This year has been quite the emotional rollercoaster. Between the health crisis of COVID-19, individuals suffering major financial losses, the country reckoning with systemic racism, and more, you might assume that if you’ve been thinking about starting a business, now isn’t the time to put yourself at risk.
But the chaotic (and heartbreaking) 2020 environment didn’t stop beauty and fashion industry big-timers Nyakio Greico and Patrick Herning from creating their dream platform together. In fact, this year was actually the perfect moment for their latest endeavor, Thirteen Lune, to flourish.
Thirteen Lune is an online e-commerce destination that not only highlights Black-owned brands, but also the brands of Black allies, too. Basically, whether you’re looking to support beauty brands founded by Black (and brown) creators or if you just want a product that works particularly well with skin or hair of color, you’ll likely find what you need on Thirteen Lune.
I personally caught up with the co-founder, Nyakio Greico (who also successfully launched her namesake line, nyakio beauty), to learn more about how she helped bring Thirteen Lune to fruition in 2020 — and what advice she has for current, future or aspiring business owners out there.
The brand has three main pillars
Thirteen Lune focuses on three main pillars: products made by Black and brown people, products made for Black and brown people and brands who are allies to minority communities.
Wondering what an “ally brand” is, exactly? Greico defines it as this: If a brand’s product works on ethnic hair, skin, etc., and it’s formulated with people of all hair textures and skin types in mind, it could be considered an ally brand.
“I love being able to tell my friends that are not Black or brown founders: ‘Oh my gosh, do you know that your Himalayan salt scrub shampoo works incredibly well on really textured hair?’” she explains.
Basically, Greico wants you to know that just because a brand is Black-owned doesn’t mean that it’s only for Black people. Equally as important, just because a brand isn’t marketed to people of color doesn’t mean that it can’t be enjoyed by consumers of all different skin tones and hair textures.
Find a blank space
ICYMI, Greico has her own all-natural beauty brand, nyakio beauty, that’s sold both online and in Targets across the country. This summer, however, Greico noticed that there wasn’t a retailer that truly focused on selling, distributing or highlighting brands for people of color specifically.
“Maybe there [are] a few [brands of color] at Kohl’s, a few of us at Target and a few of us at Sephora,” Greico says. “Most, though, only sell direct to consumers through their own sites. Why is there not more amplification and celebration?”
That’s why, when list after list featuring diverse beauty brands was being published this summer, Greico decided to do a deep dive. “In the beginning, it was really about printing out and highlighting which of these brands are showing up on a lot of these lists. I also spoke to friends, saying, ‘Tell me what Black or brown-founded brands you use that you love and why.’”
From there, Greico and her merchant buyer (who is also a woman of color) narrowed down their list of brands they wanted to feature on Thirteen Lune. “I, of course, wanted to have every product I came across,” says Greico. “That’s what made the edit very important.”
Now, you’ll find cult-favorite, successful beauty brands like Hyper Skin, Bomba Curls, Buttah Skin, Dehiya Beauty and more, all collectively featured on the site for purchase. Thirteen Lune is truly the one-stop-shop online retailer for everything celebrating Black and brown beauty.
The long-term goal: Generational wealth
“One thing I know as a Black beauty founder is that the amount of attention that I received in the summer of 2020 after having a brand and being in the red for almost two decades was enormous,” Greico explains. “It means that there wasn’t enough attention being paid to us.”
That’s why beyond selling products, Greico wants to make sure that she and her co-founder are telling stories and celebrating founders around the world. She considers it a way for them to pay it forward, to help others know that they can turn their passions, especially in the world of beauty, into successful businesses.
“The biggest and most important part of this all is to help build generational wealth, to alleviate systemic racism and to really even the playing field. And we should do that through commerce,” Greico explains. “We know in their success, we will all be able to go back into our Black and brown communities and help to build generational wealth, to inspire the next generation of people.”
If you enjoyed this story, check out Janell Hickman’s spotlight on DreamGirls, a Black-owned hair brand that thrived during the pandemic.
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