A Sephora-like Beauty Hub FOR LADIES Of Color Is ARRIVING AT Dupont Circle

When Kimberly Smith and Amaya Smith talk about why they started their respective businesses, they both have a tendency to use the same key term: annoyance. Kimberly Smith is the creator of Marjani Beauty, an online retailer that sells a curated selection of skincare and makeup products for women with darker skin tones. Similarly, Amaya Smith runs a start-up called the merchandise Junkie that helps women find hair products and tools for natural hair. This winter, the long-time friends-no relation-are teaming up to expose a fresh kind of store to Dupont Circle.

Brown Beauty Co-Op aspires to bring a mix of skincare, locks, and beauty products for ladies of color to a 1,000-square foot store at 1365 Connecticut Avenue Northwest. In December and will feature soothing rose pink tones The area is slated to open, evoking a Sephora or Bluemercury-style environment with polished finishes. The pair are going for today’s look that they feel are missing in today’s brick-and-mortar market. “We aren’t a beauty supply,” clarifies Kimberly Smith. Kimberly Smith and Amaya Smith are quick to indicate that when they say “dark brown beauty, ” it offers all pores and skin shades and ethnicities, not black women just.

“We want to have the ability to serve a lot of other women who are underrepresented on the market like Indian and Latino women,” they explain. The boutique will have a salon space for makeup application and hair tutorials, open up for both visits and drop-ins (so you can get an instant touch up on your lunch break). The founders are stacking in the calendar with revolving pop-ups and events as well, placing the store as a grouped community space where women of color can feel empowered. They also plan to serve as an incubator space for independent beauty companies trying to get a foothold in the neighborhood market.

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The co-founders are wishing that the area will fill vacuum pressure in DC’s beauty scene. Kimberly Smith is originally from Philadelphia and Amaya Smith grew up in Silver Spring. Kimberly Smith has been running Marjani Beauty for just two years now, and Amaya Smith is just getting the merchandise Junkie off the bottom, however the collaboration was a natural fit.

“I’ve gone to the cultural aisle in Target or CVS… which is like chaos and comedy in there,” says Amaya Smith. “Women of color have always sort of been relegated to this random aisle where people are like picking right up paper towels and wc paper, meanwhile, you’re racking your brains on what product works for you.

It’s no unusual experience, of course. Women of color have been pushing for more inclusivity- and representation when it comes to products like basis shades-for years. Days gone by decade has seen some progress as the style and beauty industries finally appear to be taking baby steps towards inclusivity and variety, terms which have long been given lip-service but have less seen meaningful realization often.