By Megan Sayles, AFRO Business Writer, Report for America Corps Member, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shalena Maxfield Edwards spent 21 years in the cosmetic industry as an executive at companies like Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and Juice Beauty before leaving the corporate world to launch her own makeup brand, Rich in Color Cosmetics, in 2020.
Her journey to entrepreneurship was not linear, like many other business owners, and initially, she didn’t even want to work in beauty or cosmetics.
Edwards planned to be a real estate tycoon, but while working in Macy’s shoe department she was enthralled by the women who worked at the makeup counters.
One day, one of the women invited her to get her makeup done, and she was blown away by the physical transformation but more importantly, the mental one. The makeover empowered Edwards and boosted her self-confidence.
“From that day forward, I remember just talking to the young ladies at the counter like: ‘How can I do what you do? Can you introduce me to someone who can get me a job in the industry?’” said Edwards.
Before launching Rich in Color Cosmetics, Edwards was working for a prominent skincare brand, and she was the only woman of color in the corporate office. During this time, she also experienced the loss of her sister and mother.
Although she had enjoyed her experience developing products for the company, she was reminded that life is fleeting and knew it was time to independently pursue her personal passion.
Maxfield-Edwards had experienced firsthand the challenges that Black women face when trying to find makeup that suits their deeper, darker skin tones, so she decided to found Rich in Color Cosmetics as a brand that gives special attention to melanin-rich skin.
“My main focus was I wanted to have a matte lipstick, but I also wanted to have a matte lipstick that was not drying and was long-lasting, so they are super hydrating and, at the same time, the shades are more pigmented than your average lipstick,” said Edwards.
The brand currently offers 18 different shades of lipstick with names ranging from “Material Girl” to “She’s Gotta Spend It,” which embody the brand’s vision of living lavishly. Each product is vegan and cruelty-free and created with natural ingredients.
Rich in Color Cosmetics’ best-selling lipstick is the “Big Momma,” a vibrant, deep red color, but Edwards’ favorites are the pink “Page Six” and “Uptown Girl.”
Right now, the brand is preparing to launch its “Glodeo Drive Collection,” a line of highlighters that will be released in September. This year, it will also release a line of anti-aging blushes that are rich in antioxidants to prevent fine lines and wrinkles.
“I want all women to actually embrace who they are without being sorry or apologetic for it,” said Edwards.
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