11 Brand Founders Share What Inclusivity Means to Them

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This article first appeared in the Summer 2021 issue of New Beauty. Click here to subscribe

Note from industry insiders making strides to meet the needs of previously underrepresented consumers. Here they share what inspires them and what inclusivity means to them.

“We saw a market gap for clean, cultural and conscious hair care, and no one in mainstream beauty was bringing Ayurvedic hair traditions in a modern way.” —Akash and Nikita Mehta, founders of Fable & Mane

“Our brand focuses the beauty lens on this underrepresented group to help push the global beauty narrative forward. It was important to start with products that allowed the customer to see themselves in the mirror. We’re not in the art of transformation, but in the art of enhancing. I know how important it is for little brown girls to see and appreciate their true selves. Growing up, that was lacking!”—Diarrha N’Daye, founder & CEO of Ami Colé

“I started Live Tinted as a community page on Instagram to spark conversations around identity and culture. A year later, we launched the Huestick based on crowd-sourced feedback. They told us they wanted makeup that was simple, personal and functional. They wanted products that solved real beauty concerns in their life—the biggest one being dark circles.”—Deepica Mutyala, founder of Live Tinted

“When we started our SKINCLUSION campaign, we focused on dialogue around skin tones with the Fitzpatrick skin types. What we experienced was an overwhelmingly positive reaction from so many more people who don’t feel included in the beauty industry—Grace Strobel being one of them. We’ve heard from people with vitiligo and alopecia, from amputees, and from grandmothers appreciative of us using our voice to renew their granddaughter’s self-confidence.You’ll see us continue to partner with more ambassadors with stories like Grace’s and live up to our message of celebrating the beauty in all our differences.”—Jaime Castle, Obagi president and member of the C.E.O. Action for Diversity & Inclusion

“Recognizing that different ethnicities, myself included, have different skin-care needs, we created five different chemical peels that impact the skin differently. Clinically, we know people of color have greater incidence of scarring and pigmentation, and we can also safely address the concerns. While all are safe for all Fitzpatrick types and for all ages, each of our five peels address diverse needs, like younger patients ages 20-plus, patients over 40, patients of Asian descent due to increased risk of hyperpigmentation, patients of Hispanic descent due to increased sebum production, and patients of African American descent due to increased post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.”—Marya Khalil-Otto, CEO of Vitality Institute

“Many of our products are made because of a problem I’m personally having, like our Thigh Rescue or Bust Dust. I first look to see how this problem is being addressed in the market—is there a way to improve upon what’s out there? Does it even exist or is there a void? About 80 percent of the products we make address issues that I haven’t found the answers for already.”—Katie Sturino, founder of MegaBabe

“For LYS Beauty, inclusivity and diversity are non-negotiables. Our mission is to make clean beauty widely accessible, and that includes formula inclusivity, marketing representation and affordability. Whether I’m putting together a campaign, working with a lab to finalize a formula or conceptualizing a photo shoot, it’s imperative that today’s multicultural consumer is considered with each step. Our products are formulated to complement all skin tones, types and textures, while prioritizing skin health with nourishing ingredients.”—Tisha Thomspon, founder of LYS Beauty

“There is a void of products that share the origin story for Ayurvedic ingredients and shining a light on the incredible culture from which they came from. When telling and sharing a culturally driven story, there are always challenges. As the creator you want to make sure you are doing justice to the traditions and history and that takes a lot of intention.”—Michelle Ranavat, founder of RANAVAT

“When building out our product line, it was so important that the formulations, imagery and messaging was centered around women of color—from her unique skin needs to her cultural perspectives. We’re pioneering an approach called Smart Melanin Beauty that combines science-backed ingredients and heritage botanicals to effectively and gently care for skin of color.Within the beauty industry, women of color have always been an afterthought. In fact, once we started formulating our products, we were shocked to learn nobody really tests formulas and ingredients on skin of color. We want to be pioneers on that front.”—Marie Kouadio Amouzame and Alice Lin Glover, cofounders of EADEM

“We found a way to stabilize pure vitamin C in an elegant serum that stays pure and potent from the first drop to the last, and we also made sure to do independent clinical testing to confirm that product delivered results for all skin colors and tones.”—Ron Robinson, founder of BeautyStat

“I believe we have contributed to inclusivity and diversity by not only bringing the products from Korea, but the culture behind them as well. We want to stand for innovation and fun experiences among people, but still be able to welcome everyone.Our newest brand, OTZI, was designed to be entirely inclusive: for all people, all genders, all ages, and all skin types.”—Dino Ha, founder of Memebox

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