Why I’m creating an affordable vegan beauty brand for Black women

A young person wearing glamorous make up against a purple background

A white banner with text that reads 'young people's voices'

I’m Saffron and I’m a co-founder of Skiin Cosmetics UK. I’m very passionate about telling the story behind my brand whilst inspiring many young people to follow their dreams and to do what they can to take full advantage of negative situations.

Starting my own business during lockdown

My mental health journey

I’m 22 and currently a student at Sheffield Hallam University and have been struggling with my mental health for the past three years. At home, depression is not easily spoken about and is taboo. Unfortunately, this is common in Black cultures. Not feeling able to speak out about my depression made it hard to reach out for help and just express how I was feeling. On top of this, living out as a student during Covid made this exceptionally difficult as I haven’t been able to see my friends and family as easily.

Back in September 2020, I caught Covid-19 from work. This took me by surprise because my symptoms were not what I expected, but as I was really poorly I spent just over two weeks self-isolating in my flat alone. This was extremely difficult as I had nobody to get food shopping for me and just relied on Deliveroo. Although this was a horrible time, it was whilst me and my twin sister were self-isolating that we had the idea of Skiin Cosmetics UK.

Isolating gave me and my sister the opportunity to start planning our business ideas; it really gave us the focus and distraction we needed to get through Covid and allowed us to focus on something other than university. Whenever I felt low, focusing on the business was a great outlet as it gave us something to look forward to. We saw it as an opportunity to turn our ideas into reality and starting this business with my twin has brought me even closer to her and my whole family. They are the biggest driving force who encourage us to be better every day.

Working hard to create a brand we align with

Growing up, my sister and I always felt that a female, black-owned cosmetics business was missing from the market; so we decided to be the ones to fill the gap. We have a lot of core values and think it’s important to stick to them when creating a brand. This means that every decision we make we ensure that it is in support of everything we stand for as Black women in a society where we need to work twice as hard as our peers to be respected.

Why a beauty brand for Black women?

We want Black women to have the choice to purchase from a brand which knows the struggle of mixing multiple foundations to get the right colour to match their skin tone. We want the young women of today to see a brand which reflects them in all respects to foundation shades to highlight colours and everything in between.

Creating the future we want to see

We want to help build the future we want to see, so have made all our products vegan and cruelty free. Being a vegan business can be challenging however we want every customer to know that the products they buy are good for the environment, their bodies and their pockets. We don’t anyone to have to spend more just to purchase something that is better for the world.

Many of the high-end cosmetics brands that I see are non-vegan, expensive and mainly founded by white men. I used these products because there wasn’t a product on the market made by someone like me, for someone like me.

What has helped me through this:

Getting to this point of opening and running a business wasn’t easy and it still isn’t.  Everyone is different and  is on a different journey, but I just wanted to share what really helped me through this all:

  • My family and friends have been amazing and incredibly supportive of everything I do, I’m very blessed to have them.
  • Exercising and just having an outlet (which for me was my business) has massively helped during lockdown.
  • My medication, therapy and meditation has helped me a lot with my depression during lockdown. They have helped me understand myself more and help to clear my head so I can focus on other areas of my life, such as Skiin, which is amazing.

If you’re thinking of starting your own business and need some money advice, head to The Mix’s money page.

You can find out more about Skiin Cosmetics UK here.

Read Kiki’s piece about learning to love her dark skin.

Next Steps

By Simran Atwal

Updated on 10-Feb-2021

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