We can all agree that there need to be more products on the market that help you feel good in your own skin. Enter FACULTY.
The grooming start-up recently announced they’ve raised $3 million in seed funding led by The Estée Lauder Companies. The brand’s on a mission to encourage their consumers to reimagine masculinity and drive overall empowerment to live without boundaries.
Launched in 2019 by Umar ElBably and Fenton Jagdeo, two founders of color, the company aims to dismantle heteronormative societal constraints through its innovative and high-quality products.
“Embarking on such a bold mission to reimagine our culture’s deep-rooted gender norms is no easy feat,” said Umar ElBably, Co-founder and CEO of FACULTY. “It’s incredible to have received the support of The Estée Lauder Companies, one of the most experienced and talented teams in the cosmetics industry alongside a brilliant group of investors to further our mission to empower the Third Wave Masculinity.” continued Elbably.
This sizable investment is worth noting as corporate funding for minority-owned beauty brands is notoriously hard to come by. Despite African-Americans possessing $1.2 trillion in spending power, Black entrepreneurs twice as likely to be rejected for bank loans to help scale their businesses. But we’re seeing that tide turn this year, fueled by growing consumer demand, and beauty brands founded by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) are set to claim a greater share of funding and shelf space than ever before, with increased attention to Black-founded brands.
Inspired by cultural trendsetters like ASAP Rocky, Virgil Abloh and Harry Styles, the first of FACULTY’s product offerings include bold nail lacquer and will later expand to concealer, moisturizer along with various other gender-inclusive accessories. In a statement, FACULTY says they are “on the cusp of a new era, one that inverts the tone around masculine-identifying self-expression and champions a broader representation across the men’s beauty and grooming space.” The brand believes in and is working toward a utopian world where every person has the freedom of expression and upholds that makeup is just another personal style element, as is apparel, accessories, grooming, and hair.
According to FACULTY Advisor Maggie Sellers, “FACULTY is positioned to become the go-to men’s cosmetics brand for GenZ,” by leveraging the intersection of DTC and Entertainment and building a community of tastemakers and compelling content to normalize the conversation surrounding masculinity. “Fenton and Umar have built and operated their brand with such an unconventional lens that they’ve figured out how to address and de-stigmatize an expression of masculinity that’s been a one-size-fits-all experience that no longer fits,” continued Sellers, of PlayWRK Ventures.
Other limited partners in the fundraising round participants include RareBreed Ventures, Maple VC, Debut Capital, creative connectors, AUFI, 10K Ventures (an affiliate of 10K Projects), Game of Thrones actor, Maisie Williams, and multi-platinum recording artist, iann dior. To date, the company has garnered more than $3.5 million.