Makeup brand aims to empower Indigenous women, youth
TORONTO -- What began as a dream has become a success story for one Indigenous woman, whose aim is to revolutionize the makeup scene while tackling the industry’s waste problems.
Jennifer Harper started her beauty brand Cheekbone Beauty five years ago, after the idea came to her while sleeping.
“In the dream there were all these Native little girls. They were covered in lip-gloss. And I grabbed my laptop and started writing what is now part of our business plan,” Harper told CTV News.
Harper says she only had $500 to her name, but she was determined to pursue her vision to create a makeup brand made by Indigenous women, and for all women.
Cheekbone Beauty is an Indigenous-owned and founded Canadian cosmetics company established in 2016 in St. Catharines, Ont.
Keeping in line with her Anishinaabe roots, Harper’s aspirations are to create a space in the beauty industry where Indigenous youth feel represented and seen.
“The world doesn’t need another lipstick brand, but what it did need was a brand that cared about Indigenous youth,” said Harper.
She says that through charitable initiatives and monetary donations, her company is able to help provide Indigenous youth with the tools they need for a path to success.
Cheekbone Beauty has donated more than $108,000 in total to a wide variety of causes, according to the company’s website.
“I could see myself in the product and I could see other Indigenous women using the product. I have an 11-year-old daughter and this is giving her an example of Indigenous women in business,” said Falon Farinacci, a Metis woman and advocate for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Cheekbone’s mission isn’t only to celebrate Indigenous culture, but also to promote sustainability, which is also deeply rooted in culture. Using plant-based dyes in makeup products and compostable paper packaging, the company is able to maintain little impact on the environment.
“We have this big crazy goal – to mimic nature, or try to get it there as close as possible, because if you look at everything in nature, it is absolutely perfect and everything fully recycles itself,” said Harper.
The company’s ultimate goal is to make all products biodegradable and be entirely waste-free by 2023.