Women of color often have trouble finding beauty products that work right with their skin and complexion. So Jodie Patterson and Benjamin Bernet’s new website should be a godsend for them.
Newly launched beauty shopping online destination DooBop offers products for multicultural women. Visitors can find products from Iman to Fashion Fair as well as Paris-based Nuhanciam and Ethnicia. The website also features beauty advice from top industry experts as well as interviews with beauty icons.
“America’s face is changing—mixed ethnicity individuals have grown by 32 percent in the past ten years, African Americans are growing 30 percent faster than the general population, and there are now more than 50 million Hispanics in America,” says Bernet. “In twenty years time, there will be more ‘non-white’ Americans than white. We believe that it’s about time the beauty industry starts behaving like we’re in 2014.”
Patterson’s background is in fashion and PR while Bernet was a marketing executive at L’Oreal. To fund the startup, they raised seed financing through business angels in Europe and the U.S. It was a challenge, however. “From a financing perspective, when we were raising funds, it has often been challenging to explain our concept to boardrooms full of middle-aged white men… It wasn’t always easy to convince them of our project’s potential,” says Bernet.
But according to Bernet the cosmetic companies seemed to grasp the concept more easily. “Jodie and I both have been working in beauty for a decade. We sat down last summer and selected our favorite brands. We then reached out to each of them to present our concept. Many of them said ‘yes’ right away, and some said ‘no’. It was as simple as that,” he explains.
Consumers are flocking to the site. And in the two months since its launch, sales have exceeded expectations. “Beauty retailers in the US traditionally don’t cater to the specific needs of brown skin tones and textured hair. While multi-ethnic women overspend the general population in personal care and beauty, they are being underserved by the main retail players, and are usually relegated to the so-called ‘ethnic aisle’ of drugstores or the neighborhood beauty supply stores, which—for the most part—do not offer a very upscale, service-driven environment and quality product assortment to their customers,” Bernet points out.
This dilemma faced by DooBop’s target audience shaped the site’s mission. “DooBop’s mission is to fundamentally disrupt the multi-ethnic beauty retail space by offering a state-of-the-art go-to online destination with personalized and curated product recommendations, specific expert beauty advice for brown skin tones and textured hair, and superior service—meaning free shipping and free samples. We want to become the premier destination specifically designed for multi-ethnic and multi-cultural beauty,” says Bernet.