Beauty means consistent self-improvement across every spectrum. This adage rings true for Danielle Edmond, both personally and professionally. The owner of Stay Golden Cosmetics has been slaying the international beauty scene with her ultra-chic line of lip kits and ‘lippies’. In honour of International Women’s Day, Edmond spoke with Flair and shared her story of boss innovation and self-actualisation.
“I always knew there was something different about me,” Edmond said candidly. Teased for being too tall, too dark and too skinny, she was also overlooked when certain opportunities arose. She attributed the latter to the address of her humble abode: Waterford, Portmore, St Catherine. “Possibly the deep sexy tone of my skin didn’t go with the aesthetics of the very light group,” she explained, sharing that the practice of deprecation was never threatening to her self-confidence.
Born and raised by her mother and grandmother, Jacqueline and Beatrice McDonald, a young Edmond felt loved in her household, with both providing everything she needed. She admired the maternal figures for their drive and determination, building a strong and solid foundation worthy of emulation. “They were both hard workers. I remember at times feeling sad that they had to deal with foolishness being women in middle-class Jamaica. But it never affected their stance or confidence. They would always speak out if something was wrong, and I loved that,” she said.
She was also grateful for her younger male cousin and three male best friends, Jamar, Lamoy, Odane and Lando, who actively played the role of brothers, protecting their ‘sister’ from the mean teen chicks on the block and the lurking boys on a mission. “I was pretty guarded and deemed a house rat. It served me well. In high school, I wasn’t the cool kid; I wasn’t the nerd. I was this girl with friends turned loner, who captained the basketball team, and had black nail polish wearing friends who listened to Green Day and Evanescence.” Her routine included studying, basketball training, church and more studying.
Signed to model with Pulse World 360 at 16 years old, she didn’t consider herself beautiful. It isn’t an adjective ever used in her vocabulary. Edmond prefers to be edgy and unique, and her taste in clothes and make-up helps bring everything together. She was also the co-captain for Jamaica’s national basketball team before migrating to New York for college.
EDUCATION MADE HER THINK SMALL
Ironically, she said education made her think small, as it was designed to give students the belief that they needed to work for someone. “I wish I was taught how to be an entrepreneur, how to invest, how to manage staff in a social media-driven world. My formal education didn’t prepare me for my calling, but it showed where I didn’t want to be. It didn’t prepare me well for the real world because the majority of what I learnt was theory and was deemed stale by the time I graduated. I learned by the process of elimination,” she told Flair.
Having a mentor like Dr Edwin Gwenzi changed her life forever. “It hits differently when you’re 18 in a room filled with multi-millionaires, who own different mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe. I loved that I could be part of their conversations while being able to hide my shyness. I’m glad I could give to those conversations; I felt like my thinking mattered, even though they were far greater accomplished.”
She said she felt wealthy in Johannesburg without having money because her insight held great value. “It opened my door into the world of elite event planning. At 20, I managed the Lutan Fyah concert in Harare; my values were my ideas all implemented,” she revealed. With this new appreciation, the gem set sights on a new opportunity and Stay Golden Cosmetics (SGC) was born.
Confidently going against the grain in beauty and life, SGC consists of the glitter lip kit, which is currently at 20 shades. These kiss-proof glittery lips put the company on a glamorous radar. There is a co-collection of chrome glitter lip kits that change colours right before your eyes. The Island Girl Collection has over 20 matte liquid lip shades and glosses and connected the brand to Edmond’s Jamaican roots. “I love Jamaica bad enuh, to the point that I moved back here to get this vision I have going. My goal is to hire Jamaicans who align with the products and our values. Staying true is easy because it’s my blood.”
Additionally, there is uQueen Organics, a self-care system for the modern gem. The face kit system has a wash, tone, nourish, treat and exfoliate package. While the body kit system has a wash, exfoliate, soak, nourish and glow package.
Edmond built her brand from the ground up, without handouts and backing. And seeing the fruits of her labour has made her one proud mama to her brainchild.
Her customers, SGC Babes, are fierce supporters of the brand and enjoy the interactive relationship, “We dominate our lane; in fact, we rarely pay attention to competitors. We focus on what the tribe wants, checking in via email or message. No matter what, ‘We Stay Golden’. We don’t allow anything to deter us, our energy, or our vibe. We always stand out.”
When motivation has failed, discipline kicks her into shape. Her creative process includes seeing a concept she likes and working to make it even ‘doper’. She often conducts extensive market research and locates manufacturers to get it done. Products are even two years in the making because if she doesn’t love it, she just can’t sell it. As an entrepreneur, dealing with the downs that life throws while being present for your brand is never easy, but she keeps her mental health in check with her support system.
So what keeps her going? Knowing that she has more to give. She wants to ensure that her team can achieve financial freedom. “I have big dreams, but I promise the vision is so humble. I just want to wake up to peace and good food every day in the middle of nowhere, on some mountain with great Wi-Fi. I want everyone I love to be great. That goal gets me up at 5 a.m.”
Since recently making the inaugural Forbes Next 1000 list, Edmond has been over the moon with excitement about her brand. “It felt like God saying, ‘Girl, did I not say that I got you? Did I not show you that you are great?. Don’t play with me; keep going.’ With that assurance, I know that I’m going in the right direction. Seeing my name on the Forbes website is the biggest milestone in my life. Likkle Danielle from Gaza did that!”
For those women struggling to see their beauty, she recommends that you ditch society’s definition and embrace your strengths and your flaws.