Meet Shontay Lundy, the bold and intelligent founder of Black Girl Sunscreen. The MBA graduate who strived to protect our melanin. Today her brand has grown and evolved to be one of the most sought-after skincare products for women of color. Shontay has graced many publications, we speak to her to find out what keeps her going and a day in the life of an entrepreneur.
What inspired you to create ‘Black Girl Sunscreen’?
I created Black Girl Sunscreen because I was underwhelmed by the options for skin protection for women of color. As a woman of color 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, my journey began, searching to find a solution eliminating white residue, while also making women of color feel and look great in the sun.
Describe a typical day in the life of Shontay?
Over the years my body has become an alarm clock, so I naturally wake up without setting one. Orange juice is something I can’t live without, and it is the first liquid that I drink every day. Before I get started with my work day, I meditate to practice mindfulness. Skin is our largest organ, and so I take pride in how it looks. I perform my daily skin care regimen, with of course, my favorite SPF moisturizer Black Girl Sunscreen. Next up, breakfast (usually, it’s eggs and fruit). Then, I start my workday by checking my calendar to see how my day is structured, but I’ve really been working since I woke up, looking on the Gram and checking email with one eye open. From there on out, every day is different in this crazy entrepreneurial life. There is always something that has to get done and not all of it is glamorous. With any “free” time I get in transit (not on a call), I love to follow podcasts. At the end of the day, I try to get to sleep on time, but there is always something left to do. The life of an entrepreneur is never-ending.
What has been your biggest achievement during this journey?
My biggest personal achievement is having the strength to continue on the journey and not give up. It is a constant reminder of my work ethic and determination. Not quitting is an everyday achievement for me.
What is the greatest risk you have taken?
The biggest risk is being one of the first. By that, I mean creating a product that goes against the grain. Normally, people of color do not wear sunscreen, because we’ve been taught that we have melanin that is a force against the sun (aka natural sunscreen), so we don’t need sunscreen. I didn’t know how well or not so well Black Girl Sunscreen would do.
Why do you believe sunscreen is important for people of color?
Thanks to our melanin, we do have some natural protection from the sun’s harmful rays but make no mistake about it, no one is immune to the damage caused by the sun. We still burn and are susceptible to sun-induced damage such as sun spots, premature aging, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and cancer. In fact, researchers have shown that people of color are more likely to die from skin cancer than people with fairer skin. The moral of the story is that we all need to protect our skin!
What advice would you give to anyone that wants to become an entrepreneur?
Never get too high or too low. Keeping composure is the name of the game because nothing lasts forever.