WorkEntrepreneurshipSelf-Starter: How Sabrina Suhail Built Her Vegan Beauty Brand, Tinge!

Self-Starter: How Sabrina Suhail Built Her Vegan Beauty Brand, Tinge!

An idea conceived by boss woman Sabrina Suhail, Tinge is India’s first-ever beauty experiential brand with a range of bespoke cosmetics. It reflects the art of blending different colours to create one that’s just perfect for you. A makeup brand that’s all about being compassionate towards animals, Tinge is conscientious about the range of their products being cruelty-free, vegan, and natural. In conversation with TC46, founder Sabrina shares her process of creating and producing exclusive and exceptional beauty products, the story behind her venture, and some useful tips for aspiring beauty entrepreneurs.

1. What’s your educational and professional background?

I have a background in Chemistry, Botany, Zoology, and Psychology. After that, I did Organic Chemistry and Organic Formulations in colour cosmetics. I am currently studying Organic Skincare and Organic Formulations because I believe it’s always important to keep learning and stay updated with the latest trends in the industry.

2. What prompted the idea for your venture, Tinge?

I have been a makeup artist for the last 15 years, and over this time I’ve worked with many clients one-on-one. When I did bridal makeup or worked on a model during a shoot, the conversation was a buzz about the shift towards natural makeup. Everyone wanted to be self-aware and conscientious about the products being applied to their face and skin. Some were particular and said, “Sabrina, don’t use this on my face as I’m allergic to this ingredient” or “I’m vegan, I don’t want a product that has animal fat in it.” So that’s the reason that primarily got me back into studying Organic Chemistry. I decided to pursue it further because of my clients; conversations with them made me go back to studying. 

3. Did you always know you wanted to work in this space?

I always knew I wanted something that didn’t require me to take work back home. When I completed college, I worked in event management for a while. I did artist management where I worked with DNA Networks and used to work with a lot of stars that came to India. Post that, I did artist management in terms of artwork. That included artist management where people used to work on their paintings and I used to grade the paintings based on the quality and build a story around the artist and the artwork. But makeup was my calling and after a brief stint of sitting at home, I took up makeup artistry.

4. What was your first milestone & how did you get there?

My first milestone was receiving the certifications for my brand (no easy feat in the beauty industry). That was the toughest part and I worked through it. The number of certifications I had to get being a cosmetic chemist was surprising. Certification is crucial and I pursued it before launching the company. Since cosmetics fall under CDSCO and the certifications are vital, I was happy to pass that hurdle. As soon as I got my paperwork in order, I launched Tinge.

5. What are your tips for an aspiring entrepreneur who wants to enter this space?

To all the aspiring entrepreneurs wishing to step into the beauty industry, I would say be yourself. Do a lot of research because it’s a simple analogy: If your foundation is strong, you can build yourself higher.

6. What were the 3 best business decisions you made?

The best business and financial decision were creating my own studio space and my lab space. I spent a lot of money on it. But, my equipment is the reason the brand is still afloat even during the pandemic. It’s because I decided to invest in my own and not rent it out and not work in someone else’s lab that I have been able to survive and be self-sufficient in terms of production and processes this entire time.

7. How long did it take you to monetise your venture?

It took me about 4 years to study, and about 3 years to set it up and get all the certifications. I spent about 9 years reaching this stage and establishing my venture. Monetarily, the major turning point has been the last two years when the brand really started getting picked up by publications and creating a buzz on social media.

8. Are you looking for funding?

I am looking for funding because this is something that I think most people would be excited about, be it women or men. It’s something that lets them be themselves because customisation is so important for many. Just like you tailor fit your clothes, it’s tailor-fitting your makeup also. And just how you choose a hairstyle or cut that frames your face perfectly, tailor-fit makeup makes a huge difference. I think Tinge is a safe space for anyone. So being acquired or getting an investor for this venture would be the ideal way to expand our business and reach everyone in the country.

9. Who has been a key vendor for your venture that you believe an aspirant needs to secure to work in this space?

It would be my manufacturer for pigments; that’s the most important vendor for me. Pigments are the basis of makeup and you need a vendor who also has all their certifications. There are a lot of people in India who supply the ingredients, but they are not in order in terms of paperwork. That is something I am absolutely particular about: My sourcing agents and the certifications have to be complete. Our brand credibility is based on being cruelty-free, vegan, and Made In India, and that’s a promise we will fulfil with integrity!

10. How do you intend to scale up or expand your business over the next 5 years?

Over the next two to three weeks, we are launching a website which enables customisation of your makeup online. So, a person can custom-make their lipsticks, foundations, and concealers by providing their specifications while staying in the safety of their homes. After this, I am also looking to expand to different cities because I do realise that beauty outlets offer the experiential side of the brand where people can physically see the product, feel it, swatch it, and use sample testers. The aim is to eventually have an experience studio in each major city. This will also add to the brand credibility and transparency, both of which I am very keen on building.

11. What makes Tinge stand out from other brands?

We are looking to also make this environment safe for men. There are a lot of (termed metrosexual) men who want to wear makeup who feel that, “This is a woman’s space and only women can go there”. But men wear makeup too. They wear foundation, concealer, they want to do their brows now, they go out and get pedicures and manicures. So creating a safe space for men to wear makeup with confidence is another key goal for Tinge.

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We spotlight inspiring women who are entrepreneurs or have skill-based passion projects and are willing to share knowledge, advice and tips about getting started in the space. Each Self-Starter’s story will be highlighted in a prime slot on the Homepage for a whole week, after which their story will appear under the ‘Work’ category on The Channel 46.

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