Making its debut in December 2018, the Brown Beauty Co-op is a Washington, DC beauty boutique and the brainchild of two best friends Kimberly Smith and Amaya Smith (no they're not related) who love to hit the DC streets in makeup and heels.
In 2017, Kimberly founded Marjani as an e-commerce beauty destination for women of color, focusing on a highly curated collection of person of color owned skincare and makeup brands. The venture was welcomed into the market with great success and was featured in numerous publications including Ebony, Women's Wear Daily, Cosmopolitan and Instyle, just to name a few. Amaya embraced her own natural hair journey of twenty years and witnessed the buzzing natural hair revolution but realized there was no real location that catered to women of color who wore their hair naturally. After years of marinating, Amaya officially launched Product Junkie in 2018, infusing her "education first, product second" philosophy.
The "Aha" moment. Early summer 2018, over cocktails and appetizers, both still working in their full time careers, Kimberly, an ivy league trained attorney working in healthcare, and Amaya, a senior communications professional working for a women's rights non-profit, decided to join forces and create, what would become, an innovative retail space. Both having a passion for the empowerment of women of color through beauty and wellness, they came together to form a beauty cooperative that would serve as a sanctuary for women of color to shop, learn, network and find community. They realized what they were doing separately, could be done better together...The Brown Beauty Co-op!
"As a lover of all things beauty I knew that I wasn't being reflected or appreciated in the mainstream retailers I frequented." From the success of Marjani, "I’ve realized that I wasn't alone and that many women had been waiting for someone to create an experience just for them. Bringing that experience in-store was the next natural progression for Marjani."
"I’ve been natural for nearly 20 years. The market has changed so much since then. In the DC area there is a huge natural hair community that doesn't have a retail home where they can find DIY products and learn more about their hair in an affirming environment. I'm so excited to help provide that."