Social media currently is rife with the need to support black owned businesses and rightfully so. Bigger companies have always had a history of raising the stakes, especially in a crowded market like the cosmetics industry, often making it harder for smaller companies to be seen and compete. This is where you, the consumer, can make a change by going beyond hashtags and black squares. Purchases from black owned businesses can support the minority and going even further is supporting black British women. On the one hand, you’re reducing your carbon footprint by buying British products and, on the other hand, you are contributing to the strengthening of local communities. I spoke to three amazing young black women about their startups and hopes for the future, here’s their business in their own words:
PINK SALAD LDN
Stacy A Morris founded Pink Salad LDN while she was still a student. Their best sellers are their gorgeous glosses, my favourites are the Pink Lemonade gloss and their iconic Mini Fruit Lip Gloss Set. The brand is vegan and cruelty free, plus so affordable!
My starter questions would be, how old are you and is this your full-time job?
“I’m 24 and I started my business last April while I was studying, and I graduated in the summer but now it is my full time job.”
So how did you start up your business and how did you get it going?
“I kind of started by accident, I wanted to make some lip gloss for myself because being a student at the time I couldn’t find any nice textured lip glosses that weren’t really expensive. On the first day I got my supplies I recorded a quick video while making my first lip gloss and posted it on TikTok before I went to sleep. The next morning I woke up to a viral video and a few thousand followers! A lot of people wanted me to start selling what I had made so I got a few more supplies, made a cheap website and it really went from there.”
That’s amazing! Did you ever struggle with anything?
“I’ve had to struggle with satisfying the demand, even to this day we struggle with keeping our most popular products in stock. Which is a good problem to have obviously!”
Would you like to say anything to our readers about supporting local businesses and supporting beauty brands owned by black/women of colour?
“Yes I think voting with your coin and actually going out of your way to support black women and woc owned businesses is really important. There are plenty of amazing businesses out there ranging from affordable to luxury in many markets. People should understand that when you support these types of businesses in particular they are helping to set and sustain a chain reaction of positive change in the lives of minority communities. If you want to do something and help, then do that!”
Exactly! So finally do you have any hopes or plans for the future?
“One day you’ll see Pink Salad LDN in stores! My team has been growing and I hope that one day people will be able to walk into their favourite shops and try out our products.”
20-year-old Gloria Yeboah, studies Health and Human Science at the University of Huddersfield and originally began looking into the lash industry in primary school. Her ‘The Dollz’ Collection lashes are one of her best sellers. The brand is also cruelty free and her prices are mid-range but worth it for her fluffy lashes and gift sets amongst others. (To purchase some of this brand’s products you must be over the age of 18.)
So what were your initial ideas and how did you start this business?
“I originally started so I could support myself through primary school, I didn’t do my research and followed the crowd with the pinky girl theme, not releasing everyone else was doing the same thing. I spoke to my vendor and she wasn’t much help so I paused for a while and honestly one day it just clicked, I am a cannabis smoker myself and I don’t judge anyone who does or doesn’t, I had a pair of lashes and I was so excited I sent a video to my vendor and she suggested a bigger tub size which was the pink passion tub. At first I was hesitant because when I first started I noticed that my friends weren’t as supportive as I thought they’d be, it was more strangers that uplifted me, and also I felt I would be narrowing my market due to what people may feel it represents, nevertheless I carried on.”
“The business began growing, but I’ve always made sure to listen to my customers and ask them questions! Getting to know who my buyers are have really helped, my best friend ordered the pink passion tub so I gave her a rizla and lollipop from Amsterdam and she loved it so since then I decided to add it to my lashes, but I’ve always made it clear that customers can always leave me a message to remove items if not wanted. I’m all for being different, same thing happened to my gift sets. I got a bottle of 5ml of Hennessy for myself and I had another light bulb moment, what if I added this too?”
This is a great story. What do you think your brand represents?
“I’m all for creativity and being different; there’s a market for everyone. Being open with people is the best way forward and I’ve learnt to not wait for approval from anyone, not even friends and family, because they can discourage you!”
When you started your business did you struggle with anything or face any setbacks?
“Yes. I noticed at one point that black owned businesses do not really receive as much love and support as non-black owned businesses. I mean sometimes black individuals themselves won’t support their own, once they realize that it’s a black owned business. I feel like there’s a stereotype around it and I really hope my business can change that perspective for the better.”
What are your hopes for the future of your business?
“For the future I hope to grow and show others that you don’t need to be from a rich home or have an input from anyone to start anything, if you have an idea go for it. My main goal which I always pray to God is that someday I can really make a difference, I pray that I can empower everyone especially the minority. Some may feel as though they might not have the tools to start something, but I want to be that voice and support system, which is why I try to reply to everyone asap, no question goes unanswered. I’d love to be able to provide even the smallest of contributions to anyone that may be feeling low. For example, prom, I would love to distribute eyelashes/ lip glosses during prom to those that may be less fortunate. If lashes will be that one less of a worry, then so be it I’m here for it!”
COCOA COSMETICS UK
Jardel Robinson is a 22-year-old student from Birmingham, who started her business just this year on the 1st May. She champions nourishing ingredients such as vitamin E oil and rose water when making her vegan and cruelty free glosses.
How did you start your little business?
“I was tired of struggling to find shades that matched my skin tone and paying super high prices for glosses. I was also looking into the types of chemicals they put into some lip glosses and I was shocked. So, I spent months researching the best oils for our skin and sampling different shades. Then Cocoa was born!”
Yes! I noticed your products are so affordable. Finally, what are your hopes for the future of your business?
“I just hope that it continues to grow and empowers people to start their own businesses and do what they love!”