Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with creative powerhouse and founder of Williams Pro Makeup, Azzi Williams. You know those people who make you feel like you have done nothing with your life? Azzi is the perfect example of this. Here is probably a great time to mention her husband is an equally talented individual, being a accomplished photographer – this blog shot by Wayne Williams.
On a beautiful Winters day, we met at one of my favourite locations, Hacienda Sydney. Azzi and I chatted all things beauty and Williams Pro, her natural, vegan & cruelty-free makeup. With 15 years experience as an international, commercial make-up artist, she is no newcomer to the industry.
Azzi is not only experienced in the creative industries but also has an impressive corporate background as a lawyer and journalist… Am I crazy to interview a journalist?! I might mention the whole time we are chatting, Azzi is keeping a keen eye her beautiful 11 month old daughter – yet another amazing achievement. Phew! How she does it all, I’ll never know.
WilliamsPro was launched in 2016, the same year your daughter was born, which is a challenge in itself. What is the biggest hurdle you have faced with the development of your product and how has your product changed since conception?
The pilot brand was launched in August 2015, and after incredible feedback from customers and bloggers we decided to commercially rebrand and relaunch the company – with a new logo, new website and 14 new products – which yes, we did while I was pregnant with our first bub!
It took a lot more effort to manage my time and have the sheer energy to get things done, but I had great support. My husband, Wayne Williams who has a design, architecture and photography background stepped in and played a huge role in the brand concept development while I focused on sales, fulfilment and marketing.
What difficulties do you experience as an emerging make-up brand vs a household name product?
There is a consumer tendency to accept products that are on department store and pharmacy shelves as more ‘credible’ and purchase blindly, without even thinking about the ingredients, animal cruelty and ethics behind products manufactured by large corporations. There are thousands of emerging brands doing amazing things when it comes to ethics, sustainability, premium natural and vegan ingredients and quality of product – yet somehow the smaller emerging brands are always approached with more scrutiny and mistrust. The irony is it is the larger cosmetic corporations’ practices we should be questioning!
What mistakes have you made in the development of Williams Pro (product, branding or marketing)?
We have decided to grow the brand organically, and roll out products slowly as the brand slowly grows. We do adopt a test and learn philosophy so if something doesn’t work, we will quickly change tactic. I do admit I haven’t put as much love into my email marketing as I would have liked this year, but that’s all about to change!
How do you educate consumers of the importance of natural products?
This is mainly via our blog, social media and our customer stories who share with us pictures of their healthy, glowing, beautiful skin after using out product.
What do you think the future of the cosmetic industry looks like?
It’s only a matter of time that more consumers will realise natural, cruelty free cosmetics with no cheap fillers like talc or silica are genuinely better for the health of their skin. Already, there are court cases resurfacing the carcinogenic effects of talc and opening up the debate about toxic ingredients in makeup. Personally, I would like to see all makeup lines free of animal derivatives like shark matter (squalene), crushed insects (carmine, pig fat, sheep placenta and fish scales).
What is your proudest moment so far on your Williams Pro journey?
One of my proudest moments was launching the commercial rebrand at the Ox. It was incredible to see so many loyal customers, bloggers, celebrity makeup artists and TV presenters coming together to celebrate our brand – it was very humbling.
Why should people try your product?
If you want professional products that make you look incredible in your photos, are gentle on your skin and actually improve the health of your skin – try Williamspro! And if you care about animal cruelty, you’ll know none of our products are tested on animals or contain any animal by-products – we are PETA certified vegan and cruelty free.
What make up trends do you see coming through for this Spring/Summer?
Colourful intense highlighters are surfacing all over Instagram, so it’s a great time to stock up on our #selfieglo super pigmented highlighters. Radiant, dewy skin is also coming back, so our zeropowder in #superfine is really popular with models and makeup artists working on spring/summer shoots as it takes away shine but keeps the radiance and freshness of the complexion.
Thanks Azzi and Wayne for taking the time to meet with me to chat about Williams Pro Makeup.
Shot on Location: Hacienda Sydney
I’m wearing: ONLY polka-dot dress & Wittner Shoes. Henna tattoo by @hennabymaziah