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Kimberly, what was it like attending the Clean Beauty Summer School?
KD: It was so epic. We had all of these CEOs and founders of all of these top brands, and it really was an open book. Again, I find that I am an only child and very competitive because some of these women just said, “And here is my packaging supplier; call Fred on Tuesday! ” [laughs]and they were just so open about it. It was so informative and supportive.
I think the other benefit was being with all of these other founders. One of the things I thought was interesting about the Black Lives Matter wave back in June was that even as a black I am hard to know what other blacks are doing. I just wasn’t even aware of it. I didn’t have this community before. And so it was an interesting summer like: wait, you do this and you do this and you are not a unicorn and you are not a unicorn. There are so many of us out here doing these things and having the same problems. I feel like we’ve talked a lot about these black brands not being on the shelf, but to me it felt more like solidarity. I feel like I didn’t even know the good job all of these people did.
How has this year influenced your perception as a businesswoman in the beauty sector?
KD: I think self care and wellness have been seen to be very advertised. When I pitched Frigg last year, people said, “Well, only a small number of people are stressed.” Fast forward a year, and it’s like, no, we all are. I think by 2020 we are actually going back to these obvious and ancient traditions and not marketing self care like ‘let’s take a bath’ but a process where we really do the job figuring out what you really need to do so as not to literally lose your mind.
I also think that there is this need for truth and transparency. The way companies operate will be fundamentally different from now on. You won’t be able to just start something with no ethos or mission bigger than anything you’re selling. Whatever you’re selling is the baseline: this is the pen, but there has to be so much behind the pen. I think this is the future we are in. And do things differently! If anyone has taught anything in 2020, there is no benchmark. Don’t look into the past – nobody knows. It’s just the journey. You have to trust yourself and listen to yourself.