ABOVE PHOTO: K.J. Miller and Amanda E. Johnson, founders of Mented Cosmetics
The beauty industry is very competitive, and already saturated with hundreds of companies that offer various makeup products. Despite this, however, two Black female Harvard Business School grads were able to launch their own beauty brand for women of color called Mented Cosmetics. Even more, they have already managed to raise $1 million in capital for their business.
Creating a winning product
Founders K.J. Miller and Amanda E. Johnson wanted to created a better brand of makeup for women with dark skin, so they made their own brand, hand-making their own samples and spending about $10,000 to $15,000 of their own money.
Next, they tested their products with consumers and makeup artists around the country. It was then that they knew they had a winning product!
Although K.J. and Amanda used their own money to get started, they still needed a lot more funding to really get their company to take off.
They were able to raise a pre-seed round of capital totaling $400,000. The next funding came from venture capital firms and angel investors, including iSeed Ventures, Built by Girls, BAM Ventures, Corazon Capital, Outbound Ventures, and Blue Seed Collective.
All in all, they were able to raise more than $1 million. Forbes has named them “the 15th and 16th Black Women Ever to Raise $1M in Capital.”
Learning the game
Both founders agree that funding was difficult and required a lot of confidence. As Miller explained, “Our advisor told us to ‘put our white man hats on;’ when you know you’ve done the work and you have the experience, you should be able to walk into the room with just as much confidence as anyone else.”
They have learned much in the process, and were able to expand their product line from five nude lipsticks to also include lip gloss and nail polish. They are also planning to launch a line of eye shadow palettes, as well as makeup for cheeks and face.
These two entrepreneurs are truly poised to capitalize on the $445 billion beauty industry!