As much as it is fun and glamorous, the beauty industry is a rigid race with new brands emerging here and there. For Nicole Limos-Morales, founder of The Beauty Edit, staying on track comes down to one thing: Genuineness.
Nicole launched The Beauty Edit as a fun and honest online resource on luxury skincare and makeup essentials in April 2020. A year later, the 36-year-old entrepreneur expanded her offerings to include curated beauty boxes, called The Beauty Edit[ed] Box, with products personally recommended by her team.
All of these were born out of Nicole’s passion for beauty and pursuit of authenticity that she both developed from her 14-year experience in the publishing industry.
Nicole started her career in Manila Bulletin’s Sense&Style magazine, where she worked as a writer for five years. In 2011, she joined Summit Media as the associate features editor of premium lifestyle magazine Town&Country.
Apart from learning about the ins and outs of luxury living, Nicole’s 8-year stay in the publication endowed her with six promotions—two of which are the beauty editor and managing editor posts. She left the company in 2019 to focus on the next chapter of her life as a new mom.
Read on to know how the former magazine editor established her beauty business from the ground up by virtue of hard work, creativity, and being real.
Female Network (FN): What inspired you to launch The Beauty Edit?
Nicole Morales (NM): When I left publishing to focus on the early days of motherhood, I knew I was going to do something on my own eventually, being a writer and editor and a true beauty girl. I liked sharing insights about products and technologies, and I knew my strengths as a writer and editor. I’ve always been creative and I’ve always had a lot of ideas when it comes to stories and content.
I’ve always felt there was a gap in beauty social media when it came to more upscale brands and quality content. This is where the idea of The Beauty Edit came from.
FN: Can you tell us the steps you took to start it? Did you do them all on your own?
NM: I set it up properly from the beginning. I wanted to avoid getting any hitches when it’s finally there so I fixed everything and made sure it was legitimate and official because that’s the only way to also show brands I work with that this is real and serious. Officially, it’s The Beauty Edit Incorporated. I registered it in the SEC from the start.
I do everything on the editorial side for everything you see on Instagram and the site. I’m very hands-on when it comes to that. For the magazine that comes with The Beauty Edit[ed] Box, I do the editing and writing but I’ve hired a layout artist for it. We also tap writers for these projects.
For small projects and collaborations with brands, like hosting events, I hire help in managing the technicals of the event, for instance. I have a small team of reliable writers and artists. On the company side, I have an admin, an accountant, and a lawyer. We’re expanding our team hopefully before the year ends, in time for a huge project we have for the last quarter.
As for the products that we earlier featured, we bought them. They’re part of our own collection of products and the features are a result of years of experience also in beauty.
To this day, I still buy products even if I get sent a lot. I think a true beauty journalist knows that it’s part of expanding your beauty horizon. We can’t just be using and testing and trying the products sent to us through press release.
Part of my monthly budget goes to buying beauty products for this purpose. I spend an average of P5,000 monthly.
FN: Speaking of beauty products, how do you select the ones featured on your channels and those included in The Beauty Edit[ed] Box?
NM: Each box is carefully curated to be a 'true beauty edit,' where I only include brands and products I've tried myself or featured on the platform. I tap brands myself and I only work with tried and trusted names, whether global or homegrown, to be able to provide an extensive variety of must-haves for The Beauty Edit[ed] Box.
FN: What prompted you to come up with these curated boxes? When did you start selling them?
NM: The Beauty Edit[ed] Box is born out of my love for beauty and my passion for the editorial work that I do. I've always felt that a beauty box is something that could help discerning beauty junkies discover new products to add to their regimen. I have always been one of those people.
Quality discovery boxes are not easily accessible in Manila, so I thought of creating one for The Beauty Edit to share with my fellow beauty enthusiasts.
It’s a major passion project and I was pretty uncompromising with it, and I think that paid off because everyone who bought a box noticed the little details and the love that was really poured into it, from the packaging to the magazine and merch.
Our first box, Volume 1, was themed luxury, which launched in March 2021. We’ve had four Volumes since, each in different themes and featuring different brands and products (Summer, Homegrown, and a takeover box by Rustan’s). All of them sold out quickly.
FN: What do you consider the biggest challenge in launching The Beauty Edit and how did you overcome it?
NM: Since the first post on Instagram on March 28 last year, I’ve learned countless things about growing a social media brand through the readers of The Beauty Edit and the experience of being a one-man team.
The website (more like a shopping site for The Beauty Edited Box) is something I put together myself without an IT background and I cannot believe it. I learned about plug-ins and codes for customizing it the way I want. I was able to fix the payment checkouts which, was the most intimidating part for me. I set up my own Google Analytics and so much more.
I do not mean to sound like I’m tooting my own horn, but I am immensely surprised at how I was able to manage that, which also only means that with the right mindset and a lot of patience, it is possible!
FN: You’ve been very hands-on since day one. What’s your typical day like at work now?
NM: The great thing about running your own company is that I control the pace. Right now, I work from home. I have a home office and beauty closet, plus all the shoot essentials.
I do most of my emails and content writing in the morning. Meetings are usually set after lunch. My afternoons are for when I do shoots or more writing. Posting is usually in the evenings. Most of our events are done on the weekend.
Because I love what I do so much, it really doesn’t exhaust me even if it fills up so much of my time. I take care of our toddler at specific hours of the day and that’s pretty set. I am able to balance home life with the job, too, because I have a great household staff.
FN: What's your advice to beauty junkies who would also like to start their own business?
NM: Do things consistently and with the goal to get better each time. Deliberately get into things that will help you master your craft and seek out opportunities rather than letting things just happen.
Know what you will not compromise on from the beginning and remember that as you go along the way because this will guide you and your brand. For me, for instance, I will never compromise on my audience, and so that means I also do not compromise on content.
I never bought followers, joined giveaway accounts for followers, or used bots to bloat numbers. Integrity and quality work are important for us, and so this guides us in everything we do.
Remember the one thing that you cannot rush—experience; and the one thing you cannot fake—knowledge. Hone your skills, make the mistakes and learn from them, master your topics, go through the process. That’s how novices eventually turn into experts.