The last few years have ushered in a whole new standard of diversity and inclusivity within the beauty industry. Retail companies like Mented Cosmetics, a multi-million dollar beauty brand celebrating women of all hues, helmed by CEO and co-founder KJ Miller, have risen to the occasion. Mented Cosmetics is disrupting the U.S. beauty and cosmetic market that’s expected to reach $40 billion by the end of 2022. With Black-owned beauty brands igniting cultural capital to address the specific needs of women of color they continue to stand at the forefront of innovation for companies in the sector.

The Breakdown You Need To Know: Diversity and dollars go hand in hand as Miller led Mented Cosmetics, its name is short for pigmented, in securing over $9 million in venture funding, a notable feat for a Black female founder, as CultureBanx noted during its “Igniting Cultural Capital” session with UBS. They have been able to get major retail distribution with partners including Target

, while impressing investors from GingerBread Capital amongst others.

When setting out to raise money Miller quickly realized how she was going to differentiate her product. “It’s all in helping the investor see the opportunity,” Miller said. She makes this point even clearer with her analytical information on the sector and stated, “Black women in particular outspend their white counterparts on beauty by upwards of 80%.”

Banking On Black Beauty: When it comes to personal appearance products, Black shoppers make significant investments in grooming aids to the tune of $127 million and spent $465 million on skin care preparations products, according to Nielsen. Simply stated this translates to Black dollars accounting for about 86% of the market, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed by savvy investors.

Also, Miller commented on how cultural capital helps to broaden the landscape of funding access. “I have a very diverse group of investors who have backed Mented…It’s been extremely important for our growth.”

One of Mented Cosmetics investors Ita Ekpoudom, Partner at GingerBread Capital, is committed to investing in innovative female founders looking to solve problems, and Miller’s Mented Cosmetics fits the bill. “When we get women of color, Black women, in these positions to shine, they build products, they build services and they create markets where there weren’t any,” said Ekpoudom.

Black beauty is big business, and retail is one of the industries being called directly to task regarding the very top of mind subject of diversity, specifically when it comes to suppliers and vendors. Beauty retailer Sephora, owned by European conglomerate Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton plans to double the assortment of Black-owned brands to 16. Also, Ulta Beauty

announced a $25 million initiative to reflect the country’s diversity by doubling the number of Black-owned brands in its stores.

Situational Awareness: Black people, and in the case of beauty, specifically Black women and femmes, have been setting trends for ages. It’s important to recognize that Black folks have steadily provided beauty options for their communities and Mented Cosmetics is carving out its own space with a F.U.B.U. approach to the industry.


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