INTERVIEW: Paving The Way For Future Generations With Asha Johnson Grinham
Paving the way to better representation for people Of Colour In The Makeup Industry.
I interviewed Asha Johnson Grinham, entrepreneur and co-creator of the newly-launched company MELANIN Cosmetics, a make-up brand made with women of colour in mind. We discuss the importance of representation in the makeup aisles and the world wide affects of not having enough of it.
Asha Johnson Grinham is a 20-year-old finance and accountancy student, whose aim is to create more inclusion in the make-up world for people of colour from all different backgrounds, races and ethnicities.
Why did it feel so important for you to make your own brand of lipsticks for people of colour?
Because when I was younger, I was never felt comfortable buying lipsticks online because they were never shown on somebody, who looked like me and I want combat the lack of representation of women of colour in the make-up aisles.
Which is why Melanin Cosmetics was made for women of colour in mind because I feel that is what is lacking in the make-up industry at the moment. Especially at affordable prices, because you do see some brands for women of colour like Iman and Bobbi Brown. But they are not in the average woman’s price range, especially as a student or for someone from a working class background.
What was the most significant memory from your adolescence using make-up?
The first time I went into Superdrug to buy my first foundation, I picked up the darkest shade they had and when I got home and tried it on, it was too light for me. I was completely grey. And I thought this is so unfair. I can’t afford to buy anything else. It was horrible.
What is your opinion of the make-up industry and the limitations within it for people of colour?
I feel like the industry has grown very well at promoting one look. And if it promotes other looks, it’s going to be ones that conform to european beauty standards for example, right now especially on Instagram, it’s all about the Kim Kardashian look, ‘white woman with black features’ type look.
And I feel like that really stamps on women of colour and makes us feel like us as ourselves isn’t good enough, the industry want our features but they don’t want us.
What steps did you take to get Melanin Cosmetics from an idea to a reality?
Most affective step all throughout…was praying to god 100%. I think the step we struggled with most throughout was finding the right supplier within our price range. Because we had such a low budget and that just took so much perseverance, we were working on that for half a year alone, and there were so many times where we were about to give up, or did give up and we had to pick it back up again, gain momentum again, which was really difficult at times. But we did it.
Did you have some key supporters along your journey?
We got a lot of help from Young Enterprise (Young Enterprise Young enterprise is a UK charity that helps support young people to harness their personal and business skills). They came into our university and gave us funding and support, we had meetings every week with presentations on how to do marketing, how to do the accounts and were just there every step of the way.
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
I think what holds most people back is the money part, so the advice, I would give is to find funding, because there are loads of funding opportunity’s out there. Or go into an industry where you don’t need too much start up money and then once you get the first steps rolling, it just goes from there, its like a snowball effect.
Which moment throughout this process (creating your business) has been the most rewarding?
When we finally launched. that was when I could finally I am an entrepreneur, I have my own company. And all the support we’ve received from sutlers and family has friends has been amazing.
Which lipshade do use the most?
Hazel latte. It’s popping.
What can we expect in the future?
You can expect us to grow and to improve. We’re going to be listening to customers, taking it all on board and just expanding, with more products and more content online.
How important do you think successful female black athletes, business woman and enterpeneurs are to future generations?
I think confident, successful, hard working people of all occupations is so important to inspiring and supporting younger generations. It just just shows that it is possible, can do it, you can achieve something. You’re not worthless. It paves the way.
Have you always dreamed of starting your own Business? but just have never had the confidence or knowledge of how to go about it? Then have a look at some of the opportunities on the Rife Guide in the links below to see whats offered to you in Bristol.