A Toronto-based makeup enthusiast wants to propel the availability of beauty products specific to black women in the makeup industry. TAJJ Cosmetics is the brainchild of it’s founder June Smith, a Jamaican-Canadian lover of cosmetics, who started the company in 2008 out of necessity, she said.
“What I really and truly want to see is for the beauty industry to pay more attention to women around the globe, and pay more attention to black women,” said Smith. “I want to see diversity and I want to be able to walk into store and see foundation in all colors.”
This lack of options is what led her to entrepreneurship. The idea for TAJJ Cosmetics arose after Smith noticed a corn forming on her toe and she became self conscious about showing her feet as a result. Growing fed up with keeping her feet hidden she sought a solution for it, and that is how she got started into the industry, she said.
“I was always hiding my toe and didn’t want to show it because I wanted to get rid of this unsightly thing,” said Smith. “I thought to myself, there are all these things can cover discoloration for the face, but how come there is nothing for the feet?”
In her search for a solution she encountered the few options available to black skin tones. But after endless researching she thought of an idea, and consulted with various companies to come up with her pigmented and waterproof product, the Incredible Corn Concealer.
“I was looking for a concealer and something to match my skin but trying to find these products as a black woman is hard, so I decided to create my own line,” said Smith.
And she quickly expanded to include other products when several close friends and relatives inquired about using the product on their faces. Naming the company after herself and her three sons, TAJJ is an acronym for Tyler, Andre, Javar, and June. Currently offering beauty basics such as eye shadow, foundation, lipstick, the company’s products comes with the pigmentation needed for darker tones, according to Smith.
And the company is still branching out as future merchandise will soon incorporate more lip products such as colored lip glosses, said Smith. But a main company priority is informing buyers of products useful to them. Smith said trends and few options cause black consumers to buy more, but she wants them to get things they need.
“I want to educate people on beauty and what they do or don’t have to use,” she said. “I do not want to just sell because I want to tell them the pros and cons of products — because not everyone needs a concealer.”
Smith said catering to the underserved was the reason why she entered the makeup business, and that was a major reason why her company was different from other makeup companies.
“We want to standout and want to make sure we fulfil the needs — we don’t just want you to buy lipstick and that’s very important for me,” she said. “We are different and first of all because if we just got into with just with foundation and lipstick we’d be lost — we got into it with a niche product and our products are specifically designed for black women.”
With TAJJ growing as a company in several years, Smith believes it will get bigger. Attracting buyers mostly from the United States, United Kingdom, and even as far the Australia, she said there was a demand for cosmetics catering to black women and abandoning that base for growth is not ideal.
“Wherever I see a need is where I try to be,” said Smith. “I want my company to focus on black women. The moment we get into what everyone else is doing is when we’ll be just be like everyone else and we want to stay on the platform we started, that’s where we’re staying to build on.”