And we’re back! It’s been a little while since our last #myBOBstory and can’t explain how good it feels to share these stories again. This myBOB story re-introduces you to former Co-Founder Jacqueline Carrington, now Owner and Founder of People of Color Beauty. You can listen to the full interview with Jacqueline, as well as read the abridged version below.
You may have noticed Jacqueline’s feature on our Instagram. If you’re interested in being featured in the #myBOBstory, reach out via email. This series brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At myblackbox co. it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business.
Jacqueline was born to be an entrepreneur and wants to leave a legacy for her three children to carry on. People of Color Beauty was born from a lack of representation of colors that would match well with Black women’s variety of skin tones.
I'm happy to have this interview with you and learn more about People of Color Beauty, and share it with the myblackbox co audience. Without further ado, why did you start your business?
My business was inspired by my daughter Monroe, when she was three. Anytime that she would go over to my mom's house she would always come home with her nails painted. The first thing that she would run to me and say is "Mommy, mommy, look at my nails, look at my toes!" And I would always say "Oh, how pretty, I love it." And so it was kind of a light bulb moment. I've always worn my natural nails. People would always comment that "Oh you have such pretty nails!" But I never painted them any types of colors. I would never see many images of Black women with different colored nail polishes.
People of Color the name came about from women of color because we are all types of shades of brown and even within our spectrum of shades of brown, certain colors still look better on certain shades of brown. People of Color too also means people who live in color; people who love color, they love to accessorize their attire with color. Although [People of Color] is geared towards women of color and colors that complement our various skin tones, it's obviously for anyone who loves their colors and is interested in wearing them as well.
I love that. I appreciate that you included your daughter in the creation of this business as well as revisited your own introduction to nail polish and beauty in general, and the colors that make your skin, as a Black woman, even more beautiful than it already is. Thank you for sharing the consideration of color in general, [which] is always going to be important for nail polishes regardless of who the wearer is. With that, you did touch on it little, but I'd like to explore further what inspiration do you use to fuel your entrepreneurial journey?
I've been an entrepreneur since I was a little kid. My mom and dad have both had their own businesses before. I think I was a born entrepreneur. I've always had an idea about something and trying something. Growing up my brother and I would sell lemonade on the corner of our block to cars driving by, and cookies too. Into adulthood I've tried many ideas and some successful, some not so successful. But to me, I have an unlimited amount of ideas. I [knew] that if I was focused on one idea at a time that it could become successful if I truly believe[d] in it and put the energy behind it. So is this opportunity with People of Color—especially because it's something that I'm now interested in and of course now with my daughter— I now have two daughters. I'll be able to teach them how to run a business at a young age.
That's powerful, especially as a solopreneur with your new business and the impact you obviously want to have on future customers as well as on the lives of your children as they get older and learn about being an entrepreneur. Another question I have is how did you financially start your business? Or, what planning do you have for your continued launch of People of Color Beauty?
I did of course research with regard to the startup cost of the business. Funny story, is I started this with someone who was going to be my business partner. We were going to split the cost. That person was involved with the logo design and choosing the colors and helping choose the names of the colors and then life happens and that person needed to bow out. At the time, we had put down our deposit to start the process of having our polishes made and [when] that person [left], she requested her money back because we didn't have the product yet. It was very frustrating at first. I didn't have all the money to fund it all by myself because that was not what I was planning for. I said in a quiet way, "F it, I'm gonna do it. I'm not going to let this be the reason that I don't take this idea to what I envisioned it to be." I sent her money back and dusted my hands off with that. I got the money together to keep it moving and so everything from that point on is self-funded. Some of the things that I need to finance soon in the future would be attending vendor events, so different festivals hopefully and craft fairs and Indie artisan events. I don't see it as a step back, [but] a challenge at this time.
It's great that you share this because people need to know that entrepreneurship is not easy. It's very hard work and you will have major setbacks. You will have minor setbacks; you will have moments where you're like "Why am I doing this?" You gotta take a risk or choose not to. You are clearly living the entrepreneur life right now with People of Color Beauty, as most folks do self-fund until their businesses get a bit more standing underneath them and continue to grow. I would love to know why should consumers purchase from People of Color Beauty? Is there a uniqueness that your nail polish business has that others don't have?
I would say yes and no. Most people are becoming more health conscious and kind of the last leg of that would be the beauty industry where people are putting things on their hair, on their skin that contain toxins and chemicals. A lot of women get their nails done, girls included, and there's a lot of toxins in nail polish which…your body absorbs it. With People of Color nail polish we're free of 10 of some of the most toxic chemicals that are in the majority of nail polishes. You can go on our website, they're all listed there. And the polish is vegan as well, so it's not made with any type of animal products or byproducts at all. We're cruelty free, which means at no point during the production process are any of the products tested on animals. And then we're gluten-free as well.
I wanted to have colors that complemented [a] variety of skin tones. The purpose behind our lookbook on our website would be to showcase the colors on various skin tones of brown, so that way you'll have a central location to go to try to find someone of similar skin tone to see, "OK, it might look good on me…" Those images aren't as global out there in the main beauty world. I wanted to be a source for women of color to find nail polish that complements their skin tone…to be more encouraged to buy and try different colors that they have not tried before, because they thought they wouldn't look good on them. I wanted to combat that with my product.
Well it's very helpful that you're discussing the chemicals that can be found in these polishes that everyone's probably used to having as their only options, and how People of Color Beauty is differentiated because of your consideration of not including these toxins. But also what we've been discussing like these options of what looks great with my skin as a Black woman…is always a unique selling proposition of a new business and the products that they provide. I'm curious to know of all of your products, which is your most favorite and why is there a specific polish that is your most favorite?
We're based in Southern California, [so] our first collection is called SoCal Vibe, which is a collection of 10 different polishes that kind of encompass what I believe is Southern California living. I've remembered them from the top of my head now. We have Purple Palm, which was inspired by the sunset and the purple hues that are in the sky. We have Walk of Fame, which was inspired by the Hollywood Star, kind of the pink color off of the Hollywood star. We have Valley Girl, which is well, most people know what is valley girl is— kind of that materialistic girl, a pretty girl, out shopping and living her best life. We have California Sunflower, which is a bright golden color off of a sunflower. We have Simply Terranea, which was inspired by a golf resort in L.A. that faces out into the Pacific ocean. We have Catalina, which was inspired by the waters off of Catalina Island; Oceanfront, which is inspired off of oceanfront living; Rodeo Drive, which is a nice red color, your fancy-schmancy going out to dinner or work type color; Oh, Desert Night Sky, we have, which is a nice color kind of reminiscent of stargazing in the middle of the desert and seeing all shimmery colors out in the sky. Then we have Malibu Wine, which is a wine color inspired by some of the wineries off of the Malibu coast. I think I got them all.
I've tried on all the colors. I had to when swatching to make pictures for our website. I want to say the colors that I like the most, that look best on me [were] Valley Girl, Walk of Fame, and then I also love Rodeo Drive. To me, those are my three favorites. I literally love all the colors.
Will definitely have to look into Rodeo Drive because that sounds like one that I'd love well, but I'm sure the myblackbox co audience will be very excited to check out the other 1 too and find the color that most fits them. I'd like to shift gears a little and talk more about Black entrepreneurship and particularly I'd love to know who do you consider a great example of Black entrepreneurship?
I felt most inspired with Black entrepreneurship when I lived in New York City; the energy and hustle of the city kind of was like my air to breathe. I'm like, "Yes. This is it!" Seeing your average random person out on the corner selling bottled water for a dollar on a hot summer day; the tables that are set up in the middle of Times Square, or any random block of people selling they're African black soap, and their body butters, and their mixed tapes; and all of those things. That's kind of the true essence to me of a hustler and entrepreneur, and that's how I've always been too on the ground, whatever you have sell it and put yourself out there. I think your everyday, hustler type go-getter is my kind of entrepreneur. I saw a lot of that in New York City and I loved it. It was so inspiring to see people who look like me who were out there.
Well, you're definitely right, New York City is full of hustlers and they will find a way to make a dollar out of 1 cents. What advice do you have for Black girls and women who struggle finding their place in society?
I would say society is a man-made concept as to what's appropriate, what's not appropriate— apart from of course all your moral beliefs. So finding your place in a society where there's kind of man-made rules is hard sometimes because we all come from different cultures and backgrounds. It’s first best to be yourself and you look at what are you good at, what are you passionate about? What do you love? What can you bring to the table in any situation? And those are the things that you need to focus on because those are the things that people should see and respect, and expect of you when they see you.
What advice would you give to someone like you who has an idea but is afraid to take the first step to launch?
I would say do it. Me personally, I have so many ideas and even when I'm working on one idea, I still have more. But you have to know what idea is best for your passion; again what you're good at, and what you are actually interested in and focus on it. You can't let everything else be a distracted…and you're not going to go from startup to $1 million in two weeks! You have to do step by step. You have to write it down, make a plan, talk it out, get feedback from people who you trust, and are friends, family or colleagues to give you actual feedback for your ideas. People that are going to be supportive of you and not try to tear down your idea or make it seem like you can't do it.
You want to have real consumer feedback as to what you could do better and also what changes you could possibly make before you launch your product out into the world.
Those are solid tips and great advice. I think that you definitely hit the nail on the head on the consistency that you'll need too. To close out our wonderful conversation and this interview, what can you share with the myblackbox co community on what we can expect from your business in 2019?
If you're in the Southern California area, you [can] expect to start to see us at different events. Any of your local festivals, vending events, or meetups. I want to start getting myself and our business out there. For those who aren't local, and even for those who are, of course with nail polish there's millions of colors but we want to strategically launch collections based on either the season or a vibe that we want to launch. So coming soon in the fall, we'll be launching new collection of course stay tuned for that. I won't say what the collection is or even give any hints. We'll launch collections as seasons and such change.
Well, thank you Jacqueline for sharing more about your business, your Black entrepreneurship journey, and what we can expect from People of Color Beauty this year. I hope that the myblackbox co community gives you a chance and checks out the 10 colors you do have available at this time.
Thanks for having me!
Jacqueline’s story hopefully inspires you to take a risk, even when your original plans get a curve ball thrown in the mix. It may be cliché, but you truly won’t know until you try!