As a woman of color, you have probably experienced the sometimes tucked away "ethnic aisle" for products that relate to your needs. While some may view said aisle as inclusive, others recognized the limited selections this section may offer when compared to the grand scheme of beauty and haircare products in the establishment overall. Recognizing this troubling fact, The Dooplex was born.
On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2018, four college friends — Rebekah Sager, Roger Fountain, Jacob Williams and Kevin Lyles — launched what they are calling the "Sephora of Black Beauty Products." The new online market is made to cater to women of color's beauty needs, as well as support black and minority-owned businesses.
"When you go into Sephora and find exceptional brands suited for white women, you'll be able to go to The Dooplex and find exceptional products suited for women of color," co-founder Sager told Fashonista. "But, in practice, we're not looking to represent hundreds of brands like Sephora. Our focus is to represent an exceptional product roster where the products compliment each other. Products that our clients can confidently use and depend on."
According to Nielsen, and cited on The Dooplex’s our story page, 79% of African American women's trust for a brand is a major determining factor for whether or not they will purchase said brand and their products. In an interview with Madame Noire, co-founder Lyles, who serves as the CEO of The Dooplex, made it clear that there are numerous black products on the market but their focus for finding brands to partner with relies both on high-quality products as well as brands that care about their community.
In addition to making a space for women of color shoppers to find pristine products, The Dooplex also offers original content on their blog titled the Doo Rag Blog. Here, visitors can read inspiring posts about women doing amazing things, get beauty tips, and check out stories that highlight black-owned business and touch upon topics that are relevant to the community. Between their blog and social media posts, the messages can get political but The Dooplex team is not afraid of being political.
"Living in Trump's America, we wanted an outlet to talk about issues important to women of color and highlight women who are so often overlooked. The site should feel like a space where women can go and not only buy great hair and skin products, but also hear voices that represent them in every way," Sager told Fashionista. "Again, black women have been passed over, taken for granted and basically ignored. That is until they are needed. In today's world, their voices — as opposed to being muted — should be amplified, encouraged and celebrated."
Being a self-funded, investor-seeking company, co-founder Fountain describes the online-store as "the little engine that will." As mentioned on their website, "[f]illing your beauty needs is the ultimate goal" but the team also aspires to be a sounding board for the community.
"We are them and they are us. Their politics are our politics. Their concerns are our concerns. And their desires are our desires. We hear them. So, yes we are selling products but we’re also a place to communicate ideas and passion. Quite honestly, black women have been burned over and over by companies promising to have them in mind only to offer back-of-the-bus marketing and second-rate 'ethnic aisle' products. That will never happen here," Sager told Madame Noire.
In the future, The Dooplex team hopes to expand their company internationally and build an unwavering trust between them and their consumers. And with midterm elections in the horizon, they want to make sure they are an active voice encouraging voters of color to get to the polls.
To learn more about The Dooplex, their products and their blog visit their website.