Celebrating the RBB/BGV Beauty Pitch Competition

Celebrating Successes Along the Way

Yesterday we celebrated Juneteenth, a holiday that commemorates the official emancipation of enslaved Black people in the USA. So it seemed like an appropriate time to step back and celebrate the efforts of the teams at Rare Beauty Brands, Black Girl Ventures and Ulta in creating the most successful Beauty Pitch competition for BIPOC-owned beauty brands that we’ve done so far.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that the impact of our beauty pitch is even in the same universe as the magnitude of the Emancipation Proclamation. But just as the Proclamation was one very important step in what turned out to be a very long (and still ongoing) march toward greater equality, our 2nd Annual Beauty Pitch Competition was an important milestone in our mission to promote an equal playing field for Black and Brown beauty entrepreneurs.

The Black Beauty Gap

Since the inception of the competition, we have instinctively known that it was the right thing to do; it has become a core part of our culture. But a recent study by McKinsey includes data that quantify the challenges in the Black beauty market. Specifically, while Black consumers represent 12.4% of the population and 11.1% of spending on beauty products, Black brands (owned and or operated) make up only 2.5% of revenue in the beauty industry, a gap of 5-6x. And early-stage Black beauty companies apparently raise 64% less in venture funding than early-stage non-Black beauty companies. This is the inequity that we set out to address – thank you McKinsey for dimensionalizing the scope of the challenge!

This gap makes even less sense when you get to know the quality of the entrepreneurs behind Black and Brown beauty brands. As a prime example, this year’s winner of the Pitch Competition, Jordan Karim is as talented, passionate and hardworking as anyone I’ve met in the industry. Her brand Flora & Noor is addressing a key underserved need in the market (halal certified skincare) and her execution of the brand and products has been top notch. And her fellow finalists are right up there with her!

Appreciation for the Best Competition Yet

This year’s pitch competition delivered almost $100,000 of non-dilutive funding directly to our six finalists. As the overall winner, Flora & Noor took home almost $45,000!

Special thanks to all the people who “voted” with their hard earned dollars, and to Capital One, which provided a dollar-for-dollar match on both the individual donations and RBB’s donated prize money. And a huge thank you to the team at Ulta who provide valuable feedback to the entrepreneurs in addition to a special prize of virtual shelf space on ulta.com for the winner!

Finally, of course this wouldn’t be possible without the tireless work of our partners at Black Girl Ventures who literally make it all happen – from attracting 4x more applications than a typical pitch to providing the amazing team, systems and production to pull it all together. Thank you!

Here’s to an even bigger and better competition next year! If you’d like to get involved or have ideas to help us have a bigger impact, please share them in the comments below.