CLAIRE ABELA

Most great businesses are born through quasi-identical processes.

Their Founders take a step back, think as consumers, and spot lacunas in the market that desperately need to be filled.

After that, it’s all about putting together a sustainable strategy that can satisfy such a need now as well as in a couple of years’ time.

The trick to maintaining a successful company, however, is doing all these steps better than other industry counterparts for years on end.

No wonder running a successful business is compared to running a marathon.

MaltaCEOs.mt sat down with Claire Abela, Founder and Managing Director of Lucy Makeup – one of Malta’s newest and fastest-growing names in the beauty industry.

Here’s how she managed to breathe life into a pipe dream.

“Not only was I born within the beauty industry, but I’ve also grown up in it,” Claire begins.

“Four years ago, we realised that there was a big gap in the market. The brands that are found in our stores nowadays were, back then, only found in pharmacies or supermarkets. Basically, there wasn’t one place that stocked all these brands under one roof. That’s how my dream was born,” she says.

Claire recalls how, before she founded Lucy Makeup, there were ample mono-branded beauty stores around the country that sold products appertaining to a single brand – but she wanted to do something different.

“We were always after offering a vast variety of beauty products to our customers where one can choose their favourite product from any given brand,” Claire highlights.

By taking a tried-and-tested concept and giving it a simple yet effective twist, Claire breathed new life into Malta’s beauty industry.

“We always knew what we wanted from this concept. We never wanted to create just another makeup store, rather, we wanted to create a club where young and old people can meet, chat, play, and enjoy the wonders of colour and life,” the Lucy Makeup Founder says.

“Once stepping into our stores, customers can experience the décor – made up of drooping flowers hanging from the ceiling – and sit down at makeup stations to apply their own cosmetics,” Claire continues.

By thinking of Lucy Makeup’s brick-and-mortar stores as experiences rather than your run-of-the-mill outlets, Claire managed to create a space where “no one feels too old or too young.”

“We want everyone who enters a Lucy store to feel comfortable being their true, authentic self – even while experimenting with makeup and skincare brands,” she highlights.

Since the company’s foundation, Claire and her team have even managed to introduce international shipping to Lucy Makeup’s dedicated website.

But Claire’s contribution to the local beauty industry didn’t stop at the foundation of this store…

Together with her team, this up-and-coming entrepreneur launched the Malta Makeup Festival – a two-day festival involving most major makeup and skincare brands found in Malta.

“The festival has taken place two years in a row, and I must say, bringing together 2,000 people who share the same passion and seeing them enjoy themselves was definitely my biggest career achievement so far,” Claire recalls.

It’s safe to say that Claire’s career has already been dotted with countless highs; however, she points out that she has, in fact, come across her fair share of challenges – some of which stemmed from outdated and unjust attitudes.

“I have learnt that challenges will always be present, the trick is how you tackle them,” she confesses.

“Unfortunately, it’s not just my age that plays a part in this, but my gender too. A few years ago, I decided to put aside anyone coming in my way and start believing in myself and everything that I set my mind to. The mantra I follow when things go South is that I can choose how I perceive every situation,” Claire highlights.

Despite the occasional hardships that she comes across, Claire urges budding entrepreneurs to maintain a sense of empathy when embarking on a business journey – be it “with a colleague, a customer, or your director.”

“Empathy creates a great element of respect, which is something I truly believe in,” she concludes.

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