Entrepreneur Ofome Eyanagho: “It’s time for brands to invest in Black beauty”

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  • Ofome Eyanagho formulated The Glow Pot - an all-natural, vegan skincare range - with darker skin tones in mind. She talks about her winning brand, representation within the industry and the underrated power of Black beauty shoppers

    Glow Up star Maya Jama kicks off our spring campaign, The Power Of Beauty, over at Marie Claire UK. Stay tuned throughout the month of May as we celebrate the transformative power of beauty and champion the industry we love.

    Ofome Eyanagho, the creator of The Glow Pot, thought she was being duped when she heard she’d made it to the final of Avon’s Beauty in Colour competition, launched to promote voices of underrepresented women in the UK beauty industry. That’s because she’d completely forgotten she had entered.

    When Ofome went on to actually win the prestigious inaugural prize of £20,000 and invaluable mentoring from Avon to grow her beauty brand, it’s fair to say she was shocked. “Doors like these don’t open for people like me,” she admitted in her acceptance speech.

    Ofome Eyanagho’s resilience and love for what she does is apparent from the get-go. However, she’s faced many challenges since launching her business and is outspoken about how far the industry still has to go in terms of representing and giving platforms to women like her.

    Marie Claire UK‘s Senior Beauty Editor Katie Thomas sat down with the winning beauty entrepreneur, Ofome Eyanagho, to hear her story about the power of beauty and her winning business, The Glow Pot.

    The Glow Pot’s Ofome Eyanagho on…

    Launching The Glow Pot

    “The industry is hard to break into. There are a lot of really big players and names in the game. If you’re not one of them, people don’t believe you know what you’re talking about.”

    “People don’t really want to invest in Black women. In 2017 or 2018, only 0.02% of all venture capitalists, or funding across the world, went to Black women. Numbers and statistics like that make it really easy to feel like you want to give up. I’d been trying to fundraise for a while, through investors and venture capitalists, but the general responses were: ‘it’s too similar to this’, ‘we’ve already got that’ or ‘your products don’t do this, and they don’t do that’. It’s obviously really disheartening, because The Glow Pot has so many customers across the world and our products really work.”

    “I’ve had eczema my whole life and I spent a long time battling with it. I couldn’t find anything that worked for my targeted skin condition and my Black skin. When I started The Glow Pot, my objective was to treat my eczema, but it was also to create a line that worked for women of colour. I had first-hand experience and spoken with others about how the products already on the market didn’t work for us. As a darker-skinned person, I produce more melanin and prone to hyper pigmentation. So it’s so important not to use anything too harsh, otherwise you buy a product to solve one problem, and end up creating a whole new one. There is a lot of misinformation, a lack of guidance and people aren’t being recommended the right products.”

    “I wanted to create a gentle, effective range for darker skin, as well as other skin tones. The Glow Pot’s Azelaic Acid Exfoliating Gel helps with hyper pigmentation and also acne. The Antibacterial Honey Face Wash helps with hyper pigmentation and gently helps to brighten the skin. It’s antibacterial, and treats acne too.”

    Representation in beauty

    “Research shows that 70% of models in beauty advertising and editorials are white. What does that say to us? Black women don’t not exist. Yet Black women spend six times more than white women when purchasing beauty products. The higher spending has a lot to do with confusion. The more confused Black women are about which products we need, the more we are going to buy. Plus there’s more money to be made in keeping Black women confused and keeping them underserved. There are not enough people that look like me to show other Black women which products may work. Black women are not represented enough. That’s why I make sure I use models of colour.”

    “The beauty industry knows how important women of colour are in terms of setting trends and buying products. If only more brands went out of their way to increase representation and find out exactly what we’re looking for in products, they would see how much more invested we could be. It took the launch of Fenty Beauty for brands to realise how many more shades of foundation are needed for darker skin tones.”

    Winning Avon Beauty in Colour 

    “I quit my job just before winning, so now it means I can afford to live. It’s the financial support I’ve desired for a long time – it’s come at the right time.”

     

    I’m now able to work with cosmetic scientists to help formulate more products. I’ll be able to grow my team. I’ve had a great support system who have been working with me for free for so long. Now I can afford to pay a salary and say thank you for helping me. I will be able to focus on advertising, brand awareness, marketing and stock management.”

    “For Avon to say, ‘keep going, we’re behind you’. We see what you’re doing and we’re going to make sure the rest of the world sees what you’re doing’ means more than I can ever explain.”  

    The power of beauty

    “Beauty to me is all about feeling confident in your skin. This is difficult when you have skin issues and you don’t fit into the traditional beauty standards and ideals. Beauty is incredibly powerful, so not having representation says to me, ‘I’m not beautiful’. As a woman of colour, I’ve struggled with this feeling my whole life.”

    “The power of beauty is accepting who you are as a person and what you actually look like. Understanding who you are inside, and how you carry yourself, is more important than what society says is beautiful.”

    For more on Ofome Eyanagho and her natural, vegan friendly, cruelty-free skincare products visit The Glow Pot.

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