Essence Beauty joined the beauty talk with panelists Neahle Jones, Crystal Thompson, and Carol’s Daughter Founder, Lisa Price, moderated by Aubrey Maslen, for an inside look into L’Oreal on the BeautyCon™ stage. What does having a seat at the table feel and look like? These Black executives discussed power, influence, and working from the inside to represent our community. Panelists shared how they empower themselves and tap into their community through their voices and commitment to leading from inside the building.
Black executives at L’Oreal joined the stage for a no filter conversation on Being Black at the #1 Beauty Company in the World, presented by L’Oréal. “You finally get a seat at the table and most people are like ‘let me be quiet,’” Jones said. “I’m not being quiet.”
L’Oreal Paris, a 38 billion dollar cosmetics company, is leading the beauty industry. With the acquisition of NYX, Dark and Lovely, Carol’s Daughter, and other brands, L’Oreal joined not only Essence Fest booths, but the BeautyCon™ panel to give insight from the voices of their Black executives. These remarkable women bared it all, discussing their unfiltered efforts to advocate for the community from the boardroom. From championing their communities to effecting change from within, they fearlessly shared their strategies and actions to make a positive impact.
“The way I show up as a Black woman at L’Oreal, I can be that voice in the C Suite that can speak the perspective of the consumer who looks like me, and not only the consumer, but the Junior employee who looks like me,” Price said. Jones emphasized the significance of traction and progress in smaller communities and lower positions, stressing the need for acknowledgment and fair compensation for the trending and viral beauty that originates from these underrepresented spaces.
Inside the walls of L’Oreal, the panelists’ mentorship and advocacy act as a guide for Black entrepreneurs to help build their careers, wealth, and businesses. Jones put forth a proposal for increased marketing investment in Black-owned media and partnerships, suggesting that companies like L’Oreal and the beauty industry allocate more resources for events like Essence Fest. However, it’s important to note that having a seat at the table doesn’t automatically guarantee that every executive proposal will be accepted without scrutiny or questioning.
“Sometimes your initial idea is not immediately approved,” said Thompson. “But you have to be consistent in your advocacy and voice, and I truly value the voice I have and am consistent in bringing my advocacy to my job every day.”
Other executives not only advocate for L’Oreal brands but also passionately support the brands they themselves founded. One such example is Price, the founder of Carol’s Daughter, which was acquired by L’Oreal in 2014. She advocates for and speaks on behalf of her own brand, ensuring its values and mission continue to be represented under the larger company’s umbrella. “I have been a part of L’Oreal for about 9 years,” Price said. “The assumption people made when I joined the L’Oreal family is that they were going to take me away from you.”
Price addressed the concerns within the Black community about white acquisitions, citing the example of P&G acquiring the haircare brand Mielle, which experienced overwhelming demand at Essence Fest. There were fears that P&G might alter the formula and essence of Mielle, originally a Black-owned brand, to cater to white consumers. However, she reassured that an acquisition presents an opportunity for further growth rather than compromising the brand’s identity.
“I am invited into the building to bring me into the building and bring the consumer into the building,” Lisa said. “We have to work from the inside.” As leaders in the industry, everyone else follows — “We move the world.”
Visit BeautyCon™ the Essence Fest edition at essence.com for more on the latest Black beauty panel.