Saliah, Najiyyah, and Kareemah Mustafa are the co-founders behind Sabreen Cosmetics, a beauty brand committed to providing non-toxic makeup for black women. Inspired by the death of their aunt due to breast cancer, the women wanted to honor her legacy by creating something that honored her love of cosmetics and beauty.
However, during their research process, they learned about the hazardous ingredients found in products marketed to black women. On a mission to transform their frustration into positive change, they launched Sabreen Cosmetics–a line of non-toxic, vegan, and cruelty-free liquid lipstick enhancers.
To further their cause they also built an online community called Sabreen Queens and launched a social movement, The Queens That Reign Supreme to highlight the achievements of black women in various industries.
In an interview with BLACK ENTERPRISE, the founders shared the lessons learned from their audience and clean beauty options.
BE: What values do clean beauty options provide for women of color?
Clean beauty means formulating and providing high quality cosmetic products that are nontoxic and created with the best ingredients. On our website, we list our Sabreen Elements (ingredients) to ensure transparency with our Sabreen Queens and to build trust with them. We want our customer to know that their health matters to us and should matter to everyone in the beauty industry.
What makes your business stand out?
We are unapologetically dedicated to the inclusion of women of color, their empowerment, health, and regality. Sabreen Cosmetics’ target market, affectionately called “Sabreen Queens,” are women of color aged 21-35 who are educated, socially [and] health conscious, and fashion-forward.
What is your best marketing tool for building your brand, attracting customers, and spreading awareness about your mission?
Our best marketing tool is social media and word of mouth. When we launched in October 2018, we were nervous about the reception of our product. We worked tirelessly to perfect the formula with our chemist. Our formulas are not a private label, but are custom made. Word of mouth has helped us immensely with sales. Social media allowed us to connect with our customer directly, influencers, and other brands for collaboration. Also, being able to connect with beauty writers and bloggers have assisted us with expanding the awareness of our brand.
For Black History Month, you launched The Queens That Reign Supreme Campaign, what do you hope to achieve?
The Queens That Reign Supreme Campaign highlights the achievements of Black women in various industries We believe that honoring black women is a great way to empower a demographic that is often portrayed in a monolithic fashion in the media.
We wanted to show our Sabreen Queens that there are many ways to reign, whether it be in visual design, real estate, public relations, banking industry, cosmetics industry, jewelry industry, or even being a fashion-forward millennial mom with a knack for content creation and digital storytelling. Diversity in images is essential in the beauty industry as women of color are often underrepresented and misrepresented. We hope this campaign and future campaigns continue to highlight the beauty, inspiration, and achievements that these Queens showcase every day. Our images are important and should be represented, recognized, and honored on a mainstream scale. We are honored to be able to facilitate that process.
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