The beauty industry has always faced challenges with diversity, and being heavily criticized for appealing to Eurocentric standards. Over the past several years, there has been a surge in entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds who are determined to level the playing field and offer more options for women of color. For one black woman entrepreneur, her passion inspired her to create a new online marketplace to spotlight emerging beauty brands from business owners of color.
Chana Ewing is the founder of GEENIE, a newly-launched online marketplace designed to spotlight indie BIPOC beauty brands for consumers looking for products that cater to their needs. Ewing came up with the idea after working with different Black women entrepreneurs for her beauty subscription box service.
“Prior to launching GEENIE, I founded GeenieBox that featured influential Black women curating their favorite books and lifestyle products,” said Ewing in an email interview with Black Enterprise.
“The model proved challenging because we mostly curated small independent brands and met their wholesale pricing, versus getting complimentary samples as a tradeoff for exposure. As a result, we discovered that there was an engaged audience that sought out heritage and values-based shopping, so the question became, how can we build a better ‘box’? We landed on the GEENIE marketplace and community because it enables us to serve more brands and more customers at scale. When we landed on this new business model, it became apparent that we could more thoughtfully center around intersectionality.”
Ewing hopes the new platform will bring more intersectionality to the industry where more women of color like herself can see their beauty reflected in the products they use.
“Beauty lends itself to an intersectional lens in that we’re expressly stating that the many ways we show up in the world should be acknowledged, honored, and celebrated. Through my multicultural marketing background, I’ve learned that when you center ‘difference,’ your audience expands and connects,” explains Ewing.
“I’m particularly passionate about solving this pain point and the first area we’re looking at is distribution. For the sellers in our marketplace, we aim to become the best platform for discovery—easing the overall marketing investment by giving indie brands a stronger point of entry.”