Shanique Ellington entered the room with an air of confidence. Patterned and stitched in the fabric of passion and love, this beauty boss has been championing the cause for black women with the launch of her own organic make-up line, Le Champ Cosmetics and only recently launched the brand’s first store.
“I believe everyone is beautiful in their own way, and it’s important to talk about individuality as beauty rather than set standards,” Ellington, a scientist and certified make-up artist, explained in a recent interview with Flair about her two-year entrepreneurial journey, adding that many large international brands provide shades for dark skin. Still, the concept of multiple options is a fallacy for black women.
“The range tends to be on a limited side compared to lighter shades. More recently, brands have hopped on to the trend of inclusivity by adding more dark shades to their lines. I wanted to have a make-up line [that is] curated for women of colour from inception, not as an add-on,” she said. When the opportunity struck, via the global pandemic, she created a business that would forever change her life and improve the beauty standard of melanin beauties.
Ellington was always a lover of make-up. She identifies herself as that one friend who experimented with cosmetics as a teenager. “I remember being obsessed with these scented lip-glosses from the wholesale store next door to my high school. I would buy every flavour in the range. I’m sure my excessive use contributed to the school’s decision to ban lip gloss at that time,” she said with a laugh.
The beauty would go on to over-dress for every occasion as an adult. So it came as no surprise when she decided to brush her way into the world of artistry.
Two years ago, in the midst of doom and gloom, a dream once deferred became a shining reality with Le Champ Cosmetics, “I thought it would be good to focus my energy on something, anything. Starting a new business became what kept me motivated and sane.”
The products, geared towards suiting her own preference and style, are for the sophisticated chic woman. The natural glam inspiration manifested its way into the launch of matte foundations, coloured and nude lipsticks, and the newly released Heavenly Eyeshadow palette, which has a combination of colours aimed at achieving natural day and sultry nighttime looks.
“Our products, which are 100 per cent vegan, are cruelty-free and made in a facility that is FDA and GMP certified, so they stand in a position of quality and safety,” she declared. They can be used day or night time, with pressed powders and foundations giving full coverage, up to 12-hour wear. A little goes a long way, especially with these foundations. But if you must, you can retouch for even greater beauty longevity.
So far, the response is both welcoming and motivating. Crowd favourites from the collection include the LCC Liquid Matte Red Lipstick KISS & TELL, the LCC Mattifying Setting Spray and the LCC matte foundations. “My personal favourite is the LCC Glossy Lipstick SKIN! My goodness, I have single-handedly depleted the stock of this product over the two years,” she shared with a laugh.
When the customers requested a storefront, the businesswoman said yes to that call without hesitation; after all, it was a natural fit. And who needs to go traditional on a store launch? Ellington hosted an ultra white and gold brunch in honour of the occasion, inclusive of sipping pleasures, music and of course, a store tour. “I figured what better way to have women celebrating make-up than by having a reason to wear it,” she shared.
For the next two years, the focus will be on getting the beauty goodies in beauty supply stores and pharmacies across the island while participating in activities that will help boost and foster awareness of her brand. Long term, it’s all about building generational wealth for her family.
“Honestly, I grew up thinking I was ugly. I get self-conscious even today as an adult because my generation and those before me have been conditioned to think beauty comes in a specific form. I wanted to have a make-up line curated for women of colour from inception, not as an add-on,” she confidently highlighted.
Le Champ Cosmetics may be found at 14 Goodwood Terrace in Kingston.