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Target Forward Founders: Meet the Participants

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Target Forward Founders: Meet the Participants

This is the first installment in an interview series with the 2021 Target Forward Founders cohort. Participating companies are sharing details about their innovative companies in their own words. All interviews have been conducted by the Target Forward Founders Program Management team.
 

Meet BatheBrand

CEO & Founder, Tiffany Brown

About the founder Tiffany Brown
Bathe Brand began in April 2019 when Tiffany Brown was in dire need of a ritual and products to re-connect with herself and heal her physical body. Brown had lost touch with herself as she struggled with her identity, spirituality, and a rare skin disorder. Brown knew that if she was going to be well, she would have to facilitate her own healing. This realization marked the start of her herbalism studies, mindful bathing, and what would become a balm for her entire being. Bathe Brand presents us with an opportunity to commune with ourselves in nature as nature. It is an invitation for us to get in (physical + spiritual) touch with ourselves; to feel ourselves, heal ourselves, and love on ourselves. Tiffany Brown is an herbalist, creative, and the founder of Bathe Brand. Through her practice, Brown fuses eastern and ancestral rituals with herbal medicine for mind-body healing. She is a graduate of Baltimore City College and currently resides in Harlem, New York.

TT: What was the inspiration behind your brand?
Tiffany: Self-empowerment and self-love are the inspiration behind Bathe Brand. Bathe Brand was built out of a deep need for physical and emotional healing and self-affirmation. I want our customer community to know that they are worthy of health and wholeness and give them tools that promote wellness. Bathe Brand is more than a body care line. Bathe Brand is an invitation to connect with and celebrate self.

TT: What are you looking forward to most from the Target Forward Founder experience?
Tiffany: I believe the Target Forward Founders program will provide me with the knowledge and tools to create a clear strategy for business growth. My goal is to position my Bathe Brand to enter mass retail and expand our production, operations, and company infrastructure.

TT: What is the biggest piece of advice you can give to other entrepreneurs?
Tiffany: Stay true to your company’s ethos and the heart of your brand. I’m a black queer woman and serving my community at the corner of every intersection fuels me. The devotion you show to your company’s purpose will attract all the resources and opportunities necessary to push you forward.


Meet The Black Travel Box.

 

CEO & Founder, Orion Brown

About the founder Orion Brown.
Orion Brown, Founder & CEO of BlackTravelBox®, a premium clean beauty brand targeting women of color. She is a brand strategy professional with over fifteen years’ experience dynamically leading cross-functional teams across multiple industries within both large and small cap businesses. Her areas of deep expertise include consumer insights-driven brand strategy, product and packaging innovation, operations, and portfolio management. Before becoming a full-time entrepreneur, she led brand strategy for Oracle, led consumer brand marketing efforts for the Transformers and My Little Pony digital brands at Hasbro, and she spent the bulk of her brand career at Kraft Foods. There she led marketing, management, and operations initiatives across several beloved global brands. She received her Bachelor of Arts from The University of Chicago and holds an MBA from Duke University. Orion is a lover of travel and food, spending most of her free time outside of career pursuing the best of both.

TT: What are you expecting out of the Target Forward Founders program?
Orion: An opportunity to build a deeper understanding of the retail environment and make invaluable connections with both founders going through the journey as well as those ahead of me. My background in CPG brand marketing has been a great asset in building a sticky brand that consumers love. However, consumers are only one part of the equation. Understanding how buying, merchandising, and effectively selling across retail works on a day to day basis makes up much of the rest. I look forward to gaining this first hand experience to prepare BlackTravelBox for relaunch post-COVID.

TT: What do you think your company is missing that the program can help with?
Orion: As a bootstrapped startup, there isn’t much room for error. The biggest thing that BlackTravelBox needs right now is a tight focus on our retail potential as travel has begun to boom again. It’s imperative that each and every week we’re pushing strategically to get us there. The program provides both the content and the focus (yes, this is the one time that I’m looking forward to two hour meetings!) to achieve that goal.

TT: What are you excited most about the Target Forward Founders program?
Orion: I’m most excited about the network and retail expertise that Target Forward Founders is opening up to us. To be able to talk with founders who’e gone through this journey, who still remember what it’s like to be at the precipice of reaching scale it’s absolutely priceless and I can’t wait to make those connections.


Meet FLAUNTBODY

CEO & Founder, Cameron Alexis Moore

About the founder: Cameron Alexis Moore.
Cameron has a bachelor’s degree in finance with over 10 years of finance, marketing, and management experience. In 2015, she completed a Master of Arts in Interior Design. She has several years of experience managing multi-million dollar commercial projects, building and maintaining stakeholder relationships, and completing projects in a timely and cost-effective method through planning and delegation.

TT: What was the inspiration behind your brand?
Cameron: My lifelong skin concerns were the inspiration behind the brand. I was determined to create products that are effective, low-maintenance and affordable.

TT: What makes you unique compared to your competitors in the marketplace?
Cameron: Our innovation comes from our ability to look at daily products and generate solutions to their use and efficacy. We focus on creating products that multi-task and simplify routines, not just for the sake of being innovative and to chase trends, but to enhance our customer’s experience and use of our products.

TT: What are you expecting out of the Target Forward Founders program?
Cameron: I am excited to learn and engage with a diverse group of founders and thought leaders, not only in the beauty category but from all retail categories. I think this multi-disciplinary level of engagement will help us create a well-rounded short and long term plan for our entry into mass retail. Also, to gain invaluable insight from an established retail team and company to help us reduce costly and timely mistakes when we are ready for the next level.


Meet House of Isis.

Co Founders, Isis Benjamin and Gina Spence

About the founders, Gina Spence and Isis Benjamin.
Gina Spence, Founder of House of Isis which provides clean beauty and a sustainable approach to natural hair & skin care for women of color. Born and raised on the Island of Bermuda, Gina’s passion for holistic healing and natural hair care derives from her 30-years’ experience as a licensed cosmetologist.  From 1993-2005 she co-owned a hair salon with her four siblings and later opened her own salon in West Palm Beach Florida. Sick of the toxic chemical found in many of the black hair care products on the market which cause serious health issues in women of color, Gina began to manufacture her own non-toxic products. In 2010, she founded House of Isis her 100% handmade, organic, and plant-based hair & skin care products that holistically heal, not harm.

Isis Benjamin, CEO of House of Isis and daughter of Gina. In 2020, after graduating as first-generation college student with her B.A. in Political Science from, Spelman College Isis decided to follow her mother’s entrepreneurial footsteps. During the Covid-19 pandemic Isis joined the company and successfully re-branded House of Isis driving brand-awareness which truly took the company to new heights. Isis states: It has been such a blessing to be able to work alongside my mother in growing and developing House of Isis, a company that she literally built from the ground-up.

TT: What makes you unique compared to your competitors in the marketplace?
Isis & Gina: Many of the black hair care products on the market contain high levels of toxic chemicals which have been directly linked to the hormone-related health problems in black women specifically. Unlike our competitors, our products are 100% non-toxic, cruelty-free & formulated with organic, plant-based ingredients. They are also dual-purposed, free of parabens, silicones, sulfates, alcohols and are safe for all ages!

TT: What was the inspiration behind your brand?
Gina:  About 10 years ago in my career as a licensed cosmetologist who specializes in natural hair care, I began to notice alarming health trends in my clients and across the board with women of color.  Through my research I quickly found that these health ailments, such as breast cancer & fibroids to name a few were all caused by the toxic chemicals found within black hair & skin care products. As a hair dresser, I realized that I no longer wanted to be a part of the problem but actually solve the problem. So right in my kitchen I began manufacturing my own vegan & non-toxic products that were dual-purposed for the hair and skin. I used these products on my clients and immediately noticed a drastic improvement in their overall health & hair.  It was truly my passion to create products that could holistically heal while also providing my community with access to sustainable, clean beauty products.


Meet huppy.

Co-Founders, David Phan & Cathy Tran

About the founders David Phan & Cathy Tran.
Hi! I’m David! I am the founder of Huppy and I am proudly a first-generation Asian-American. After college, I chose a stable job in finance that I knew would make my parents happy. Only to realize this was not my passion and that I should chase what I am set to do — change the world, one brush at a time! Starting with toothpaste, I created Huppy for those who are new to sustainability or seasoned vets. No matter the effort, big or small, we’re making a lasting impact on the environment.

Hi there! My name is Cathy and I’m the cofounder of Huppy. I am new to this entrepreneur/startup life, and actually have a background in neuroscience. But I like to remind David that I am the right brain to his left brain (which is the more fun, creative side!). As a passionate preacher of being conscious of your actions and choices, the sustainability “light bulb” save-the-world moment came along after surfing and diving — a lot. That’s where I learned that every single toothpaste tube ever created, still exists today, in the landfill or as microplastics in the ocean.

TT: What makes you unique compared to your competitors in the marketplace?
David & Cathy: Toothpaste still comes in a tube — we don’t! There are more than one billion toothpaste tubes that end up in landfills every single year. By eliminating the plastic-tube and formulating toothpaste into a tablet, we’ve completely eliminated toothpaste’s wasteful design and removed toxic ingredients that should not be in toothpaste. Without the need of any water in its design, formulating a dry tablet allows us to remove preservatives that are traditionally used in toothpaste.

TT: What was the inspiration behind your brand?
David & Cathy: A big part of Huppy is inspired by my parents and the way that they’ve raised me. My parents are immigrants and worked laborious jobs to raise their little rays of sunshine — me and my sister. Knowing that they risked it all and worked days and nights for their children, empowered me to take a leap of faith as well and to create a positive company of my own, and to do so with the same grit, resilience and dedication I’ve personally seen exemplified. On a personal level, I love spending time in nature and giving back. My best memories are diving in the ocean, camping at national parks, and anything in the great outdoors. When you love something so much, you want to preserve it so it can last forever, right?! After visiting my motherland and backpacking Asia for two months and seeing how much plastic pollution there was in the world, I knew exactly where to start to help better preserve the planet. That inspired me to start a company that not only provides sustainable options, but also to inspire others to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle.

To learn more about each brand or to shop their products, click on their logos below!

       

Post topic(s): Target Forward Founders Early-stage

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