Behind the Australian Makeup Brand Where All Shades Matter

Hannah Gay meets Tali and Shannti – two women who from unimaginable upbringings, found resilience, identity, and ultimately, success in the Australian beauty arena with All Shades Matter Cosmetics.

In recent years, conversation around diversity and inclusivity in the beauty industry has increased twofold. For those that have long felt underrepresented – limited to products, treatments and language not suited to them – the conversation couldn’t have happened soon enough. 

And yet, for many beauty businesses, the conversation continues to start and end there – as a conversation.

All Shades Matter Cosmetics (ASM) isn’t one of those businesses.

The makeup brand was built on the premise that its users needn’t question whether their foundation shade was going to match their skin tone – because for people of colour, finding the correct shade remains a hard task to master. Few brands globally are known to tick this box for its customers, with the duo behind ASM endeavoring to help fill the gap.

Meet ASM founders Tali Mason and Shaanti Wallbridge. Each of the women has experienced a unique upbringing that has ultimately motivated their careers to-date. Both adopted from alternative regions in India, the two met in their youth. “We would go to adoption activities on weekends to ‘stay together’, and these activities would help us to bond with families experiencing the same or similar back stories,” the pair says. “Ever since then, we have remained best friends and our families have remained very close as well.”

Tali was adopted at just 15 months old from the same orphanage mentioned in the movie Lion, Nava Jeevan, in Calcutta (now Kolkata) India. Shaanti was similarly adopted to Australia at a young age from Patna, India. The women reflect on their experiences, having been “given a second chance at life” – “we were both raised by amazing families. They have instilled in us several core values, such as resilience, respect, authenticity, courage and honesty which have led us to where we are today. This [has] enabled us to achieve what we have to date, both personally and professionally.”

Launching with a line of foundations in four shades only, the team’s business strategy was clear from the get-go. Rather than be guided by sales and the past successes of large-scale beauty brands, ASM’s primary interest is on the user experience, being able to provide a solution to a demand. For the women behind the business, the product roll out wasn’t in response to a trend or fad, but to a necessity. “At All Shades Matter Cosmetics, we are flipping the beauty game on its head and starting with the darker tones. We are striving to be the ‘go to’ brand for foundation, for people of colour, in Australia. We believe that foundation is a necessity in everyone’s makeup bag and everyday makeup routine. So if this core product isn’t supplied, it’s not a good ‘foundation’ to commence with.”

“We have always been taught to hold ourselves strong, stand for what we believe in and strive towards doing better for the community. All Shades Matter Cosmetics was established based around these core values which were instilled in us at a very young age.” 

An image from All Shade Matter’s recent campaign

Also in line with demands of the modern Australian consumer is that all ASM products are proudly formulated and manufactured here at home. Working with local makeup artists, too, has been instrumental in testing and attaining feedback on products. “We were lucky enough to have a fairly quick turnaround time – approximately two years – from idea to delivery. Our good friend COVID-19 tried to extend this time frame, but we were persistent in creating our dream products.”

There’s no doubt All Shades Matter is one to watch. Expansion is imminent, having this year garnered media attention and positive user reviews from across the country. Now that the brand has established itself on four hero shades, the time appears ripe in 2023 for the women to extend their foundation line. New products are also on the horizon, as Tali and Shannti look at new wholesale/retail opportunities, as well as expanding their list of international shipping destinations. No matter their course, for the women, their advocacy is “not confined to just our skin colour”. Because all shades matter.

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