Being a dark-hued naturalista working in beauty, I know all too well the struggle to find the perfect foundation or curl cocktail in a sea of brands that effectively say I’m too dark, too nappy or just too invisible to serve. Some of us gave up the search long ago and others have essentially become evangelistas for the few showing love. Now, there’s a site that is shining a light on brands that not only speak to the unique beauty needs of Black women, but all women of color.
Marjani Beauty launched this past January as a one-stop shop offering skin care, cosmetics and hair products for all skin tones and types. The idea that this site did not exist before is mind-boggling. Black women, alone, spend more than $7 billion a year on beauty products. But, thanks to founder and CEO Kimberly Smith, we have a growing mecca that is changing the way we shop (and even think) about beauty.
What inspired the Ivy-league trained attorney to step into unchartered territory? Like most beauty launches, the idea came after a shopping trip gone wrong.
“I was getting ready for vacation and was trying to re-up on a particular shade of contour,” shared Kimberly. “The sales associate said that particular shade was out of stock and they would not be carrying [it] any longer in that particular store.”
After searching the entire store, she realized the store didn’t have any other darker shades.
“This is a story that as women of color, as Black women, we encounter, but then we get frustrated and we move on and don’t do anything about,” she explained. “I thought it would be cool if we had a store where all the products were for us. It wasn’t about products being limited edition or an extension. These were products that, from the beginning, were produced with our needs in mind.”
The site currently features 25 beauty brands from the US and abroad, including celebrity-driven brands like AJ Crimson and Danessa Myricks Beauty; cult faves like Ginger+Liz and The Wrap Life; plus, brands you may be unfamiliar with but need to know.
“I do find that it’s great because you have a lot of people in smaller markets that don’t have even access to some of the products that me being in DC or if you’re in a major city that you still might have some option,” said Kimberly. thinking about people that have even less options. This is something for them, as well, because they have access to different products that they didn’t have access to before.”
And brands and consumers, alike, are taking note. Kimberly has gone from cold-calling to getting regular requests on how to join. And, beauty aficionados who no longer have to shop five different sites to get their beauty fix are loving it.
“The reception has been overwhelmingly positive and what I was hoping it would do: help produce some type of ownership in women of color. Finally, we have a place to go – something that is for us.”
For more information, visit marjanibeauty.com. Click through to check out some of Kimberly’s personal faves.