Shontay Lundy, founder of Black Girl Sunscreen, has solved a problem so many blacks have dealt with—eliminating those annoying white streaks traditional sunscreens leave behind. And now she has been given the opportunity to expand her reach through blessing the aisles of more than 200 Target stores nationwide with her popular product.
Why Black Girl Sunscreen
Lundy launched Black Girl Sunscreen in 2016 out of Miami and hasn’t taken her foot off of our necks since. Her products can be found everywhere from your local Target shelf to the motherland. Yup, she’s on shelves in Nigeria too.
BGS is an everyday, ultra-sheer, SPF 30 moisturizer for the face and body, infused with natural ingredients made specifically for darker pigments.
The mission of Black Girl Sunscreen has evolved over time. Lundy once simply saw it as a way for blacks to protect their skin without white streaks while outdoors and now sees it playing a much bigger role. “I never knew what the impact would be today…it’s now about creating and continuing the conversation of sun protection amongst women of color. About the importance of wearing sunscreen and the benefits of it—and not just from a health perspective, but also a cosmetic perspective.”
Lundy understands that for years women have been afraid of what the outcome would be if they wore sunblock thinking they’re going to look like either a ghost, a silvery fish, or just something other than themselves. “And even though sunscreen is an OTC, with a cosmetic product, you’re supposed to feel good and look good and sunscreen did not do that for women of color.”
What Makes Black Girl Sunscreen Different
Unlike other brands, Black Girl Sunscreen has natural ingredients that can be pronounced. Can the congregation give us an amen?
BGS has no fragrance, is environmentally friendly (reef safe!), cruelty-free, has no silicones, and has ingredients like avocado, jojoba, aloe, cocoa butter, and carrot juice. I believe this is an opportune time to mention once again that you don’t get the ghost-face look when applying. For us, by us for the win.
Aside from the aforementioned, the sunscreen’s beautiful matte black and gold packaging, along with its catchy name stands out with ease on the Target shelves amongst the brightly colored orange, pink, and blue tubes we’ve grown accustomed to seeing over the decades. Thank you Target for giving a black girl options!
“I feel like Target has been a pioneer of supporting multicultural brands. When you think of hair care and where they first launched, Target is always expanding and trying to bring in newness. And you can look and see that sun care is one of those spaces that is really underdeveloped for us. There are very limited options.”
Lundy’s ‘Not-So-Secret’ Secret to Success
Some may believe that under four years is no time at all for a cosmetic brand to be making such major moves but a lot has happened in the last four years. Lundy’s success is heavily based on her admirable work ethic, leveraging social media, and encouraging word of mouth from her network of supporters.
“In everything that has happened to us, we’ve been so grateful. I [emphasize] the word grateful because we don’t take any of this for granted. The things that we’ve done at Black Girl Sunscreen first starts with the work ethic.”
Lundy was used to putting in long work hours coming from corporate America: “Ten to 12 hour days is really nothing.” After working long days in the corporate world, she came home and worked for many hours on her business.
Lundy also noted that since Black Girl Sunscreen launched on Instagram, they’re classified a bit as a social media brand and she has no ill feelings about it. Social media has leveled the playing field and she took advantage of that. “We really penetrated Instagram and Facebook,” she shared. Adding that brand also makes it a point to highlight those who support by resharing posts they’ve been tagged in on their stories often. Every single post means the world to BGS.
And while most may overlook the small events and opportunities to market, Lundy didn’t take any of it for granted and remained hyper-focused on getting her product in front of her target customer.
“We did things like podcasts, local radio shows, and attended events that may not have had the best turn out. My goal was for women of color—black women—just to talk about Black Girl Sunscreen. And it could be one person telling their cousin, friend, mother, or grandmother … I never underestimated the word-of-mouth referral. And that’s how we’ve grown. With the community being behind us and the black dollar having so much power. And that’s where we really attribute our success today.”
The Importance of The Black Dollar & Community Support
It has been a grassroots effort from the very beginning as Lundy’s Black Girl Sunscreen has made it a point from the start to build mutually beneficial relationships with members in the black community. She has created partnerships with specialty retailers who have brick & mortars that cater to black and brown girls, along with building relationships with beauty supply stores and estheticians that are for women of color.
“They’re our first line of defense. When you go in to get a facial or some other type of service, a skin esthetician will give you a list of recommended products to use, so I have to attribute some of the success to them. To just us holding hands and believing in what we’re doing and being a part of this movement.”
Lundy shared that the community support has helped her in the national retail partnership with Target going so well.
“I want to emphasize the importance of black buying power.” She believes that when we come behind each other and lift each other up, we can create real movement. “We need to continue this. Black Girl Sunscreen is just so grateful for women who know and understand this and want to be a part of something bigger.”
Black Girl Sunscreen can be found on Target.com and BlackGirlSunscreen.com.