Nicole Marett initially got involved in fashion and beauty with one goal: to be the beauty editor of a fashion magazine. She found herself in New York City, pursuing her dream while working for a fashion house on 5th Avenue. But something wasn’t quite right: Nicole’s dream wasn’t really making her happy, as she thought it would. On an overseas mission’s trip, Nicole befriended a prostitute, and her heart began to break for a new cause: to put an end to human trafficking. Today, Nicole is the founder of Radiant Cosmetics, a for-profit makeup company that donates a portion of its profits to a non-profit company that supports human trafficking awareness and prevention efforts.
YOU ARE: Your original goal was to work in fashion, and you achieved that goal. What changed your direction and inspired you to give up that dream?
Nicole: I started doing that, and I didn’t really love it. I was led to go overseas. I found a missions organization that was a year-long around the world so I decided to try it. From there, everything changed.
YOU ARE: God’s calling isn’t always comfortable at first. What kind of opposition did you face when you began to pursue his plan?
Nicole: In the beginning of starting Radiant, it was this crazy idea and everyone thought it was kind of weird. It caused me to go, “Did God really say that?” It caused an internal struggle; the first six months were rough, but things have gotten better since then.
YOU ARE: Your company sells makeup to raise money and stop human trafficking. What else do you do to support this cause?
Nicole: I am really involved personally. When I started, money was the easiest to give. There weren’t many options in Austin to help physically. There are now a few safe homes in Austin, and I’m in charge of working at the safe home and of going to the brothels. We haven’t [gone to the brothels] yet because we are just launching, but we plan on starting this in the next few months.
YOU ARE: What are your goals for Radiant in the next ten years?
Nicole: I’d love to be in a lot more stores. We have a few stores that carry the line, and I’d love to see it expand in the US. I want to get more involved physically. I’d like to see survivors coming and working for Radiant and really being a voice for our company. I would also like to do more overseas. I went to India this past December, and I got to do a “country-collection”. We have bags for the line made by women there who are at risk for trafficking. The idea is to have a makeup bag made in that country, and then a makeup line inspired by the country. I’d love to highlight other organizations around that world that are fighting trafficking. I started with a domestic focus, and I plan to grow from there.
YOU ARE: We’ve shared a lot of statistics on human trafficking with our readers in past articles. If you were to share a statistic or thought to inspire someone to care about this issue, what would it be?
Nicole: It’s not that the statistics don’t mean anything, but what surprises people the most is that it happens in your very own city. I work with people here in Austin, and many people think it’s an overseas problem. I live right across the street from a brothel, and I don’t even live in a seedy area.
YOU ARE: What makes you feel beautiful?
Nicole: It might sound cheesy, but the Lord [makes me feel beautiful]. My struggle with self-esteem defined me for so long, and God worked in my own heart to make me realize that I’m beautiful with or without makeup. I do love makeup though. That’s part of why I started a makeup company. I love playing with colors and finding things that make me feel beautiful.
YOU ARE: What is one thought you would like to share with our readers?
Nicole: No matter your age, profession, or season of life, you can make a difference. I meet so many women (and men) who say they want to make a difference and don’t know how. They feel like that means they have to quit their jobs, move overseas, etc. We have the potential to make a difference every day; that’s what I love so much about social enterprises. I can tell you hundreds that are making a difference, and all you have to do is choose to make a purchase with them instead of somewhere else you normally might. There are so many great businesses as well as organizations; I urge you to find something you’re passionate about and get involved. There are many nonprofits that can use you and your skill set. The biggest thing for me, when I started Radiant, was finding where I could be used. I loved makeup, so I decided to make a difference using my love for makeup. Use your talents to help others.
Check out Nicole’s makeup line and learn more about the issue of human trafficking at radiantcosmetics.org.