Beauty and fashion have always been a part of my life. My mother applied makeup daily, never wearing the same outfit twice. As a result, I grew up loving everything, beauty and fashion. I have often commented about knowing I would do something entrepreneurial in the beauty industry. First, however, I needed clarification as to what that would be.
I remember the first time I realized this was something I could do to support myself and start the journey toward generational wealth. I was working as a chemist at a small private-label manufacturing company. The thought came to me, “you can do this for yourself. Your destiny is to start your own cosmetics manufacturing company.” I had chemical knowledge and small manufacturing knowledge. This led me to think about all those who came before me, Anthony Overton, Overton Hygienic Manufacturing Co., Anita Patti Brown, Patti’s Beauty Emporium, Madame C.J. Walker (Sarah Breedlove), and Eunice Johnson, Fashion Fair Cosmetics.
Anthony Overton was the first black chemist to tap into the black cosmetics market successfully. Overton realized the Black community was underserved and lacked product options. Black women were consistently sold products that were not made for them or were made with questionable ingredients. Overton was committed to selling quality products. His face powders were formulated using high-quality ingredients targeted to black women. He tested all of his ingredients to ensure their safety of use. He also upgraded cosmetic packaging to market to women of color, his target market.
Anita Patti Brown was a well-known soprano recitalist whose debut was at the Chicago Opera House. Brown started Patti’s Beauty Emporium, where she produced Patti’s Brazilian Toilette Luxuries, which featured creams, face powders, and perfumes. She used her fame to make and sell her products.
Eunice Johnson, businesswoman, publisher, and philanthropist, developed the well-known makeup line Fashion Fair Cosmetics. Fashion Fair Cosmetics was established to specifically address the beauty needs of Black women and was the first to go on to be featured in department stores. This groundbreaking cosmetics line inspired or forced other cosmetics lines to diversify and expand their product offerings.
Who wouldn’t want to be included in this lineup. I will continue to make, promote, and sell ELLIE Cosmetics. Wouldn’t you?