by Elisabeth King
Most people have received their fair share of advice from well-meaning ‘advisers’. More than nine out of 10 Internet users also turn to the web for advice on matters ranging from medical to financial to beauty, according to recent research. But much of this deluge of data is overwhelming because finding information which becomes an indispensable part of a daily routine is becoming increasingly rare.
The way consumers approach all aspects of their lives has changed dramatically, says Bahar Etminan, Founder and Editor of rescu. com.au. “They want deep dive content which is expert-led. There is a time and a place for mindless bingeing on streaming services and social media, and yes, we like to be entertained by Instagrammers and YouTubers but ultimately, we want to learn from experts”.
EXPERT-LED / DEEP DIVE CONTENT
In September, Etminan launched Rescu Academy, a breakthrough digital learning platform offering expert-run courses on makeup, relationships, nutrition, mindfulness and more. The strategy is an evolution of rescu. com.au, one of Australia’s first online lifestyle destinations, she says. “I founded Rescu as a publishing site over nine years ago. Its raison d’être has always centred on expert advice. But 18 months ago we started to dig deeper into verticals to learn more about what our subscribers were really interested in and how they consumed content”.
Beauty is still the number one drawcard on the site, but the lines between beauty and well-being have become blurred, says Etminan. “We discovered that readers were going to our expert makeup artist, Michael Brown, for example, and then clicking through the vertical. But there has been an explosion of interest across the holistic beauty spectrum from detoxing the skin to dry brushing and vegan beauty. Greater knowledge and insight mean that readers are no longer looking for articles on how to fake a good night’s sleep but want information on how to get a good night’s sleep”.
Sixty five percent of Rescu’s audience is aged from 30 to 45-plus, so cosmetology and soft option enhancements such as fillers and injectables are also extremely popular topics. Dr Joseph Hkeik, Australia’s leading Cosmetic Doctor, has been a resident Expert contributor to RESCU for over 4 years. Other key factors that prompted the launch of Rescu Academy is that women are more confident about what they want and don’t want, adds Etminan. “There’s no barrier to cost anymore. Women want to know what works. An edit from an expert so they look good first time and every time. This is a worldwide phenomenon and that’s why the experts we chose for Rescu Academy have global appeal. It is an international eLearning platform that just happens to be based in Australia”.
“But our courses are not just for consumers. I have a background in beauty retail both from a global brand side (Estée Lauder Companies) and from my own distribution business (BrandMakers). Online learning is simply cost effective and hugely practical. A comprehensive makeup course such as the one we are creating, led by an internationally acclaimed presenter like Nigel Stanislaus, is going to be a very attractive and cost effective training tool for small brands. Imagine the benefit of having BAs complete the course in their own time, without travelling to an event, and to have this tool on hand for ongoing development? We will have the course available for bulk purchase by brands and it’s naturally something we are talking to brands about on a bespoke level”.
MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR MARKET / GLOBAL APPEAL
According to business intelligence researcher, IBISWorld, Australia’s online education industry is worth $4.9 billion and is growing at an annual rate of 5.4 per cent. Rescu Academy taps into this fast-growing sector, pioneered internationally by leading players such as DailyOm, Lynda and mindbodygreen, says Etminan. “Most of them started as publishers like Rescu. But the need for truly expert guidance has only increased and Rescu Academy gives audiences unparalleled access to some of Australia’s most sought-after experts”.
Each course in the Rescu Academy will contain video-led modules, work sheets and eBooks. Bite size learning at, when and where you are ready to engage. Prices begin at $198 for beginner courses, increasing to $299 and up to $699 more for recreational and advanced, vocational-level courses. “Students can learn at their own pace and a purchase offers lifetime access to the content”, says Etminan. “All modules will be accessible in full and available on any device at the time of purchase to allow on-the-go or deep immersion so that self-education fits into busy lifestyles”.
UNMATCHED EXPERTISE / ONGOING GROWTH
The expert fronting the Be Your Own Makeup Artist course is Nigel Stanislaus. The Singapore-born maestro’s credentials include stints as a judge on Miss Universe Australia and Asia’s Next Top Model. His celebrity client list ranges from Ruby Rose to Olivia Newton-John, Hilary Duff, Melissa George and Gigi Hadid. In high demand by some of Australia’s leading glossy magazines, Stanislaus has worked with Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Grazia and some of the world’s leading beauty brands, including L’Oréal Paris and of course his role at Maybelline for over 9 years.
Nigel was the perfect choice, says Etminan. “His experience in presenting, filming and quality production is unmatched. The 17 modules are brand agnostic. Separate to the course we have partnered with Estée Lauder Companies as the sole sponsor for the first 12 months, and all of their brands from the core Estée Lauder brand to M.A.C will be presented in a value added, educational format. Their integrated messaging from custom educational videos with their experts, to gifts and value added benefits for course participants, is a truly innovative digital partnership. Estée Lauder Group really understood the value of online education and have been an incredible and hands on partner.
To give RESCU Academy a clear brand identitiy and visual point of difference I have worked with the talented Eleanor Pendleton, the well-known Instagram star, Publisher and former beauty editor of InStyle magazine, via Gritty Pretty Productions as the creative director for the makeup course. Her impeccible taste adds a clear point-of-difference and unique style”.
The second course, also released in September, is Reigniting Your Relationship with Annie Gurton. The British-born psychotherapist is the resident couples counsellor on rescu.com.au and lectures at ACAP (Australian College of Counselling) and JNI (Jansen Newman Institute) – two of Sydney’s leading colleges for training counsellors and therapists. Gurton has also worked as a journalist and editor and founded two yoga centres in India. “Annie is inspirational and the 10 module course is custom-collated for anyone trying to revive their relationship and to simply learn how to do relationships better.”.
Etminan, as always, plans well ahead. “Next year we will be launching three more courses – Flexible Plant-Based Nutrition, Advanced Makeup Artistry and Mindfulness Practice in the Real World. All the courses will be cost-effective. According to recent research, 74 per cent of workers believe that wellness programs offered by employers are worth the time and money and two in five employees see wellness programs as important when job searching. Attitudes which make the courses perfect for a corporate pitch”.
We live in an excessive culture but nothing beats truly expert advice from the mouthsof professionals who have been through it all, says Etminan. “Consumers have gone full circle and are looking for real expertise when they want it, from makeup to skincare, diet and well-being. People still look for help and advice from people they can trust. And the core mission of Rescu Academy is to
put people in the hands of some of the best experts in their fields”.