Roughly a decade ago, I was partying in one of New York's LGBTQ districts with a childhood Tamil friend who hadn't come 'out' to his family as gay in Canada. We were both in the Empire State pursuing graduate studies. This was my first experience getting up close and personal with some of the most glamorous drag queens of colour I'd ever seen. In speaking to them, I realised we drew so many parallels in our perceptions of beauty. They struggled with the same issues I did in not finding the perfect skin tone make up, hosiery, etc. This experience deeply resonated with me.
I eventually moved to London, England. I quickly realised the beauty products and accessories I used in North America were scarce in Europe. There was clearly a diverse ethnic base throughout the continent, yet I couldn't find something so basic: skin tone tights. I thought back to those drag queens from NYC and realised the beauty industry needed to change. I then decided to give birth twice: first to my son and then my business, Brown Skin Essentials.
BSE is the first gender neutral lifestyle brand for people of colour. The tagline, “For Queens of All Colours,” reflects our commitment to shake up how the industry defines beauty and what it truly means to be more inclusive, including offering a wider size range than others in the retail industry. I firmly believe all ethnicities should be able to find products that are true to their colour and size – and not pay a hefty premium. The response has been overwhelming and we're in expansion mode.
Our first product offering of skin tone tights gives legs a polished, natural finish. They're intended to look like second skin. Beyond Europe and the US, our next largest customer base hails from India. This was very surprising to me as one would assume the warm climate would bring less of a demand for tights, but that's far from the case. Nothing is more gratifying than receiving a heartwarming message from a melanin beauty who thanks me for creating an inclusive range that celebrates them – a refreshing change from mainstream beauty marketing.
BSE has seen steady year on year growth and is now carried by wholesalers and retailers in Europe, in addition to global selling via our online shop (www.brownskinessentials.com). We are constantly developing new ranges based on our customers' needs, so stay tuned.
For wholesale or retail opportunities, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.