If there is one thing we love more than anything it is a woman entrepreneur — especially a woman of color. Studies show that Black women are the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in America, a number that has grown more than 300 percent since the 90s!
While it’s no surprise that Black women are crushing it in business (if you’re unclear, just check Renae Bluitt’s new She Did That documentary on all the women who are launching their own brands), it can often feel difficult to find Latinas and Black women who are creating all the products, services and brands we truly need day-to-day.
While recent movements to #BuyBlack feel critical to the actualization and empowerment of our communities, a commitment (or even an exploration) to do so can prove to be daunting. In the inaugural episode of Netflix’s “Trigger Warning with Killer Mike,” Mike goes on a quest to only buy things from Black-owned, Black produced business for 72 hours straight. The outcome? He found himself starving while cozying up on a makeshift bed fashioned from a park bench and a bag of Black-owned beans. Long story short, supporting businesses of people who look like us can be much harder than it sounds.
That’s why we celebrate every woman — especially Latinas — who set out to create products that we actually want. One woman doing just that is Gabriello “Gaby” Trujillo, founder of Alamar Cosmetics. In 2018, she set out to launch her beauty brand after years of working as a makeup artist.
Here’s what we learned from Gaby and her makeup line about the business of building a brand that serves its people!
Throw Your Whole Self — And Culture — Behind Your Dream
Gaby knew that the way to launch a line that would inspire Latinas and provide what they want would require her to put her true self and Cuban roots into its essence.
“At a young age I fell in love with makeup, glam, artistry, and creativity but I also developed a taste for being self-employed,” she explains. “I got the idea in my head that I could create a cruelty- free, ethical, clean, affordable, high-quality beauty brand, and that I could make it thrive by putting all of my culture and passion behind it.”
“I like to think Havana, and specifically Alamar is embedded into me, therefore reflect onto my work. I think being born in Cuba made me resilient, resourceful, and fueled me with the passion to succeed for not only me but for everyone rooting for me back there.”
Don’t Make Your Audience Wonder Where They Fit In
Alamar Cosmetics is rooted in Gaby’s understanding that all women should feel like they’ve found exactly what they need in the brand — and not feel forced to search high and low for the right colors.
“I feel like inclusivity is not even something that people should have to worry about,” Gaby says. “Makeup is for everyone so why shouldn’t everyone be able to wear it? From my time as a makeup artist, I found it extremely difficult to find blushes, bronzers, even eye shadows that would translate on all skin tones. I saw a major challenge in trying to create the same effects and illusions on deeper skin tones because products with enough depth and warmth were lacking from the beauty market. I’m very proud to be working diligently to create products with range and depth that everyone can enjoy.”
Double Down on Diversity — Even When Serving Audiences of Color
While every business should be built to serve the masses, as women of color, it’s important that we think about our businesses and audiences with nuance. Not every woman looks the same and has the same needs, which is why it’s critical to consider the full range of women of color. Alamar does just that.
“I want to emphasize to my audience that our pigments are bright, deep, buttery, and so much more – plus, they look stunning on even the deepest skin tone,” Gaby points out. “Latinas come in every single skin tone imaginable and I want to shine a light on that subject through my products and campaigns.”
Consider Environment While You’re At It
It’s super easy to create another brand that is conscious of people and not-so-thoughtful when it comes to our environment. But Alamar has its eye on everything that matters.
“Currently, Alamar’s new Colored Blush Trios and Mother of Pearl Lip Glosses are 100% vegan only. As we continue to grow as a brand, we are always in the hunt for vegan and/or ethical ingredients and packaging. We understand this is an important issue hitting the beauty industry and we want to start practicing safe measures as of right now.”
Pay Homage to Your Culture In Every Detail
Part of what brings joy to those who buy brands that were created by people from their culture is that it helps them feel more connected to their roots. Alamar infuses the essence of Gaby’s culture into every detail — down to the product names!
“Each product I create falls under a collection, for example, our eye shadow palettes fall under the Reina Del Caribe collection. I chose those names to reflect a true Caribbean queen! On the other hand, our Mother of Pearl glosses was created in the image of the ocean. I drew a lot of inspiration from mermaids, buried treasure, pearls, oysters, etc.!”