Discussion

Yes, Mother Is Worth It.

  1. This may turn into a stan/gush fest.
  2. Please understand that I am not judging anyone or trying to shame you into buying anything. I’m only commenting on people who bring up race when complaining about prices.

When Pat McGrath first began releasing her limited edition pigments and glitter lip kits, I admired them, but never bought any because a) they sold out so fast and I didn’t want to stress over it, and b) they weren’t exactly cheap. If I recall, a kit with one lipstick and glitter was around $60, and I knew that I wouldn’t use it that much because I don’t have many opportunities to walk around with glitter on my lips. Such is life.

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Five Ways To Be A Good Consumer When Shopping Small Business

Ever since the internet came out, I’ve been shopping online and dealing with small business. My mailman most likely thinks I have an issue because I get packages several times a week, and I prefer to shop online for most things. But if you aren’t familiar with shopping online and just started engaging with the wonderful practice, you may find some things confusing and frustrating. I get it, but I think it’s important that we take into account not dealing with huge corporate entities. Here are some tips to help you navigate the waters:

  1. Check the brand’s processing and shipping times – they are often longer. I have read some that indicate that most orders are processed within ten business days. Do you know how long ten business days feels when you have Amazon Prime?! SO long, but I mean hey, it is on their website clearly stated!
  2. Contact the brand before posting about them on social media. Make sure it’s their preferred method as well – for instance, don’t send them a DM on Instagram when they clearly state to use their customer service email. Over the years, many women have contacted me on my page to complain about brands, usually due to shipping times or product quality. However, they do this before even reaching out to customer service! I always tell them to contact the brand directly and their situation is almost always resolved in a timely manner.
  3. Read the fine print – make sure you can return the product if you think it’s a possibility that it won’t work for you. A lot of small brands do not offer returns unless the product is damaged. It’s not bad customer service, they simply don’t have the revenue to eat the cost of returns for every little thing. Once I returned a lipstick to Ulta because when I got home and swatched it, I realized that I already owned it. This was totally my fault, and yet, Ulta let me return it. I would never ask a small brand to do the same thing.
  4. Don’t make crazy requests just because you know the products aren’t mass produced. Like, don’t ask for a custom scent if that option isn’t offered or ask them to omit an ingredient that you’re allergic to. I know that it stinks when you think it’s a small tweak, but they need to create a consistent product that they can tie to their brand – it’s not about your individual needs.
  5. Get over yourself. Yea, I said it. A lot of people look for small brands and act as if they are the *only* customer that matters. They want this shade, this formula, this branding, this sale, etc. And while I’m not advocating a brand brushing off ANY customers or ignoring you, there are so many things that go on behind the scenes with brands regarding their analytics and processes that we will never be privy to. When some people think of small business, they almost consider the brand to be their peer, especially when the owner is accessible. At the end of the day, they are still a brand and a business, not your personal supplier. Be reasonable in all aspects.

Dealing with small businesses can be a great experience when you set your expectations. There are only a handful of brands that I have had issues with since the early 2000s, and I hope that continues.

What tips do you have for dealing with small businesses?

The dupeBLACK Files: Beauty Industry Gripes of Black Women

I’ll say it – the beauty industry is not a safe space for black women (for the most part). From Jeffree Star’s racist/demeaning antics towards black women (I am aware of his apology video, this is not the place to discuss) to lack of representation in marketing and shade selection from brands (some even black-owned), staying up to date on happenings in the beauty industry is stressful as f*ck. I wasn’t even totally aware of this until I started my Instagram, and everyday I find myself becoming increasingly tired. When I learned that Beauty Bakerie’s only black woman selected for their new Forever 21 campaign was the owner’s daughter, I just shook my head (thanks melaninmakeup, for exposing that). I don’t know how the owner, as a black woman, could even begin to think that is fair or acceptable. I’m not knocking the winners at all, I’m just disappointed at the lack of awareness that would make one think that decision is okay.

So, I posed the question on my IG about people’s gripes with the beauty industry, and received several amazing, valid, and thoughtful responses. You can check that out here.

One response was from the owner of Blaq Vixen Beauty, and I wanted to use the blog to respond to her as well as display her question and comments, because I think a lot of the time we hold back as to not upset brands or “stir the pot.” Here’s what she had to say:

So Jackie Aina on Twitter touched briefly on how makeup brands try to blacklist/black ball people who speak out on issues in the beauty industry. Of course, she didn’t name these particular brands, but it got me thinking: what is the ultimate goal for a black beauty influencer who continues to showcase these mainstream brands? Also, @dupeblack, do you think it is possible for a black influencer to focus strictly on BOMBs and become wildly successful? Or is that something that would be perceived as limiting, racist, prejudiced, etc. instead of revolutionary, groundbreaking, etc.? I hope my comments didn’t hijack your space (again), but this is something that’s just been on my mind for the last couple weeks. Would it be so wrong for black women to focus on uplifting under black women exclusively in the beauty sphere? So many of us have the potential to be millionaires, billionaires, visionaries, and so forth. When will we realize we have the power to change the beauty industry as we know it? I wish I could start the trend, but I just don’t have the resources right now (I’m manifesting in the meantime).

My response? A lot of the time I think that black influencers and MUAs focusing on mainstream brands that don’t necessarily represent black women well comes down to popularity and visibility. On my page, I have noticed that posts gets more likes when I show brands that are more well-known or you can buy in the store, and you can’t buy black 99% of the time locally. If I show a dupe for Kylie, people are excited, but no one cares if I showcase a lesser known black-owned indie on its own. So I think that they promote brands that people know because it’s seen as more relevant – it’s kind of a sad reality, but I can’t knock them for it because for most the goal is to increase views/followers/subscribers and become well-known in the industry, which is mostly run by non-black brands. Seriously, I will die if I see one more person talk about Kim Kardashian’s new brand. Ionn’t curr.

Now, can an influencer focus solely on BOMBs and become wildly successful? At this point in time, I’m going to say no, if anything speaking from personal experience if the person doesn’t already have the reach. I know I’m not a MUA, but it’s difficult to find products from BOMBs that aren’t lipsticks or highlighters, and even still, a lot of black-owned brands don’t even necessarily want to be showcased as black-owned in fear of alienating an entire demographic. I’ve even had people who are not black ask me if they can follow my page and purchase the products I show. OF COURSE YOU CAN! Highlighting black-owned isn’t about making it for black women only – black women obviously buy from white-owned brands, but because white = mainstream, it doesn’t seem controversial. Additionally, support needs to be a two way street, and I don’t think that is totally there because again, people are focusing on reach and numbers. I’ve seen BOMBs ignore black influencers who highlight them in lieu of white influencers with bigger numbers. Or repost pictures of white customers but you can see their hashtag filled with black customers on IG because those pictures get more likes (think about this next time you freely give a heart, lol). Of course, there are some exceptions who have amazing reach, like Jackie, but there are a plethora of black influencers who stay ignored. Feel free to tag your faves in the comments. To be totally transparent, I receive more promo from non-black brands even though my audience responds better to black-owned brands (even on my general YT). Confusing, right? I had to cut back a lot on purchasing from BoBs – sorry y’all, I’m not going broke for the culture.

The only way we’re going to even begin to overcome these obstacles is if we become *proactive* (KEYWORD) with supporting one another – brands supporting consumers and influencers, influencers supporting brands (those who deserve it) and consumer needs, consumers supporting influencers and brands – it has to be a multi-directional relationship.

What are your thoughts?