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Margaux Knuppe is the founder of Afari, a luxury South African skincare range that showcases an indigenous breakthrough botanical, sustainably farmed by female harvesters in rural Limpopo. Each Afari product sold directly benefits these women and their families.

Margaux has always had an interest in beauty, entrepreneurship and empowering women. She shares her journey with Go Hustle writer Ondela Mlandu.

Everything happens for a reason

“I grew up with fashion and beauty shoots plastered all over my walls, not the requisite teen heart-throb posters. I always dreamed of being an editor of an international glossy magazine (this was the late 90s after all),” says Margaux. After studying a BA in Film and Media Studies, she started her career in advertising, where she worked on a global beauty brand. “I then transitioned to publishing, where I was paid to test thousands of beauty products and understand the difference between glycolic and salicylic acid,” she says. Margaux believes everything happens for a reason and every career step she’s taken has helped shape Afari.

Being a boss babe in beauty…

The beauty industry is growing faster today than ever before; there are more brands, which means more investment and opportunity. “Traditionally, if you wanted to enter the beauty industry, you’d study somatology or a make-up course. Entrepreneurs are launching all manner of beauty businesses and start-ups need help. If you’re passionate, proactive and willing to learn, most businesses will take on interns,” she adds.

A female-friendly industry

The beauty industry, by nature, is more female-friendly and Margaux has been fortunate enough to work with, and learn from, inspiring women. These are her top tips for anyone looking to get into the beauty industry:

1/ Reach out! Whether it’s a brand you love, or a person you look up to, reach out to them and ask for advice about what your next steps should be.

2/ Put together a motivational email about why you love them/their role. It’s okay to ask if you can meet for half an hour to understand the business better.

It’s okay to ask for help

“Don’t be afraid to delegate – you can’t (and don’t need to) do it all yourself,” says Margaux.

Pursue your passion, but still pay your bills

“I knew I wanted to develop a skincare range which showcased a new, indigenous ingredient. What I didn’t know was how long it would take,” she says. Margaux kept her nine-to-five job for four years while she did the groundwork for Afari after hours and on weekends.

A book for every woman…

“I received Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn from one of my girl crushes, Jane Wurwand (founder of Dermalogica) and it’s heartbreaking, but deeply motivating. It’ll change the way you look at women and the world,” she says.

Self-care comes in many forms

Margaux starts her mornings at the gym to get her endorphin kick for the day. “I’ve recently banned screens after 9pm… [I’ve] traded the screen for a good book before bed,” she says.

Connect with Marguax

Find Margaux on Instagram @margauxknuppe

Afari – @afariskincare

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