Celebrated makeup artist Lemi Tamang turned her love for make-up into a business venture. Her label Pastelbeauty by Lemi recently turned one and the reviews only get better.
“Make-up has been one of my biggest passions,” says Lemi Tamang. In 2022, the makeup artist turned entrepreneur decided to turn her passion into a business venture. “I think the honest and pure desire to start a makeup label was what inspired me to turn entrepreneur,” she says. The vision for the brand was to start a makeup line that is affordable, accessible and of good quality.
Lemi started her career at the age of 19. And within two years she decided to move to Mumbai for better opportunities and later to Dubai. She has since worked her way to become one of the country’s biggest makeup artists. Her success mantra lies in her passion for her work and her drive for perfection.
Focusing on quality has been at the core of her brand. “Being a makeup artist delivering the right quality of products was super important. I went through months of testing stages for all our products before finally getting it right,” says Lemi. She prides herself on one of Pastelbeauty’s hero products: the Driven lipstick shade. “I think getting the colour of lipsticks right was our greatest achievement. I spent years trying to find the perfect consistency, something that doesn’t dry the lips, isn’t too shiny, yet gives enough moisture.”
Though Pastelbeauty started with just ten shades of lipsticks, her products are sought by some of country’s best make-up artists. She shares, “I get messages from many people asking for our products because they are sold out online. It’s a great feeling because this success has been entirely organic.” The plan is now to extend the product line,” shares Lemi.
Excerpts of a conversation with WOW:
What has been the turning point in your career?
Moving to Mumbai when I was 21 has been the greatest turning point in my career. I wanted to grow and the city taught me a lot. It is not just about doing makeup but also about building connections and meeting new people. I even lied to my parents then as they wouldn’t support me. Being away from family and trying to figure out everything by myself was a learning experience. On social media, people only see the tip of the iceberg, the struggles of life are never shown there. The anxiety and everything in between that I went through was never put out there.
How supportive are your parents of your career choice nOW?
Born in Solukhumbu, my parents always wanted me to get into the medical field. My mother even segregated a property to sell it for studies in nursing. When I told them about my passion for makeup, they were totally against it. A decade back, becoming a makeup artist wasn’t considered a career. Gradually when I proved them about my career worth, they started to support me.
Was Pastelbeauty by Lemi always in the plan?
Yes, it was in the plan since day one. I am very ambitious and I have big dreams and lots of goals in life. I always wanted to have my own brand. During my initial years in Nepal, it was immensely difficult to get hands on good makeup products. It was 2014-2015, when there were hardly any authentic makeup branded stores in Kathmandu when I thought of having my own brand that could be easily accessible throughout the country.
What was the execution experience?
It wasn’t a cakewalk but it was fun. I was young and used to pressure myself a lot. I was so busy working as a makeup artist that I didn’t have time to work on my dream. When I was in Paris for work a few years back, it just clicked. I met a manufacturer and exchanged ideas about how things can be done. That was a step closer to my dream.
I have been saying to myself all along: “If not now, when”. This has kept me motivated.
I was working on this project when Covid happened. The pandemic allowed me to completely work on it. I worked on my brand for more than two years. It was a long process as I wasn’t able to travel and the samples were parceled back and forth.
What is the vision of Pastelbeauty by Lemi?
Quality at affordable prices and accessibility throughout the country. I wanted to make it work through e-commerce as is the practice in foreign countries; online business works best for both the consumer and the vendor. Pastelbeauty is completely online except a few physical outlet displays. Starting with a range of lipsticks, the brand has extended its product line to lip gloss, eye shadows and mascara. I started with lipsticks because it is one makeup product that every woman has in her bag, no matter what. It is basic yet essential. Also, the different shades allowed me to have a brand signature.
How did the market respond?
It is more than I ever expected. I recovered my investment in the first week of the launch. However, in the business, it’s all about re-investing.
One year of PastelBeauty – what did you learn?
It was full of stress. As a young girl, I thought entrepreneurship is all about investing and making money. But now I understand entrepreneurship is not about doing business but solving problems. You will have problems every day and you will need new solutions every day. It is also about making quick decisions and learning from the decisions which went wrong. Also in this one year, I learnt to deal with people, manufacturers, customers and I understood the market. It has been a good experience overall.
In an industry which is already saturated with international beauty brands, how do you make your brand stand out?
I think my social media followers did that for me. I made a community on Instagram who are keen on makeup, they followed my journey and believed in me. My consistency as a makeup artist also worked well with my audience.
In my journey, I was even offered films but I chose to do what I do best. When I launched my makeup line, I believed the stock would last for 5-6 months but within a week, half of the products got sold out and I didn’t know what to do. We are working now to ensure that doesn’t happen.
Success mantra: Consistency
A lip shade you swear by: Driven, the first sold out colour
Everyday makeup: My everyday makeup is makeup for everything, even for my wedding I might do the same makeup. A smooth base with my signature eye makeup
Classic red or nude lips: Classic red
A makeup hack: Prepping the base perfectly
Skincare regime before applying makeup: Toner, essence, serum, moisturiser, sunscreen and eye cream
A recurring makeup product in your kit: Foundation by Estee Lauder Double Wear
Constant beauty rule: Bright concealer under the eyes
Dermatologist top tip: Sunscreen
Wellness therapy: Work out and yoga
A celebrity look you love: Emily in Paris. I loved the way she did her lips in the series
Song on loop: The Weekend
Current makeup trend: Glowy makeup with glossy lips
What do you seek in a relationship: I want my partner to be super supportive as I am very ambitious. And loyal as it is a long-distance relationship.
n0-no in a relationship: Control