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Evette Hess-McEwan: Founder of beauty empire, Makeup Cartel

Kobi Facto | October 6, 2021

Evette Hess-McEwan is humble, hardworking, and the head of one of Australia’s most prominent beauty brands.

The down-to-earth beauty therapist turned entrepreneur, creates transformational beauty products for the everyday woman – all around Australia and the globe.

Born in South Africa and now a proud Gold Coaster, Evette, together with husband Josh, gambled a house deposit to kickstart their coast-based beauty business back in 2013.

Evette Hess-McEwan

Since then, the pair have established Makeup Cartel which encompasses not one, but three multimillion-dollar beauty brands – PONi Cosmetics, esmi Skin Minerals and Lip Heroes.

The Gold Coast start-up, which began at home soon after the birth of their first child, has become one of Australia’s fastest growing cosmetic manufacturers and distributors. In fact, esmi Skin Minerals was ranked fourth on the AFR Fast 100 list in 2020 and is now stocked in multinational beauty retailer, Sephora.

Evette credits her Mum for first encouraging her into beauty.

“I’d been studying creative arts when we first moved to the Gold Coast from South Africa in 2004 – and wasn’t loving it. I took a bit of a gap year to figure out what I wanted to do and where I belong and that’s when my mum suggested I try beauty therapy,” explains Evette.

“I just fell in love with making people feel good. That’s what I really enjoy.

“I think transitioning from a beauty therapist to an entrepreneur was pretty much just extending on that desire to help people.

“When I was working in clinic, I found it really difficult to find makeup that people could apply, that wouldn’t make their skin worse – especially if we were working on sensitive treatments. I wanted to create a mineral makeup to alleviate this problem. The process also exposed me to a world of a wonderful native Australian ingredients, which we would then include in skincare as well.”

The Makeup Cartel HQ which encompasses office and meeting space, warehouse, and a distribution centre is now based in Bundall on the Gold Coast. Everything from concept, design, manufacturing, packaging and shipping takes place from this busy hub – including esmi Skin Minerals which is vegan, cruelty-free, and a 100% Australian made product, created on the Gold Coast.

Esmi Skin Minerals
Esmi Skin Minerals

Evette’s beauty empire is one of many successful start-ups thriving as a result of the coast’s progressive business culture and laidback lifestyle – the perfect mix of work / life balance.

“I would not say that the Gold Coast is simply a beach town anymore – even though it does have that relaxed feeling. I think this only adds to the vibe that we have here in the office because we’re not in a hustle, bustle city.

“Our staff can still go for beach walks in the morning and then come to work in the same day, or finish work and enjoy the outdoors. I think that’s where lifestyle and work really come into a good balance on the Gold Coast – you really can have the best of both worlds.”

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Instagram: @esmiskinminerals

Instagram: @esmiskinminerals