Olamide Olowe is the youngest Black woman ever to raise more than $2 million in venture funding. At 26-Year-Old, she raised $10 million in a series A round led by the venture capital firm Cavu Consumer Partners and got funding from the likes of Kelly Rowland, Gabrielle Union, Yvonne Orji, and Jay Z’s Marcy Venture Fund.
Olamide is the CEO and co-founder of the skincare brand Topicals. She launched the company just two years ago and is already the fastest-growing skincare brand at Sephora, has sold a product every minute this year and has donated $100,000 to mental health organizations. She co-founded Topicals to create safe, effective products for all skin tones. Her interest in skincare began at a young age after dealing with acne, hyperpigmentation, and boils. After noticing the lack of inclusivity in the skincare industry, she was inspired to create the brand she desired growing up.
Olamide had the opportunity to build a brand at SheaMoisture, which helped her discover her love for the business side of beauty. She spent two years developing SheaGirl, a sub-brand of SheaMoisture focused on young women. A major lesson she learned from her time at SheaMoisture, was their focus on community and the importance of reinvesting back into the community. She was able to see how a business could significantly impact people’s lives. Now Topicals does the same and reinvests their profits into mental health organizations.
Topical does a great job with its branding and marketing. Their branding is consistent and distinctive, attracting their Gen Z target audience with their youthful brand visuals, colors, logos, fonts, and layouts. Their marketing is a mixture of social media marketing, community engagements, and out-of-home campaigns. Their social media pages consist of user-generated content, educational content, and product content.
Source – @topicals
To win the hearts of Gen Z consumers your brand must be purpose-driven with a meaningful message and way of solving something important to them. Topical’s mission is to raise awareness of the connection between mental health and skin conditions, something very topical within the Gen Z audience (pun intended). Living with a skin condition can have a significant impact on the quality of your life and emotional well-being, Topical does a lot to provide support and therapy for people with skin disorders.
No matter how great your branding and marketing are, the quality and effectiveness of your products matter most. In my opinion, buying skincare products isn’t an easy straightforward process, people usually buy skincare products that have been recommended or people rave about. Products in the skincare industry require a lot of social proof. Social proof in a marketing context is evidence that other people have purchased and found value in a product or service offered by a business. Being in Sephora, a huge multinational skincare and beauty products retailer gives Topical a lot of credibility and also puts them in front of many more eyes.
Topicals invest a lot in community building. It is very important to truly understand your customer and target audience. You need to know your customers; what they’re struggling with, what’s important to them, what their interests are, what they want, what they don’t want, what content they like etc. Olamide and the Topical’s team study their customers to ensure that they build a brand that truly represents and fulfills their customers’ needs.
The pitching process is not an easy one, Olamide mentioned that it took her about two years and probably close to a hundred pitches to get funding. Her advice for other young people trying to get into entrepreneurship is “If you psych yourself out, even just a little bit, you won’t do it.” Don’t even think about what you can’t do. Just ask, “Why not me?.” I hope her story and achievements inspire you!
Have a great week!