Cashmere Nicole, 37, is a cancer survivor, a single parent and an entrepreneur. She is the founder of Beauty Bakerie, a multimillion-dollar cosmetics brand. Prior to starting her firm, Nicole was a single parent who survived on food stamps.
Nicole grew up in Southbend, Indiana. She put herself through college to become a nurse soon after becoming a single mom. Despite becoming a nurse, she took to entrepreneurship in her bid to pursue something outside the medical field.
“My mom kept saying, ‘You need a career that’s going to take care of your child,” Nicole told Good Morning America. “I put up such a fight and was saying it was not for me.”
While working as a nurse, Nicole was also busy developing her makeup business, Beauty Bakerie. According to her, the name of her brand, which she started in 2012, was inspired by her love for sweets.
One year after starting her side business, Nicole was diagnosed with breast cancer. “I was kind of embarrassed by it, kind of ashamed. Who wants to be the person who is the sick person, the person who has the story,” she told Forbes.
Despite her initial scare, she underwent surgery, successfully recovered and committed to her five-year plan to get Beauty Bakerie off the ground.
“I thought, ‘You can have healthy ingredients and still look like a million bucks,'” Nicole recalled, adding that her products became non-toxic, vegan and cruelty-free. “I wanted a product that was long-lasting [and wouldn’t] smudge off while I’m eating.”
“In hindsight, I looked back and was like, ‘Wow. I was eating lipstick and not knowing if it was affecting my health,” she added.
Nicole started a crowdfunding campaign on Indigogo to promote her business and also use it as a platform to share her breast cancer survival story. The campaign was titled, “Broken Boobs.”
Her campaign caught the attention of Beyoncé who featured Beauty Bakerie on her website, Beyonce.com, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
By 2015, her business had started to grow “out of control”, according to Good Morning America. She expanded her product line, adding eyeshadow palettes, foundations, powders, highlighters, face oils and more.
In 2017, her company received a major boost after Unilever invested in it in a $3 million seed round. The funding included investment from 645 Ventures and Blue Consumer Capital, along with individual investors such as American Express CEO Kenneth Chennault and Lazard Investment Banking managing director and co-chairman William Lewis.