Juvia’s Place by Chichi Eburu: How She Got Started

Where Necessity Meets Inspiration

Juvia’s place founder, Chichi Eburu, always had difficulty finding makeup that worked with her deep skin tone. The only makeup on the market was muted colors that sought to hide rather than enhance the depth of her skin tone.

Chichi Eburu was on a personal mission, in search of makeup that worked with rather than opposed to the richness of her skin. Most of it just made her look gray. She searched and none lived up to the needs of a diverse group.

Turning Inadequacy Into Pride

Eburu grew up in Nigeria where she rarely saw black women featured in advertisements. This exclusion made little Chichi feel inadequate about her skin tone growing up. To her, what she saw in the mirror did not reflect the beauty messages she was receiving.

One day, adult Eburu asked herself, “how can I feel beautiful when the beauty industry tells me this isn’t beauty. They don’t design products to enhance my kind of beauty”. They try to hide it.

As she grew into an adult, she became more aware of her rich heritage and the community of which she was a part. She realized there was nothing wrong with her beauty. She now felt pride which drove her to seek a solution.

Chichi Eburu Finds Her Market Niche

The current state of the beauty industry continued to propagate racism and colonialism. It didn’t care to create products for a diverse set of consumers, many of whom support and buy the brands.

But what could she do? She had heard how hard it is to break into the beauty industry. A handful of big beauty brands directed the exclusive imagery that could be called “beautiful”.

She had to start somewhere, so with just $2000 and hope for the future, she launched her company out of her apartment with her two kids sleeping in bedrooms on either side of her workspace.

Makeup Tools Become Entry Point

Rather than jump right into one of the most competitive industries in the world, Chichi Eburu came up with a plan. She launched a brand to sell makeup tools so that she could raise money to expand into the cosmetic space.

Chichi said of her journey, “We are a colorful people. Our makeup should reflect the richness of our culture, our beauty, and our history.”

The Birth of Juvia’s Place

In 2016, her dream finally came to fruition when she launched her signature makeup line. The name “Juvia” is a combination of her children’s names; a son, Juwa, and a daughter, Olivia.

She launched her first product, The Nubian. It went viral overnight with much praise globally. Women of all shades gravitated toward the more inclusive colors.

It wasn’t long before Juvia’s Place had become one of the most beloved Black-owned makeup brands in the world.

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