This Black-Owned Skincare Brand Went From A Dorm Room To Urban Outfitters

Jamika Martin had the type of acne-prone skin that wouldn’t even respond to Accutane. Where most people do one round of treatment and see results, she did two and was at an impasse with her breakouts. That was the catalyst for starting her own acne care brand, ROSEN Skincare.  

On a recent episode of Shop ESSENCE Live, Martin explained that she started out mixing the brand’s clean formulas in her dorm room during her junior year at UCLA. What started as a personal journey in getting healthy skin resulted in a remarkable disruption of the beauty industry.

“At that point in time I was really just trying to figure out what I was going to do about my skin,” Martin shared. “I had these breakouts and going back to that acne care aisle at Target was super disappointing. It was the same products I shopped 10 years earlier.”

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“And so that really inspired me to start playing around with products and formulating things for myself,” she continued. “And then once I really saw that gap in the market, especially in the acne space, I started to really take it seriously and start pursuing ROSEN as something I could start sharing with other people and start selling.”

It was a slow build, though. After figuring out that she had the makings of a business on her hands Martin began taking courses in formulation. She practiced recipes and worked on stabilizing them, gaining knowledge about preservatives and more. She even convinced a small boutique owner in her hometown of Paso Robles, California to carry her products. But she was so nervous that she still didn’t tell people about what she was doing.

Then ROSEN was chosen as one of ten brands to participate in an accelerator program right after Martin finished her undergraduate studies. She says that was when she started to really think about ROSEN as a business and a brand and wanted to figure out how to scale.

“I started playing around with influencer marketing on Instagram and that was really all we focused on from zero to our first year,” she explained. “And then we were able to dabble in other things and continue to build our presence online. And now we’re sold in Urban Outfitters. We’re online at [Nordstrom]. It was all just building it off of Instagram mainly.”

And social media continues to serve her business. Martin says since ROSEN has always been direct to consumer, mostly through online sales, the COVID-19 pandemic has not slowed it down. In fact, the past few months have been busier than ever. And with more people seeing bouts of acne as a result of mask wearing and the stress of the times, it’s not likely slowing down any time soon.

“Honestly, it’s been very good for us the last few months, and that’s been fortunate,” Martin finished. “It’s been nice to to be able to hire people and give folks jobs at a time like this.”


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