Community Spotlight: J-Beauty and Inclusivity with Rawabi
Posted on March 22 2021
For our next Community Spotlight, we’re talking to Rawabi, the new head of email marketing here! Read more about her thoughts on J-Beauty and inclusivity, a conversation that needs to be had.
Today the community spotlight is shining upon you! Other than the laggy Zoom meeting, how are you doing today?
Good, good. Just had meetings and worked on emails today. Slightly stressed out.
I feel it; slightly stressed out, but we’re out here (laughs). You’re a fellow intern that’s on the email marketing side of things. I am curious, did you go to school for marketing? Tell me a bit about yourself!
So I actually just graduated with a degree in Poli-Sci with a B.A. in Poli-Sci from San Jose State, and I minored in journalism. My goal in life was to go the journalistic route, but I fell upon marketing by accident. I had applied for the social media content internship, but Chloe told me, “That one isn’t available, but email marketing is,” and I told her, “I’ll take it.” (laughs). So yeah, that’s how I came across Cosme Hunt.
I feel you with the post grad search because that was literally me too.
Especially in a pandemic, and this recession! It’s been the worst. But I’m lucky enough to have this position, for Chloe to have offered this to me. That’s why I told her I’ll take it.
So do you have a workflow? What’s a day in the life of being on the email team?
Sometimes the UX team asks me to send out emails about surveys they’ve made. Lizzie, or someone else from the writing team, will tell me about a blog post that’s about to be posted and they want me to add it to the emails. For our emails that go out throughout the month, we talk about them during our Thursday meetings. Then we assign a designer to an email, then I’ll see if anything needs to be amended, changed, or approved. Sometimes I do some written content for emails because of my writing background. Every day is different. It’s never the same thing every day. I could be working two hours a day or I could be working the whole day depending on what Chloe or the email team needs done, or how many emails are going out that week. If the employee email is going out, that’ll take up a majority of my week just so I get all the updates in. Then I’ll preview that a million times just to make sure all the links are working. But yeah, no two days are the same and it’s pretty interesting.
I know you said you minored in Journalism while majoring in Poli Sci, but was there any whiplash going into the beauty industry? What was it like switching so drastically?
Well in terms of Poli Sci coursework, I had to write all these long-winded 15 to 20 page essays, and they had to be proofread so many times. I did those long essays every other week, and now my writing is short. It’s short, cute descriptions that are trendy and clickable. In Poli Sci, it was more about my opinion on policy or how much I knew historically, things like that, you know? But I’ve always been interested in beauty and working in the industry. So it’s been a pretty adjustment for me since it’s something I’ve wanted to do. It’s definitely different from being so long winded and even now, I just string out so many words in a sentence (laughs). I guess the most difficult thing for me is being concise. Short descriptions and short paragraphs, those get me but it’s been a pretty easy transition so far.
Oh man, I completely understand, especially when you said 15 to 20 page papers. That urge to reach the word count just stays with you even after finishing school. We’re just conditioned to try to reach that word count.
It almost feels like I’m being graded every time I submit something to Solana or Chloe. I’m like, “Is this going to be graded okay? I’ve proofread it a million times, I really hope there’s nothing wrong with it.” But it’s different for the beauty industry. It’s more about what keywords are used, how clickable are product descriptions.
It’s like being graded through SEO.
Yeah, it’s difficult because it’s so much different from what I was doing but it’s easier for me to grasp it. It’s personally interesting to me. Poli Sci was interesting to me but I’d have to write about things I didn’t really care about that much, unless it was happening.
Out of curiosity, when you’re putting together the newsletter, do you kind of window shop? Like when you’re putting the products in, are we getting a bit of your tastes or is it curated from all who touch it?
So the employee newsletter changed recently because it used to show which top three products are being clicked on and why. The first email I sent out was about Setsubun. While I was trying to think of whatever products to put in that one, I was definitely shopping shopping on Cosme Hunt. I was like, “wait this sounds so cool,” and “I have sensitive skin and these are the kinds of things I look for in products.”
Have you ever used Asian beauty before?
Ah, so this is your gateway, then?
Yeah, very much. I remember when I applied for this position, I looked up Cosme Hunt and it was the first J-Beauty anything I’ve ever heard of. I’ve always heard of K-Beauty since it's the big thing right now. So when I looked at Cosme Hunt and it was J-Beauty, I was like, “I’ve never heard of this before.” And I think I haven’t dipped into it because, I remember saying in the general meeting, the lack of inclusivity. It’s just really hard for me to find products, especially when they’re not curated for me. It’s not like a black-owned business, some place that’s going to be inclusive for all skin colors and skin types. It’s really hard to shop, so I never really looked into it. But a lot of the products, in Japanese beauty especially, are for sensitive skin or they’re super sensitive on your skin. The ingredients are really raw and not over-processed. So now that I’ve looked into it, it seems like something I can definitely get into. But I never looked into it before since I didn’t know if it was for me or not.
I gotcha, I gotcha. I think, arguably, with us working directly with the brands, maybe we can push them to be more inclusive. I remember saying in that same general meeting, I’m an in between shade for a Filipino girl, like some can be too light but some can be too dark. So I think that with us directly working with the companies, maybe we can start pushing them to have more inclusive shades. I remember being told that Japanese brands weren’t inclusive because they have such a good domestic market. And I think that makes sense because we currently have two shades of very pale in BB creams (laughs). I really think we can push brands to be more inclusive.
And I think Cosme Hunt is cool because it’s a crossover brand. We’re based in the US and a lot of our consumers are American, but since we work directly with Japanese brands, I think we have a lot of influence. It’s also so niche because I’ve never heard of a brand that does business the way we do. I remember talking to a Japanese coworker and she said, “No Japanese brand has thought of inclusivity because they’re so successful in Japan. They’re so self-sufficient, they don’t really need the outside market.” But I think that now, there are more of the types of brands and companies that Cosme Hunt is. It’s definitely a push in the right direction. I think our brand specifically is pushing the conversation. It’s pushing inclusivity a lot more than other Japanese brands that are trying to reach out to the American market.
So that pretty much covers all my questions! Did you have any other remarks like any more products you want to try or what you’re looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to delving more into marketing because this is my first experience in it. I didn’t know email marketing was a thing, so I’m really glad I had the opportunity to learn what it is. This is definitely something I wanted to do and I’m glad Eve passed the torch to me. I just really want to do Cosme Hunt justice.
I think you’re doing great so far! The emails have been really cute and they look good.
Thank you! I try. Solana and Molly are the driving force because they design everything. I just write little blurbs about products I like and stick them in emails. The team that I work with is what really makes the emails look so good.
That’s all from Rawabi! Thanks so much for being open about J-Beauty’s inclusivity. We’re always trying to push for more inclusivity and representation, especially in Japanese beauty. Let’s keep this conversation going! Sign up for our email newsletter to become a part of this Cosme Hunt community with us!
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Leila is a self-proclaimed "child of the internet" as she has been a netizen since MySpace and Neopets days. The website that fascinated her most was YouTube, which eventually led her to graduate from San Francisco State's Broadcasting and Electronic Communications program. When she's not going down internet rabbit holes, she experimenting in the kitchen or doing weird voice impressions.