Image source: Kim Roxie
Too often, the best beauty stories go untold, based solely on a person’s skin color, religion, gender expression, disability, or socioeconomic status. Here we pass the mic to some of the most ambitious and talented voices in the industry, so they can share, in their own words, the remarkable story of their birth – and how they use beauty to change. the world for the better. Next: Kim Roxie, founder and CEO of LAMIK Beauty and a qualified esthetician.
I grew up in Houston and as a kid was surrounded by a culture where colorism was evident. Attitudes about beauty in music, pop culture, and just where I grew up were very skewed toward the idea that lighter skin was just prettier. My parents protected me and my sisters, raising us to know that dark skin is beautiful. So I knew the “light is good” attitude was not true. But this message was omnipresent and it had a huge impact on me.
When my parents took me to Atlanta to visit colleges, I saw so many black people loving each other out loud, regardless of skin tone. I knew then that I had to get there one way or another. So I chose to go to school at Clark University in Atlanta. While I was there I needed to find a job because I couldn’t afford to go to school without working. When I applied for jobs, the only place that called me back was a makeup counter. I had never done makeup before, but that was my only offer, so I had to show up. This is really where I had my first experience in the beauty industry.
After a few weeks of working at the counter, my manager came up to me and asked me what I was telling my customers. I was confused, so I asked her what she meant and she said, “You sell more makeup than anyone else in the store. Me understood. It was then that I realized that
I had fallen in love not only with makeup, but also with making people feel good about themselves.
I was good at my job not because the makeup allowed me to have conversations with people that I otherwise would never have been able to have. When I was done with a client, they usually bought whatever I recommended, which was a plus.
As I neared graduation, people kept asking me what internship experience I had. I could only list my counter work because I enjoyed my time there so much that I stayed there throughout my college career. When my manager learned of my dilemma, he suggested I open a makeup counter in Houston. because I had already had so much success in Atlanta. So that’s what I did.
So many experiences have led me to where I am now, from my chemist hearing me have to haggle over manufacturing prices at a convention, to mentoring people like Cathy Hughes. But I do acknowledge that my mom and my sisters believe in me for keeping me on track. When I moved back to Houston after graduating from college to open my first store, my mom gave me $500 to start my business. She eventually died of metastatic breast cancer. I had very low self-esteem in addition to mourning his passing, but I had a moment where I wondered, “Why are you waiting for someone to come and do something you really know how to do, so well. ?” My mother believed in her like no one else. She made up entirely to go to work at the post office. When I thought of her and the confidence she had, I knew I could overcome my fears about the process and create my own line of cosmetics.
The store I opened in Houston was my first real venture into entrepreneurship, and it taught me everything I know today. I operated on it in my 20s and early 30s, and I like to say that my clients raised me. Black women made up 75% of my customer base, so I really got to know my target audience. Because of this experience, I am extremely responsible to my consumers today: their feedback and recommendations are what keep my business running. Thanks to them, I do everything with intention when it comes to LAMIK.
LAMIK stands for love and makeup in kindness. It’s an acronym and a statement.
I like to say that love and kindness is your real makeup, because I truly believe that beauty is revealed, not applied.
I wanted every aspect of my business to be intentional, and just by saying her name, I hope people will understand that there is more to beauty than skin.
My mother’s heritage is why it was important for me to have a clean beauty line in particular. When she passed away from breast cancer, I started looking for beauty products and started seeing so many chemicals and other ingredients that were linked to health issues. Then, when I looked at the pre-existing clean beauty lines, it seemed to me that “clean” was just another word for white; there was, most often, no color that would match people with my skin tone. It has therefore become my mission to create colorful and varied cosmetics in the field of clean beauty.
Image source: Kim Roxie
With LAMIK, I want people to understand that when I say I do makeup with women of color in the foreground, that encompasses all skin tones. Other clean beauty lines use sweeping statements that imply inclusivity, then proceed to launch products that could never match my skin tone. LAMIK understands that shade ranges for women of color can range from the lightest to the deepest shades. Every time I get pushed back about it, I think of a particular moment that constantly lets me know that I’m headed in the right direction. A woman has gone viral on the internet because she created a video after going to Ulta to get her makeup done: they couldn’t match her foundation. She was rightly upset, so I contacted her to arrange a photoshoot and makeover, and we stayed in touch. When I won a national beauty pitch competition, part of the prize was being able to pitch on Ulta Beauty. Funny enough, this same woman ended up agreeing to be part of my campaign. As a result, I ended up on Ulta.com.
Cases like this often let me know that I am doing the job I was meant to do. However, I can’t wait for the beauty industry to have more color. As proud as we are to be the first black-owned clean makeup brand to launch on Ulta.com, the fact that we’ve only just passed that barrier in 2022 is utterly wrong with the makeup industry. overall beauty. My goal in this space is not only to make the beauty industry fairer across the board, but also to make diversity in the clean beauty space so normalized that it becomes something people don’t care about. don’t have to think, but instead, come to wait.