoke experience.
Who is the ‘Project Beauty woman’?
We cater to the modern-day lady who endorses quality but appreciates value.
The Project Beauty Woman is someone who is style and socially conscious, they will come to us because they want to experience exceptional service, beyond the standard salon offering and our values resonate with them as a whole. When you come to Project Beauty you will be immersed in serenity and tranquility allowing you to escape the chaos of everyday life.
Could you tell us a bit more about the philanthropic connection, why it’s important and who and how you’ll be helping?
Everyone has a right to education and dignity. Unfortunately, many young girls are stripped away of both because of something as natural as menstruation. The cost of sanitary ware and towels is beyond the reach of most young women and girls, who in Kenya make up much of the unemployed and those living in poverty. For these girls, having the monthly cycle essentially becomes a physical and economic health hazard, limiting their prospects and opportunities to further themselves in life. Not only do the girls miss learning days, but lack of funds to purchase sanitary pads further leads to low self-esteem and makes them vulnerable to early marriage. The effects on one’s dignity are disheartening. The concept of dignity is to express the idea that a being has an innate right to be valued – and one’s period should never get in the way of that.
What’s your personal connection to Nairobi and what does giving back to the community mean for you?
My parents were born and raised in Kenya and it’s my home away from Dubai. A lot of our family is still based there and I have always visited frequently. I think giving back to the community means that I have the opportunity to learn from some of the strongest people, be it adults or children, that I’ve ever met. Their journeys provide a perspective and realness to life that is both inspiring and humbling.
What are the greatest challenges faced by the women in Nairobi?
I think to generalise would be naïve of me. Although, I’m from Nairobi I haven’t lived there nor have I personally experienced the challenges of the masses. Challenges, in terms of size and significance, vary tremendously for women across communities and so I feel it would be unfair for me to decide which is truly the biggest.
A challenge that I believe is prevalent, is the untapped potential of women. In terms of Project Beauty’s initiative, we specifically look at the pressures of external socioeconomic and health hazards derived from something as natural as menstruation. By providing reusable sanitary pads we look to maintain a girl’s birth right – dignity and education.
What were your biggest challenges in setting up Project Beauty?
Learning to adapt and persevere no matter what. Very quickly, I learnt that not everything, if anything at all, is going to go as planned. When you conceptualise an idea and you strongly believe in structure, accepting that you are going to have to constantly adapt and re-conceptualise, can be daunting. Through all the hiccups and “no’s” you must have the perseverance to go back to the drawing board and hit the reset button on almost any aspect of the concept, from the business’s core, right the way to finances and budgets. Perhaps believing in yourself and not giving up is the biggest challenge.
What are your plans for the future of Project Beauty?
Project Beauty’s plans can be divided into our social objectives and our commercial objectives. Socially, we hope to partner with more initiatives and create awareness about the causes we support.
Commercially, we have set sights on aggressively entering the market and are looking to open multiple branches within the next three years. The vision and strategic objective of the company is to create and operate multiple sophisticated outlets. In doing so, we will become the pioneers in affordable luxury.