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Interview: an Insider Look at the Beauty Industry with Ofunne Amaka

iaminfluenceallSeptember 12, 2022

This month we interviewed one of our incredibly talented creators, Ofunne (@cocoaswatches). Ofunne is the Founder of Cocoa Swatches, a creative outlet dedicated to encouraging inclusivity and diversity in the beauty space both in partnerships/advertisements and in the product development phase; as well as the Founder of The BASEics, a platform designed to helping people of color find the perfect foundation/shade match for their complexion. She also lends her expertise to brands on a consulting level internally, as they work on color swatches and shade ranges on product launches.

We are always in awe of the amazing initiatives and projects she works on and wanted to share more about her, her insight into how she views the beauty industry and where she thinks it’s headed in the future.

How did you get started as a creator?

As a dark skinned, black woman, I wanted to discover makeup products that complimented my complexion, but I couldn’t find any resources that were catered towards people who looked like me. So, I decided to make my own. 

 At the end of the day, it was about creating a community of other folks who were experiencing the same struggles as me. I wanted us to have a place where we could come together and help each other out.

What do you think the industry is doing well and what is lacking?

I think the beauty industry is doing a good job of attempting to provide more opportunities for underrepresented creators and expanding their product offerings, however, I don’t think we are always seeing the full picture. There are so many facets of the beauty industry that need work that go beyond what we might see on the shelves or in a beauty campaign. A great example of this is how we measure KPIs for creators of color.

 According to Adweek, “It’s more than bringing one influencer of color onto your roster for a one-off project. ..If you’ve been marketing to the same audience for years, they’re going to feel seen and represented in your marketing, even if that happens subconsciously… The years spent investing in the same type of creator and building rapport with their audiences impact your overall results and, ultimately, KPIs. So when working with diverse creators for the first time, marketers need to add this context into their projections and benchmarks.” 

This is just one of the many examples of how we must always view things holistically as we try to make improvements within the industry and create more opportunities for everyone.

What do you aim to achieve when consulting brands?

I hope to have an impact on the final iteration of their products and way they craft their messaging and storytelling for their audience. I can only hope that my contributions help move toward a more inclusive outcome.

What project do you feel you’ve made the biggest impact on and why?

I think I have made the biggest impact with the work I’ve been doing with Maybelline behind the scenes. Being able to be apart of their diversity panel, and consult on their upcoming launches has been an amazing opportunity. Maybelline is a global brand and I know the conversations we have will result in decisions that will reverberate all over the world.

What are your goals?

My goal is to ultimately help black and brown folks in the beauty industry feel seen. I want to create the type of content that might not get featured in major publications but still speaks volumes to this underserved audience and empowers them with the information they need to create looks they love. I also want to make sure products are created with this community in mind as well. 

Who is someone you think does a great job in the industry?

I think MUA Mali Magic (@kingmalimagic on IG) is doing a great job in the beauty industry. She has been able to strongly establish her position as both a creative and makeup artist that specializes in deeper complexions and has aligned herself with impactful projects while doing so.

Do you have any advice for creators starting out?

Finding your “why” –  what you feel like you do really well that you want to share with the world – is what you need to get started. You don’t have to wait until everything is perfect to act on an idea. All you need to do is start and see where it leads you. Don’t be afraid to “fail fast” and tweak your original idea if it is not working out the way you planned. And most important of all, don’t feel like you have to follow the trends. People are going to connect with the unique things that make you, you.

What do you think the future of beauty looks like?

I think and hope the future of beauty includes more underrepresented voices redefining what beauty looks like for them. I hope we continue to move away from looking at beauty as a practice in perfection and more and more and an extension of our creativity and a celebration of self.

Where would you like to see improvements within the beauty industry?

I would like to see inclusion and diversity initiatives that stand the test of time. Far too often we see amazing opportunities and campaigns for the underrepresented in beauty that get cancelled or disbanded a couple years after its inception.

Rather than having one off programs, I think we need to get to a place where inclusion is weaved into the fabric of the industry. We want to know that the companies we work with are just as inclusive with their hiring process as they are with the beauty campaigns we view on our phone screens. 

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