It’s hot. It’s summer. It’s July. Whether you’re at the top of a mountain or chilling poolside, we have one critical question: Where’s your sunscreen?
And when you think sunscreen, you think white. Am I right? Lotion or spray, count on taking on an eggshell sheen. It’s one thing if your skin is light. It’s different if your skin is black or brown.
Black Girl Sunscreen creator Shontay Lundy was disappointed, to say the least, with the white, purple and blue casts that other sunscreens left on her skin. When she went out to enjoy the sun, knowing that melanin was not enough protection alone, she had to “sacrifice looking and feeling pretty by wearing sunscreen that left a cast on my skin.” Alternatively, she would spend more money on sun-blocking items like hats and umbrellas, or avoid the sun altogether. The latter was completely unacceptable.
So she did like any skincare-novice-yet-corporate-savvy woman would do and created her own. She also set out to proactively educate black and brown people that, even though melanin does provide some inherent protection from sun damage, they still need SPF to shield their skin from sunspots, premature aging, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and cancer.
On the market since 2016, Black Girl Sunscreen’s best-selling product is its namesake SPF 30 that protects skin from burns and long-term damage, moisturizes with natural ingredients and eliminates the white cast of alternative products.
Wait, wait. Which natural ingredients? BGS incorporates avocado, jojoba, cacao, carrot juice and sunflower oil into its products. These are moisturizing agents that have been staples in the black community for years, establishing instant credibility and authenticity for the brand with its core customers.
Speaking of reaching those core customers, initially BGS distributed its products across e-commerce platforms and through brick and mortar stores that spoke to black and brown women. The brand achieved national distribution via Target in 2019. Large or small, general or niche, BGS maintains constant communication with its retail partners to tailor marketing strategies to particular customer segments and support consistent growth.
Along the way, BGS created a brand reputation wherein the products speak for themselves. More powerful than that, though, was the creation of a loyal and dedicated community that wants to see the BGS brand continue winning.
Winning is a focus within the employee ranks at BGS, too. Lundy, a firm believer in manifestation (that the words we say out loud can and will come true), sees BGS being one of the best growing companies to work for. The company hires people who are passionate about what they do and want to contribute to the BGS journey. And, BGS looks for people who want to work for a woman- and minority-led brand. Working areas are collaborative, lunch is provided and communal, and everyone’s birthdays are celebrated uniquely.
Black Girl Sunscreen is definitely a brand to watch, and watch grow. We look forward to seeing how its problem-solving ethos will continue to positively impact the skincare and personal products industry and, more broadly, the portrayal of black and brown people in the media. The brand supports Pathways to Production, a nonprofit that seeks to redefine television and film production by teaching black students from impoverished areas to take control of how black stories are told to and appear in the media. BGS provides support through product and monetary donations and speaking about entrepreneurship to aspiring groups of young adults.
Vladimir Jones is Colorado’s original independent, integrated advertising agency, with offices in Denver and Colorado Springs. We believe in brilliant brands and love making the world love them as much as we do.