Mented Cosmetics Founders and the Business Behind Their Beauty Brand for Women of Color

When KJ Miller and Amanda E. Johnson came up with the idea to build a beauty brand for women of color two years ago out of their frustration with the choices of beauty products for black women, they didn’t dream that Mented Cosmetics would become one of the go-to beauty brands in the market.

With a collection of products for eyes, lips, nails, and face–the duo hit the market with Skin by Mented. The entrepreneurs created a 16-shade collection for women looking for foundation they can wear without reservation.

“First of all, [foundation] has always been our most requested product.” says Miller. “It’s sort of the thing that once people learn about and fall in love the new lipsticks, the natural next question is about foundation. And we get that because a lot of women feel like there aren’t that many brands serving their skin tone; their undertones,”

Skin by Mented (Image: Mented Cosmetics)

And with a number of beauty brands launching foundation lines with dozens of shades in efforts to become more inclusive, Miller says that a lot of women have found some of those launches feel somewhat gimmicky.

“Most women are just looking for a livable and breathable foundation formula. And that’s what we decided to create. So we’re so excited because it is truly skin–like in the name Skin by Mented is so fitting,” adds Miller.

Beyond the launch of their new collection, Johnson says listening to their customers and being business savvy within the beauty industry has remained critical to the success of Mented.

“One thing that we’re very conscious of is that businesses require cash. That is a real consideration month-over-month as you expand your team, your product line, and you get an office. We are building a brand for the long haul and we are building a community that will be with us for the long haul. So it is worth investing in getting the right formula, getting the packaging, and making sure we’re producing really great content,” say Miller.

And she adds, “I think one of the things you learn as a business owner is to have patience with yourself and the brand you’re building, but also to really put the money in the things that matter.”

Skin by Mented being demoed. (Image: Mented Cosmetics)

Johnson and Miller are also intentional about running Mented Cosmetics as a digital-first brand that prioritizes customer experience and education.

“We made sure that our digital-first experience matters. We’re all about creating not only the products, but the community around it. From the very beginning, we said we wanted to be the home and the voice for women of color. So not only does that include amazing products that solve real problems, but also all the content that goes behind it so that you really feel into it,” says Johnson.

That community and content is a section on their site; The Ment. It as space where women can find beauty hacks produced by other women of color.