In my last article I mentioned this Chinese phrase: 老人怕死，女人怕醜，男人好色，孩子貪玩 / 怕笨.
This translates to “The old are scared of death, the women are afraid of being ugly, the men are lustful, the children are playful / scared of being stupid.
In our last article we talked about the elderly, and today the focus will be on the women’s market – specifically the focus will be on their psychological fear of being old and ugly. From the never ending fashion clothing stores to the expensive hair salons, from the numerous face spas to weight loss centres, from the chain of cosmetic stores to collagen hotpot concepts, from plastic surgery clinics to waxing services, all of these serve only one function – to help the women look young and pretty.
To understand why there is such a big market, first we must understand the psychology, societal and the market forces behind it. Biologically, we know that women peak in the early 20s in terms of youthful appearance and generally maintain that way with a very slow decline till their early 30s, from which they will experience a more significant decline over the years. The collagen in their skin is no longer sufficient to maintain that tight and supple skin, the hair start falling off and the body tends to become fatter as metabolism slows down. This is made worse by pregnancy, where the women’s internal body system goes haywire. This is standard fare, even men face it (except for pregnancy), just that the outward appearance is not men’s most marketable tool that he has. While seeing yourself decline over the years is certainly a cause of unhappiness, it does not help that society is aggravating the impact.
Men are visual creatures, and their eyes have a liking for pretty things. It is the same when they look at women. Prettier women have more suitors showering them with love and gifts. Men are more forgiving towards sexy women when they make a mistake at work. Visually appealing women have the advantage compared to the average women when it comes to various forms of interaction in society. Society is harsh on men but softer on women, and even more tolerating towards women who are pretty. Women understand this, and that is why the impact of their declining beauty that comes with the merciless passing of time is doubled.
Psychologically, women had enjoyed the benefits of their youth and the decline in their treatment as they get older is obvious to them. Furthermore, after getting married, a decent marriage demands both parties to be faithful and naturally women should not accept advances from other men. As a result some of the women no longer feel the joy of being valued by others, particularly so if the husbands they are married to do not appreciate them. Hence sometimes you hear women say things like: Do not think that I no longer have market value.
Their perfect figure gone after pregnancy, the elegance gone from the demands of life and family, the beauty declining with age and from the lack of maintenance simply because they cannot keep up. Society had showered them with more love and care than they deserved when they were young, and demanded more than what is required of them when they get older. That disparity drives them to an insane pursuit of youth and beauty, if they still have the financial resources and energy to go for it. Else, be cast aside as one of the middle-age aunties nobody will bother to look at or value.
Businesses understand this. The media understand this. That is why they frequently reinforced this idea into the minds of the women. The pretty celebrities on and off-screen, the constant bombardment of advertisements featuring the sexy and the elegant, the attractive influencers on social media all persistently reminds women everyday on the impossible standard of what is beautiful. Note that I am not giving a politically correct stand that all women are beautiful. Fat is fat, ugly is ugly, beautiful is beautiful, sexy is sexy. Simple as that. There is nothing beautiful about obesity and nothing elegant about an auntie who totally gave up on even looking decent. It is indeed a fact that what we see of the ideal standard of women is very attractive to men, but it also does not change the fact that it is very demanding on the female population to maintain that consistently over prolonged periods of time when they also have other realistic things to deal with such as pregnancy, getting older, work, family etc. Yet it is also a fact that these attractive women seems to get things achieved more easily. Just take a look at the Instagram accounts. Accounts featuring pretty faces and sexy bodies gain followers much more easily. Pretty sure many of these followers are men, which we will also explore more in the next part of this article series.
And so businesses come up with many ways to earn that sort of money. Come to our spa, lie down on the bed and we will make your face pretty. You need not spend any effort. Come to our hair salon and all you need to do is to sit down, we will take care of that hair for you. Since you are eating anyway, come to our collagen hotpot shop and get some collagen for firmer and younger skin (note that paying for collagen hotpot is the same as paying for stupidity tax, which I will explain more in later articles). Some businesses indirectly market themselves in such a way that the female customers need not put in any effort needed to look pretty. Just relax and pay us, we will do the rest for you. This is very similar to a get rich quick scheme. In the end, while there may be supplementary products or services, there is no shortcut. Looking pretty simply demands daily maintenance.
Now that we have gone through a simple background on the biological, psychological and societal impact of the decline of a women’s beauty, we can see why the female population places so much emphasis on looking pretty, to the point of being irrational. Again, the big question is: how can I capitalise on this?
Setting Up A Shop
Again, this is a pretty standard model of operating a business. Set up a shop, put some products or services, sell it. Be it opening a hair salon, selling collagen hotpot, setting up a slimming centre or an online shop selling dresses, this is the most straightforward channel which most of the people targeting this segment use. I have said it before in my previous article, so I will not repeat unnecessarily here.
Social Media Channels
Social media channels like YouTube, TikTok, Facebook and even blogs are common ways to teach and share something. Technology enables us to reach out to the world. No longer are we restricted geographically, but are connected to anyone who has internet access. The whole world is a resource pool for you to tap on from the comfort of your home. Do you have knowledge and skills in any of the areas, such as make-up, hair care, skin care, etc? Then you can start a channel and make videos or articles to teach the ladies how to do make up, what to take note of on your skin care regime etc. Of course, among all the social media channels around, getting recognised out there is not easy, and no matter what you do there are always haters. But keep on persisting and pump out quality and original content consistently, then continuously share it to your friends or in your personal social media to slowly build up a following. Be thick-skinned, ask all your friends who like and hate you to follow your account and share it to their friends.
Set Up Classes / Consultancy
Yes YouTube and social media is a great tool and platform to teach, but nothing beats having one to one physical lessons. There are some who do not know make-up, there are some who simply have no fashion sense. A physical lesson, be it in big or small groups, or even a personal 1-to-1 lesson is far superior in terms of learning. Of course, this may be a niche market, as the common girl would not pay for a physical lesson such as this.
When we talk about consultancy, it need not be an official company with expensive looking desks at a fanciful uptown office. It can simply be a one-man show. As mentioned above, there are people who have no fashion sense, but have the money. They may or may not have time too. What they want is simply to pay money for someone to settle all the fashion and appearance aspect for them. Hence they hire a consultant, whose job is to find clothing, hairstyle, bags etc which are suitable for them. This is also a niche market which you need to prove yourself and build your reputation and network slowly, as it is with all sorts of business or even freelance work.
The above comes from a Chinese TV drama series in which this character only have that few sets of clothing, and she got it by hiring a consultant to choose for her. With the consultant doing a good job, she only need that few sets of clothing to look classy wherever she goes.
Partnering With Others
If we push a step further, partnering with bespoke (just a fanciful name for custom-made) goods provider is an extension of your business. For those who have the financial power, a tailor-made office wear or a custom made shoe is well-within their means as they go for both comfort and fashion sense. But do not think that only the rich have access to all these services. Partnering with bespoke providers who can offer such level of service to the common man at a reasonable price will be an huge added advantage to your range of service. You will need to do some basic gatekeeping to prevent your customers from having direct contact with your partners though, or if you are unable to do that, then you have to work out some sort of arrangement with the partners.
Be it the standard and most straightforward way of setting up a shop, or trying out other activities such as opening classes, this market is a huge one with much potential. As women around the world gets more educated and have an increase in earning power, the demand for such products and services will only increase. Choose a segment that fits your resources, skills and interest, then go for it after you have made ample preparation and done enough homework. You must also always bear in mind the cost and consequences of failure and be able to withstand it before going in.