From humble beginnings to creating the successful Téviant brand, Albert Kurniawan shares his story of artistry, determination, and a deep connection to the beauty communities
“I don’t have Filipino blood, pero nagtatagalog ako. I’ve been here siguro mga 15 years, so it’s not an excuse for me to not speak the language na.” Despite being Indonesian-born and raised, Albert Kurniawan has adjusted to the Philippine landscape with ease.
Kurniawan first came to the country for vacation, stating, “What also brought me to the Philippines was the love of Filipino culture.”
Nearly two decades ago, he moved to the archipelago with just 5,000 pesos in his pocket. Since then, he has built a burgeoning makeup business that has made waves throughout the country: Téviant Beauty.
Despite never having studied retail, nor worked in business, or a corporate environment, he has seamlessly transitioned to managing a business—a world far apart from the pure artistry of applying cosmetics. At present, his brand is working with four different factories in Italy and three in Asia.
As a makeup artist, Kurniawan collaborated with various international brands before working with Dior, Chanel, and NARS for many years. After partnering with multiple brands, brides, and acting as the lead makeup artist for NARS in the Philippines, he stopped to think: “What’s next?”
Kurniawan recalls, “It’s not like my eyes will be the same quality of eyesight forever. My hands, also…. I put pressure on myself. What’s next for me?”
The making of a dream
The answer came to Kurniawan while on vacation in Milan. He met a woman who was working for a makeup factory in the fashion capital—she gave him the idea to try creating makeup. Kurniawan reflects, “God sent me a message, perhaps that’s a sign of something that I have to do.”
It was 2016, exactly two years before the first launch of Téviant. He underwent a year-long process before reaping the reward of a “dermatologically-tested” certificate—plowing through the tedious steps of filing documents, four-month stability tests, and four-month compatibility tests, until creating the initial concept.
While the brand’s name Téviant gives a first impression as a French phrase, it is actually the namesake of Albert Kurniawan’s mother in Indonesia. Her name is Tevianty, a singular given name in the Javanese tradition of using only one name. Kurniawan explains this personal touch,
“I fell in love with makeup when I was young because of my mom. She made me believe that makeup really gives extra confidence to every person.”
After a year of testing the products came the launch of the first-ever collection offering the essentials—basic eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow. As a professional makeup artist, Kurniawan sought to demonstrate to the local market how these products could elevate the everyday look. He says,
“We curate every product, color, and formula so that it can be used easily by the everyday woman, and also so that professional makeup artists can match their face.”
“The Ultimate Skinmaster”
The vegan and dermatologist-tested formula has been in the works since 2016. Starting in 2020, Kurniawan has been searching for the best formula with the chemists in the Téviant Lab in Italy. He says, “Siguro I can say this is the hardest RMT (a moisturizing emollient) I have done for a collection. This is a dream of mine. And something that will really say who we are.”
Looking at the latest collection, if there’s something that makes it stand apart, it is the attention it gives to each skin tone, for each face. The foundation is rounded out by elasticity, adjusting according to the movement of one’s skin to avoid cracking, as well as a self-setting aspect and a 24-hour stay.
He shares how he now aims to pay it forward through his business, “A lot of people helped me along the way. Now that I have the power to help other makeup artists, I will help. And hopefully, Téviant having the professional quality that it has, provides the new up-and-coming makeup artists with quality products in their kit with affordable prices…”
“My main purpose for Téviant is to make it a venue, to embrace the local beauty community.
Photos courtesy of Mary Icon Paguia of the TÉVIANT team. Special thanks to Franco Saycon.