Amanda Johnson and KJ Miller—two Black women behind the beauty brand Mented Cosmetics—have broken barriers for women of color in the realm of entrepreneurship after becoming the 15th and 16th African-American women in history to garner $1 million in venture capital funding for their startup, Forbes reported.
Johnson and Miller—who are both graduates of Harvard Business School—were aiming for $500,000 in funding but ended up significantly surpassing their goal after several investors expressed interest in helping their business grow. Launched in March, Mented Cosmetics was derived from the term ‘pigmented’ and is a makeup line for Black women that features vegan, non-toxic beauty products.
Prior to becoming entrepreneurs, Miller worked as a buyer for large national retailers and Johnson worked in digital development for Barney’s New York. They began taking pre-orders at the beginning of the year and their brand has grown through social media and influencers spreading the word about their products, reports the source.
“Girls have been tagging their friends in their posts. The message is really resonating. Women of color were used to being treated as an afterthought. It’s not every day that you’re a priority,” Miller, 31, told Forbes.
iSeed Ventures, Built By Girls (BBG) Ventures, and Outbound Ventures led this round of funding. According to Forbes, Miller and Johnson want to use the money to expand their product line and grow their team.
“Our end goal is that women of color feel prioritized in the world of beauty,” said Miller.
Women of color are starting to see a surge in products that cater to them. In September, songstress Rihanna launched her successful makeup line Fenty Beauty which has received raves reviews.