An entire demographic of people have started to protect their skin with Black Girl Sunscreen. Founded in 2016, before BGS was launched many black and brown people carried the notion that people with darker skin didn’t need sunscreen. Studies done by The American Academy of Dermatology have proved that to be a false tale; although darker skin can help block rays from the sun and prevent damage, darker skin only provides about an SPF 13, while dermatologist recommend a sunscreen that has SPF 30 or higher. There seems to be a lack of education and awareness surrounding skin cancer and the affects of the sun when it comes to people of color, mostly due to fact that black and brown people are often left out of clinical studies that lead to lack of representation.
Founder of BGS, Shontay Lundy had a vision for her brand and what she wanted it to represent. BGS was created for melanated women wanting a sunscreen brand that caters exclusively to them. Black Girl Sunscreen uses zero parabens or other harmful chemicals, while infusing top ingredients to shield and moisturize melanated skin without the white residue commonly associated with sunscreen. BGS is out to make a name for themselves; from touching down in Nigeria to being featured in Essence the company has proven it’s determination to conquer the role of a top brand in the industry.
When I caught up with Lundy and the BGS team here is what they had to say:
“I created Black Girl Sunscreen because I was Underwhelmed by the options for skin protection for women of color. As a woman of the sun with a darker complexion, healthy skin has always been a priority for me, and I knew that there had to be a solution to the lack of options. With this motivation, the journey began to find a solution eliminating white residue and making women of color feel great and look great in the sun.”
BGS is currently available in over 200 Target stores across the U.S. The company hit its first $1 million dollars in revenue within the first 3 years of launching. In 2020 BGS is now worth $5 million dollars with the recent securing of a female investor for $1 million dollars. As a minority owned and woman led company it’s a major move for Lundy who stated the process was hard. After months of vetting investors, they were able to secure a significant investment from a private female funding source whose qualities and mission aligned with the BGS vision.
When asked about what the process looked like to secure her products in Target, Lundy stated that the biggest key was to mentally prepare yourself for your business level up. Implementing different processes, understanding your supply chain, and product turnaround time is crucial to solidifying a place in a major market.
“The beauty industry has been extremely warm and welcoming to the point we feel warm and fuzzy inside. The first step is to be recognized; to gain some traction with your brand and gain trust with your community/customer.”
COVID-19 did not stop the efforts of the BGS brand behind the scenes. Due to the peak of the pandemic which was followed by the transition into the BLM movement, it helped create heightened awareness for black-owned businesses. This resulted in BGS having record breaking months with an uptick in e-commerce orders. The BGS team stated that they were extremely grateful for the community that has been built and the constant support shown, even during difficult times.
“We refused to let the pandemic slow down our progress. Our team adopted an “all hands on deck” mentality to enhance our social media strategy, work longer hours, and increase our marketing efforts.”
A BGS kids collection is also available online and in-stores at Target. The company looks forward to new innovations to come that will ultimately lead to a comprehensive product line.
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Featured Image by BGS Team