Coco Chanel once famously said, “If you’re sad, if you are disappointed in love, put on your makeup, give yourself some beauty care, put on lipstick and attack.”
The Fox School’s Ary Tamashiro took this advice to heart.
Tamashiro is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in entrepreneurship and innovation management. Her passion for beauty and fashion found new heights in Assistant Professor Denise Donaghue’s business communications class this past spring.
As a professor, Donaghue finds inspiration from the Fox School’s Strategic Plan.
“Two of the Fox School’s initiatives, Community Engagement and Educational Innovation, inspired me as a way to engage our students in proposal writing,” says Donaghue. “Promoting community interaction offers the optimum level of experiential learning while also helping our business students develop a service-oriented mindset.”
And serving the community is exactly what Tamashiro set out to do.
As part of Donaghue’s class, Tamashiro constructed a business proposal for Beauty Birds, which aims to provide underprivileged adults and teenagers access to makeovers, beauty products and advice that is typically expensive and inaccessible.
Tamashiro says, “Since beauty products are not seen as a necessity, it is easy to forget that those in poverty struggle to access the cosmetics that an average person uses daily to boost their self-esteem.”
Tamashiro’s business idea doesn’t stop there—it’s multifaceted. In addition to providing free makeup services for underprivileged individuals, members of the student-led community service group are trained in developing beauty expertise and learning client-facing skills that they could also apply professionally.
“Training for members includes proper cosmetic sanitation, basic makeup looks and techniques, basic manicure techniques, skincare information and application, and training on client interaction,” Tamashiro says. “We hope to empower our members to want to give back to the community surrounding Temple University and to develop new beauty and communication skills.”
Initially, for Tamashiro, Beauty Birds was simply an assignment for a college class. But, thanks to several benefactors—including Neiman Marcus, The Youth Marketing Connection, Priia Cosmetics, local makeup artist Claudine Attoh-Okine and some Temple University parents —Tamashiro was able to host Beauty Birds’ first event.
On April 22, Beauty Birds members met with eight grade students of Thomas Mifflin School, a K-8 school in the East Falls neighborhood in Philadelphia. In line with her mission, the purpose of the event was to inspire the young teens to develop a positive relationship with beauty, while training Beauty Birds members to work with clients. Thomas Mifflin students were invited to visit one of the three beauty stations (makeover, skincare and nails) to learn more about their chosen interests.
Tamashiro says the event was a huge success and Beauty Birds was invited back by the school to host more future events.
“Vice Principal Allison McConnell, the middle school teachers and an enthusiastic parent who reached out enjoyed our workshop,” says Tamashiro. “We also sent the kids home with skincare starter kits, acne aid information and gave away a makeup starter kit in a raffle.”
To Tamashiro’s delight, girls were not the only ones interested in learning about makeup and skincare.
“It was heartwarming to see that the boys at the school were just as excited as the girls. They participated in learning more about skincare and had their nails taken care of,” she says. “Beauty is a universal mindset and everyone is very much deserving of it.”
Tamashiro explains beauty is important because it affects one’s ego, mood and possibly mental cognition. Her proposal cites a study by Harvard University, where researchers found a significant effect of makeup on multiple-choice test performance. Scores of students who wore makeup were significantly higher compared to those who didn’t.
“This shows that wearing makeup and feeling beautiful could be a factor in increased academic performance,” explains Tamashiro. “It is important to find ways for those struggling in poverty to indulge in these commodities. The Beauty Birds plan to use cosmetics as a tool to empower the community.”
Currently, Beauty Bird clients are students from low-income areas who need makeup for school pictures or events. In the future, Tamashiro says she hopes to expand to homeless shelters and safe houses.
Reflecting on the creation of Beauty Birds and its promising future, Donaghue says, “Seeing a student creatively develop an idea to help solve a problem or address a need and persuasively communicate it, put it into action and help others, is really the ultimate reward for me as a professor.”