5 Beauty Founders on How the Buy Black Movement Has Affected Their Businesses

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This past summer after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, massive protests swept the country as people demanded accountability for racism and police brutality. While millions of people turned up on the front lines at these demonstrations to outwardly voice their frustrations on the matter, millions more also used their power to support the Black community in other ways such as spending their money at Black-owned businesses.

A few months ago, it seemed like just about everyone was shouting from the rooftops about the importance of buying Black, even creating their own directories of Black businesses to buy from to support the Black Lives Matter movement. While the support has likely been appreciated by many Black business owners, it's still important to note that supporting these businesses goes far beyond making one-off purchases; the key is to make sure you're actually showing up for these companies by regularly buying from them, recommending their products to the people in your network, and even reviewing said products online.

We spoke to five Black beauty brand owners on the impact that the buy Black movement has had on their businesses since June and whether the outpouring of support they've received has been sustained. Read ahead to see their thoughts.

Alicia Scott, Founder and CEO of Range Beauty

"During the summer, I honestly couldn't keep up with all the brands, press, influencers, and people in general who were shouting 'buy Black' and revealing new efforts to support Black-owned businesses and the Black Lives Matter movement. Fast forward to now, and it's extremely easy to track who is still about the action.

"Since June, I've now launched on Target and am happy with the progress Target continues to make in uplifting Black-owned brands. I sincerely applaud their efforts! I was fortunate to have Bobbi Brown ask to mentor me back in June, and she has been amazing in consistently checking in, guiding, and advising me. I see influencers who post about Range Beauty still because it's a brand they enjoy and believe in and want others to support too. [It's the] same with the press. This is what I pay attention to, who is truly and genuinely showing up for us now after all the smoke has cleared and when it's not as 'popular' to do so."

Gwen Jimmere, Founder and CEO of Naturalicious

"Things have been both great and not so great. It's bittersweet for me. I'm thrilled that so many people are learning about Naturalicious and that so many mainstream publications are writing about us and wanting to share our amazing brand with the masses. I'm excited for the allies that have emerged to stand in solidarity with Black-owned businesses such as mine. At the same time, I'm disappointed that it came from yet another Black person being murdered at the hands of law enforcement. I want the world to know about Naturalicious, but I don't want it to come at the expense of my people being murdered in the streets.

"Business wise, we are doing great. Brand awareness is at an all-time high, and tons of new people are discovering us, both online and in stores like Ulta and Sally Beauty. The demand for our products is through the roof, which is amazing. I'm grateful for that. And because of this increased demand, I'm proud that we have been able to create more high-wage jobs for even more Black and brown people."

Akilah Releford, Founder and CEO of Mary Louise Cosmetics

"I can't believe how fast time has gone by since summer 2020. The amount of support, love, and growth we've experienced as a brand has been incredible. We are extremely thankful.

"Since this summer, Mary Louise is one of eight companies selected into the Female Founders Alliance's 'Ready Set Raise' accelerator. As a founder, I'm thrilled and grateful to have this opportunity to take Mary Louise Cosmetics to the next level. I'm so excited to share what we have planned for 2021."

Lulu Cordero, Founder and CEO of Bomba Curls

"Over the past few months, it's been inspiring to witness how people have rallied in support of our brands. Nordstrom opened up its doors to us, which has helped to amplify our voice and created an opportunity for new customers to discover a beauty brand that personally speaks to them. We've gotten interest from other major retailers as well. As a Black woman and Black founder, it feels good to see more representation on retail shelves, and I'm hopeful that we'll only see more of it. "

Kay Cola, Founder and CEO of The OrganiBrands

"We've had a lot of support over the last few months and a very positive response to our posts raising awareness that we are not only Black-owned, but we're 70 to 80 percent Black-employed and the rest of the percentage is Latino. A lot of people didn't know that, and they were happy to discover it.

"The awareness due to BLM has been good for my business because people want to support us now more than ever and they're turning away from the bigger brands who are using generic PR emails and ploys to show diversity just so they can get a dollar. Customers see right through that and are now giving us a shot. I'm happy to see that more awareness is being brought to Black-owned companies, I'm just sad that it's at the expense of other people's lives."