Truth, Honesty & Transparency in Beauty with Free Agent Beauty

Truth, Honesty & Transparency in Beauty with Free Agent Beauty

My name is Marion Groot and I am a professionally trained hairstylist, makeup artist, and photographer - having worked in various roles in the beauty industry for sixteen years. I started out as a professional hairstylist behind the chair - owning my own salons - and later worked exclusively in freelance bridal and editorial work. I ventured into photography and brand development, and I now focus on helping beauty brands build their online visual presence. I also recently launched Free Agent Beauty - an online retail platform dedicated to promoting real transparency in the beauty industry.
GBC: You have caused some disruption in the beauty industry through your platform @storyofmar. Why do you think transparency is so necessary for consumers?

M: We live in the age of information, but with that comes greater access to information that is biased, unsubstantiated and untrue. The beauty industry has always operated on a foundation of illusion, but in recent years, it’s become politicized through ingredient awareness and conscious consumption. The rules of marketing haven’t really changed though, and consumers are still kept out of most conversations. I think it’s time we let them in. Fully.



GBC: What is the message that you are trying to send to everyone involved in the beauty industry, from businesses to consumers?

M: That beauty is grey and conflict exists. We do not have all the answers, but there is a finality associated with the stories most brands are telling. This forces consumers to agree wholeheartedly or feel alienated. The truth is, most of our customers feel personally conflicted about beauty. We need to acknowledge the conflict in order to discover real solutions to our challenges. This is the only way we can be truly innovative.



The GBC: What are 2 issues in the beauty industry right now that you would like to tackle through Free Agent Beauty.

Representation in marketing is one of our biggest priorities. There are ongoing issues of shade range availability and brands are constantly presenting the excuse that darker shades don’t sell. However, when you don’t include people of color in your marketing whatsoever, how can you expect them to feel even remotely connected to or curious about your brand and its products?

We’re also focusing on industry behavior, and how personal bias in marketing on the part of certain brands can compound to produce a belief system that is wholly based on the physiological response, and inaccurate information. The language we use to normalize certain behavior is incredibly important. As an example, associating the terms “toxins” and “dangerous chemicals” with products of a lower price point, which directly aligns the term “clean” with people of certain economic status. This is the practice of oppression.




The GBC: Our skin constantly ebbs and flows. Why is it important for beauty brands, makeup artists and models to show images of their normal skin such as under eye bags, grey hair, discolorations, and pimples.

M: There are certain rules associated with beautiful photography that are ingrained into beauty professionals early on in our careers, but these rules haven’t been adequately challenged. We’re visually exhausted as an industry. Consumers are now basing their self-worth on a skin type that doesn’t actually exist. Brands are busy preaching transparency but still lying in their imagery. I really want our customers to feel empowered - by being able to acknowledge the difference between marketing and art. Not all brands know how to walk this line, but it's important because it contributes to and affects our social outlook.

by Jacqueline Parker