Founding and starting your own business is no easy feat, and that sentiment only becomes more true (and complicated) for Black people, who are not only left out of boardrooms and executive corporate roles, but from the same support and access non-Black entrepreneurs receive when looking to get a business off the ground.
“The distribution of wealth and financial resources has historically been far less proportionate for Black people than our non-black counterparts,” Gwen Jimmere, founder and CEO of Naturalicious, tells NYLON. “The same has been the case when it comes to acquiring capital to run our businesses, which ultimately leads to a means of preventing Black founders from creating generational wealth for our families and our community.”
Still, against the odds, Black-owned beauty brands continue to carve out a space of their own, creating the beauty products they wished to see — and use — occupying stores everywhere. Ahead, NYLON spoke with 10 Black beauty founders, each sharing their own lived experience and insight about navigating the beauty space as a Black entrepreneur. Click through for their advice on securing capital, commandeering the board room, and perseverance, ahead.
How did Mented come to fruition?
KM: Amanda and I came up with the idea for Mented one night over a glass of wine. We were talking about how impossible it is to find the perfect nude lipstick, and we realized that lipstick was really only the tip of the iceberg. There weren’t very many premium brands focusing on our specific beauty needs, so we decided to fill the void. We launched in 2017 with six lipstick shades we created by hand, and have been blessed to grow rapidly from there.