Installation #2: "24 Karat Cake" Millennial Women's Relationship with Indulgence and Luxury

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A LITTLE BACKGROUND:

Millennial women have strong purchasing power. What influences it? Millennial women tend to have above-average household incomes and young women aren’t afraid to put our purchasing power to use, according to an article on marketingcharts.com. The article goes on to explain that part of the funding that fuels Millennial women’s style of spending comes from our side-hustles. I find this easy to believe since women have seen a great rise in entrepreneurship in the last few years.

Does the rise in entrepreneurship mean that we’re rolling in dough and enjoying the 360 frontal wigs of our labor? Many start-up brands and businesses require the business owners to be the face of the brand, and make the upkeep of their visual appearance a mandatory expense. Some women will even say that the “indulgence” of getting their hair and nails done is actually a work requirement.

“They are a luxury to an extent, but as someone that’s in the public eye I have a certain obligation to consistently look good so it’s part of my job at this point. Hair is the easiest to cut corners with, but nails must be done. And in the summer waxing for shoots is a must.”

- Esther Lauren, Founder of Babes in Color

This article also states that “about 8 in 10 Millennials occasionally indulge themselves with a big-ticket purchase, although they make sure that they’re getting the best deal” and honestly, I think they wrote that sentence specifically about me. They go on to explain that there are several factors that influence our purchase behaviors including brand story, customer ratings and reviews, recommendations from family and friends, and influencers / Instagrammers. Personally, I value transparency in brands, commonality and costumer appreciation. What draws you to a brand, company or business? Leave a comment and let us know.

IN REAL TIME:

What does the every day Millennial working woman and entrepreneur value as luxury and indulgence? What do we look at as high class these days? We see a lot of companies, brands and start up businesses centered around clothing, hairstyles, nails, make up, skin care and hair care products. All of these are considered a luxury in some way by most women because it can easily rack up, especially with more important financial priorities looming.

Since we do always have more important financial priorities looming, that begs the question… How do we actually make it work? Do we have the budget for it or are we just saying “fuck it”, indulging and then thinking about it later?

I took it to Instagram and asked my women followers:

For question #1, I received answers like

“Girl I DIY to stay fly. I can do my own hair, nails, all that. Youtube is free.99 for education”

- Brittany A., Founder of The Idea Girl Co.

“If I’m spending my money on something else, I’ll do my hair/nails myself. Won’t get both.”

- Sasha, Senior Skincare advisor at Sephora

Most of the responses leaned towards creating a budget or “allowance” for themselves with every paycheck.

For question #2, I received answers like:

“Luxury to me is going out to eat instead of packing food or drinks, clubs or a weekend getaway. I consider nails, wigs/sew-ins, skin care products, etc to be necessities and not luxury.”

- Oniqua Higgins, News Personality and Founder of She Will Mentoring

Do you think that these necessities hold women back from being able to sustain businesses or does it work in our favor because this is something that’s so natural to our daily lives and womanhood, that it’s easy to now build a brand off of it?

I personally think that the natural power of women shows right in this area. We go through a ton of adversity in our daily lives, but we’ve been able to build communities around hair, nails, etc. that allow us to take a step away from work, get glam and celebrate being women. As women we’re able to take the staple moments of getting the bottoms of our hair bumped and playing in mommy’s make up and create a cultures and communities around it, thus turning it into million dollar businesses.

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THE PASTRY LOOP IN:

How do the pastries tie in? So, I developed the concept of an artistically layered carrot cake with cream cheese, stacked and garnished with 24 Karat Gold sheets, which are considered a luxury baking garnish in the food industry due to it being very pricey.

The Carrot Cake was included to represent the indulgence that we allow ourselves and an ode the idea that if we’re going to spend a bunch of money on something it will definitely be the highest quality possible.

The Gold Flakes represent the refinery and simplicity that we enjoy sometimes when expressing what we feel is high class. A lot of times women will opt out of a gaudy ring and go for a simple gold band with a small gem in it or we’ll go for a Cartier Love Bracelet over a chunky styled bracelet, a light make up beat, a simple fall colored acrylic set or regular straight Malaysian bundles in the classic 2B.

What is your preferred style? Do you resonate with being simple and classic or artistic and creative?

WHAT’D YOU THINK?

Leave a comment below answering any of the questions posed throughout the post or any thoughts that developed for you as you read.

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See you in our next installment of Table Manners: The Food Blog.

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