These brands are committed to connecting with consumers, now and forever.
Beauty e-commerce has seen a staggering lift in the past year—the shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping is estimated to drive $45 billion by 2025 in the U.S. alone. While many feel this limits in-person product experimentation and testing, what the online space does offer are greater access to new and rising brands, exclusive discounts and promotions, greater availability of product, accessibility, and product-led personalization approaches.Major beauty e-tailer players have traditionally managed to master the digital craft by offering new brands, promotions, and marketing strategies, but one oversight in particular has been providing an intentional and dedicated buy-in of products inclusive of the BIPOC community. With the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, introducing the 15 percent pledge was one way in which retailers took note and consumers globally had instant access to Black-owned businesses. On a similar note, the global #STOPASIANHATE campaign opened brands' and consumers'eyes to the awareness needed on all fronts. But the conversation shouldn't stop there: Taking matters into their own hands, these brand founders noted the overwhelming gap and paved a way to launch beauty e-tailers that cater to the needs of the community on a global scale.
Photo: Courtesy of Thirteen Lune
As the Black beauty founder of Nyakio Beauty, I found myself, as well as many other Black founders, on many lists supporting Black-owned brands to shop. As a consumer, I found it frustrating that every time I went to shop on these beauty lists, I was having to visit 15–20 different sites from one article. I kept asking myself why there are just a "few" of us at some retailers, but not more of us in one place? As a beauty entrepreneur, it was distressing to see that so many of these brands didn't have retail distribution.
This is how Thirteen Lune was born. As I thought about what would have helped me and others move forward, my mission became clear—create a community to help BIPOC beauty founders realize success more quickly, with amplified support and on a bigger stage. Thirteen Lune is that opportunity.
We've garnered great support from investors, such as Sean Combs, Gwyneth Paltrow, Gregg Renfrew, Naomi Watts, Ambassador Nicole Avant, Tracey Cunningham, and Patrick Finnegan, that have supported our mission, showing that Thirteen Lune is needed and wanted in the beauty community.
Our goal is to build out the brand matrix to be exemplary of true inclusivity. We follow our 90/10 rule: 90 percent of all brands carried are created by BIPOC founders, with 10 percent dedicated to ally brands, fostering allyship with diverse brands to communicate together in true partnership.
Photo: Savina Chow
In today's competitive and crowded market, there are plenty of opportunities for the discovery of brands that are riddled with discounts and content that lacks focused storytelling and experiential clout. That, in turn, got us thinking that there must be a better way to shop and consume beauty content, especially in South-East Asia (and specifically in Singapore), with a level of authenticity and nuance that should be expected of any true recommendation. That was the start of our journey, where we launched BEAUBIT out of our commitment to simplify and accredit all aspects of beauty.
We started by identifying products that really address a need or, in other words, possess a good product-market fit. We then evaluate brands within a market context and how compelling their stories are with their identified audiences. Most importantly, our team and, by extension, our community experts trial the products to ensure that they are suitable for Asian skin, as well as nuances of Asian climates like heat and humidity, before eventually qualifying brands for a feature on our platform.
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from our community who experience the same issues and concerns. For us, the assurance that purchasing brands that truly work for Asian skin on BEAUBIT is pivotal, with product authenticity being a current major concern in Asia, when realistically it shouldn't be. Our mission is to redefine beauty commerce in South-East Asia while making an impact amongst women through content, trial, and communities.
Photo: Shonay Shote
As beauty consumers ourselves for over 20 years, we've always shopped in two different worlds: one with mainstream retailers, where it's clear that people that looked like us were not the target audience, and the other with local high-street beauty stores which were an equivalent of the corner shops—full of products with no additional advice on what to buy or how to use the products, some of which contain harmful ingredients.
It's very unfortunate that the only options available to us as Black consumers offer an inadequate service.
Our aim is to provide our customers with access to a thoughtful, curated collection of beauty products coupled with content which provides insight, education, and inspiration.
The mainstream market has no authenticity; a few retailers use imagery and have a handful of products from popular brands, but they lack the knowledge and understanding to really select brands and content that actually targets our needs. During our research, we discovered many of the retailers depended on Black customers to shop for what they already knew, so immediately, there was a lack of customer experience and product discovery. When we researched other retailers which were specific to targeting customers with Afro-textured hair, for example, we discovered that they lacked customer service, product knowledge, and a high-quality range of skin-care products demanded by today's Black consumer.
As a key retailer for people of color, one of our main key questions is Does this product work for darker skin tones? Will it solve key concerns experienced with our audience? Along with this, we look at the quality of the product and its efficacy, the brand values, their ethos, and the sustainability credentials.
Photo: Nonso Photography
Our mission and legacy is to make vegan and sustainable brands attainable. However, at our core is innovation—we want to serve our customers and community in the best possible way. Therefore, our mission may evolve as our customer and community needs change. We embrace change, and it's important that we are agile enough to think outside the box when it comes to our customers.
During our research and setup phase in 2019, we realized there was no online retail beauty platform that categorically looked after Black skin and focused exclusively on vegan products. Whilst the landscape is changing now, for some time it appeared that sustainable and cruelty-free products were marketed without true inclusivity.
The feedback from the brands that we stock has been incredible; for them, we as a retail platform are instrumental in the exposure and reach of their products on both a local and global scale. The majority of the brands we stock are small indie brands; as you can imagine, their business scale makes them more relatable and receptive to customer feedback.
Top photo: Shonay Shote
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