Cindy Angelina has just turned 27, and in her own words: “I’m living my dream – right now!” Esqa Cosmetics, a niche beauty brand she started with her best friend, Kezia Toemion, is gaining momentum. She regularly travels to some of the world’s most exciting destinations. Beyond that, a charity effort called the Waterhouse Project, which she started with some of her friends, including Eunice Salim and Thanya Ponggawa, has been making an impact.
“It’s amazing when your career and your passion come together,” declares Cindy, who is a graduate of Pepperdine University in California. Esqa Cosmetics has recently launched its new range, the Goddess Cheek Palette, consisting of bronzer, blush and highlighter. “It’s the first ever trio palette made in Indonesia,” Cindy claims. “We have other ongoing projects throughout this year. We’re planning to carry out a massive expansion of our product range, while also launching exciting collaborations with inspiring personalities. As I always say to our followers, do look forward to more surprises!”
Esqa has collaborated with emerging Indonesian brands and notable influencers. Aiming to “revolutionise” Indonesia’s cosmetics industry, Esqa is claimed to be the country’s first vegan cosmetics brand. On its website, to show how seriously it takes beauty and health issues, Esqa details all of the ingredients in its products, and also cites its safety certificate serial number from the Indonesian Food and Drug Administration.
“Research shows that some ingredients used by cosmetics companies, like parabens, synthetic colours and triclosan, could cause cancer, among other health issues,” says Cindy. “When we saw that a few local beauty products still use those ingredients, we saw an opportunity for us to come in with better products.”
As do so many millennials, Cindy uses social media to promote her business ventures. Before starting Esqa, Cindy had already positioned herself as a style and beauty expert. Close to 50,000 people follow her closely to obtain an insight into her personal branding activities. In time, she has encouraged many followers to try out Esqa. Her products are available online and offline, from outlets including Sephora, Bonheur, Go-Mart and Sociolla.
“It’s not easy to build a strong social media presence, but once it’s up and running, the platform can be used for more than just showing off your lifestyle,” states Cindy. “It’s a great, and free, marketing and advertising tool to promote the valuable content of your business.”
The young entrepreneur is clearly happy to be doing business successfully in the age of social media. It’s a two-way process, of course, so she continually receives insightful feedback that helps her and her team improve their products. “Social media has changed the way all of us do business,” Cindy points out. “It makes organic marketing accessible. We get emails and messages from customers, and even potential business partners, from around the world.”
Beyond Esqa’s trendy beauty products, lies a greater mission: women empowerment. Esqa’s blog regularly features strong female figures, called #EsqaLadyBoss. Successful women, like racer Alexandra Asmasoebrata and influencer Maria Rahajeng, discuss their careers and the lessons they have learned along the way. The website has posted an inspiring message from its founders: “Every woman is naturally beautiful and makeup isn’t supposed to change your look, but to enhance your natural beauty.”
How has entrepreneurship changed Cindy’s life? Since becoming a CEO, she says, she has learned the true value of money. “To be honest, I never appreciated money until I started my own business. When I worked with my dad (entrepreneur and Member of Parliament Herman Hery Adranacus), I used to wonder where most of my paycheck went. I would spend impulsively, as I knew I would still get paid at the end of the month. But now that I know all the effort it takes to earn every penny, I appreciate what I spend it on.”
Besides developing her business, Cindy is also giving back through the Waterhouse Project, which provides clean water for people in Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara. Most recently, the organisation teamed up with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to provide water for Napu, a village in East Sumba.
As our cover shoot wraps up, Cindy reflects: “I aspire to be an empowered woman with vision and grace. I hope I could inspire others throughout my career. If you want to be successful in this world, you have to follow your passion.”
The story is a part of a three-part cover story, published in the 13th Anniversary Issue of Prestige Indonesia, which can be purchased here.
Photography: Robby Agus
Fashion Direction: Peter Zewet
Styling: Koko Namara
Makeup: Upan Duvan Studio (for Selly Wilson) & Morin Iwashita (for Emily Jaury and Cindy Angelina)