It took me a solid year to pivot from fashion styling to fashion and beauty journalism. As a newcomer, and a woman of color, I didn't have resources or mentors around me that were available in the transition. I knew that if I wanted to be a successful journalist, I would have to learn the in's and out's of the industry, the intense rules of grammar and pitching, and how to form a story for specific audiences. Oftentimes, people of color enter industries at uneven playing fields and work aggressively to get their seat at the table.
Clubhouse, the latest social media network, makes getting a seat at the table attainable for people of color, entrepreneurs, and the average consumer. The audio-only app allows users to create rooms and talk to each other about a variety of topics, in real time. It's certainly exclusive in gaining access, as you have to be invited by a current user in order to use the app, but once you're in — you quickly get an insider view.
Upon entering the app, you create an account and follow 'clubs' that you are interested in. Clubs vary from fashion, beauty, lifestyle, wellness, music, marketing, entrepreneurship, management and so much more. Essentially, whatever topic you are interested in, there is a club associated with it. When listening in on the audio-only chats, you can raise your hand and ask a question or weigh in on a subject — making the app feel more like a conversation among friends, where people are willing to share real truths.
Having used the app over the last eight weeks, I've been really impressed with the access to free information the app offers. Because it's free of advertisers and brand pages, you get real, off-the-cuff information about subjects you're interested in.
I think Clubhouse will be a game changer for the average consumer. Between the ever-growing list of brands out there, sustainability claims, expert recommendations and greenwashing — navigating the beauty space can be overwhelming as a consumer. We aren't always told the whole story, and end up having to make decisions around skincare and beauty without all of the information.
Beauty consumers don't have a universal source of information. Usually we go to a website or store, soak in what we are being told from the very person who is selling us a product. The source of information and seller are the same person, creating a real imbalance in our decision making. What I like about Clubhouse is it puts the power back into the hands of the consumer. The app doesn't allow brands to have their own accounts and currently, hosts and speakers can't sell anything — all of which make it a safe space to hear unpopular opinions and explanations on trends and debunking of ancient myths.
While listening to talks on The Black Beauty Club, The Skin Enthusiast, and The Beauty Room, I've learned about ingredient safety, the importance of wearing sunscreen indoors, the 411 on clean beauty, greenwashing terms to look out for, the factors required for 100 percent sustainability and so much more. I've enjoyed asking questions and getting in-depth answers.
Of course, with free information flying across the platform and little regulation or accountability, there's the inevitable opportunity for misinformation and incorrect beauty advice. Similar to TikTok or YouTube or any other platform, it's important to make sure you're taking into account each speaker's credentials and doing your own research on ingredients and products. Still, I see Clubhouse as the ideal space for experts to shed light on trends and important information that we, as consumers, aren't necessarily privy too.