Nyakio Grieco wants all skin to be seen and cared for

As an 18-year-old businessman at the time, I thought, Is that what it took for me to land on the map? Yes, I’ve had some happy moments and important wins with Nyakio, but I’ve also had some brutally challenging moments of not feeling seen and supported. I’ve always been the little niche brand owned by Black. I decided to take my pain and turn it into purpose, and I started shopping the list because what else would we do? I wanted to be part of the change. I wanted to be part of the movement.

I was shocked when I looked at these listings and found these beautiful brands that I had never heard of before. When I would go down a rabbit hole and look at their Instagrams and websites and see that they have very little distribution and some of them don’t have a lot of followers… We’re seeing amazing and beautiful initiatives like the Fifteen Percent Pledge and Pull for Change happening, but in my head, I thought, It shouldn’t be that hard to get a huge amount of brands on the shelves.

My co-founder Patrick and I came together. This was our aha moment in June 2020 in the midst of everything that happened after the murder of George Floyd. I said out loud, “If I opened a store tomorrow, I would have 90% of my brands created by people of color all over the world,” because that’s where all our beauty secrets and ingredients come from. wanted to debunk the myth that blacks and browns only make products for ourselves, which is categorically insane because we know that shea butter and marula oil and all these ingredients that come from the African continent appear in every brand in the industry, so of course , you can use what we do with our ingredients on your skin.

We launched Thirteen Lune in December 2020 with 13 Black-owned brands. Ninety percent virtually and IRL will always be dedicated to BIPOC brands around the world, but 10% is dedicated to promoting alliances. Because the other opportunity and responsibility is to unite. Beauty is universal. It’s a way to connect. It is a way of healing. We are in deeply painful times and, for blacks and browns to occupy more space, we deserve all the attention. An ally brand that we define as a brand that long before 2020 thought of all people when it came to color ranges, formulations, in front of the camera, behind the camera and in its hiring process. We did a lot of due diligence on the brands we invited to join the platform. We know that they are true non-performative allies.

Sixty days after launch, we received a call from JCPenney saying, “We are looking for a new hyper-inclusive beauty retail partner to join us on a mission for our new JCPenney beauty space.” While we always knew we were going to be omnichannel, 60 days later to have this opportunity to partner with America’s oldest retailer was just a god-given, incredible, incredible gift. We are now in the process of opening 600 Thirteen Lune stores on JCPenneys across the country. We also now have over 165 brands and my new baby, Relevant: Your Skin Seen.

It’s amazing. Speaking of relevant: your skin seen, I’d love to hear how you got there. What was the genesis?

I believe in formulations based and supported by science, but also bringing in traditional ingredients because I say the proof is in the pudding; it’s my story. It is my authentic truth. The truth is, I never had access to the opportunity to really serve all consumers better, but coming from the lens of a consumer with melanin-rich skin. We all have melanin. Relevant: Your Skin Seen is a melanin-safe brand made for everyone.

I’ve also had the opportunity to learn a lot over the past 20 years and work with amazing chemists. Even though they weren’t working on my brand formulas, I really enjoyed where I was to learn. I would see these new acids and peels hit the market that are considered safe for all skin tones. Because of the experience I had, not just with my own skin but in this industry, I knew when I turned it over and read the ingredients and acid levels that it was not melanin safe. But I didn’t want to feel left out. Who doesn’t want a great peeling? Who doesn’t want the experience of being able to benefit from these ingredients at safe levels?

The same goes for sunscreen. I use sunscreen every day. I always have, but it’s been a real challenge for me over time to find sunscreens that are non-comedogenic and that don’t leave my skin white or purple like a person of color. As I would observe how melanoma numbers are rising in the Black and Brown communities, it makes perfect sense why we are not being marketed with products that feel good or luxurious to us. Everyone wants to look like themselves after putting on sunscreen. They don’t want to turn into something they don’t like, so as a result they will give up.

So Relevant: Your Skin Seen is a couple of things. As I said before, this is the first time that I, as a Black female entrepreneur, have had the catwalk, the autonomy, the support, the access to data and the opportunity to create the brand of my dreams. I believe that everyone deserves to be seen. It’s a recurring theme in my life, and it was long before Thirteen Moons and Relevant: your bare skin. How can I bring something to market that better helps others see themselves and feel considered and appreciated and cherished and valued? This is the core of Relevant.

As for the products, I have to say that I tested the eye cream and I loved it.

Agh yes, the Beam + Glow!

Yeah, and I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m prone to dark circles. It’s hard to find an eye cream that I like enough to use consistently. I got through that tube in record time.

Same. I think I’m on my fourth tube in six months. I am also prone to dark circles. We went through so many different formulations, and I thought, it’s there, but it’s not. As a brand founder, you are always creating products you want to use and inviting others to enjoy them. Even in that, it’s like you have less melanin than me, but we both have melanin and are prone to dark circles, so my goal is to help everyone achieve results.

I would say this brand is unique because there are many traditional ingredients that many brands use, but they are not being marketed to everyone. You mentioned that you want to debunk this myth. Can you tell me a little bit about the development process for Relevant? Were there any unique challenges in the formulation process to make them safe and effective for all skin tones?

Knowing my chemists really allowed me to keep the process going even when we couldn’t physically be in the lab. Both, luckily, had their own lab set up at home, so we were able to continue with the development work. I worked with these two chemists specifically because they are not only experienced, award-winning chemists, but also people of color who understand the science of skin and know how to safely create, for example, Sol Tone, a five-acid toner compound that can work for everyone. people and not cause hypo or hyperpigmentation or produce the most stable vitamin C on the market in a way that doesn’t turn over and help with discoloration. The number one skin concern is dry skin. How would these things hydrate while also helping to remove dull skin, helping to minimize the appearance of dark circles and puffiness, etc.? It was a good balance.

On a personal note, just like everyone else, supply chain issues! Starting to develop a brand in 2020 that came out in 2022, I mean, who said it wouldn’t have come out six months earlier if we didn’t have those things? But everything happens as it should.

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