Black Girl Ventures is a true standout in the world of funding, helping to establish over 100 Black- and Brown women-owned businesses across twelve U.S. cities since its inception. In addition to its renowned pitch competitions, the organization is home to other resources, including mentor programs and video series featuring successful entrepreneurs. Its track record is basically flawless but the latest event is one for the books. The Black Girl Ventures and Rare Beauty Brands pitch competition is all about beauty and the prize is next-level—here’s what we know.
The competition kicked off on November 17 where several brand founders pitched their products to select media and guest judges. After an initial voting period, nine finalists were chosen for the final round. All of them are at least 51 percent owned by someone who identifies as a Black or Brown woman. Other criteria include:
- Business must be past the ideation phase with fully developed product or service, with customers or ready for customers
- Early-stage, but generating revenue (no minimum required)
- Located in the United States and operate in the beauty and/or personal care industry, including but not limited to skincare, haircare, color cosmetics, nail care, fragrance, bath & body care, tools & accessories, wellness.
Today (November 24), finalists will have three minutes to pitch their products, followed by a two-minute Q&Å with a panel of industry pros. If you want to watch (and take notes for your next funding opp), register to attend with a small donation to SheRaise, the funding tech platform for Black Girl Ventures. After that, the video will stream on BGV’s website where the public can vote for their favorite founder until November 30 at 8PM EST.
Now let’s get to the good stuff.
A winner will be announced on December 2 and I cannot get over how good the prizes are. There’s cash, Google credits, a Salesforce package, business coaching, lawyer and accountant consultations, a HubSpot discount, and access to BGV’s Connect Incubator. Plus, Ulta will distribute the winning brand. Major! I’ve personally discovered so many amazing woman-owned brands through Sparked at Ulta Beauty, so this is a huge win for brand awareness.
Curious to know who the finalists are? Learn more about each of them below and make sure you’re following Black Girl Ventures so you don’t miss out on their next pitch event.
Gianne Doherty, Organic Bath Co., Boston, Mass.
Organic Bath Co. believes in self-care made simple: Mindful moments, peaceful thoughts, and nurturing your skin from the outside in. We know what you put on your body is as important as what you put in it—so we created an award-winning bath and body line using only organic and natural ingredients that are safe, effective, and easy to use. Our products are an invitation to slow down and indulge. Nourish your skin. Enhance Your Natural Beauty. Trust that what you’re using is clean, not complicated.
Aja Frierson, Habit Cosmetics, Malibu, Calif.
Aja created Habit in 2013 when she couldn’t find a nail polish brand that had everything she was looking for: a clean formula that was good for her nails with gorgeous on-trend colors and sustainable packaging that looked good on her bathroom counter. After two years of development, Habit was finally born. Habit Cosmetics is a vegan and cruelty-free, non-toxic, and sustainably packaged makeup brand with a focus on high-performance, multitasking formulas.
Chinonye Akunne, ILERA Apothecary, Detroit, Mich.
Born to Nigerian immigrants, Chinonye developed a strong sense of pride for her Igbo culture. Through her studies and experience in the prevention of exposure to harmful chemicals in the workplace, she honed-in on her passion for creating holistic skincare products to protect and revive the skin and body. ILERA Apothecary was launched in 2015 with the values of creating plant-based skincare products with the highest quality and ethically sourced ingredients.
View this post on Instagram
LaToya Stirrup, KAZMALEJE, Miami, Fla.
In her 16 years of experience, LaToya led teams through the process of ideation, creation, development, and launch to bring advertising campaigns and projects to life for some of the biggest global brands. In 2016, she launched her own brand KAZMALEJE. From innovative hair tools to stylish cosmetic/travel bags and leisure wear to fashionable home accessories, KAZMALEJE creates lifestyle amplifying tools and accessories that empower women, men, and kids to pamper and groom themselves with love, care, and style.
Kim Roxie, LAMIK Beauty, Houston, Tex.
After her mother passed in 2014, it became Kim’s mission to give women of color access to safe, natural beauty products. LAMIK started as a local makeup shop and now offers clean color cosmetics for women of color who historically have been marketed more toxic makeup options than their counterparts. LAMIK is transforming the standard of beauty with makeup made with safe, natural, and organic ingredients.
Kitiya King, Mischo Beauty, Washington, D.C.
While pregnant with her son, Kitiya was unrelenting in her search for chic, richly hued polish that would cause no harm to her or her unborn baby. With a degree in chemistry and licenses in Cosmetology, Esthetics, and Makeup Artistry, Kitiya was well equipped for the challenge before her—that of filling the void of luxe, non-toxic nail lacquer in the beauty landscape. In 2013, Mischo Beauty was among the daring to revolutionize a highly-toxic beauty segment – nail lacquer – which has been notorious for formulas with synthetic chemicals and endocrine disruptors. Mischo Beauty is committed to the philosophy to do no harm as they innovate across the beauty landscape.
Takia Ross, Accessmatized LLC d.b.a. KiKi Thunda Cosmetics, Baltimore, Md.
Takia is a professional make-up artist and owner of Accessmatized Make-Up Artistry and KiKi Thunda Cosmetics, a small batch cosmetics manufacturing company started in 2013. Busy professional women were looking for no-fuss lip products that they could rely on to help them to make a statement without saying a word. In response, she developed KiKi Thunda products, a line of highly pigmented, long-lasting, water-resistant, smudge-proof liquid matte lipsticks.
Angela Fields, CurlyCoilyTresses, Tampa Bay, Fla.
Angela created CurlyCoilyTresses in 2014 to provide fragrance-free hair care options for people with naturally textured hair. The CurlyCoilyTresses®️ difference is products that are: Effective, enriching, ultra-nourishing textured haircare in minimal-ingredient, carefully curated formulations. Clean, plant-based, ageless, genderless, cruelty-free, vegan formulations. Rejuvenating to chemically- and physically damaged hair restoring its youth-like luster while calming porosity using organic, wild-harvested, thoughtfully selected ingredients. 100% fragrance, scent and masking agent-free.
Symone Gates, Bade Collection, New York, N.Y.
Symone started creating pain management products she could use post-workout, utilizing herbs heavily researched and shown to relieve both inflammation and soreness. After a year of testing, she brought the Bädé Collection to life in 2017 and incorporated more advanced ingredients, such as hemp-derived CBD. Delivering skin-loving benefits in a luxurious and safe way is the continual driving force behind the Bädé Collection. With that in mind, all products are synthetic and preservative-free and focus on simple formulations that consistently deliver.
Subscribe to the BlogHer newsletter for more tactical advice, exclusive content, and timely event updates.