Learn about the career paths of BIPOC beauty professionals from corporate to creatives and entrepreneurs. Find out how they've overcome challenges and found success.
EPISODE REMIX: Ron Robinson How A Hero Ingredient and Focusing on Consumer Needs Helped Him Build a Beauty Brand
This week, we are back in the crates with a rebroadcast of my chat with Ron Robinson, CEO, and Co-Founder of BeautyStat Cosmetics. This is a must-listen for anyone contemplating beauty entrepreneurship, product development, or becoming a cosmetic chemist. Ron tackles the critical mindset for each.
He also chats about pivoting BeautyStat from an influencer agency to a successful skincare brand.
The original show notes for the episode are below:
Ron Robinson's mother wanted all of her sons to be doctors. Ron, who is now the Founder and CEO of BeautyStat Cosmetics, went as far as attending medical school before deciding it wasn't for him. Instead, putting his background in chemistry to work, he landed a job at Clinique, and one of the first products he helped to formulate was their Turnaround products. From there, he moved to mass brand Revlon and later Avon. Each job brought him closer to understanding the consumer.
During the early days of social media, Ron saw a gap in the market. So he created the first iteration of BeautyStat, a beauty community where he and a team of experts gave insider information about products and trends. But the stability of Vitamin C was a constant question he was asked about as an expert. So he and a former colleague decided to work on a side project where they set out to stabilize this sought-after ingredient, and BeautyStat Cosmetics was born.
Ron explains how his hero product, Universal C Skin Refiner, has become the darling of not only editors, racking up numerous awards, as well as consumers. How in just one year, the line has expanded both the products it offers and the outlets through which it is available. And how Covid-19 and the beauty industry's response have impacted his business.
Ron explains that his position as a cosmetic chemist has made him view the clean beauty movement differently. It is important for him to support BIPOC women in beauty and what types of individuals make the best entrepreneurs.
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EPISODE REMIX: Dixie Lincoln-Nichols: Why She's A Disruptor in the Beauty, Wellness & Self-Care Space
With all that is going on in the world, we all need a bit of self-care. And in order to practice it myself, I wanted to bring you a rebroadcast of my chat with Dixie Lincoln-Nichols, Founder of the Inside Outer Beauty Market. In this episode, Dixie shares her career evolution from her aspirations to become a medical doctor to a science teacher to now a beauty and wellness entrepreneur. Stay tuned to the end for four new tips that will help you shop for toxicant-free products. (Original show notes below)--------------------------------------------
Dixie Lincoln-Nichols learned about natural beauty ingredients at about five-years-old from her grandmother in Trinidad. But accessing that knowledge came much late, following a brief career as a biology teacher. After a diagnosis of uterine fibroids and an encounter with an insensitive doctor, Dixie started exploring ways to heal herself naturally. She saw an opportunity to bring toxicant-free beauty, wellness, and home products to a multicultural audience. She launched Inside Outer Beauty Market a brick-and-mortar store which contains products that have been carefully curated by her and her team. She explains that the marketing of clean beauty has created a perception that it is for an affluent white customer, but points out that the ingredients in many of the products are the same ones her grandmother used. And expresses concerns about the ingredients in beauty products marketed to Black women in particular. Dixie gives us insight into how she sources and tests products and how she uses her background as an educator to teach her customers about toxicant-free beauty and wellness.
We discuss how the mind/body connection factors into beauty and wellness and how she uses her training as a Qi Gong instructor as part of a holistic approach to beauty and wellness.
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Abigail Opiah: Cultivating Conversations and E-Commerce Solutions Around Black Women's Hair
When Abigail Opiah and her sister, Antonia, co-founders of UN_Ruly, launched an exhibit and short film called You Can Touch My Hair, in 2013, the intent was a commentary on how Black women had been "othered" in the workplace. But to some it was controversial. In fact, on the second day of the public exhibit, some Black women came to protest. Abigail's goal was simply to move the conversation about textured hair forward. The duo has been incorporating innovative ways to do just that on their media platform and other projects since. like the award-winning Pretty Shouldn't Hurt, done in partnership with L'Oréal.
While she always saw entrepreneurship in her future, Abigail believes that ending up as a beauty entrepreneur is serendipity. She started her career at a South Florida real estate firm in a role that mixed project management, public relations, marketing, and other skillsets. When she moved to New York, she landed a job at a boutique public relations firm that focused on entertainment and lifestyle clients. She continued in those areas when she started her own company.
But the Opiah sisters have been working together off-and-on since they were young babysitters. When Antonia floated the idea to Abigail, a platform was birthed. Three years later, they saw a need for in-home styling services, launching the e-commerce platform, Yeluchi in 90 days with only two stylists in New York City. The business expanded to include several cities (currently, NY, Los Angeles, and the DMV). Abigail shares how Covid-19 impacted their business and the steps the company took to support their hairstylists.
She oversees their e-commerce business, and media relations and is spearheading their latest effort, selling braiding hair. She explains how this expansion is a natural outgrowth of their mobile business and that clients will be able to purchase pre-bundled packs based on the style they choose.
Abigail also explains how she and her sister work together, dividing responsibility. And why a business coach was helpful in the duo's ability to separate their business and personal relationships.
Find out all of this and more in the latest episode.
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Jamella Bailey: How Her Hair Loss Pain Point Transformed Her Into a Passionate Beauty Entrepreneur
The children of Trinidadian immigrants growing up in Montreal, Jamella Bailey, President, and Founder of Crüe Cosmetics, dreaded the hair maintenance process. It led her to spend many years hiding her hair under braids and protective styles. But her quest for a Beyoncé-like lace front cost her more than the expensive price tag for the wig. The stylist she visited glued the wig directly to her hairline, with traumatic results in hair loss, scalp irritation, and traction alopecia.
Jamella couldn't use most of the products she found in her pharmacy without additional irritation. This life-changing experience led her to research natural ingredients and start blending products in her kitchen, and she used friends and family as testers. She knew that she had found the right formula for her first product, a Growth Serum, when her testers started buying the product and asking for more. As a result, Crüe officially launched in 2016 with four hand-made formulas housed in amber glass jars.
Jamella initially thought her target audience would be other Black Canadian women with hair damage but quickly found that those issues attracted a much wider audience than she ever imagined. She shares the challenges Black beauty founders face in being pigeonholed in specific categories.
Jamella has honed her craft along the way, taking photochemistry courses to become a better formulator and recently being a certified trichologist. She also shares why she must consider regulatory rules if she expands her business beyond Canada.
However, in the meantime, she is expanding the Crüe Cosmetics line in the coming months to add shampoos and conditioners to complement her existing treatment line. And she plans to expand beyond her e-commerce model to include salons that can retail her products and use them in treatments.
And Jamella has plans to put her trichology certification to good use in the future.
Follow Crüe Cosmetics on Instagram and Facebook.
Briggitta Hardin: Building a Brand at the Intersection of Beauty, Wellness, and CBD
Briggitta Hardin, the Co-founder of NFZD, a whole plant beauty brand, always knew entrepreneurship would be in her future but never thought that beauty would be part of the equation. Growing up in a rough section of Chicago, Briggitta couldn't go outside to play, so she devoured books instead.
Her thirst for knowledge led her to attend Howard University, and when she found herself squeamish around blood, she evolved her career aspirations from plastic surgery to public relations.
However, graduating as a new mother led her on another path, AV equipment sales at a hotel.
While on vacation in Los Angeles, Briggitta and her fiancé discovered the benefits of CBD. Briggitta wanted d to share it with her community, particularly Black women.
After the first line she developed failed to live up to her expectations, Briggitta went back to the drawing board, spending two years learning about other plant-based ingredients that worked well with CBD and how to create efficacious formulas. Finally, the pair, along with her cousin, Britton Hardin, launched the brand in 2020.
However, feedback from her early consumers led to a packaging rebrand, resulting in the brand being recognized at LMCC last year.
In addition to the Illuminate + Hydrate Facial Oil, the brand's hero product, the other standout includes their Wellness Blends, powders that include adaptogens, mushrooms, and superfoods that can be incorporated into smoothies and other beverages to aid in energy, sleep, and focus.
Briggitta shares the challenges that some with running a CBD brand and her commitment to making it work because she always remembers her 'why.'
Follow NFZD Beauty on Instagram
Shop NFZD Beauty face and body collections on their website
In-person at Etain Health.
Rahama Wright: Building a Social Impact Beauty Business and Redefining Success
Rahama Wright, CEO of Shea Yeleen, volunteering for the Peace Corp was a no-brainer, it was how her parents met. But it was during her time volunteering for a health clinic in West Africa that she had a desire to create an ecosystem that provided economic support for women. And she saw shea butter as a vehicle for her end goal. Eventually, that led to the launch of Shea Yellen, through which she partners with 14 different women's cooperatives in Ghana.
While other companies work on a buy one give one model, or tout their fair trade status, Rahama is on a mission to make sure that her work has a real social impact. Her Ghanian partners benefit from the business--making five times the local minimum wage. And she's invited the growers to see the finished products in Whole Foods too.
Rahama shares the challenges she faced getting her products into Whole Foods and how she was able to expand the brand's footprint as a result. And the other retail avenues she created before the pandemic included MGM hotels and retail space at the airport.
Covid-19 presented many obstacles for Shea Yeleen, Rahama shares them as well as some new opportunities that came her way, including being approached by Macy's.
But Rahama is not solely focused on her brand but defines real success by equipping other beauty entrepreneurs with the tools to find success too, she has partnered with her local government as well as some partners (to be named soon) on a new venture.
She also shares how she became the youngest Black woman to serve on a Presidential Advisory Council on doing business in Africa.
And she shares five great tips for anyone interested in creating a social impact business of their own.
Follow Shea Yeleen on
Shop for Shea Yeleen:
Whole Food Markets
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Every episode is full of great insight
These discussions are so engaging, insightful, and inspiring! Corynne is a fabulous host, and I love the way she helps each guest share their story.
Karen Williams interview
Karen Williams is Phenomenal! These ideas about aging resonated in my soul. This interview with Karen is thoughtful, intelligent and passionate. I loved everything about it. Thank You! ❤️👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 Now I’m off to Youtube to watch her interview “Conversations.”
Black Beauty Industry Veterans now have a voice!
Fresh and Exciting, in a world full of beauty podcasts, Magazine Editor Corynne Corbett offers listeners a fresh perspective on how Beauty Industry Veterans’ first jobs in the business set them up for success in their careers. I find myself every week, looking forward to listening to the experiences of Black Women who have made great strides in the Industry and how to use their experiences as a template to accomplish long term success in the Beauty Industry.