The skincare industry generates billions in revenue each year with numerous collections promising to hold the secrets to beautiful skin. This week, two women of color entrepreneurs set out to create their own line of skincare products aimed to treat stigmatized skin conditions so they can indulge in their own self-care regimen that can also tend to their special needs.
Tropical is a newly launched skincare company founded by Olamide Olowe and Claudia Teng for people dealing with chronic skin conditions that one in four Americans deal with. Both women deal with their issues when it comes to maintaining their own skincare regimen and wanted to create a product that represented women like them.
“With my background in clinical research and dermatology, I saw firsthand the lack of access to care that existed for these types of skin conditions,” said Teng, chief product officer and co-founder of Topicals in a press statement.
“For me, I knew there was a serious opportunity to create something affordable, and that not only educated a broad amount of people, but also made their treatment experience more enjoyable.”
The young women were able to raise their $2.6 million starting capital with the help of celebrity angel investors including Netflix CMO Bozoma Saint John, entrepreneur and DJ Hannah Bronfman, and Insecure actors Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji, lead by venture capitalist firm Lerer Hippeau in partnership with Mucker Capital.
“Olamide and Claudia have deep founder-market fit supported by their expertise in skincare and intimately understand their target consumer,” says Caitlin Strandberg, principal at Lerer Hippeau in a press statement.
“They’ve developed an authentic product for a Gen-Z audience that addresses an underserved area of the beauty market while changing the conversation through skin positivity and self-expression. We’re thrilled to partner with them on this journey.”
The founders will be donating 1% of the profits to various organizations specializing in advocating for mental health issues and have partnered with nonprofit organizations such as Therapy for Black Girls and Fearless Femme 100 to provide more resources for those suffering from related ailments.
“This is an industry that has not evolved and has used many of the same formulations over the last 30 years,” says Olowe, CEO and co-founder of Topicals in a press statement.
“Having lived with a serious skin condition myself, I found there were limited treatment options available, and none of the brands looked like me. I could use an over-the-counter product that didn’t address my specific needs as a Black woman with darker skin, or spend thousands on pricey prescriptions. With all of the amazing beauty products out there, I still didn’t find one that helped me with my flare-ups. I knew we could do better.”