Juvia’s Place owner, Chichi Eburu, has brought black beauty to the cosmetics industry in a way we’ve never seen before. The Nigeria-born wife and mother of two, launched her cosmetic company a little over two years ago, and even she can’t quite wrap her mind around the rapid growth of the brand. Juvia’s Place is known for highly pigmented eyeshadow palettes that feature images of the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.
We sat down with Eburu to learn more about the brand:
How did you go about developing the concept of your brand?
Eburu: I’m African, that’s my background. I took a look at the beauty industry and there was nothing that truly represents black culture. I feel like the market is here, we’re here [black women] and we’re beautiful and nobody is listening. To me the idea of the a Nubian queen is representative of a beautiful black woman and that’s what I wanted my company to show.
What made you go with Queen Nefertiti as a part of your visual branding?
She’s a black queen! I have an artist I work with and I told her I wanted to use the image of Egyptian queen, Nefertiti. I gave her an idea of what I wanted and she came up what you see on the palettes.
How has your brand grown in the last two years?
Eburu: I will say most of the growth has happened within the last year. We started with makeup brushes, and when we launched the Nubian palette it just went viral, so the growth has been rapid.
Aside from the Queen Nefertiti on the packaging, how are your shadows different from other eyeshadow palettes at the same price point?
Eburu: I have dark skin, so anytime I pick colors, I always test on my skin and even darker skin tones and we compare colors that will pop. That’s how we pick our products. If it shows on my skin and on darker skin then it will show on anyone’s skin. For me personally, I want colors that any woman of color can wear. A lot of the bigger brands don’t go that extra step and it shows. I want to be able to produce products that women of color can wear comfortably and not look like a clown.
As a black-owned brand, have you encountered any racism or challenges specific to being black-owned?
Eburu: We had a customer service issue that became public due to social media and when that happened we started receiving a lot of racist comments. We got called n****r so much we had to shut down our Facebook page. Instead of it just being a customer service issue it became about our race. It was really upsetting. We also see that when we feature dark skin women on our Instagram page, they don’t get as many likes or comments. Since a lot of our customers are black it’s really shocking to see that. Sometimes we even go and look at the pictures some of our followers are liking and we can see that they are black women who are only liking the pictures of light skin or white women. It’s really shocking.
There are probably quite a few women reading this would have aspirations of starting their own company, and maybe even a cosmetics line. Do you have advice for them?
Eburu: Don’t stop. Don’t give up. I started this company with only $2000. My husband thought it was a joke! He didn’t understand this whole makeup thing. But we’ve done so well, it’s shocking.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since starting your brand?
Eburu: We always knew social media was powerful, but we didn’t know how powerful. Instagram has really grown our business, so we’ve had to learn to be really protective of our brand and always put our customers first.