The story behind the brand + CEO background:
Chisom Eke, 23, lives in Portland, which is where she creates Overlooked Beauty’s products. Her brand was born when Chisom merged three of her passions: 1) natural skincare remedies, 2) helping underserved communities, and 3) empowering other women.
Chisom struggled with eczema her entire life, and no products worked on her. Additionally, she realized many products on the market weren’t created with people of color in mind. During her first trip to Nigeria visiting her family, she bought shea from a local market. She was shocked at the outstanding quality of the shea at such a low price. She couldn’t understand why the women in Nigeria sold their amazing shea so cheaply, just enough to make ends meet.
Chisom started thinking of ways she could make a difference. She wanted to help these women capitalize on their work and close the gender inequality gap while providing quality skincare for all skin types and tones. Her commitment to creating Overlooked Beauty was solidified when she discovered that a month after she came back home to the US, her eczema had disappeared.
Creating the products:
Chisom creates the products by hand and tests them on herself, committed to keeping her brand cruelty-free and as sustainable as possible. Chisom has a relative in Nigeria that buys the shea from women in local markets and sends it to the United States.
Looking to the future:
Our mission is to provide women working in Nigeria’s shea butter industry with economic opportunities. By assisting them in building a stable source of income, we can help change their life trajectory. We redefine what it means to be overlooked, by empowering the women that dedicate their lives to empower, heal, and lift the rest of the world with just their hands and their shea.
Quotes from Chisom:
My biggest challenge as a young female entrepreneur of color has been finding ways to raise capital. I know where I want Overlooked Beauty to be, and I see the impact we can make on a grand scale. But when it comes down to it, funding is needed to reach a greater audience and keep up with consumer demand. Finding investors who understand our purpose and vision is challenging but not impossible. I believe we’ll be able to jump over that obstacle and obtain funding for OB this year.
I see the skincare industry becoming more diverse and inclusive in the future. There is so much work that needs to be done when it comes to seeing representation. I believe that we will see diversity when it comes to not just skin color but skin textures as well. This perception of ‘perfect skin’ that the skincare industry pushes sets unreal standards that are impossible to attain, and I hope to see this debunked. All skin textures and colors are beautiful; they make us who we are.
The most valuable experience in starting my business has been the ability to impact people’s lives; witnessing how our products have positively shaped the way people see themselves has been one of the most rewarding experiences. It keeps me going and I’m consistently motivated to give my best to our community.
How shea is packaged when it is purchased directly from the community!