Social Impact Q&A: Nicole Marett, Radiant Cosmetics
In this periodic series, we talk with people behind startups, causes, and brands about their social impact ventures and lessons they are learning. Today, we visit with Nicole Marett, owner and founder of Radiant Cosmetics.
Scott Henderson, Rally the Cause:
Your company mission is to “help garner awareness for human trafficking by raising funds through cosmetics and to provide resources for those on the forefront of change.”
That’s an interesting combination. I’m curious about your “Why?” for starting your company. What’s the backstory?
Nicole Marett, Radiant Cosmetics:
I always wanted to be a beauty editor and moved to New York to pursue that and it wasn’t all it had cracked up to be. After deciding I needed to move, I went overseas for a year and worked with a missions organization called The World Race which travels to 11 countries in 11 months. I was exposed for the first time to human trafficking. I heard countless stories from people who’d been affected by it all over the world from Moldova, to child soldiers in Uganda, to sex slaves in Thailand. I felt compelled to act, but wasn’t quite sure how at first.
While it’s certainly a combination of my two personal passions, I saw a huge connect between the two. The majority of victims are women and that’s who makes up the cosmetics industry, spending billions each year. I was interested in channeling those resources. I get to interact with women who might not normally hear about trafficking. I’m still finding the best ways to get involved in doing our part to end human trafficking as a company. We began with a financial contribution with all our products, and a movement to get our customers and ourselves physically involved. I just returned from India for our first overseas partnership and hope to find even better ways to help this year.
Rally the Cause:
You recently responded to a link to the World Bank blog that we shared in the Finish Strong! weekly newsletter. What insights did you gain from it?
Nicole Marett, Radiant Cosmetics:
Reading through the article ‘The Democratization of the Social Entrepreneurship Movement“, it was encouraging to read the places that social entrepreneurship is developing. After launching my company last August, I began to run across more people who knew what that term “social entrepreneur” meant, when in the beginning almost no one had heard of that.
One of the points I loved best in the article discussed the trend that “continues to point to the idea that everyone can be responsible for advancing change and impact.” It’s no longer limited to the non-profit/NGO sector any more and I think that’s huge. People are beginning to see and care about how regular purchases they make have an affect on the environment and people – especially in terms of labor trafficking.
The article also discussed that a social entrepreneur is someone who has expertise in a variety of areas allowing them to really understand change and also there is a greater focus across creative industries. Cosmetics isn’t something that normally people associate with giving back. I’ve come to really value the position I have in an industry that otherwise wouldn’t be talking about human trafficking and the impact it has on our world. With social entrepreneurship infiltrating so many different industries it’s opening up so many more doors for change and awareness in all kinds of varieties from education, to human trafficking to clean water etc.
What I’m taking for them for help is information on funding. I’m realizing, as the article mentions, my goals can’t be carried out by one type of funding. I’m looking more into business grants this coming year.