5 Black-owned beauty businesses receive grants and mentoring from ABH

By Deanna Utroske contact

- Last updated on GMT

Grant recipients of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Grant Initiative. From left to right, Akilah Releford / Mary Louise Cosmetics, Christina Tegbe / 54 Thrones Beauty, Rahama Wright / Shea Yeleen Beauty, Paula Brown / Paula Brown Performing Arts Center, Naa-Sakle Akuete / Eu’Genia and Mother’s Shea brands, Shekesa McLaurin / Heritage Socks, Anne Lawoyin / Anne's Apothecary, Dawn Kelly / The Nourish Spot Juice Bar (photo courtesy of ABH)
Grant recipients of the Anastasia Beverly Hills Grant Initiative. From left to right, Akilah Releford / Mary Louise Cosmetics, Christina Tegbe / 54 Thrones Beauty, Rahama Wright / Shea Yeleen Beauty, Paula Brown / Paula Brown Performing Arts Center, Naa-Sakle Akuete / Eu’Genia and Mother’s Shea brands, Shekesa McLaurin / Heritage Socks, Anne Lawoyin / Anne's Apothecary, Dawn Kelly / The Nourish Spot Juice Bar (photo courtesy of ABH)

Related tags: Black-owned, women in business, Anastasia beverly hills

In June 2020, the color cosmetics brand pledged to contribute $1m to help end social injustice. In late February 2021, Anastasia Beverly Hills fulfilled that commitment with a final instalment going to fund Black-owned small businesses.

“In June we vowed to use our platform and privilege to amplify voices of marginalized groups that deserve to be heard,” ​explains Anastasia Soare, CEO and Founder of ABH, in a recent media release announcing the grant recipients.

“One of the best ways to support a community is to support their thinkers, innovators, and leaders financially,” ​she says. “We are very proud to celebrate these eight dedicated and enthusiastic female entrepreneurs, and our hope is that the grants they receive will help grow and sustain their businesses during these challenging times.”

One beauty brand helping to fund change

Prior to the small-business support grants, ABH made donations to The Innocence Project, The NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Black Visons Collective, The Marshall Project, and Black Lives Matter, totaling $100,000.

The California-based makeup company donated $50,000 to the Loveland Foundation, $50,000 to the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, $15,000 to the Charles Drew Health Center, $100,000 to the Mental Health and Wellness Center at Spelman College, $50,000 to United Friends of Children, $100,000 toward the education of two students through Thrive Scholars, $42,500 to 25 Black Women in Beauty, and another $42,500 to The Ester Project.

The remaining $450,000 funds the 8 grant recipients, 5 of whom are beauty brand founders.

5 women-owned beauty businesses receive ABH grants

Akilah Releford is the Founder of Mary Louise Cosmetics​, a natural, vegan skin care and personal care brand. As the ABH media release explains it, “Believing that everyone should have access to wholesome, natural, and organic beauty products, Akilah took inspiration from her grandmothers – Mary and Louise – who always used natural and homemade recipes in their everyday routines.”

Christina Tegbe launched 54 Thrones Beauty in 2016.​ The skin and body care brand is premised on African beauty rituals. The brand has “partnered with cooperatives in eight African countries to create work through sustainable job opportunities,” ​according the recent release.

Led by Rahama Wright, Shea Yeleen Beauty is a non-profit shea butter brand​ that “has a direct and regenerative community impact [in both West Africa and the United States] that allows families to keep their children in school and is ensuring the ongoing education of more than 268 children.”

Naa-Sakle Akuete founded Naasakle International LLC in 2015 and owns both Eu’Genia Shea​ and Mother’s Shea​. The brands strive to boost awareness and perception of ingredients sourced from Africa and are striving to exemplify a new business model, one that balances profit and social mission.

Anne Suinner-Lawoyin is the Founder behind Anne’s Apothecary​, a skin care, body care, and personal care brand—a sustainable small-batch brand based in North Carolina.

Three other grants were given to Black-owned businesses beyond beauty as part of the ABH initiative: Heritage Socks, the Paula Brown Performing Arts Center, and The Nourish Spot Juice Bar.

Related topics: Business & Financial, Financial focus

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