I recently completed the application for the Glossier grant initiative for Black-owned beauty businesses. Some of the questions called for me to dig deeper into my "why" for launching Aˈme-kə and go beyond the bios and "About Aˈme-kə" section of our website. Here's part of what I shared and what I would now like to share with you all who are returning customers or visitors interested in learning more about the Aˈme-kə brand.
While wrapping up my M.S. degree, after having already completed an M.B.A. that reignited my desire to create my own business, I took notice of the lack of product selection and quality customer service for people like me in mainstream beauty retailers. For example, I could not find foundation shades that matched me well, and I encountered employees who were unable or uncomfortable assisting me (though not when serving others who did not look like me). As I began to realize I was not the only Black woman to experience this, I also began to notice these exciting emails about Black-owned brands being offered shelf space in the mainstream retail stores. While I was thrilled for these brands, I wondered why it felt like these occurrences were so rare that they led to these types of celebratory reactions. It was more than being excited about the success of a particular brand. There was this element of "this is a big deal because it does not happen often for Black-owned brands." I began to wonder why that was. Was it a lack of Black-owned brands or a lack of opportunity? So, I looked into it and was surprised to find so many Black-owned brands existed in the beauty industry.
With this new-found knowledge, in September of 2018, I began to seriously consider taking the leap and pursuing my new goal of increasing consumers’ awareness of and access to inclusive cosmetic, beauty, and grooming brands made with melanin in mind and founded by Black entrepreneurs; while also creating a platform for building a self-affirming community for those invested in seeing each other thrive and flourish in beauty, business, and life. Winning first place in November of 2018 at the National Black MBA Association – DFW Chapter’s Ground Zero: Pitch Competition was the confirmation I needed to continue forward. In April of 2019, I officially launched Aˈme-kə, an online retail space for inclusive cosmetic, beauty, and grooming brands founded by Black entrepreneurs. We are currently a retail partner for over 20 brands (including Golde, ROSEN Skincare, Bolden, Omolewa Cosmetics, Hue Noir, Curls, Frederick Benjamin Grooming, and more); and the host of various events, including #MelaninMonday Mastermind Meetings and various shopping and beauty experiences.
What sets us apart in the beauty space, is the fact that we as a beauty retailer primarily focus on cosmetics and skincare, while also exclusively selling inclusive brands founded by Black entrepreneurs, and include in our mission the creation of a community and platform to uplift the lives and businesses in the Black community. This means we provide product selection and services that meet the needs of everyone, without leaving out Black consumers as often is the case in the mainstream retailers. It also means that providing opportunities and resources for the Black community and Black-owned businesses has and will always be part of our foundation and mission. Additionally, we provide an opportunity for consumers to support multiple Black-owned businesses, including our business as the retailer and the brands we carry, at once. Meaning funding and revenue that we receive continues to go towards supporting other Black-owned businesses, whether towards events like the #MelaninMonday Mastermind meetings or to Black-owned beauty brands when we purchase additional inventory. We also serve as a space for those specifically looking for brands founded by Black entrepreneurs to support and buy.
We aspire to broaden the conversation about increased inclusion of and opportunities for Black entrepreneurs in the beauty space, the importance of all consumers to have an expectation that every consumer should have a positive shopping experience when shopping in the industry, and increased awareness of the inclusivity and non-toxic proclivity of Black-owned brands in this space (changing the assumptions that Black-owned brands are exclusively for Black consumers and increasing awareness of how many Black-owned brands are in the clean beauty space). We aspire to lead with purpose by serving as an example of how to do those things, as well as by playing an active role in the education needed to have those conversations and pursue the needed change within the industry.
Over the next 12 months our vision is to put Aˈme-kə in the position to bring on several additional Black-owned brands, as well as attract bigger Black-owned brands that are currently focused on mainstream retailers. The long-term goal is to create a chain of brick and mortar stores, where everyone can shop for their beauty needs knowing their patronage is part of the movement to create a positive beauty shopping experience for all.
Aˈme-kə is an online retail space for makeup, beauty, and grooming brands founded by Black entrepreneurs. Aˈme-kə is currently a retail partner for over 20 brands (including ROSEN Skincare, Golde, Bolden, Omolewa Cosmetics, Hue Noir, Curls, and Scotch Porter); and the host of various events, including #MelaninMonday Mastermind Meetings and various shopping and beauty experiences. https://ame-ke.com/
About Emeka Anyanwu
Emeka Anyanwu is an attorney and entrepreneur. She is the Founder of Aˈme-kə, an online retail space for makeup, beauty, and grooming brands founded by Black entrepreneurs. She is the 2019 recipient of the National Black MBA Association – DFW Chapter’s Empowering Visionaries Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Emeka is a graduate of Stanford University, and she also received her J.D. from The University of Texas School of Law and her M.B.A. and M.S. in Healthcare Leadership and Management from The University of Texas at Dallas.