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The Story Behind Huesbox: What’s Your Hue?

Posted April 26, 2017

Robin, Jasmine, and Jenae Harris, three Black women from Minneapolis were tired of a lack of health and beauty products addressing their needs. Frustrated by the inability of existing subscription boxes to include products made for them, they launched HuesBox, a monthly subscription beauty box service — that ranges in price from $12 to $108 — made specifically for women of color. Each box comes with sample-size products, which, if they so desire, customers can purchase the full-size versions of online.

DIVERGE talked to Dr. Jasmine L. Harris, Co-founder and Director of Communications, The Hues Company, to find out more:

Where did this idea come from?

We came up with the idea after years of difficulty identifying hair, skin, and wellness products we could use as Black women. I started using subscription boxes five years ago, but never received a box where I used a majority of the product samples. I was complaining to my mom and sister about my disappointment with the subscription boxes in November 2015 when we came up with the idea of HuesBox.

What inspired you to create this?

We wanted to be able to try a variety of products at one time without the financial commitment of buying full-size products before a trial, just like the millions of people who used subscription boxes each year. It’s convenient, but also cost-effective. Unfortunately, before HuesBox there were no subscription boxes in the beauty, health, and wellness space that seriously considered the needs of people of color. We’ve seen complaints about big subscription box companies’ inability to get this piece right. We were inspired to create HuesBox not just to because we wanted to get it right, but we also want to do it well.

What kind of response have you gotten from it?

The response has been overwhelming from around the world. Women and men in a variety of hues are always excited to hear about HuesBox and often lament the inability to find the very products HuesBox finds for them. The small businesses we recruit as vendors for HuesBox also express delight in our mission. It’s hard for many of the businesses we work with to reach their target market in a deliberate way without significant financial cost for advertising or marketing. We see one of the benefits of the HuesBox subscription model is our ability to facilitate these connections.

Why is it significant for women of color?

HuesBox is not just significant for women of color, but for men of color too. Lack of representation in the health and beauty industry means people of color must rely on networks connections and support to find products and regiments that work for us. HuesBox, and its online platforms remove some of the barriers to information and access to products by extending the network of sharing. Subscribers can share thoughts about HuesBox products and how best to use them on Discussions in Every Hues. Jenae and I share our personal misadventures are black women navigating the wold of health and beauty on our podcast HuesTalk! Guest bloggers share personal experiences in the industry on Conversations in Every Hue.

What feedback do you get from subscribers?

So far subscribers have really loved the unique nature of HuesBox. They love that the products you receive are not only about beauty and makeup, but also about self-care. The biggest complaint we have is that we keep selling out. Currently, the three of us are doing everything for HuesBox by hand which limits how many boxes we can sell each month and folks are buying them as fast as we can make them, so there has been frustration about that. We just want to say — we hear you and we’re working hard to expand!

How do you hope to see Huesbox evolve in the next few years?

We hope the HuesBox movement continues to expand! Our goal is always to bring subscribers high quality, but relatively unknown products. We’d also love to see economic growth among our vendors as their businesses expand. We hope subscribers are excited to receive their HuesBox each month, because we’re always excited to curate them for you! Likewise, we’d like to see the HuesBox online platforms expand as well. HuesBox isn’t just about products in a box, it’s about developing a network of people of color around the country to crowd source tips, tricks, and product must-haves in the world of health, beauty, and wellness.

What can subscribers expect if they subscribe- what products/shades/ quality, etc?

Subscribers can expect to receive 4 – 6 products each month connected loosely by a monthly theme. All products are small batch, and made with people of color in mind. The unique collection of products each subscribers receives is curated using personal wellness and beauty profiles completed a checkout, so you never receive products you can’t use. We see HuesBox as the link between these small businesses and their target audience of people of color. The products in your HuesBox are probably not products you’ve seen at your local Target, and that’s exactly the way we want it.

Additional thoughts?

As Black women we are clearly aware of the issues for us in the beauty and wellness market. However, we also understand that our experiences in this regard are not unique to our blackness. This is about all of us. The consumer power of men and women of color is a routinely ignored as necessary revenue stream, so few companies have a vested interest in marketing products directly to them. We hope HuesBox shows those companies their mistake. Instead of relying on big name brands to throw attention our way, we’ll elevate the brand recognition for minority-owned small businesses. If they won’t include you in the market, we say create your own!