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BY Abu Mubarik, 10:12am July 05, 2024,

Nigerian who brought a top U.S. beauty brand to her country at just 19 now has her own Afrocentric-beauty brand

Photo: Instagram/Sharon Chuter

Sharon Chuter is the founder and CEO of UOMA Beauty, a cosmetics company that is championing inclusivity and diversity. With over 50 shades of foundation, UOMA Beauty caters to the people left untouched by many of the world’s top cosmetic brands, according to Women’s Agenda.

Her journey in the cosmetics industry is not too different from that of other black business owners in the sector. Before starting UOMA Beauty in 2018, she could not get any skincare products suitable for her skin.

“It’s a big deal. It shapes your idea of worth because everywhere you go, you’re being turned down, you’re being rejected. Even in places that you’re supposed to buy your way in, like with a damn lipstick,” she said.

“I should be able to go out and buy a red lipstick that works for my skin tone and not a red lipstick that’s going to make me look crazy. For the longest time, I couldn’t wear red lipstick. But it’s not just a lipstick, it’s life.”

Her quest to navigate the lack of diversity in the beauty industry led her to found UOMA Beauty. People refer to her brand as an “ethnic brand” or “multicultural beauty” due to its inclusivity.

“I’m like, there should be no multicultural beauty, the world is multicultural. There should be beauty,” she said. “We shouldn’t be labeling people who are doing the right thing and creating a category for them.”

Before establishing her company, Chuter was in the corporate world, idolizing seasoned businesswomen like Indra Nooyi, the first female CEO of PepsiCo who was the first woman of color and first immigrant to head a Fortune 50 company.

“With Indra, she was an immigrant. To see a woman that wasn’t born in America… was able to come into PepsiCo and rise all the way to the top and become the first female CEO,” Chuter said. “I knew that if she could, I could. That in itself kept me going.”

At just 19, Chuter asked Revlon if she could be their distributor in her country, Nigeria. This was after she observed that Nigeria did not have any mainstream beauty brands officially in the country.

“I reached out to every brand imaginable asking if I could bring them to Nigeria and Revlon responded,” Chuter was quoted by Sportify It. “They [Revlon] had no idea I was a kid. I ended up doing the impossible because they had been trying to come to Nigeria for over a decade. That’s how I brought Revlon in, but also started my beauty career. I realized I couldn’t really manage it so I got the exclusive rights and I sold it to a proper distributor who could do the job. It made me realize what I want to do.”

Decades after bringing Revlon to Nigeria, she has guided her own company to remarkable success, beating out some of the world’s most prominent brands and winning several awards.

“I represent the marginalized, and I cannot let them down. I take that very seriously. Every time we come out and win against Mac or Chanel…I feel a lot of that win,” Chuter said.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 5, 2024

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