Despite being the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs, many Black women-owned businesses are seriously underfunded. Thankfully, there are a host of successful Black women leaders who have adopted the life as we climb philosophy. This is part of the motivation behind Brown Girl Jane‘s ongoing collaboration with Birchbox for the Inner and Outer Beauty and Wellness Kit.
“We started something called the Brown Girl Swap on June 2, 2020,” BGJ Co-founder and Chief Branding Officer, Tai Beauchamp, tells MadameNoire. “We announced this pledge and opportunity to develop consciousness around supporting Black women-owned businesses, especially those in the beauty and wellness space in response to the civil and social unrest we were experiencing as a country and as a world on the heels of George Floyd.”
BGJ has been doing the work through the Brown Girl Swap initiative for some time now. In partnership with Shea Moisture, the Spelman sisters invested $250,000 into a grant fund for Black women-owned independent beauty and wellness brands.
“I had met Katia Beauchamp, the co-founder of Birchbox before but was reconnected with Birchbox actually through their president and a friend of mine by the name of Jenny Molen, who saw what we were doing and they developed a keen interest in how they could support and be a part of the solution,” Beauchamp explained.
The Inner and Outer Beauty and Wellness Kit, which according to Beauchamp was designed to speak to “our inner beauty and wellness as well as our external beauty,” features nine Black women-owned brands in the beauty and wellness space, including Brown Girl Jane, Range Beauty, Efface Aesthetics, Oyin Handmade, PATTERN Beauty, Quemet Biologics, UOMA Beauty, Golde, and KNC Beauty.
“For us, it is deeply important that even as a new brand that we elevate and support other Black women-owned businesses, especially in the beauty and wellness space,” Beauchamp adds, “but also recognizing just the disparities that exist in terms of how much we consume beauty, wellness, and consumer packaged goods as a whole, as Black and brown women and how few of us receive funding for our businesses and or have businesses that are widely known. So we’re excited to partner with Birchbox where we curated a kit called the Brown Girl Swap Discovery Kit of nine Black women-owned businesses and brands and also curated content to support Black History Month and Women’s History Month.”
When it comes to the social injustices that plague our country as far as Black and brown people are concerned, some question what supporting Black-owned businesses has to do with anything. The answer is everything.
“You can’t talk about social justice without talking about economic inequity,” says Malaika Jones, Brown Girl Jane Co-founder and CEO. “They go hand-in-hand. Part of what we were trying to do with Brown Girl Swap was to make that connection and do everything that we could in the industry that we’re in to help further both a discussion and move the needle around closing some of those gaps. As Tai mentioned, closing some of the funding gaps and with that, through our partnership this summer with Unilever, we were able to fund $250,000 towards the Black beauty and wellness women-led businesses. With more economic opportunity, our people are just in a better position in business and in education. It all goes hand-in-hand.”
In addition to placing the spotlight on other Black women-owned brands, the intent behind the Brown Girl Swap Discovery Kit was to potentially facilitate long-term relationships between Birchbox and the featured brands.
“Our goal is that the brands that we introduced with Birchbox, should there be a fit and desire, that Birchbox might also become a long-term retailer for them,” adds Beauchamp. “It’s not just about amplifying these brand but it’s also about providing an opportunity for retail growth and expansion, and obviously building brand awareness for them, which as Malaika noted, is in the vein of what we created with Shea Moisture in terms of Brown Girl Swap and the Black Beauty and Wellness Fund to support Black-owned businesses.”
In addition to the Brown Girl Swap Discovery Kit, Brown Girl Jane and Birchbox also collaborated to produce their virtual #HerStory event, which was headlined by Tracee Ellis Ross and Kelly Rowland.
To snatch up your Brown Girl Swap Discovery Kit, which will be while supplies last, click here.
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