In early 2017, after years of wanting to enter the makeup industry, 24-year-old medical physics student Fadumo Botan started working on her own beauty brand.
Botxn Beauty is a luxurious cosmetics line created by Fadumo, Amal and Nasra Botan, three sisters who are all current students at Ryerson University.
“There’s so much competition, even within Toronto itself,” Fadumo said. “It’s like you create an Instagram page and you suddenly become a makeup artist.”
With so many other makeup brands to compete with, on both a local and international level, the sisters had to offer something different to their customers.
“You have to meet expectations while also standing out,” Nasra said.
Embracing the beauty of differences
Fadumo wanted to create a brand that represents her and uses her own face as a canvas for her art. As a black woman, it was important for her to include shades in her line that looked good on her own complexion. She said she has always understood the struggles that come with being a woman of colour seeking shades of makeup that match her skin tone.
“Nowadays, beautiful is what you see on the magazines or billboards,” she explains. “That’s your definition of the standard. I feel like we have a distorted image of that. [People] think they’re not beautiful because they don’t look like that.”
Fadumo takes pride in embracing women’s differences through artistry, which is the message she and her sisters attempt to send to girls through their brand. “No woman can say that we don’t have a colour for her skin tone,” Fadumo said.
Their website, which launched last week, showcases multicultural women to emphasize the variety of shades Botxn Beauty offers.
“We’ve almost sold out completely of our first batch of the nude collection,” she said.
This collection features seven different nude lip lacquers that are meant to suit every complexion. Fadumo says she can pull off every lip product in the collection.
From Somalia to Kenya to USA to Canada
Fadumo, inspired by the work ethic of her mother, always wanted to become an entrepreneur and run her own start-up. In fact, she helped her mother, a single parent, start her own private school six years ago.
“My mother always tells me that nothing is impossible,” Nasra said. “If you really want to do something, go do it.”
After migrating from Somalia to Kenya to America and then finally settling in Canada, their mother, Ana Mohamed, had to restart a life for her and her children. After obtaining a degree from York University, Mohamed received her teaching credentials. What started as a door-to-door tutoring program for community members eventually grew into a full-fledged private high school.
And that’s where the three sisters insist they get their drive from.
They entered this business aware of the risk of failure, but what helped them through was knowing they always had the expertise and support of family.
All products ‘halal approved’
The sisters wanted to ensure their line was inclusive to people in their own community, particularly Muslim women.
All Botxn Beauty cosmetics are free of animal products. Every beauty item is “Halal approved,” meaning they are made with ingredients that are permissible under Islamic law. Many Muslim women take that into consideration when buying makeup.
Fadumo considers their products to be luxurious, not only because of their pigmented formula, but also because of her ideology on beauty.
“It has my name on it, right? So I had to make sure that it was top-quality. I wouldn’t put my name on something I wasn’t proud of.”