After last week's photo/video shoot I now have over 1000 great pictures! And if you have been carefully following my Facebook page, event page, and Instagram, I am happy to see how Healthy Hair Asia is slowly blooming. I don't just sell products, I sell a lifestyle.
When I look at other cosmetic company's advertisements and marketing strategies they are not just selling their products (think of Dove,Garnier Frutis, Shea Moisture) they tell a story or promote a lifestyle. Which makes sense, because beyond healthy hair, to be healthy: food, wellness, fitness, environmentally conscious, etc. it is a lifestyle not something that can be neatly packed into a box. Having customers see stories of "real people" and not professional models is an amazing way to sell products because customers can relate, customers see someone like them that appears to have the same challenges and struggles, so by using these products, like Dove, they will have healthy hair, or beautiful skin, or perfect underarms.
When I first moved to Bangkok, I was quite shocked by the skin whitening ads and plethora of beauty clinics all over the city. I understood that Thais (or Asians in general) who have white skin are mostly middle-class or upper-middle class well-to-do Thais with good jobs, celebrities/models, have Chinese heritage, and are represented as the face of Thailand to the world. Whereas, Thais with darker skin were of the lower class, filled low-skilled jobs, or were farmers. The few dark skin Thais that have managed to move to the middle class were not represented in mainstream media or projected the image of success. From what I understood, this had more to do with classism (not racism as some may argue) and how many Asian countries have hierarchical societies where social mobility is a new concept. Of course, beauty and skin colour plays a large role in many Thais life and potential for getting a good job, so cosmetic businesses promise the possibility of white skin or attaining the standard of beauty, are very profitable and a lucrative business to get into. They don't just sell a product, they sell potential of a better life, a better career, a better chance to marry into a "good family," and the possibility of moving up.
Since I'm still new and a small fry in the cosmetic industry I know from personal experience what it feels like to live in a society that deems how I naturally look is not beautiful and how class status (there is still classism in the US, but it's more implicit) plays a huge role on my future, so I choose to market my products by telling a story and projecting a lifestyle (realistic). When I talk with my customers, women and men: Expats from the West to the East and Thais (mostly middle class English speaking), they want products that will give them hair like they see in ads (unrealistic by the way), or to simply have healthy hair (attainable), but the problem is here in Bangkok, healthy hair is not advertised, rather beautiful, long, flowing, and voluminous hair is what people see. What many people don't know is professional hair models wear hair extensions and their pictures are heavily photoshopped! It's much more easier to advertise perfect and "beautiful" hair with a pretty face than it is to take a regular looking person with healthy hair (short, medium length, or long) and tell the world that is what beautiful hair looks like.
When I looked for hair models to represent Healthy Hair Asia I wanted regular and every day women to represent my brand. I wanted women with short, medium length, and long hair. And most importantly, I wanted a diversity of women from different parts of Asia and expats to represent Healthy Hair Asia. Their stories, hair challenges, and natural beauty is what I want Healthy Hair Asia to represent: an inclusive, natural beauty, and honest brand.
Aside from great photos, I created a short 33 second video of Healthy Hair Asia, please check it out below! And remember: Healthy Hair, is Beautiful Hair!
Before I end, I am leading a workshop this week "DIY Avocado & Banana Hair Mask" at Rasyana Retreat next Saturday from 10AM to 12PM