Beauty Maven: Charlene Bastien
Ladies, have you been contemplating a career in beauty but haven’t a clue where to start? African Pride’s Charlene Bastien sits down with In Her Shoes to chat about her dream job as National Marketing and Sales Director for one of the leading ethnic hair care brands, tips on getting started in the beauty industry and her personal thoughts on the ongoing “relaxed vs. natural” discussion:
In Her Shoes: First things first…congrats on the re-launch of African Pride! What does the brand have in store for us?
Charlene: We are hosting our national relaunch event in Atlanta, Georgia this Wednesday night. The event will be hosted by Toccara and Lance Gross with a special appearance by So So Def recording artist, Dondria. Simultaneously, we have kicked off our “My Pride. My Way.” campaign. Women can join us on Facebook or twitter (@MyAfricanPride ) to take part in the conversation surrounding writing your own rules when it comes to hair. Starting this week on Facebook, women will have an opportunity to upload two pics of different styles they’ve rocked to vie for a head-to-toe glam squad makeover!
In Her Shoes: What inspired you to pursue a career in the beauty industry?
Charlene: Since the beginning of time a woman’s worth and self expression has been defined by her mane. I believe my role as national marketing and sales director for Strength of Nature Global, LLC chose me. The company serves as a vehicle for creating products that pledge to celebrate the individual needs of women looking for hair care solutions that truly nourish and strengthen while allowing those that use the product to truly define their beauty in their own way. The company’s vision and mission, personally aligns with my own and this take on beauty starting from the “root,” allowed me to grow into the position I currently hold.
In Her Shoes: What’s the most challenging aspect of your job?
Charlene: A woman’s hair care choices and preferences are closely linked to an emotional charge. My daily challenge comes in syncing these thoughts and emotions with product presentation and development.
In Her Shoes: How do you see the ethnic hair care category expanding in the next 10 years?
Charlene: I honestly believe we will see expanded product offerings providing women and men healthier options for hair care maintenance. For instance, our newly relaunched African Pride product line is now infused with an olive miracle formula that is rich in extra virgin olive oil providing deep conditioning for hair and a moisture-rich scalp.
In Her Shoes: Natural vs. relaxed has become a growing discussion in our community. What are your thoughts on this topic?
Charlene: I believe that today’s woman realizes that she has options and is completely free to explore them at her whim. Society is more accepting of the array of choices and stigmas are becoming more faux pas. No matter the texture preference, proper upkeep and hair maintenance is still key in defining one’s beauty.
In Her Shoes: What is a day is like in Charlene Bastien’s shoes?
Charlene: During my day I am constantly applying the classic formula of success – consistently being innovative, studying women’s needs, analyzing the hair landscape and emotional transitions while always reinventing. In the beauty industry, days can be long and nights event longer – with constant travel and high-pressured environments. I am thankful and excited by all the responsibility my position offers. It is not easy to break into the world of beauty, especially those that focus on multi-textural products and women of color, so I continue to stay passionate throughout my journey.
In Her Shoes: What advice would you give to a woman interested in breaking into the beauty industry?
Charlene: Learn as much as you can about the industry. Go to trade shows, read trade and consumer publications, and engage in any opportunity to learn and demonstrate your passion to provide options for women. Interning or any hands on experience is a great way to get your foot in the door. Strength of Nature Global, LLC offers an internship process that provides these opportunities as well.
In Her Shoes: How do you relax and unwind when the demands of being a beauty industry game-changer become challenging?
Charlene: I constantly remind myself that to whom much is given much is required. But to truly relax, I enjoy a day in the salon – catching up with girlfriends, relaxing in the chair, and taking care of myself always serves as a great escape.
In Her Shoes: What’s next for Charlene Bastien?
Charlene: More opportunities to create unique options for women to care for their hair. “The My Pride. My Way.” glam squad contest launches this week and will continue with multi-market activations, stay tuned through our social media networks and our online presence at www.african-pride.com