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Readiness is the New Green: Corey Huggins Talks Multicultural Beauty

A friend or acquaintance’s ear could be the self-care needed at the end of a daunting workday. Although there are plenty of factors that divide us in the workspace, shared experiences surrounding race, appropriation, and diversity have been a common unifier and hot topic for people of color. Here is how one conversation amongst colleagues turned into a profitable business venture.

Brand strategist and advisor Corey Huggins recalls a defining moment in his career that led to a movement to make ownership, equity, and the needs of Black and Brown people a priority in beauty. “One night I was out with a bunch of friends, and we were complaining about what it was like working for big companies and those big companies to not get it [the needs of POC]. That night on a napkin we sketched out what 'READY to BEAUTY' was going to reflect and posture.”

READY to BEAUTY is a call to action to help emerging brands build a solid foundation that prepares them to successfully navigate the beauty market. The company is composed of a diverse group of former L’Oreal executives who all possess the necessary skills to help build beauty brands but most importantly have first-hand knowledge of how corporations have failed their Black and Brown consumers. These masterminds ultimately founded an incubator also described as a think tank for minority-owned businesses that offer the same opportunities and resources as their counterparts and address the growing challenges faced by POC within the beauty industry.

READY to BEAUTY launched in 2019 and was on a groundbreaking trajectory. “We had our first multicultural showcase in Dubai. We had the first multicultural pop-up at Saks. We formed a cosmetic and fragrance partnership with the Fashion Institute of Technology. We raised several millions of dollars. 2019 was a great year,” Huggins shared. When the 2020 pandemic occurred, like many of us, Corey and the team had to prepare for a major pivot.

The world was changing drastically and with uncertainties. The impact of COVID-19 had disproportionately affected Black and Brown communities at a high rate. In 2020, there was a 41% decline in minority-owned businesses. This economic downturn, in addition to the growing social unrest, had unveiled implicit racism that exists today. After the killing of George Floyd, there began to be an intentional shift in how companies supported and marketed their brands to Black and Brown people. Noticing a pattern, Corey realized the next step for READY to BEAUTY in the changing market space.

“Real economic change is based on real economic data,” said Huggins. ”We fielded the first economic data that would warrant all of these subsequent changes that would make it long-lasting. We filed the first economic data study that focused on multicultural beauty. What I discovered was that economically Black businesses were catching hell but beauty was resilient. Beauty has been very good to Black folks from the days of Madam C.J. Walker to the present. Despite what was happening nationally, beauty as a whole was either holding or looking very optimistic.”

Their economic data study, Readiness is the New Green, created a snapshot of the Black American beauty sector. Executives, brand founders, and thought leaders should pay close attention to its key findings as it looks at recent events that impacted restructuring. "If you weren't ready to manage economic disruption like a pandemic or an economic restructuring like the George Floyd opportunities you weren’t ready. Economic readiness is the new state of being successful and is all about the pivot," stated Huggins.

It’s an awesome feeling to witness Black and Brown people embracing their identities. It is our purpose to walk with power. Our beauty has been stolen and appropriated. Now is the time for Black people to take back what’s rightfully ours. Corey predicts that the beauty industry will continue to see a change in how brands market themselves to the Black community and Black-owned beauty brands. Interestingly, we could see a more inclusive product catalog catering to the needs and wants of the ever-evolving Black man.

Want to learn more? Request the complete Readiness is the New Green: An Economic Data Study on the Business of Multicultural Beauty or visit their website for a Complimentary Topline Assessment.


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