Thin, young and perfect? Not on my watch

Lifestyle

Thin, young and perfect? Not on my watch

How a small-town Italian beautician took her no-bull company from internet start-up to multi-million-euro empire

Flavia Rotondi

Cristina Fogazzi, a beautician from the small town of Sarezzo in northern Italy, turned an internet start-up into a €50m (about R846m) beauty brand in just a few years. Her secret: being real about skin problems and ageing.

It’s a novel approach in a country that has long held up thin, young and perfect as the ideal woman. The 47-year-old is part of a growing movement around the world to offer women more realism. Her success is also a testament to the power of the web and social media to quickly mint brands. So much so that she’s now contemplating an initial public offering.

Fogazzi got her start by writing a sarcastic beauty advice blog called Estetistacinica.it (“The Cynical Beautician”). Italian women embraced her no-nonsense, lighthearted message and focus on body positivity. (In one sermon on face creams, she wrote: “At night, our skin rests, just like us, so personally I don’t apply anything.”) In 2015, she leveraged that success to launch VeraLab, an online skincare company that sells products like Spumone foaming face cleanser in an explosion of pink...

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