I’ll share a personal story on what it’s like to be a black-owned beauty brand navigating the retail world. Last year, I pitched our line of body care products to a regional retail chain. I had done my research and knew they didn’t carry products like ours. I knew this could be a great opportunity to help them expand their natural product offerings. The body care buyer liked our products but told me he couldn’t bring them in because they had another brand that was doing something similar. I asked him about the brand and did more research on my…

Shea Radiance Whipped Body Butter

Despite the creativity, innovation, and early adoption of natural and clean beauty products by black-owned beauty brands, we are not fully represented on retail shelves as our white counterparts. For the few brands that get into major retail chains, the chances of success are slim because black business owners typically do not have the required access to capital to sustain a long term retail strategy. The cost of getting products on the shelves, unfavorable payment terms, and the requirements for ongoing promotions can destroy a bootstrapping business.

Here’s why retailers need to create space for Black-owned Beauty Brands.

When retailers…

Making much out of little is nothing new to the entrepreneur who is creatively bootstrapping his venture. Brazil’s political and economic woes created serious financial constraints to executing what is typically the most lavish part of hosting an Olympic event. According to the event directors, they got used to makeshift improvising and being “MacGyver” and out of this MacGyver-ing came what was basically pure creativity.

I thoroughly enjoyed the opening ceremony. It was bold, creative and I felt, authentic to the Brazilian experience. As I watched the opening event I could see the true entrepreneurial spirit at work. …

Nothing beats the vibe of a great farmers market — fresh flowers, locally grown fruits, vegetable and herbs, fresh baked breads, pastries and cheeses. Our local farmers market in Olney turned out to be the best test lab for our products and the evolution of our brand.

We started making products in our kitchen for our eczema prone kids. We blended shea butter with other healing oils and it worked wonders on their skin. We realized that we had found a natural solution to dry skin and we couldn’t wait to share it with the world.

Being out in the…

The package inspiration for our new line of Shea Luxe Tubs comes from our love and appreciation of West African culture, and the beautiful women who harvest our Shea. West African women are known for their bright and vibrant print cloth called Abada or Ankara. We incorporated elements of this print into the label design on our tubs.

Women Shea Producers

My work with Shea Radiance gives me the opportunity to solve beauty problems while economically enhancing the lives of the women in our supply chain. In West Africa, Shea butter is called Women’s Gold, because the proceeds from the sale of Shea butter help women feed, clothe and educate their children. We source Shea butter, our key ingredient, directly from women run cooperatives. As a business, we succeed when we provide the best beauty solutions to our customers, and their loyalty allows us to continue doing business with shea producing communities.

When people learn about our supply chain they ask…

Early in my entrepreneurial journey, I decided to rent a kiosk in the mall during the holiday season. I was looking for ways to promote the Shea Radiance brand and get my products into the hands of potential customers in my local area. I couldn’t imagine a better retail plan than having a booth in the mall filled with thousands of people seeking out holiday gifts, it seemed like an obvious opportunity.

I estimated revenues based on previous sales performance at local events, festivals and shows, and in spite of the high holiday rent prices ($3,300 a month!!), I was…

Mother & Child

As a mother of two sons, I am grateful that I am raising them in one of the most affluent nations in the world, a privilege I do not take for granted. This privilege has also made me acutely aware of the plight of mothers in less affluent parts of the world and the fact that they want the same things for their children — food, shelter, health and education.

When my youngest son was an infant, he was often beset with painful ear infections that made him cry through the night leaving him feverish and inconsolable. …

Funlayo Veronica Alabi

CEO & Social Entrepreneur at Shea Radiance, a Natural Beauty brand influencing the way women care for themselves. www.shearadiance.com

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store