Since I was a kid, I can remember certain beauty brands targeting only a specific race in their advertising. Ad after ad, commercial after commercial, I would see a face that didn’t look like mine. I would consistently see these images from childhood up to adulthood. For me, it created a feeling that these brands were taboo for me to try because I wasn’t their target customer. For years, I stayed away from certain brands simply because I didn’t feel welcome.
So, I put forth great effort to create an inclusive brand when the time came for me to start my own …or so I thought. While developing the brand, I interviewed many consumers from various backgrounds so that I could better understand their skin care needs. In addition to discussing skin, I consistently found myself in conversations about brand identity, customer targeting and consumer feelings of exclusion. Some of these feelings echoed my own but many were feelings that I had not thought of and with which I could not empathize. In addition to race, consumers reported not feeling welcomed by a brand based upon their own gender identity, nationality, socio economic status, style preference, hobbies and/or self care needs. Hearing this feedback was impactful, both personally and professionally.
I learned that I had more work to do before I could claim that MASS EDEN was an inclusive brand. My eyes were fully opened about the different types of exclusion and their lasting effects.
My biggest takeaway: Just because some concerns are not my own doesn’t mean that they are any less important.
So, instead of focusing on just having the conversations, I decided to put more effort toward a solution. Specifically, I made a promise to embed a mindset and incorporate actions into the foundation of the MASS EDEN brand to help combat feelings of exclusion. The actions are as follows:
- Operation from a place of sympathy only if you cannot have empathy
- Share honest, accurate information to inform not persuade
- Listen, even when and if it hurts, to enact necessary change
These actions, in part, helped to develop The MASS EDEN BLOG. At a time where green consumers with sensitive skin felt left out of the conversation and information sharing forums, we filled the gap. And, we’re still going strong after one year!
MASS EDEN is a far cry from the brands that I saw growing up. We’re less “in your face” and more relaxed. This is appealing to many people for different reasons. I believe the biggest reason that it’s able to peak interest and grow a solid community is because of its ambiguity. I didn’t develop a brand that desires to create an image for consumers. I developed a brand that shares factual information and allows people to maintain their own self identity.
I hope that the current members of the MASS EDEN community continue to feel welcomed and engaged. I also hope that as new members feel the same strong sense of connection as they learn more about the brand and read the blog. As an inclusive green body care brand, it wouldn’t feel right if you didn’t.