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Retailers shine a spotlight on Black-owned beauty brands

Even when brands did create makeup for darker skin shades, those products would be sold online instead of stores.

“As a black consumer, you often do not have the opportunity to have the in-store retail experience,” Gill said.

Things began to change in 2017, when pop superstar Rihanna launched her Fenty Beauty makeup line. In two years, it became one of the top 10 selling beauty brands, alongside decades-old brands such as Mary Kay and L’Oreal-owned Urban Decay, says market research firm Euromonitor. Other companies took notice, adding more shades for darker skin or promising to give more shelf space to Black-owned brands in stores.

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Still, it wasn’t until last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests that Black-owned brands started to see more interest from investors and retailers.

As of mid-2020, a study by a resource called digitalundivided identified 183 Black and Hispanic women founders who had secured at least $1 million in investor backing for their businesses, more than double the number in 2018, says Lauren Maillian, CEO of digitalundivided, which has a data base of more than 800 Black and Hispanic-women-founded companies.

But it also found that these women received less than half of 1% of venture capital investment. That’s even as their failure rate in its data base is 27% — lower than the 40% national fail rate for startups founded in 2017.

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