Did you ever hear the story about the two college friends who created a cosmetic line for women of color? Well, if you haven't let me tell you about these two amazing women that I had the pleasure of meeting KJ Miller and Amanda Johnson. They created an amazing beauty line called Mented.
KJ Miller (in blue) is originally from Columbus, OH. She attended Harvard for undergrad, majored in Philosophy, and after college spent her career in retail as a Buyer - first for Sears and then for a mid-size eCommerce company in NYC. She went on to get her MBA from Harvard Business School, and spent two years in management consulting before going full-time on Mented Cosmetics.
Amanda Johnson (in black) is a southern belle from Charlotte, NC. She attended Howard University undergrad, majored in Finance, and then started a career in investment banking. After a few years she decided to transition into a consumer marketing group at Time Inc where she fell in love with marketing and product. She graduated from Harvard Business School with an MBA and then ran the Business Development group at Barneys New York before going full-time on Mented Cosmetics.
How do you know each other?
We met at Harvard Business School, where we both graduated in 2014. We actually met on the set of HBS' annual show - KJ played a professor and Amanda ran costumes. We eventually bonded over our shared love for all things retail and consumer, and when we graduated we knew we wanted to pursue a venture together.
What is Mented Cosmetics?
Mented, short for pigmented, is an upscale makeup line for women of color founded on the belief that every woman should be able to find herself in the world of beauty.
What inspired you both to create this beauty line?
Honestly, we were tired of spending so much of our hard-earned money on makeup and so often feeling disappointed. Every time we shopped, we felt like we were afterthoughts - relegated to the smallest selection of shades or told that the only looks that would work on us were bold, bright and fierce. We simply wanted an everyday, clean-beauty look, and it felt like no one out there was trying to create it for us. So we decided to do it ourselves.
What are some the ingredients used in Mented Lipsticks?
We think what's important is what's not in the lipstick - no parabens, no toxins, no animal byproducts. Also, our lipsticks are deeply moisturizing and fully pigmented, which means you don't need to pair them with anything else - no liner or balm or gloss. We like to call them "one-step shades."
How did you decide to come up with the color scheme for the lipsticks?
We handcrafted each of our six shades to enhance the natural browns and pinks in a woman's lips. We wanted to give women of all hues the perfect nude and neutral shades to wear day in and day out, without a lot of fuss.
What are your top three favorite shades?
This is a hard one! We love all of the shades lol but KJ's fave is Mented #5, and Amanda's is Dope Taupe. We wear these colors almost every day.
Being women of color, what are some of the challenges you faced while creating Mented Cosmetics?
One of the big challenges was raising capital to launch the line. Raising money is always difficult, but it's no secret that the majority of venture capital goes to men (and white men at that). But we're nothing if not persistent, and we've now closed on $400K in funding.
What suggestion can you recommend to the consumers on how to select the best color that soothe their skin tone?
We always say look at your lips - they'll guide you to the right shade. For example, Amanda's lips are light brown on top, and very pink on the bottom. That's why Dope Taupe, which is a mixture of light brown and pink, is perfect for her. We also feature the shades on women of all hues on our Collection page, and if you check out our blog The Ment you'll find tons of videos of women of varying shades trying on all of the color.
What should we expect to come soon from Mented Cosmetics?
This summer we're expanding our nude lipstick collection and launching a limited edition run of nude nail polish. Fall we'll introduce nude lip gloss. By next Spring we'll be introducing eyeshadow, blush and a host of other products - so keep an eye out!
Omg I purchase all six shades and I have to say I'm in love with all six lol. Check out the shades below and run over to Mented and get all six shades at a great price. You'll thank me later xoxo.