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Cult skincare brand Glossier announced on Thursday the 10 winners of its 2021 Black-owned beauty business grant after multiple rounds of reviews from a diverse group at the company. The grant program is part of a $10 million commitment the company made to help promote equity in the beauty industry over the course of five years.
Each of the winning brands will receive $50,000 from Glossier, a change from last year’s tiered grant system, which broke companies into groups: the pre-launch stage, the early stage, and the growth stage, and gave each company either $10,000, $30,000 or $50,000 depending on their category.
“It’s so hard to assess pre-launch brands just in the status of an application because you’re really assessing someone’s idea and vision,” Roya Shariat, Glossier’s senior manager of impact, told theGrio. “They don’t have a website, they don’t have a social media page, they don’t have products you can try out, and so we felt like it was doing a disservice to put those on the same pedestal as companies who already have all of those things.”
Last year, when Glossier launched this grant program, it mentioned that Black business owners face consistent barriers when it comes to growing their brands and creating stable revenue. According to the Glossier website, Black entrepreneurs were awarded less than 1% of all venture capital funding, and Black women even less.
This year, nine of the 10 brands that will receive funding were founded or co-founded by Black women. The only company that wasn’t is Ceylon, a brand designed “to help men with pigmented skin achieve their best possible skin founded.” The company was founded by Patrick Boateng II.
Nuekie, a company that incorporates traditional African medicine into its recipes, was founded by Eunice Cofie-Obeng and is the only other facial skincare brand to win this year.
The other awardees for 2021 are makeup company Range Beauty, created by Alicia Scott, hair companies RadSwan, created by Freddie Harrel, Rebundle, created by Ciara Imani May, SKIMDO, created by Kimberly Cowans, Young Kind Hair Care, created by Cora and Stefan Miller, and body care brands The Established, created by Essence Iman, Fourth Phase, created by Marcia A. Cole and Nana Eyeson-Akiwowo and SKNMUSE, created by Ezinne Iroanya-Adeoye.
The second iteration of the grant looked a bit different from the onset. First, companies that applied needed to be launched and selling products. There was a product testing phase, which Shariat says gave the team a lot of insight when making final decisions about the grants.
In addition to the money, this year’s winners will receive one-on-one mentorship from beauty industry leaders within Glossier and outside of the company, plus opportunities to learn from beauty experts at various workshops, an offering that was ramped up for 2021 after its wild success in 2020.
“Aside from the actual grant money itself, the access to mentorship and community alone is unmatched,” said Abena Boamah-Acheampong, founder of Hanahana Beauty and a 2020 grant recipient. “At Hanahana, our main focus this year was around sustainable growth — not only with reaching new customers but also internally and within operations and fundraising. The grant program gave me access to mentors who specialized in these areas and direct connections to different experts in the field.”
Companies were asked about their goals, and the team at Glossier paired them with someone who had done that kind of work before.
“I’ve had onboarding conversations with all the grantees where I dig into what are your biggest challenges where do you need the most help,” said Shariat. “Based on those calls, I’ve paired people accordingly.”
The awardees will also have sessions with Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss, along with the company CFO Vanessa Whitman.
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