When a brand is targeting a woman of color, they’re relegating us to one thing. For example, they’re creating a brand but only selling it in a drugstore, but not everyone will go to a drugstore to buy their foundation. There are a lot of us who like the boutique experience. There are days where I want full coverage and days where I only want light coverage, but brands don’t offer such a diverse spectrum of shades.
I’m trying to take a well-rounded approach with Marjani–I’m shopping and curating these products and making sure there’s something you can find on the site that really speaks to you. I take time to speak with brands and highlight the people who are making these products, so that we’re giving more of an intimate experience when you come to the site. We want you to feel like you’re part of the story.
How do you choose what companies to partner with?
In January, I started with 12 brands and am now up to 26. I wanted to service all categories–makeup, hair care, and skin care. While I want to keep things personal, I also want products to be in stock so partners can fulfill the orders as they come in. It’s both a business perspective and a relationship that I like to develop with the brands. I pick brands that are independently owned, owned by people of color or have a mission of being inclusive and putting women of color at the forefront, and source international brands. I use a global approach. As a woman of color, we’re not just in the States, but we’re all over, and I want women of color to be able to get the best products in one place, no matter where they’re from.
Where do you see the industry going next?
I foresee another product launch like Fenty Beauty, where the complete line comes with a more inclusive approach. What you see happening now is a backlash on Make Up For Ever—right after Fenty Beauty, they started posting about how they’ve always had 40 shades. Existing brands are going to find out that women of color are now more informed and we’re demanding more from the brand. You can’t be an existing brand and talk about your 40 shades without having a genuine marketing push to target that customer and really understand them.
Existing brands have a long way to go and should get their message across in a way that speaks to women of color and doesn’t get us to buy because of frustration, but because we’re feeling empowered and want to buy something exciting. That’s what Fenty tapped into: “Buy this because it’s great because we’re celebrating you and that your dark skin is beautiful.” That’s the approach newer brands are going to come out of the gate with, but older brands are going to have to play catch up.