All Articles Tagged "beauty industry"
She was named by Forbes recently as one of the 20 Youngest Power Women In Africa 2012. And no wonder. Eunice Nuekie Cofie has a lot going on. She’s a cosmetic chemist, entrepreneur, innovator and scholar. Some have called Cofie, president and chief cosmetic chemist of Ethnic Dermatology Pharmaceutical Company, the modern-day Madame C.J. Walker because of her breakthroughs in the beauty industry. Her company specializes in research and development of dermatological products for ethnic men and women.
Cofie, who is a graduate of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) with a degree in chemistry/molecular biology, is of Ghanaian heritage. The former Miss Black Florida USA has spent her summers working in a village community in Ghana implementing the Save a Million Lives HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention Program.
There’s more. Cofie is also the president of Enspiring Concepts, LLC, a life-empowerment firm which seeks to inspire others to follow their destiny, and she is the founder and executive producer of Moving Closer to My Dreams: A Young Women’s Empowerment Conference, an annual event designed to empower young professional women.
We grabbed a few minutes with Cofie to ask her about her career, community efforts, and her upcoming skincare line.
Madame Noire: What prompted you to start the company?
Eunice Nuekie Cofie: Growing up, I was made to feel like I was not beautiful because of my dark skin color and tightly coiled hair. I remember crying endlessly as I was being called names like “black,” “African booty scratcher,” or “nappy head.” The bullying did not just stop at words but it became physical. Girls would take turns pulling on my hair. The constant teasing and bullying damaged my self-esteem. My saving grace was my father’s encouragement for me to pursue an understanding of science. In the first grade, my father entered me into my first school science fair. I won first place in the school science fair. From that moment, I began to gain confidence in myself.
MN: There aren’t many women in science fields.
EC: Science had become my oasis and my strength. One day while in my organic chemistry lab class, my eyes were opened to the world of cosmetic science. My professor, who also owned his own cosmetic company, wanted my classmates and me to understand how to practically apply organic chemistry to our everyday lives. So he made a decision to have us create lotions and hair relaxers instead of conducting the regular lab experiments. It was during my research with him that I realized that the cosmetic industry lacked effective treatment products that took into account the unique structure and function of ethnic skin and hair. This was just the impetus that I needed to develop my company Nuekie, Inc. Nuekie means “first daughter in the family” and “hardworking one” in the Adangbe language.
MN: What kind of skincare products does your company create?
EC: My company provides quality dermatological products for ethnic people [i.e. African/African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, Pacific Islander]. My mission through Nuekie is to help men and women of color discover they are perfect in beauty.
MN: Where can people buy Nuekie products?
EC: We plan to launch the full-skin care line in March 2013. But since we have got a so much response about our company, we decided to release our first product, Moisture Therapy Crème. People can buy the crème at our online shop. Also, people can sign up at the website to learn more about the upcoming launch, skin care tips and other exciting news about Nuekie.
MN: How did you initially fund the company?
EC: My company is fully bootstrapped by myself. I used my savings, personal income, and credit to fund my company. I recently won the ACCESS Florida Business Plan Competition which helped my company further its efforts in pursuing its mission to help men and women of color discover they perfect in beauty.
One of my obstacles was the lack of funding. I had to realize that there may never be enough money for me to pursue my dream and that I have to start from somewhere. Once you get started then resources for you to accomplish your goals start to flow to you. The key thing is getting started!
Almost 100 years ago, Madam CJ Walker became America’s first self-made female millionaire of any race by creating hair products specifically for black people. This brilliant entrepreneur took advantage of the beauty industry’s decision to ignore black consumers by instead serving them well. An economic visionary, Walker also created a beauty school that fed a job market for the black women selling her products. Madam CJ Walker’s acumen in the field of beauty was an overall boon to African-Americans.
In the ‘50s Abram Minis, founder of Carson, Inc., made a grip formulating ubiquitous household products like Dark & Lovely. Black entrepreneurs Edward and Bettiann Gardner founded SoftSheen in the ‘60s, the firm responsible for the infamously greasy Care Free Curl. The early ‘70s saw the birth of Fashion Fair cosmetics, launched by the owners of Johnson Publishing to help black women find make-up that matched their skin. Black businesses have been central to the development of products African-American women need to look good.
But recent moves by mainstream brands make the original need to have our own beauty companies questionable. Revlon and similar entities now shell out millions for spokeswomen like Halle Berry hoping to attract our audience. Mainstream brands like CoverGirl are partnering with stars like Queen Latifah to design lines that target consumers of color. Pantene has created highly popular shampoos and conditioners for relaxed and natural hair.
Black customers may want to support our beauty businesses to reverse years of economic inequality and keep money in the community. Yet, this is an increasingly difficult task, because beauty giants are snapping up black-owned companies, even as they manufacture products for people of African descent.
(Black Enterprise) — Yaki. Mongolian. Chinese. Indian Remy. Once a hush-hush taboo, hair extensions have become the must-have accessory among women. From celebrities to everyday professionals to top CEOs, many proudly spend top bank on what they consider an investment—hair—with a price tag that can range from a couple hundred dollars to thousands per installment. The hot commodity is so coveted, it’s hit the black market, with thieves swiping thousands of dollars in inventory from supply stores across the nation.
(CNN) — Can beauty be defined by age, gender, color, body shape or size? Who gets to decide? Multibillion-dollar beauty and fashion industries both shape and depend on the cult-like worship of what physical attributes the public sees as beautiful. And most women feel the effects of those decisions. The photo exhibition “Beauty Culture” at the Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, with 175 pictures by iconic photographers, is aimed at starting people thinking and talking about female beauty. It also peeks into the underbelly of the beauty industry, including its relation to celebrity, plastic surgery, the faux-perfection of airbrushing of advertising and even child beauty pageants. There are a lot of hot-button issues as to how the media and the beauty and fashion worlds depict whole groups of people, why they show them in a particular way or barely notice them at all. However, there’s been a major shift when it comes to diversity in beauty advertising and magazine beauty editorial spreads.
(Patch) — Frank Mohadou closed the door to the beauty supply business he was struggling to keep, in the slice of space he obtained from his sister. The still night held no comfort for the African native as he slid behind the wheel of the $250-a-month car he could barely afford. He ignored the thought of going home; knowing soon he would have to find another place to live since the people he was staying with were drifting apart. Instead, he sat; his anxiety and frustration combed into a manageable silence as he contemplated ways to grow his business. Just then, a Korean-American stepped up through his thoughts and across his path to stop at his storefront. They often waited until he was gone to peek inside his store, Mohadou said. He knew he was an outsider. He didn’t speak their language. But he was trying to break into their world – a billion dollar market that primarily services black hair. For almost 50 years, the Korean-American community has dominated the black beauty supply market by opening large stores, buying out smaller black-owned ones and using the faces of black celebrities on their products and black employees in their stores to grow their businesses in the black community.
(New York Times) — The thieves pulled the iron bars out of the windows, outsmarted the motion detector that would have triggered a burglar alarm and did not give the safe or cash register a second look. Instead they went straight for what was most valuable: human hair. By the time the bandits at the My Trendy Place salon in Houston were finished, they had stolen $150,000 worth of the shop’s most prized type, used for silky extensions. The break-in was part of a recent trend of thefts, some involving violence, of a seemingly plentiful material. During the past two months alone, robbers in quest of human hair have killed a beauty shop supplier in Michigan and carried out heists nationwide in which they have made off with tens of thousands of dollars of hair at a time. “I heard about it from a couple of different supply companies and customers who said: ‘Guard your inventory. There’s a rash of this going on,’ ” said Lisa Amosu, the owner of My Trendy Place. “Whoever did it knew exactly what they wanted. They didn’t even bother with the synthetic hair.” Once stolen, the hair is typically sold on the street or on the Internet, including eBay, shop owners and the police say.
(Eurweb) High-quality, natural products aimed at ethnic consumers are in short supply in the mass market, according to Laila Ali, who says her new self-titled line of hair care, skin care and fragrances — produced in Miami Lakes by International Beauty Brands — is intended to fill that void. Ali’s line includes purifying shampoo, hydrating shampoo, curl-defining gel, conditioners, hair relaxer, age-defying cream, tone equalizer and daily face wash. Retail prices range from $10 to $18 for the hair and skin products, with fragrances priced between $35 and $45. The hair products lean heavily on conditioning properties to compensate for the fact that African-American hair tends to be coarser and more heavily processed from relaxers. “A lot of the products that are out there have chemicals that are not good for us and the environment,” Ali tells the Miami Herald. “What’s important to me is creating something that actually is going to build and strengthen the hair. It’s about trying to balance being good for you and also giving consumers the results they want.”
(Uptown) — Mother & entrepreneur Sheree Fletcher debuted her new organic beauty line Whoop Ash last night at the GEORGIA Salon in New York’s Lower East Side. Making its first bricks & mortar retail debut, the budding beauty brand was originally launched exclusively online at WhoopAsh.com. Now loyal customers and new interests can find Whoop Ash products lining the shelves at the downtown NY salon and more locations on the horizon. UPTOWN sat down with the budding entrepreneur (and ex-wife to Will Smith) to talk about the inspiration behind Whoop Ash, her decision to start a beauty business and future plans for the company…
Is this your first entrepreneurial venture?
No, it’s not. I’m actually from New York and I went to school at FIT in Manhattan for fashion design. So when my son was 3 years old, I started a business with a partner. And I realized it was like having two babies. You know a new business is just like a baby; it’s so much work. So I had to make a choice, and of course I chose [Trey]. I said you know what, “I’ll have my career later” and here I am. He’s 18 years old, so now is “later”.
(BlackWeb2.0) — This month the ubiquitous Tyra Banks is set to debut her latest effort in total media domination. The multi-hyphenate Banks, in partnership with Demand Media will launch the fashion, beauty and style site TypeF on March 15th. There hasn’t been much revealed about the website, but what is known about TypeF is that it will be a beauty portal that will be customizable to the user, meaning that each user’s experience will be different. These sentiments are in line with Banks’ ongoing goal of expanding the definitions of beauty. This also isn’t the first time that Banks has taken to the web to further expand her brand. In 2009, Banks launched an online fashion magazine, Tyra: Beauty Inside and Out. By the look of things, it seems that the magazine will be phased into TypeF completely.
Beauty is big business and whether you’re an everyday customer shopping at a beauty counter or a major corporation looking to find out the latest trends in beauty, there are certain names you should know. Here’ we’ve assembled a sampling of the top people and brands in the business of beauty – from someone who performs magic with a tweezer to a model turned mogul, they all carved their own paths in this tough, yet thriving industry.