Cardiff makeup artist shortlisted in prestigious business competition

Jessica Blackler

A Cardiff makeup artist who has invented a global unisex cosmetic product to support transgender women has taken a step closer to landing a £20,000 investment.

Jessica Blackler launched her own business – called JECCA Makeup– as a freelance make-up artist , and after receiving numerous enquiries for her services from transgender women who had seen her work on social media, she decided to explore a new genderless product.

The 22-year-old brought to market the Correct & Conceal palette in December 2017. It creates a luminous base that is suitable for all wearers and hides facial features such as beard shadow, acne and birth marks.

The formula is also vegan-free, enabling individuals who are taking medication as part of the gender transition process to steer clear of any interfering hormones.

Jessica has already expanded beyond the UK and into markets in the EU, Australia and the Middle East, and with sales consistently growing month-on-month, this is expected to increase further.

Key to unlocking further growth for Jessica is the Baldwins Young Entrepreneur KickStart Awards final which take place at Edgbaston Cricket Ground on Thursday, November 15.

Jessica is one of three finalists picked out from around 30 applicants to pitch their business concept in front of 400 people, with the winner receiving a £10,000 investment and £10,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice. The two runners-up will each receive £5,000 worth of mentoring and accountancy advice.

“I’ve had an unbelievable nine months with a product that overlooks gender, and the performance of the business in its infancy proves just how much this was needed, particularly for the transgender community,” Jessica said.

“I think the reason why this product has been so successful is because a lot of time has been spent with LGBT organisations to understand what the transgender community is looking for in a make-up product – it needs to externally reflect the femininity that transgender women feel on the inside.

“I’m hoping that by creating this unisex product, it gives people of both genders the option to feel confident about their appearance.

“I am fairly new to running a business which is why I have entered the KickStart Awards and enlisted the support of Baldwins.

“The investment and advice would help me to grow the business into the US while looking into developing new products that address particular facial features.”

David Baldwin, director at Baldwins, was one of the KickStart Awards judges that shortlisted Jessica for the final three.

He added: “Seeing what Jessica has done with one product in nine months is phenomenal, and indicates that with the right business advice and contacts, this is a venture that can gather momentum and spread all around the world.

“It is a product that is changing a lot of people’s day-to-day lives, and I look forward to helping Jessica grow the business over the coming months.”