Susan Akkad, SVP Corporate Marketing, Diversity, noted that 1/3 of the US are people of color, so in reality, “Women of Color are becoming the new mainstream”.  She advised that when considering the ethic customer, that we remain aware not only of her skin tone and needs specific to her skin type, but to her culture.  For example, when you are addressing Latina‘s, consider how you can market to her in a way that resonates with her “Latina-ness” in concert with her “American-ness”.   Black women, on the other hand, are often coming from a matriarchal place – they are in charge and tend to feel strong and confident.  She must be spoken to with this in mind. 

Cheryl Wilson, Marketing Director of Fashion Fair, provided stats that drove Ms. Akkad’s position home:  Black women are spending 9 billion annually on their beauty products and this market is growing 5xs faster than the general market.  Latinas are not far behind, spending 6.8 billion annually.  Ms. Wilson also addressed skin tone from a technical standpoint by illustrating how women of color have different needs due to a higher level of melanin. More melanin, while protecting the skin from some sun damage, also makes the skin more reactive to certain ingredients, more susceptible to seasonal changes and therefore, unpredictable.  Skin of Color has over 35 variations, where Caucasian skin generally has under 10, which makes providing an adequate range of skin-toned products very challenging from a SKU standpoint.  Ms. Wilson advises that in order to address the needs of Women of Color, you must deliver a large range of shades, provide innovative – yet easy to use – solutions for the unique needs of Women of Color, while still portraying an authentic and varied beauty representation. 

Lubna Khalid, Founder of Real Cosmetics, said, “What Women of Color want from their beauty products is to be included; to find the right shades to match their skin tones; to be represented and included in imagery and advertising so that they can see themselves reflected.  Imagery that is attainable and real and makes them feel beautiful.  They want to trust the company, trust the claims and feel good about the products.  Women want a company that cares, not only about them, but that makes a difference in the world.  All women are beautiful and we can help make them all feel that way.”

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