The first skincare product from Nyakio Grieco's new beauty line, Relevant: Your Skin Seen, is clever, enjoyable to use, and will help improve your complexion regardless of your skin tone, gender, or age.
What is this enchanted item? One and Done is a multipurpose cream that serves as a serum, moisturizer, primer, and, most significantly, a sunscreen.
Grieco claims, "It's made for everyone. And Black and brown folks are unquestionably included in that. It's still a persistent misconception that Black and dark people don't require sunscreen, however this is untrue. The prevalence of melanoma is increasing in our neighborhood.”
True, all skin tones can be harmed by UV radiation. Yet, according to Grieco, "while talking to people about their skincare routines, many agreed that SPF was an extra step that was simple to omit." Her solution aims to address that issue while also providing antioxidants (such as squalene and hyaluronic acid) and hydrators for your skin (like plum oil, kigelia extract, buriti oil, seabuckthorn, and green tea). Grieco continues, "It also doesn't transfer to my clothes, create a white or purple tint on my skin, and it doesn't pill under my makeup.
Grieco's remarkable story aids in understanding this product drop and the brand as a whole. When Grieco was 27 years old, she decided to create her own name-brand cosmetics company based on the skincare practices and wisdom of her African grandparents (her grandmother was a coffee farmer; her grandfather a medicine man).
"As I look back, I'm so grateful for my naiveté to pursue my ambition so unreservedly. However, a lot of doors were slammed in my face when I tried to raise money,” she claims. The company had significant successes, but "I recall a lot of pauses and starts because I couldn't afford to fulfill my orders. It was heartbreaking and crushing to the soul.”
Grieco came to the following discovery in the summer of 2020, while our nation was going through its racial reckoning: "I'd always attributed the lack of interest from venture capitalists to my lack of experience. I can now more clearly see the true injustice I was experiencing. It had a lot to do with the fact that I was a Black female entrepreneur in addition to being a woman. One of the key reasons why many BIPOC founders haven't achieved the same level of success as some of their white counterparts is a lack of funding.”
But all of a sudden, the Black Lives Matter movement had her brand recognized and included among the best Black-founded businesses for consumers to patronize. "It was beautiful. It also made me realize there were so many other fantastic Black-founded firms I was unaware of and that I had never received that kind of exposure for Nyakio Beauty in the preceding 18 years,” she added.
Grieco then had a thought. She and her cofounder established an online store for diverse beauty goods, with 90% of its stock coming from BIPOC-founded companies and 10% from allies. "I also wanted to take the opportunity to demonstrate that the items launched by Black and Brown people aren't just for Black and Brown people. So many people hold this false belief. Our entire lives, we've used items created by individuals who don't resemble us,” adds Grieco.
The website initially included 13 brands; today, there are about 150 brands that offer products for people of all ages, genders, and skin tones.
Grieco was working on her upcoming brand project, Relevant, throughout this entire ordeal. According to her, "I finally had the runway, the backing, and the opportunity to establish the brand of my wildest ambitions for the first time as a Black woman." She then took the time to explore how to better serve all consumers, hand-picked the best formulators (a purposely varied group), and took into account ingredients she had never had access to before.
She completed a $3 million seed round earlier this year, and Relevant will turn a profit right now. "I've never had the opportunity to say that. It serves as a tribute to the sector. There are more people than not that wish to contribute to and see constructive change.” She claims there will be a lot more after the initial product becomes out.