Tali Mason and Shaanti Wallbridge roar resilience and determination. Both women have taken strides from unimaginable upbringings that eventually led them to find their identity, and build successful careers in Australia’s beauty industry. Their venture, All Shades Matter Cosmetics, is a testament to their journeys as women of colour fearlessly navigating the evolving realm of Australian beauty.
Scores of women of all colours, ages and ethnic backgrounds use makeup every day. But the beauty arena fails to cater for its entire consumer demographic. Mason, 30, and Wallbridge, 34, are shaking things up!
Set up in May 2020, All Shades Matter Cosmetics is a makeup brand started by two people of colour, for people of colour. Since their launch, the brand has garnered over 6 500 followers across social media and were recently announced as a 2023 Australia Post Local Business Hero. The brand stems from their experiences of finding products that complement their skin tone and is being applauded for responding to the lack of inclusivity in the beauty industry.
Both Mason and Wallbridge are adopted from India. While Wallbridge migrated from Patna to Australia in 1989, Mason moved from Kolkata in 1994. They were 11 months and 15 months old at the time of their intercountry adoption.
“We are absolutely lifelong friends,” Mason revealed to Indian Link. “Our parents were part of a Melbourne-based group, with other families that had adopted from overseas. Our friendship and family connection have remained strong over the years, due to shared experiences, understanding and mutual support.”
Very early on, the duo came to understand the struggle in colour-matching makeup products in Australia. “We believed there was a large gap in the current Australian beauty market,” shares Wallbridge, a Geelong resident.
View this post on Instagram
“We live in such a multicultural country and thought, it’s the 21st century, we shouldn’t have to be waiting around for a product to ‘match’, and have to source products from overseas which is extremely expensive. Something needed to be done,” Wallbridge continues.
And so, in 2020, they set on a mission to change the beauty industry. “We’re doing things in reverse – starting with the darker shades, as this is where the gap is in Australia. We will slowly expand with our range,” Mason adds.
But why does the gap exist?
“Historically, many makeup brands have predominantly focused on producing products that cater to lighter skin tones, often neglecting the diverse range of skin tones found within the population of people of colour,” Mason explains.
View this post on Instagram
Wallbridge speaks on the importance of representation, and how much it truly matters to an increasingly diverse Australia.
“Limited representation in advertising, promotional materials, and brand campaigns can make individuals feel excluded and underrepresented,” she says.
And then, there is obviously a lack of cultural nuances. “Different ethnicities can have varying preferences when it comes to makeup application, colours, and finishes,” Wallbridge continues.
All Shades Matter Cosmetics wants to demonstrate the need for a growing emphasis on celebrating diversity and creating a more inclusive beauty landscape in Australia.
“Since our launch in 2020, we have introduced samples of each product, bundle packages and created a beauty industry incentive. We want our products to be accessible to as many people as possible, including makeup artists who are looking to diversify their makeup kits,” Mason informs.
The response to the brand has been “incredibly heartwarming”, both women beam with pride.
“Our customers have shared inspiring stories of feeling seen, valued, and empowered by our products, and this enthusiastic feedback continues to drive us forward.”
The industry has historically favoured certain standards of beauty, often excluding people of colour from the conversation. But that is slowly changing, thanks to entrepreneurs like Mason and Wallbridge.
“By championing diversity and providing products tailored to our unique skin tones and textures, we’re not only promoting self-confidence but also sending a powerful message that every shade is beautiful.”
After Australia and New Zealand, they now have plans to make their collections available in other regions to further break the moulds of global makeup brands.
“As for what’s next, we’re excited about the possibilities. An Indian-themed collection is an intriguing idea, and it’s certainly something we’re considering as a homage to our roots. A book that shares our journey and insights is another avenue we’re exploring, and who knows, another startup may also be on the horizon. Our goal is to keep pushing boundaries and creating positive change in the beauty industry and beyond.”