Success Story November 04, 2020 at 03:00 pm

How entrepreneur Shontay Lundy raised $1m for her Black Sunscreen brand amid pandemic

Abu Mubarik November 04, 2020 at 03:00 pm

November 04, 2020 at 03:00 pm | Success Story

Shontay Lundy BLACK GIRL SUNSCREEN: Photo Credit: Forbes

For many Black-owned businesses in the U.S., the coronavirus pandemic led to a scale back in production. This has resulted in the collapse or the near-collapse of many Black-owned businesses. While some struggle to make sales or post profit, some Black businesses have managed to make good sales.

Such is the success story of the entrepreneur behind ‘Black Girl Sunscreen (BSG),’ a lotion that helps protect the skin of people of color from the sun. In founding the company in 2016, Shontay Lundy was initially skeptical about the chances of her business idea as she wanted to target only women of color. Nonetheless, she persisted with the firm belief that she is bringing something unique to the market.

Due to the presence of melanin in the skin of Black women, many do not see the need for a lotion to protect them against the sun rays when they are at the beach or outside, unlike whites and albinos. But the risk paid off for Lundy. BSG has recorded high sales since COVID-19 became widespread in the U.S.

In May, she raised $1 million in private investor funding, according to Forbes, after a successful sales and marketing that focused on the complexion needing sunscreen. Her company is now valued at $5 million, Forbes added. In addition, over 200 target stores across the U.S. sell the BGS SPF 30 and BGS Kids SPF 50.

How did it all start for Lundy? It was fueled by her ambition to have a sunscreen that caters to the skin of Black women. She told Business Insider: “I knew that there had to be a solution to the lack of options. The journey began to find a solution for eliminating white residue and making women of color feel great and look great in the sun.”

“Normally, Black people don’t wear sunscreen because we weren’t taught to do so,” she said. “I didn’t know if anyone would purchase Black Girl Sunscreen however, I did know that I couldn’t be the only Black girl that was looking for sunscreen.”

When the pandemic began ravaging Black-owned businesses, she and her team adopted an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to stay afloat. “I told the team we need to change the narrative and be very nimble to survive this,” she told Forbes.

They also capitalized on social media by boosting their presence and adopted new strategies to attract customers in addition to working for long hours to maximize sales and attend to growing demands. The strategy paid off as orders have skyrocketed since the pandemic.

Traditionally, Black women struggle to raise funds to finance or start their business. According to Forbes, they receive only 0.2 percent of venture funding. For Lundy, having $1 million invested in her company was something she worked hard for in the last three years.

“Women helping women flourish vital to me, so it felt natural. This investment is just the start! But it will help Black Girl Sunscreen reach its full potential by bringing our ideas to life!” she said.

Black Girl Sunscreen uses no parabens, or other harmful chemicals while infusing the finest ingredients to shield and moisturize your melanated skin without the dreaded white residue common with most sunscreens.

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