Asha Allen Silverstein knew at a very young age what she was destined to do. A Fashion and Beauty obsessed Makeup Artist, Asha used her passion for beauty and business acumen to found The Beauty Collective - the first collaborative, shared workspace for Beauty Professionals in Toronto. And because we at Bohten always have an eye on what’s happening in the streets, we couldn’t help but overlook this maven’s path to success – and of course, we could not pass up a chance to work with her on one of our latest campaigns (more on that later).
Born in Toronto but raised in the Caribbean island of St. Kitts Asha grew up with a love of fashion, beauty, and skincare. The arts served as an outlet for her creative talents and inspired her to make a career in Beauty after pursuing her university studies. Asha worked in Makeup both in Toronto and internationally - film, fashion,bridal and commercial Makeup before opening her namesake Makeup School, The A.S.H.A. School of makeup artistry in 2011 - where she catered to the everyday working woman and eager students alike.
About five years ago, after more than a decade in the Makeup business, Asha told Bohten she discovered a passion for a new service called Microblading. She was able to channel her years of artistic experience and love of eyebrows into a new beauty service. Microblading is (a form of cosmetic tattooing in which hair strokes are implanted in the skin to mimic realistic eyebrow hairs using a hand tool and tiny microblade (series of tiny needles grouped together.
Her focus then quickly shifted to this miracle form of Cosmetic tattooing and other forms of Permanent Makeup. “Eyebrows are super important to the face - they frame your eyes and have the power to make you look more youthful and polished if done right.” Good eyebrows and good glasses are the only accessories you need in 2020!” claims Asha. “For the Bohten shoot I literally created the appearance of eyebrows (using makeup)on one of the models since he didn’t have any visible brows. On the other two models it was definitely about grooming and enhancing their natural brows to showcase this feature and subtly call attention to Bohten’s designs.”
Asha also specializes in Semi - Permanent Lash & Brow enhancements like Brow Lamination and Lash lifts at The Beauty Collective.
After outgrowing her home studio she decided to make a divisive move and opened a Studio space called the Beauty Collective in the Leslieville area of Toronto in the fall of 2019.
The Beauty Collective is a curated beauty service bar and shared work space for beauty experts, to provide the ultimate experience for their clients. “I started The Beauty Collective because a truly communal space for beauty professionals didn’t exist in the city,” Asha said. “We have a very collaborative work culture and we’ve created a space for clients to access high quality services all in one place.”
You may be asking who are some of her latest clients. And you would be correct if you answered Bohten.Yes, we were so amazed with her work that we partnered with Asha and her brand, the Beauty Collective to help spearhead one of our latest campaigns!
“We wanted to do something that was visually stimulating, inclusive and powerful while still keeping it fun and playful,” Asha said of the Bohten editorial photoshoot she creative directed. “We played with makeup that would showcase Bohten’s glasses but still have a visual impact on it’s own .”
She continued: “We had specific references that we were looking to for this shoot but once we started working with the models and our fashion & product photographer, Steph Martyniuk- the final look of the shoot truly took on an identity of its own. We played with colours, textures and even makeup on male models that was beyond the standard powder and concealer. We used colour on the male models cheeks and lips as well as highlighter and gloss for a dewy skin effect. From the inception of this editorial shoot we chose models represented by (Angie’s models Toronto) that were unique and different in their own way.”
The end goal was stunning a display of Bohten’s signature eyewear that was high fashion, yet relatable . The shoot perfectly captured the brand ethos of Bohten and The Beauty Collective respectively - inclusivity and accessible fashion and beauty for all. Glasses are such an important accessory - they have the power to elevate and change the mood of any outfit. Bohten manages to be unique, trendy, classic and timeless all at the same time - there is something for everyone in this line.”
In addition to the Beauty Collective’s partnership, the company shares some of Bohten’s philosophies: the importance of diversity and inclusion in every aspect of the brand.
Asha says overall, there has definitely been some positive shifts in terms of diversity in the Beauty industry. When Cosmetic brands like Fenty Beauty came out with over 50 foundation colours - it highlighted the fact that there is a huge consumer base that was underserved and underrepresented in the market place. This type of disruptive innovation causes other brands to take notice and act accordingly - no one wants to be seen as non- inclusive in 2020.
At the Beauty Collective, Asha has made it her mission to create a truly diverse and inclusive environment. Here are the top Three ways in which Asha has been able to implement more diversity and authentic inclusion into her business model which any business can utilize as a starting place.
- We consciously use visibly BIPOC people in our visual advertising in our brick and mortar store and online on social media.
- We purposely collaborate with other BIPOC owned brands and entrepreneurs first. We need to consciously support and uplift each other.
- We openly discuss racism, discrimination, stereotypes and race relations when appropriate with staff members and make a conscious effort to learn about each other’s cultures, foods, family etc.
The result of these efforts? A space where clients feel welcome, seen, heard, represented, understood and most of all valued. Where BIPOC clients know that they can access services like Microblading and Spray Tanning (from other BIPOC People or practitioners who are competent and comfortable working with a variety of people from varying ethnicities)- without being made to feel - other because of the colour of their skin. A space where we can all be ourselves without covering aspects of our identify to assimilate and succeed.
This photoshoot was truly a celebration of inclusivity & diversity in both the Fashion and Beauty arenas. “I’m honoured to have had the opportunity to spearhead the creative direction on this photoshoot - we definitely accomplished what we set out to achieve in regards to a truly inclusive editorial shoot showcasing the best of both our respective brands.”