Accessibility is not a word we're used to hearing when discussing diversity or inclusion in the beauty industry. But it should be.
What do I mean by "accessibility?" Perhaps its easier explain how there is a lack thereof.
As much as we all want to see beauty brands create more inclusive ranges of color cosmetics, that venture is almost futile if the products can't be easily accessed by the consumer.
Some of the most "inclusive" foundation launches of 2017 did not make the darker shades available to consumers in stores. Interested parties with deeper complexions were forced to guesstimate their shade online with little help from the brand.
What is the purpose of launching 32 shades of foundation, if consumers are only presented with the lightest 15 during their in-store experience?
Many of us know, this is nothing new. Anyone darker than a Starbucks latte is going to have a hard time finding complexion products at their local beauty retailer. And of course, we've all heard the BS reasons why.
We've been fed this lie over and over that black women don't wear makeup or that women of color won't buy makeup if it's created for them.
Welp, the proof is the pudding.
Fenty Beauty just proved to the world, without a shadow of a doubt, that if you actually speak to consumers with darker skintones and make products accessible to them, they will come out in droves and spend $$$. (The darker shades of the Pro Filt'r Foundation are selling out EVERYWHERE!)
Gone are the days where beauty lovers with dark skintones will feel left out of new product launches - a concept Rihanna charmingly articulated while explaining her passion behind the brand.
The Fenty Beauty launch had three components, revolving around accessibility, that made it truly unique:
1. The product was made available to everyone at virtually the same time. Even though the launch party (which was LIT btw) was a few hours before the brand went live on Sephora.com, those who attended really didn't get much more of a leg up on testing out the brand than those who went into Sephora stores the next day. (Or at midnight if you lived in NYC.)
- 2. Every single beauty retailer carried the entire Fenty Beauty collection. It's true that Fenty Beauty isn't the first beauty brand to create a foundation line with 40 shades, however, it seems to be the only brand that currently insists on having all 40 shades available for purchase in every single store. (And the fact that they plan on adding more warms my heart.💞) Fenty Beauty is adamant about making sure everyone has an equal opportunity to experience the brand first hand. Additionally, the brand didn't sell out in hours, as we've become accustomed to with other brand launches. They are really are making an effort to keep the products in stock as quickly as possible.
- 3. Themes of diversity and inclusion were embedded into the brand from its inception. We never really know when a brand is being diverse for diversity sake or because they truly believe in creating a brand that celebrates everyone, but, Rihanna made her true intentions known to us from jump. There was none of this, "we will the release the darker shades at a later date," nonsense. Before we even knew what products would be included in this line, the brand campaign concept for Fenty Beauty showed us that this would be a brand for all and had us all screaming "YAAAS!!"
While there's still work to do, as Rihanna has even mentioned herself, this is easily one of the most well thought out, authentic, diverse brand launches of 2017.
Despite the fact the beauty industry is said to be moving more toward e-commerce, Fenty Beauty has managed to fill a gap that hasn't been properly tackled by any other brand in recent years: the ability to give a beauty lovers of darker complexions an empowering, in-store, fresh shopping experience.
(With an online shopping experience to match! Check out the Foundation Finder on FentyBeauty.com if you are having trouble deciding on a foundation shade. And, in true Cocoa Swatches form, swatches of Fenty Beauty products will available online and in our app before you know it!)