When Iman Abdulmajid was ready to launch her own line of liquid foundation, retailers all across America told the super model that “black women don’t buy liquid foundation.” Years later, the very same product that retailers doubted has become a $25 million beauty empire.
Iman spent decades of her life traveling the world as a successful model. Spending hours in hair and makeup revealed one daunting fact to the super model: finding liquid foundation for her skin complexion was quite the challenge. Make up artists were forced to mix and blend different foundations until they literally created a customized foundation for Iman. For the average African-American woman, however, there is no staff of beauticians on hand to create a liquid foundation for their complexion. This would be the basis of Iman’s most successful addition to her beauty empire.
The pioneer for ethnic cosmetics first launched her line back in 1994. The cosmetics collection was released to JC Penneys all across America, but when Iman was ready to take the cosmetics to the mass market, she hit an unexpected obstacle.
She signed a deal with Procter & Gamble in 2004 but major retailers such as Wal Mart, Target, and Walgreens were less than impressed with the new product. According to these distributors, the product just wouldn’t make money because they all believed that liquid foundation wasn’t popular among ethnic women.
“I didn’t understand that it was if they have 1,000 doors, only 200 are for women of color,” Iman said after witnessing how reluctant distributors were to embrace the new product.
“It was a no-go. They wanted me to be placed at the back, which they considered, like it is, for the ethnic section, which I was totally against,” said the 56-year-old cosmetics mogul.
Since then Iman has taken her beauty empire online, which was risky for this particular product. Most women prefer to try on and test cosmetics in stores, which makes e-commerce based sales less popular for the beauty industry.
“If only the retailers understood it. I have customers from all over the world that look for the products, but I also have customers in the U.S. that can’t find the product in a store near them,” Iman said.
Iman Cosmetics sells everything from lipsticks to eyeliners, but the liquid foundation accounts for about 75 percent of her overall sales. Despite all the negative feedback from retailers, the new foundation has become the top selling product in her brand.
Source: Daily Mail