Since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in June 2020, light has been shed on racial injustices in the workplace and the daily struggles experienced by Black business owners. As a society, we vowed to do better—and now, six months later, are conditions improving? We reached out to BEAUTYBEEZ salon owner Brittney Ogike.
Brittney launched BEAUTYBEEZ salon’s elevated retail experience during Summer 2019 in the North Hollywood section of Los Angeles. It offers products and services related to skincare and textured haircare.
Keep reading to learn how Brittney’s business has been impacted since the rise of BLM, and how she envisions the future for fellow Black business owners.
Mane Addicts: What inspired you to launch BEAUTYBEEZ, and how do you feel like your store has impacted L.A.’s Black community?
Brittney Ogike: BEAUTYBEEZ was created to fill a gap in the beauty industry. The shopping experiences for women of color are inadequate at stores like Sephora and Ulta. When you look for products, the customer service experiences never meet the needs of women of color. They lack in range.
On average, Black women will visit up to three different stops in a single trip to get everything we need in makeup, skincare and haircare. Because of this, I wanted to find a solution and create a one-stop-shop. With our flagship location in North Hollywood, BEAUTYBEEZ has created an offline and online space, or “hive” if you will, for Black women (and men) to feel cared for, seen and catered to.
MA: What are some items or services your store offers that stand out from similar shops?
BO: Something that sets us apart from similar shops is our customer service experience. We pride ourselves in training our sales associates and other team members on communicating well with our customers and having knowledge on each product we carry. Our customers are confident in knowing the products we offer are effective solutions for whatever beauty need they came to us for.
Not many beauty retailers provide in-house services for hair and beauty. BEAUTYBEEZ was intentional about setting the bar and creating an elevated experience curated for the very unique hair textures and skin tones of our clients. Our Beauty Bar was created because of the feedback we got from our customers. They were asking for recommendations of places to get their hair braided, or if we can send them to an esthetician who specialized in African-American skin. We didn’t feel confident in our referrals, so we created a space in-store to serve all those needs. We’re committed to our mission of being a one-stop-shop for inclusive beauty.
MA: What was the experience like for your store (and for you personally) during the height of the BLM movement?
BO: The height of the BLM movement brought a lot of awareness to our store and why we exist. That period of time was our most impactful in regards to sales and social engagement. For me personally, however, it was a very disheartening time. I’m a Black mother with Black children. They are young right now so they don’t really know what’s going on, but it made me fearful of their future, especially my son’s. Despite everything my husband and I do as parents in raising him to be the best man possible, there are people in this world that will judge him solely on the color of his skin. These thoughts kept me up at night, but I’m hopeful that BLM is bringing about change. Maybe my kids’ generation will learn from generations past.
MA: What’s changed for you professionally since the height of the BLM movement? Has business increased?
BO: Many of the customers who learned about us during the BLM movement have continued to shop and support our brand. The loyalty is both exciting and encouraging! We’ve had to pause some of our beauty services due to COVID-19 guidelines, but we continue to take advantage of connecting with our customers through our online space.
MA: Do you think now is a better time for black-owned businesses to thrive?
BO: Now is an important time—maybe not better—for Black-owned businesses to grab hold of any momentum and run with it. For many Black-owned businesses, it’s likely that the BLM movement felt empowering. We all had the support of those in the community. That, in itself, makes this time important and a necessary stepping stone for many.
MA: Is there anything else you want to add about BEAUTYBEEZ or the impact BLM has had on your life (personally and professionally)?
BO: I think many people can relate to the overwhelmed feeling I felt during the BLM Movement. We emotionally experienced so much with racial matters, fighting for justice, having to quickly pivot our businesses, and make room for change professionally. Even through experiencing all of that, I’m very grateful that BEAUTYBEEZ has made it past our one-year mark! We’ve seen the impact our community has on us, and the impact we have on our community. We’re excitedly and very eagerly striving forward to see the good that’s in store for us.