Clean Beauty Summer School recently graduated our first class of 10 black-owned beauty founders. Actually, commencement is a much better word than Graduation - it celebrates a new beginning and that’s what we are doing. This initiative was kickstarted in response to Black Lives Matter but we are just getting started. It will be an annual and ongoing effort to provide education, network, mentorship, and opportunity to help accelerate BIPOC entrepreneurs in the clean beauty industry.
Over the past several weeks, beauty industry luminaries including brand founders, retailers, investors, and more came together to mentor and teach our top 10 finalists product development, manufacturing, digital marketing, financial planning, fundraising, pitching retailers and more. Each finalist was matched with an individualized mentor, guiding them through the beautiful struggle of starting and scaling a brand.
Summer School culminated in Pitch Day, where all the participants presented to a panel of esteemed judges - including Sephora and Ulta buyers, respected beauty investors and Glossy’s Executive Editor. We were blown away by their originality, their perspectives, and their fierce conviction to make the beauty world more diverse, inclusive, and give back, too. We have full confidence in their success, and inspired by how far they have come.
Of course, none of this could have happened without our incredible mentors and judges. We are so grateful for their dedication to the program and mission. The love, enthusiasm, and collaborative spirit amongst these fierce women is so inspiring and we are feeling so optimistic and hopeful for the future of beauty.
And an extra special congratulations to our Pitch Day winner, Frigg! Founder Kimberly Dillon and her company will receive guaranteed meetings with Sephora and Ulta Beauty Buyers, a $10,000 grant from the New Voices Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization offering women of color entrepreneurs access, capital, and expertise to build, grow, and scale their businesses, and $13,000 worth of services from HeadKount, which helps beauty brands successfully grow their retail business through strategic relationship building, education, and customer engagement. Plus, a guest appearance on Glowing Up Podcast.
Although we’re sad to see Clean Beauty Summer School come to a close, it’s only the beginning. At Tower 28, we’re committed to making the beauty community a more diverse and inclusive one and that starts from the inside. Stay tuned next year because we’ll be doing it again!
Without further ado, we present to you the Clean Beauty Summer School Finalists!
54 Thrones - An African beauty brand inspired by the richness, diversity, and cultures of the continent and its people, founded by Christina Funke Tegbe. A southern-American childhood rooted with the cultural essence of Nigeria, Christina grew up experiencing the true and sacred beauty of Africa. With 54 Thrones, Christina aspires to spread the message of the African origin of clean beauty. Determined to share the beauty and authenticity of an Africa often not seen, she partners with passionate artisans who handcraft the rich ingredients that make up the brand.
Alodia Hair Care - a carefully crafted line of quality, scientifically proven, hair care products, founded by Isfahan Chambers Harris. Made with natural ingredients that cater to the essential needs of your hair and more importantly, your scalp, to encourage and induce the growth of healthier, more beautiful tresses. Alodia Hair Care was birthed out of Dr. Isfahan’s’ personal experiences with unnatural, toxic hair care products. In 2017, Dr. Isfahan officially launched Alodia, which features a full line of products and hair kits designed to make the growth and maintenance process simple.
Base Butter - A cruelty-free aloe vera gel based moisturizer for PH balanced and hydrated skin, founded by She’Neil Johnson and Nicolette Graves. During their unofficial skincare journey, they found themselves self-educating and actively piecing together information to create solutions for their oily, combination, and acne prone skin types. By trying to solve a problem for themselves, they ended up creating a solution for all. Their mission is to help make skincare easy for oily, combination, and acneic skin types.
DoubleDown Cosmetics - a Non-GMO, Organic, 100%, Gluten Free & Cruelty Free Skincare & Cosmetic Brand, founded in 2017 in Los Angeles, CA by husband & wife, Marvin & Kristen Speller. Doubledown Cosmetics formulates good-for-you skincare & provides clean cosmetics that are representative of all skin tones, where you don’t have to compromise health for beauty. Their mission is to provide clean beauty globally with the highest quality organic ingredients, while serving the Domestic Violence Community.
Frigg - founded by Kimberly Dillon, a leader in the Cannabis Industry, where she has helped develop award-winning million dollar brands. She currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer of one of the leading Cannabis Wellness Brands in California. She is drawn to this work because while she believe in breaking the rules, she generally believes in #plantsbeforepills , #plantsbeforemeat , and #plantsbeforechemicals.
Hanahana Beauty - Hanahana Beauty is a consciously clean skincare and wellness brand whose mission is to disrupt the global beauty industry, founded by Abena Boamah. Their intention is to increase accessibility, transparency, and sustainability in all aspects of what they create. From the fair sourcing of their shea butter, to the creation of their homemade products, down to the responsible representation of people working with them at every end.
Ode to Self - an intentional simple range skincare brand that caters to the African-American woman's skin as they develop products to alleviate dryness and hyperpigmentation, while remaining cognizant of skin sensitivity, founded by Kimberlee Keitt. The entire Ode to Self collection has been formulated for the needs of Black women first, instead of being an afterthought in the development process.
Peak and Valley - What started as a personal quest to treat her own chronic stress, fatigue, and skin issues, Nadine Joseph has created a company that is here to help you feel well. Using adaptogens, these wellness products balance the body’s reaction to stress, all while supporting immune functions, brain health, and skin complexion. The Peak and Valley team is based in Seattle with the goal of providing inclusive, science-backed, and honest products to the world of wellness.
Rosen Skincare - cleaner, more thoughtful skincare for people with acne-prone skin, founded by Jamika Martin. Rosen Skincare wants you to be confident, comfortable, and happy with yourself and in the skin you have. They also believe that you should understand what you're putting on your face, so they're committed to transparency about what's in their products, how they make them, and what makes them so effective.
Aspen Apothecary - cbd infused perfume founded by Keta and Kaja Burke-Williams. They marry the powerful effect of scent with healing properties of hemp-based CBD, blending vintage traditions with science-based knowledge to create good-for-you perfume for modern womxn. They stay true to their principles of uncompromised quality, honesty, and dependability, while being mindful of their impact on the environment.
Special thanks to every one of you that has made this possible -
Allison McNamara, Founder/CEO of MARA
Amy Liu, Founder/CEO of Tower 28
Annie Jackson, Co-Founder/COO of Credo
Averyl Andrews, DIrector of Merchandising at Sephora
Casey Georgeson, Founder/CEO of Saint Jane Beauty
Cat Chen, Founder/CEO of Skylar
Courtney Nelson, Consumer Investor
Dawn Francisco, Narrativ and formerly Estee Lauder
Dianna Ruth, COO/Co-Founder of Milk Makeup
Dorian Morris, Founder/CEO of Undefined Beauty
Kendra Kolb Butler, Founder of Alpyn Beauty
Tiila Abbitt, Founder/CEO of Aether Beauty
Panel of Judges:
Alisa Williams, Partner at VMG Partners
Cindy Deily, VP of Skincare Merchandising at Sephora
Divya Gugnani, Investor and Co-Founder of Wander Beauty
Jessica Phillips, VP of Merchandising at Ulta Beauty
Priya Rao, Executive Editor at Glossy
Pitch Day Moderator:
Jamie Greenberg, Celebrity Makeup Artist
Nancy Twine, Briogeo