Business is still booming!
Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Shontay Lundy, owner of Black Girl Sunscreen (BGS), was still able to secure the investment needed to take her business to the next level. BGS is the only Black-owned indie brand carried full time in Target’ sun care section, an accomplishment in and of itself. Now, Lundy partnered with a private investor to the tune of $1 million to help scale her brand even further.
The company currently only sells adult and children’s sunscreen. The BGS SPF 30 and BGS Kids SPF 50 is sold in over 200 Target stores across the country and the brand is worth a cool $5 million. With only 5 people on staff, Lundy wanted to ensure that she continued the company’s momentum through the pandemic, instituting an “all hands on deck” approach that included aggressive social media strategy and marketing efforts, resulting in an increase in e-commerce orders.
“I told the team we need to change the narrative and be very nimble to survive this. I worked hard for three years. We created a groundbreaking product for an underserved market that resonated with our community. Black Girl Sunscreen brought awareness and shifted a mindset around people of color wearing sunscreen. Lastly, it didn’t hurt that we [already] secured a partnership with a big-box retailer, which activated national exposure for our brand,” Lundy told Forbes.
The brand launched in 2016 and has been popular with women of color. The paraben free product that includes moisturizing natural ingredients like avocado, jojoba, aloe, cocoa butter, and carrot juice caters specifically to melanated women, allowing them to enjoy wearing the sunscreen without the residue and harsh chemicals included in other brands. With Black-owned women companies receiving less than 1 percent of all venture capital funding annually, Lundy said that seeking an investor who was also a woman just felt “natural” to her.
The company not only sells sunscreen but also educates melanated women about why the product is needed for their skin as well, warning against sunburn, skin cancer, and signs of aging. Lundy says the funds will help take the brand to the next level and allow the company to release more products sooner than later. She hopes that her story will encourage other Black entrepreneurs to seek out all resources when getting their businesses off the ground.
“My advice for other minority businesses looking for funding is to take advantage of grants and available resources, participate in pitch competitions to learn how to sell your business and gain exposure, have buttoned-up financials; and put yourself in environments to meet investors/high-net-worth individuals,” Lundy said.
Congratulations Shontay! We can’t wait to stock up on our sunscreen!
Photo Courtesy of Black Girl Sunscreen