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Meet the Expert Committee

  • Kelly St. John

    Founder,

    KSJ Collective

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  • Janet Gurwitch

    Operating Partner,

    Advent International

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  • Lisa Price

    President and Founder,

    Carol’s Daughter

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  • Muffy Clince

    Director of Emerging Brands,

    Ulta

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  • Nini Zhang

    Director of Luxury, Beauty and Apparel,

    Credit Suisse

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  • Joël Palix

    Founder,

    Palix Unlimited

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  • Carol Hamilton

    Group President, Acquisitions,

    L'Oreal

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  • Rahama Wright

    Founder,

    Shea Yeleen

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  • Cristina Nuñez

    Co-Founder & Partner,

    True Beauty Ventures

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  • Chelsea Clark

    Founder,

    ThatsChelsea

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  • Jennifer Goldstein Sullivan

    Co-host,

    Fat Mascara

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  • Julissa Prado

    Founder,

    Rizos Curls

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  • JuE Wong

    Chief Executive Officer/ Executive Board Member,

    Olaplex

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  • April Gargiulo

    Founder + CEO,

    Vintner's Daughter

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  • Elizabeth Edwards

    General Partner,

    H Venture Partners

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  • Corey Huggins

    Founder, Global CEO & Managing Director,

    Ready to Beauty

    Learn More
  • Margarita Arriagada

    Founder + CEO,

    Valdé Beauty

    Learn More
  • Jeannie Jarnot

    Founder + CEO,

    Beauty Heroes

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  • Sarah Cheung

    Sacheu Beauty,

    Founder

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  • Melisse Gelula

    Co-Founder,

    Well + Good

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  • Kirbie Johnson

    Co-Host, Producer, Editor,

    Gloss Angeles Podcast

    Learn More
  • Elizabeth Lamont

    President,

    EL Luxury Consulting

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  • Yve-Car Momperousse

    Founder + CEO,

    Kreyòl Essence

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  • Brittney Ogike

    Founder + CEO,

    BEAUTYBEEZ

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  • Christine Mielke

    Owner + Founder,

    Temptalia

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    Kelly St. John

    Founder,

    KSJ Collective

    Who They Are

    As a leader in consumer-driven organizations, I deliver sustainable outcomes and thrive on the challenge of the ever-changing marketplace and business transformation. My deep understanding of the beauty industry results in a true 360-degree perspective and forward-thinking, proactive point of view.

    Colleagues appreciate my abilities as a natural relationship builder who energizes teams and cultivates trust across a broad range of constituencies.

    With a reputation for consummate professionalism, diplomacy, and grace under pressure, I balance intuition with informed risk-taking to make the right calls and drive top performance in both people and products.

    Years of cultivating relationships with the industry’s most well-respected retailers, vendors, investors, marketers, and talent across multiple areas results in a network that is vast and ever-growing.

    Regardless of the scale of your need or idea, I encourage you to reach out and schedule a time to speak about the change you are seeking. Every idea, conversation, and question opens a door that leads to the next big idea.

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    Janet Gurwitch

    Operating Partner,

    Advent International

    Who They Are

    Janet Gurwitch has a strong track record of identifying and sourcing winners among emerging beauty brands. As an Operating Partner at Castanea Partners from 2009 to 2019, she was involved in several successful investments and strategic exits, including Urban Decay (acquired by L’Oréal in 2013), First Aid Beauty (acquired by P&G in 2018), Tatcha (acquired by Unilever in 2019) and Drybar (Products division acquired by Helen of Troy in 2019).

    In 1996, Gurwitch founded Laura Mercier, a prestige beauty brand, alongside makeup artist Laura Mercier. Gurwitch was integral in the brand’s majority sale to Neiman Marcus in 1999, its acquisition by Alticor in 2006 and its purchase by Shiseido in 2016. Gurwitch was also an early identifier of Dollar Shave Club’s potential; she made a personal investment in the brand in 2013 and served on its board of advisors until its acquisition by Unilever in 2016.

    In addition to her new role on Olaplex’s board, Gurwitch serves on the board of Drybar. She received a bachelor’s degree in retail from the University of Alabama.
    Advent has significant investment experience in the retail, consumer and leisure sector. Over the past 30 years, the firm has invested $12.8 billion in more than 75 companies in the sector worldwide.

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    Lisa Price

    President and Founder,

    Carol’s Daughter

    Who They Are

    Lisa Price’s journey begins like that of many entrepreneurs—with curiosity and determination mixed with moments of panic and a resounding belief that products that were made with love and delivered on their promise would find their following. It was a company born of Price’s love for fragrance and a passion for scent alchemy that formed the foundation of her high-performing products. More than a quarter of a century later, even amid massive industry disruption, new company leadership, and acquisition by L’Oréal, Carol’s Daughter continues to thrive and remain relevant in an industry where brands come and go as quickly as trends change. Carol’s Daughter began in Price’s Brooklyn kitchen. With a career in TV production, mixing up fragrances, perfume sprays, and creams served as a creative outlet. It wasn’t long before Price began dabbling in aromatherapeutic oils, educating herself on their healing properties.

    In 1993, Price, with the gentle nudge from her mother Carol, began to sell her products. With $100 in cash and a cramped kitchen, she crafted a collection that would become the foundation of a beauty empire. Selling her homespun concoctions at flea markets, and later out of her living room, favorable word-of-mouth began to spread for early iterations of Almond Cookie, Hair Milk, and Black Vanilla Hair Smoothie—all of which retain their cult-status today. “To name my company, I listed everything I was, and wanted to be, and realized the most special thing that I am, is Lisa, Carol’s daughter.”

    Over the next few years, word spread, with celebrities like Jada Pinkett-Smith, Erykah Badu, Rosie Perez, and Halle Berry becoming loyal customers. Joining the L’Oréal family in November 2014, Carol's Daughter widened its extensive footprint, selling its hair, body, and skincare solutions nationwide at key retailers. During the Obama administration, Price was appointed to the National Women’s Business Council, an independent source of advice and policy recommendations to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Small Business Administration, on economic issues that face female business owners. Price mentors female entrepreneurs and works closely with an array of organizations to give back to the community.

    Price was featured in the film She Did That (2019) and is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Black MBA Association's Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2000), the Working Woman Magazine’s Entrepreneurial Excellence Award (2001), and a Cosmetic Executive Women Achiever Award (2010). She is also the author of “Success Never Smelled So Sweet,” a memoir that chronicles her transformation from a young Black woman deep in debt to president of a paradigm-changing business.

    Price and her husband, Gordon, have two sons and a daughter and still live in Brooklyn.

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    Muffy Clince

    Director of Emerging Brands,

    Ulta

    Who They Are

    Muffy Clince currently serves as the Director of Emerging Brands, responsible for the Sparked at Ulta Beauty Platform that launched in 2019. This is a cross functional endeavor created to onboard, market, launch and grow new Indie Brands. In addition, Muffy owns the Credo partnership and Conscious Beauty focus for the Ulta Beauty Merchandising Team. Prior to taking on this role, over her 15 years at Ulta Beauty, Muffy has held several roles in Merchandising as well as Planning and Inventory. Most recently launching Chanel Beaute and managing top brands in the Prestige Cosmetics portfolio.

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    Nini Zhang

    Director of Luxury, Beauty and Apparel,

    Credit Suisse

    Who They Are

    Nini Zhang is a Director at Credit Suisse based in New York and has been with the firm since 2012. As part of the Consumer & Retail team, she has coverage responsibility across Beauty and Personal care, as well as eCommerce and Fashion. Nini actively engages with emerging and digitally native brands, as well as established players on a wide range of transactions such as IPOs, M&A, private fundraising and debt financing. Nini received her B.A. in Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.A. in finance and accounting from The Wharton School.

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    Joël Palix

    Founder,

    Palix Unlimited

    Who They Are

    Joel Palix is a seasoned beauty executive with 30 years of international experience, both on the brand and retail sides.

    Previous roles include CEO of Feelunique a leading beauty e-retailer, CEO of Clarins Fragrance Group, CEO of Thierry Mugler, MD Europe of Yves Saint Laurent Beauty.

    Last June, Joel Palix started his own consultancy, Palix Unlimited, advising beauty brands, PE firms and VC funds on DTC and E-commerce strategies, brand positioning, innovation, acquisitions and new ventures. More information on www.palixunlimited.com

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    Carol Hamilton

    Group President, Acquisitions,

    L'Oreal

    Who They Are

    During her 35-year tenure at L’Oreal, Carol has been responsible for building the L’Oreal Paris flagship brand from an indie brand in the 80’s into the number 1 global beauty brand worldwide, behind the iconic phrase celebrating women’s worth “Because I’m Worth It”.

    In 2008, she took over the helm of the L’Oreal Luxury Division overseeing all Luxe brands including Giorgio Armani, Lancôme, Kiehl’s Since 1851, Yves Saint Laurent, Viktor & Rolf, Ralph Lauren Fragrances, Clarisonic, Urban Decay, and the fragrance license of Proenza Schouler. During her 10 years running L’Oréal Luxe, she has moved from a $1B business to a $1.8B business, gaining market share and increasing its profitability in a strong and regular way.

    In January 2016, Carol Hamilton was promoted to Group President L’Oréal Luxe USA where she began to delegate the operational animation of the USA business and focus more on the animation of the existing US beauty brands DMIs, the search and evaluation of new acquisitions as well as their integration into L’Oréal, and contribute to the global division’s strategy with an American perspective. Carol has led the successful acquisitions of Clarisonic, Urban Decay and It Cosmetics, she went on to run these brands - along with Kiehl’s Since 1851- globally.

    As of August 2018, Carol was placed in charge of acquisitions for all divisions of L’Oreal.

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    Rahama Wright

    Founder,

    Shea Yeleen

    Who They Are

    Rahama Wright is the Founder and CEO of Shea Yeleen a social impact company she created after serving in the Peace Corps. The DC-based enterprise develops shea butter creams, balms, and soaps that create living wage jobs for women in Ghana. Her entrepreneurial journey spans bootstrapping to securing her first round of venture capital investment from Ron Lauder and Dick Parsons, and landing deals with Whole Foods Markets & MGM Resorts International. The products have been featured in a variety of media outlets including O, The Oprah Magazine, The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, Washington Business Journal, MSNBC, and CNBC Africa. A leading voice on African women’s economic and business development she has completed 150+ speeches and panels globally including the United Nations Thematic Debate on Entrepreneurship for Development, the U.S. Secretary of State Global Diaspora Forum, the World Bank Africa Region Growth Dialogue, and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. In 2014, she was appointed to the Presidential Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa and is currently serving her third term on the council. Rahama received her BA in International Relations from the State University of New York at Geneseo. An avid traveler she has visited and worked in 36 countries.

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    Cristina Nuñez

    Co-Founder & Partner,

    True Beauty Ventures

    Who They Are

    Cristina has spent over ten years investing, operating, and advising in the consumer products industry, having dedicated the last seven years exclusively to beauty and wellness. She is currently a Partner and Co-Founder of True Beauty Ventures, a recently launched fund focused on finding, partnering with, and scaling brands exclusively in beauty.

    Prior to joining True Beauty Ventures, Cristina was the General Manager and COO of Clark’s Botanicals, a clean botanical skincare brand, held various operating roles at Laura Geller Beauty, a prestige makeup brand, and developed new business growth opportunities for Equinox, a luxury fitness and lifestyle brand. Prior to her operating roles, she was a Senior Associate at Tengram Capital Partners, an Associate at L Catterton, and an Analyst in the Consumer & Retail Investment Banking group at UBS. Cristina graduated magna cum laude from Duke University and holds a B.A. with Highest Distinction in Public Policy Studies

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    Chelsea Clark

    Founder,

    ThatsChelsea

    Who They Are

    Chelsea Clark is a nationally recognized public health nutritionist, wellness consultant, and influencer that is highly skilled at developing compelling digital communications that drive positive behavior change.

    After being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder and finding success in managing her condition through a plant-based, non-toxic lifestyle, Chelsea started her platform to help teach others how they can live a healthier lifestyle, as well as become more knowledgeable, health-conscious consumers. Her content ranges from quick health tips to eco and green beauty reviews, to plant-based recipes.

    Chelsea has been identified as an authoritative yet relatable source in the holistic wellness space. Her work has been featured on various media outlets such as TV One, Fox 45 News, ABC 7 News – WJLA, News Channel 8, ESSENCE, PR Newswire, and Beauty Independent.

    In 2017, Chelsea was named by The Daily Record as a Very Important Professional – Successful by 40 award recipient for her professional accomplishments, community service, and commitment to inspiring change. Additionally, Chelsea serves as 1 of 6 Board of Advisors for The Well, a social brand by Samsung Mobile USA and POPSUGAR Fitness that focuses on wellness content and experiential events throughout 2019 and beyond. She has partnered with brands and organizations such as AT&T, Under Armour, Whole Foods Market, Brandless, Dyson, Alex and Ani, and New Hope Network.

    Chelsea received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design from Radford University and holds a Master of Public Health in nutrition from Liberty University. She is also a Certified Communicator in Public Health through the National Public Health Information Coalition.

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    Jennifer Goldstein Sullivan

    Co-host,

    Fat Mascara

    Who They Are

    Jennifer Goldstein is the co-host of award-winning beauty podcast Fat Mascara and a journalist with more than 20 years of experience, most recently as beauty and health director of Marie Claire. Her writing has been featured in numerous publications, including Elle, Esquire, InStyle, Men’s Journal, and Health, and she’s appeared as a beauty expert on Good Morning America, Today!, The Dr. Oz Show, and Live with Kelly & Ryan.

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    Julissa Prado

    Founder,

    Rizos Curls

    Who They Are

    Julissa Prado is the Latina Founder & CEO of Rizos Curls, line of curly hair care products. Prado launched the brand with the mission to create a clean hair brand "centered around curls, community, and culture that embraces and celebrates the beauty of curls, coils, and waves everywhere." Prado was the 2020 Beacon Awards Entrepreneur of the Year.

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    JuE Wong

    Chief Executive Officer/ Executive Board Member,

    Olaplex

    Who They Are

    JuE Wong is the CEO of prestige and professional hair care brand Olaplex. Before joining the brand in January 2020, Wong served as the CEO of Moroccanoil, the global leader in argan oil-infused beauty products, the President of Elizabeth Arden, CEO of Strivectin, and held numerous leadership roles across Murad Inc, NV Perricone MD Ltd, PepsiCo and more.

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    April Gargiulo

    Founder + CEO,

    Vintner's Daughter

    Who They Are

    April Gargiulo is the Founder and CEO of Vintner’s Daughter, a luxury skincare company committed to creating the highest quality, performance-driven, nutritional skincare. She launched her first product, Active Botanical Serum, in 2012, bucking industry standards by using whole, organic plants and methodical, time-honored formulation methods versus low-quality filler ingredients and formulation shortcuts. Vintner’s Daughter quickly became a benchmark for quality and performance in the beauty world and Active Botanical Serum became coveted by top beauty editors and industry experts around the world. Before starting Vintner’s Daughter, April spent 8 years at the helm of her family’s Napa Valley winery, Gargiulo Vineyards. There, she helped build the winery’s reputation for terroir-driven, “first growth” Cabernet Sauvignon.

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    Elizabeth Edwards

    General Partner,

    H Venture Partners

    Who They Are

    Elizabeth Edwards is the Managing Partner of H Venture Partners, a seed, venture and early growth equity fund that invests in next generation consumer brands. Before founding H Venture Partners, Edwards with Maywic Select Investments, a Series A/B investor in Peloton (IPO), Roots (IPO), Freshly (acquired for $1.5Bn by Nestle), Joy, ALOHA, ONE HOPE Wine, GoldieBlox, The Infatuation (merged: Zagat), Soma (acquired: Full Circle), and SkinnyMom (acquired: Womanista).

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    Corey Huggins

    Founder, Global CEO & Managing Director,

    Ready to Beauty

    Who They Are

    Huggins is the Founder and CEO of Ready to Beauty, a Global Think Tank for Multicultural Entrepreneurs & Brands. He recieved his MBA from New York University in 1998 and two years later landed at Clairol, then owned by Bristol Myers Squibb, before climbing the ranks at L’Oréal to eventually steer haircare brand Mizani.

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    Margarita Arriagada

    Founder + CEO,

    Valdé Beauty

    Who They Are

    Margarita Arriagada is the founder and CEO of Valdé, a refillable lip collection featuring formulas that are clean, cruelty-free and vegan. Each lipstick or balm fits interchangeably into a Valdé Armor, these collectible vessels have been crafted with meticulous attention to aesthetic form and performance the antithesis of disposable beauty. Arriagada spent three decades discovering and cultivating many of the great designers, artists and founders in beauty, fashion and home interiors working at Macy's, Lladró and is the former Chief Merchant for Sephora.

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    Jeannie Jarnot

    Founder + CEO,

    Beauty Heroes

    Who They Are

    A long time spa industry professional, Jeannie managed spas at luxury hotels and resorts for over 15 years. When considering products to use in the spas she managed, she sought out the Hero Products – those that define a brand and that you completely believe in. She was careful to sort through ingredient information and select products containing safe ingredients. She founded the Beauty-Heroes.com beauty subscription and formed Spa Heroes®, LLC in 2014 to simplify and improve the way you discover and buy healthy beauty.

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    Sarah Cheung

    Sacheu Beauty,

    Founder

    Who They Are

    Sarah Cheung is a beauty influencer and founder of SACHEU Beauty. Having grown up in Asia, Facial Rollers and Gua Sha tools had been part of Cheung's beauty routine from a young age. Traditionally these tools had been made with Jade or Quartz, both of which are porous (harboring bacteria in small crevices, which can easily contaminate the skin). Additionally, the excessive mining of these materials has a negative impact on our environment and consequences for our planet. She helped reimagined these tools and created them to be 100% Stainless Steel. Stainless steel is made from recycled material and is itself 100% recyclable, allowing for an eco-friendly footprint (our packaging is also made from recycled FSC cardboard). Unlike jade and quartz, stainless steel is non-porous which means that there are no risks of it trapping bacteria and spreading it across your skin during your skincare routine.

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    Melisse Gelula

    Co-Founder,

    Well + Good

    Who They Are

    Melisse Gelula is the Co-Founder of Well+Good, a leading health and wellness digital media company and an internationally recognized natural beauty and wellness expert. Melisse was named one of the 9 Most Creative Entrepreneurs of 2018 by Inc Magazine and one of the 10 Writers and Editors Who Are Changing the National Conversation by Adweek. She has appeared in Forbes, WWD, the New York Times, and on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, and more. Prior to founding Well+Good, Melisse was the editor-in-chief of SpaFinderLifestyle.com, beauty director at Luxury SpaFinder Magazine, and travel editor at Fodor’s. She has a MA from the University of Toronto and has completed six years of training as a psychoanalyst.

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    Kirbie Johnson

    Co-Host, Producer, Editor,

    Gloss Angeles Podcast

    Who They Are

    Kirbie Johnson is the co-host of podcast Gloss Angeles, as well as a producer and reporter in the beauty space. She left her post at POPSUGAR in July 2019, having spent 8 years at the publisher. She has produced 500+ beauty segments in her career, interviewing celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Viola Davis, Nicole Kidman, Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Ariana Grande. Kirbie has been featured as a host on Freeform and an expert on The Today Show, The Doctors and the BBC. She has emceed events for Create & Cultivate, DragCon, Tarte Cosmetics, VidCon, Ulta Beauty and more. Kirbie contributes to publications like Allure, The Hollywood Reporter, Elle and Glamour. She continues to work on-camera with Freeform and just written her first scripted TV series. She has a B.S. in Advertising and Public Relations and minor in Business from the Schieffer School of Journalism from Texas Christian University. Her interests include Halloween, Disney, true crime and Britney Spears.

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    Elizabeth Lamont

    President,

    EL Luxury Consulting

    Who They Are

    Elizabeth Lamont, the founder of EL Luxury Consulting, is a strategic consultant for early stage, founder-led beauty brands. Global experience in Brand Positioning, Go-to-Market Strategy, Distribution Networks, Retail Environment and Communications. Lamont has been featured in Glossy, Huff Post, Forbes, WWD, Nuvo and Upscale Living, and on The Zoe Report Beauty.

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    Yve-Car Momperousse

    Founder + CEO,

    Kreyòl Essence

    Who They Are

    Yve-Car Momperousse is the founder of Kreyol Essence, a wellness-based company established in 2009, specializing in organic personal care products made from ingredients cultivated and manufactured in Haiti. The company's signature product is Palma Christi: Haitian Black Castor Oil. Kreyol Essence was the 2020 Beacon Awards winner of Brand of the Year.

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    Brittney Ogike

    Founder + CEO,

    BEAUTYBEEZ

    Who They Are

    Brittney Ogike is championing inclusivity by building a community that celebrates multicultural beauty. After the disappointing experiences she faced at traditional beauty supplies, Brittney, along with her husband, worked tirelessly to build a brand that offers the best in natural hair care, melanin skincare, and brown girl beauty in an intentionally designed space for an elevated beauty supply experience. BEAUTYBEEZ was created so women of color could shop, explore and play in a world full of beauty.

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    Christine Mielke

    Owner + Founder,

    Temptalia

    Who They Are

    Christine Mielke, founded Temptalia in October of 2006. Temptalia is a word Christine invented to describe the perfect person–“they’re smart, sexy, confident, and totally amazing!” Temptalia is a global reference and resource for beauty enthusiasts featuring in-depth reviews, photos, swatches, tutorials, and beauty tips, along with popular features, such as Dupe List, Foundation Matrix, and Swatch Gallery. With more than 221,000 Instagram followers, Mielke has become a well respected and highly sought after influencer and tastemaker.

2021 Nominees

The 2021 Beacon Award nominees attest to the breadth and depth of the independent beauty community.

  • Best Social Media Nominee
    Awkward Essentials
  • Brand Launch Nominee
    Experiment
  • Best Packaging Nominee
    Natureofthings
  • Industry Icon Nominee
    Paula Begoun
    Founder
    Paula's Choice
  • Inclusivity Champion Nominee
    Vive Cosmetics
  • Product Launch - Wellness Nominee
    SuperPower Capsule
  • Small Indie Retailer Nominee
    Beauty Heroes
  • Entrepreneur Nominee
    Olivia Alexander
    Founder & CEO
    Kush Queen
  • Sustainability Champion Nominee
    Le Prunier
  • Growth Investor - Small or Seed Nominee
    Fab Ventures
See All Nominees

We think the name captures the spirit of our community. A beacon shines so brightly that it can’t be ignored. It’s an example for others to follow and a symbol of possibility.

–Rachel Brown, Editor In Chief, Beauty Independent