If you haven’t heard of Juvia’s Place you’ve been under a rock. 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 three years ago, and even she can’t quite wrap her mind around the rapid growth of the brand. Juvia’s Place, by the way, is known for highly pigmented eyeshadow palettes.
I had the pleasure of meeting Chichi two years ago at IMATS NYC, and just fell in love with her spirit and energy. I also love seeing a woman who looks like me do the damn thing.
Chichi was kind enough to grant me this interview, and share the inspiration behind her brand.
Interview with Juvia’s Place Owner, Chichi Eburu:
How did you go about developing the concept of your brand?
Eburu: I’m African, that’s my cultural heritage and background. When I was creating my palettes I wanted each palette to be representative of the African culture and art. I took a look at the beauty industry and there was nothing that truly represented the black culture as a whole. I feel like the market is here, we’re here [black women] and we’re beautiful. It just doesn’t make any sense why we’re not represented fully in the cosmetic industry.
Most of our palettes are very vibrant and colorful. Anytime I have to create a new palette or new product I think of culture, the food, the spices, everything. That’s what inspires me creatively. African festivals, music, clothing, the artwork, the environment.
What made you go with Queen Nefertiti as a part of your visual branding for your first palette, The Nubian?
Eburu: Egypt is in North Africa, so I wanted something bronzy and gold; colors like that resonate with Egyptian culture and it made sense to use her as a beauty icon. Queen Nefertiti is known for her beauty, and she always took time to take care of herself. The word Nubian, for Black people, is often synonymous with black royalty and embracing blackness and culture. It means black beauty. Black power. Black everything. Black girl magic!
How has your brand grown in the last four years?
Eburu: I will say most of the growth has happened within the last two years. 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 any time I pick colors and formulas, I always test on my skin and even darker skin tones and we compare colors that will pop and formulas that are long lasting but yet cost effective. The rule of thumb is, If it shows beautifully on my skin and on darker skin tones then it’s a Yes For Juvia’s. 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’s very obvious. It’s our daily goal to produce products women of color can wear comfortably but yet feel and look beautiful at the same time. I’d love to consider Juvia’s Place as one of the most inclusive brands in the market.
How do you avoid succumbing to makeup trends in the beauty industry?
Eburu: Society forces you to be compelled to copy, but you have to hold yourself back and do your own thing. We want to be innovative, but still appeal to the masses. It’s hard, but you must always stay true to yourself.
As a black-owned brand, have you encountered any racism or challenges specific to being black-owned?
Eburu: Everyday. I think black-owned brands get the most heat for minor issues. We have to realize as people of color we don’t have the same resources as most commercial brands. So when we start a business, we technically start from very humble beginnings. I believe black owned businesses get criticized for the most minor issue, which shouldn’t be. Every business should be judged equally and given the exact same opportunity. I strongly believe resources are limited in the black community, however, togetherness is the strongest quality any group of people can have. If we come together as a black community any challenge can be conquered. It’s that simple. Togetherness is key.
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. Anything is possible. Just do it.
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.
What’s next for Juvia’s Place?
Well, we have two more palettes coming out before 2018, and we are currently working on our liquid lipsticks. We’ll be launching those in the new year. We also want to work with more black creators. We are so thankful for the number of black content creators who have helped put our brand on the map, so we really want to give back.
If you are a black content creator, Juvia’s Place wants to hear from you! Send an short email intro AND your media kit (emails without a media kit will be disregarded) to PR2018@juviasplace.com.