Felicity Robinson is changing the beauty game. Stepping away from the standard glitzy and glamorous price tags often seen in the beauty industry, the young mother of two is the face behind Sissii Cosmetics — an Aboriginal-owned and operated, affordable beauty brand.
The Banyjima, Yamatji and Noongar woman was born and raised in Perth. In June last year, in the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, she began pulling together Sissii Cosmetics.
Ms Robinson, who has worked in the beauty industry as a make-up artist for three years, now not only sells fake eyelashes, but also glitter, body butter and brow soap products — most of which are handmade by her.
“Being in the beauty industry, I have noticed that products are rarely cruelty-free and vegan,” she said.
“After working with a lot of other brands, buying their lashes, I realised they were using real mink.
“That is why I wanted to make my own lashes because I knew they’d be cruelty-free and I wanted lashes to offer my clients that they felt comfortable in too.”
Operating in an industry commonly known for its eye-watering price tags, Ms Robinson wanted to make her products accessible and affordable for all.
“You’ll go into a store and get a tiny glitter for like $40, whereas my glitters are $8 and they’ve still got that quality,” she said.
“Same with brow soap, I use it all the time and I’d pay $40 for a tiny little tin. So, I made my own. It’s $18 and almost three times the size of what I was buying.
“One of my main focuses around Sissii Cosmetics is to make it affordable to all women.”
Ms Robinson was attracted to make-up because of the ability it has to empower and encourage women.
“There is that stigma around make-up that people are in love with themselves … but I feel that make-up is so special because when I put make-up on, I feel like a new woman,” she said.
“I feel like I can do anything really and I noticed that when I do my clients’ (make-up), their whole attitude changes after they look at themselves.
“They have that confidence, and that’s what I wanted with my cosmetics, to give women that confidence.”
Being a Woman of Colour, Ms Robinson specialises in working with Women of Colour.
“Ninety-five per cent of my clients are all Indigenous women … I work with different tones of skin, darker tones,” she said.
“I have a lot of clients who say they had their make-up done once and never went back because artists make them look too fair or pale. They have that bad experience, then they come to me and they feel really good, they see their skin glow and look amazing.”
Ms Robinson said she hopes Sissii Cosmetics will help women who are interested in make-up to give it a go.
“On my Instagram, I try to put up stories when I do my own make-up to give women tips. I do want to help women learn, I feel like a lot of women get intimidated by make-up these days because there are so many steps and so many different products,” she said.
“I work with a lot of older women, but I want to make young girls feel confident, I want them to see me doing this and know that they can do what they want if they put their minds to it.”
With the fledgling brand growing larger by the day, Ms Robinson has hardly had a moment to catch her breath.
“When I started to get orders from Queensland and New South Wales, I realised it was getting big,” she said.
“I had a huge goal achieved only a few weeks ago so I’m not sure what’s next. I got my lashes featured in the Karijini Experience runway show — all the models were wearing them. It was so surreal seeing that.”
The Karijini Experience’s Runway Show in the Gorge is an Indigenous fashion show that features traditional and contemporary textile art and designs from up-and-coming and established WA designers.
Despite the rapidly growing brand, Ms Robinson always works with her purpose and passion in mind.
“I never wanted it to be just selling a product for money, this is all made and done out of love,” she said.
“I feel like only a few years ago women were using make-up to hide themselves, they felt they couldn’t go out without make-up on.
“But now, people are accepting that we all do have pimples and fine lines, we aren’t trying to hide that. It’s about who we are, and I love being part of that.”
By Rachael Knowles