The beauty industry can be an extremely crowded place. It seems like every minute a new brand emerges—quite literally—which begs the question, how does a new brand stand out from the pack? 

You could be a mega-famous celebrity who creates 40 shades of foundation and a brand that truly celebrates diversity and inclusion, a la Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. Or you could use a your life experiences, such as a catastrophic health diagnosis like breast cancer, to fuel your passion project. 

The latter is exactly how Black beauty entrepreneur Cashmere Nicole founded Beauty Bakerie, a bakery-inspired cruelty-free cosmetics line that recently secured a $3 million seed round led by Unilever Ventures.

It was during a challenging, but successful fight with breast cancer, that Cashmere was forced to focus more on her health and became extremely conscious and research-driven about the food and the products that she purchased. This moment got her thinking about beauty, something that had long been a passion, and the lack of consideration so many give to the products they put on their face. So she decided to start a beauty brand that focused on quality products, something she thought the industry was desperately missing. 

So how did she turn a passion project into a multi-million dollar backed beauty business in six short years?  

“Don’t compare your brand to others, focus on what message you want to deliver to the world through your products and work hard on working and on growing,” Cashmere tells ESSENCE. 

“We spend so much time growing the brand, but let’s not leave out those things that make us better CEOs; better parents, better leaders. This can be bible study with friends, educational podcasts, taking a course,” she goes on to say. 

Cashmere encourages current and future entrepreneurs to focus on growing in all aspects of your life and to determine the worth of your time in order to limit the amount of distractions of your life. Like all of us, she faces a million and one distractions that pop-up during the day, so being able to determine what deserves your time and what doesn’t is imperative. 

But she does confesses that as a Black woman entrepreneur, “it can be lonely outside of my own team.” So make sure to choose your business partners wisely. “Choose a partner that can add value to your brand,” she says.

And when seeking funding for she suggests, “list all the ways they can do it without the funds, money can’t be the only motivation here. It is one of the most important decisions you’ll make so choose carefully and wisely. Hopefully your partners become family as ours have.”

Reflecting on her success, Cashmere shares that the biggest lessons have been,”never stop learning and growing and if it is hard, go for it. Your largest opportunities for growth lie just beyond your comfort zone.”

We’ve been fans of Beauty Bakerie for a while now (the metallic gel eyeshadows are a favorite), and are beyond excited to see what Beauty Bakerie cooks up next.