Dana Hill, founder and CEO of COCOTIQUE, personally understood the challenges African-Americans, Latinas and other diverse ethnicities often have to face with when searching for beauty products that work for their diverse skin tones and hair textures. With industry experiences that spans over 20 years in fashion and entertainment (at companies including Harpar’s Bazaar, Vogue, Phat Farm, Arista Records and Rocawear), she knew just what to do in order to cater to women that looked just like her.
“I subscribe to Birchbox, and other services and I found that they didn’t really have products that worked for me. It hit me: I had to do this for women of color,” says Hill, who also founded the Divine Marketing Group. “I began doing my research, and it took me a year and half to come up with the concept for everything that I wanted to invoke. With my background being in fashion and music, I wanted all of this to come into one space.”
Armed with the knowledge that women of color spend 80% more on cosmetics and twice as much on skin care products than other demographics because of the difficulties in finding products that work for their specific beauty needs, she created COCOTIQUE, a deluxe beauty box subscription service for women of color and diverse ethnicities. Each box contains 5-6 expertly curated beauty and lifestyle samples from skin care, hair care, fragrance, nail and lifestyle companies.
Her love of beauty was sparked from several years on fashion sets, and shoots. “I worked with top make-up, hair, models and the transformation of models ignited my love of beauty,” Hill says. “The ultimate beauty arsenal idea is translated on the Website. We have a column where we interview real people and ask them what their favorite beauty products. We really want to be able to inspire real women, and show them no matter your skin tone, or your age, there are different products that will work for you.”
Working under the direction and leadership of moguls such as Russell Simmons and Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, the fashion marketing executive learned many important lessons. “Russell taught me to always surround yourself by people that are smarter than you,” Hill says. “He shared that you have to be humble enough to never think you know everything. Be able to support your team and give them the freedom to be able to create. That’s what he allowed me to do. I never felt micromanaged. He always made me feel like the sky was the limit, and to go out there to make it happen.”
With upcoming brand partnerships with LaLa and Chef Roble, her Rolodex of celebrity and influencer contacts will certainly help to propel the brand. “I’ve been in the industry for about 20 years, and built relationships in various industries,” Hill says. “It’s been very helpful. I can always pretty much call someone or someone who knows someone. I don’t like to name drop but I’ve been in the business for a long time, so it’s definitely come in handy.”
Despite the challenges of being an entrepreneur, there are many rewards. “If you remain open and true, the things that you need to become successful will open to you,” she says. “With COCOTIQUE, the timing was right, and it has just evolved. When I see the way it has been received by everyone, I’m just grateful.”