We love March because it is Women’s History Month, but mostly because it is a chance for us to showcase the fact that we are a platform that amplifies badass womxn and girls every month of the year! Since women are half the population on earth, our stories should not be relegated to a single day, a week or month. Our lived experiences should be shared every day, because this is our way of creating positive change in the world.
Case in point, the story of Danielle Edmond, founder and CEO of Stay Golden Cosmetics and uQueen Organics. The Jamaican born entrepreneur has had a fascinating career path, which actually began in th world of sports. Danielle was the co-captain for Jamaica’s national basketball team, before making the move to NYC to study Healthcare Management and Marketing at Monroe College.
Danielle has also had a career in modeling, which took her to places like South Africa and Zimbabwe. It was during her time as a model and being involved in various events, that she decided to change career paths again. Ditching the fashion and beauty scene in her modeling capacity, Danielle started working on creating beauty products with a dream of using her business to empower other women.
She founded Danz Distributors LLC in 2013, the parent company of Stay Golden Cosmetics and uQueen Organics. Stay Golden Cosmetics offers vibrant and fierce eye and lip glam, while uQueen Organics is for rejuvenation – of skin, body, and being. Starting with just 5 glitter lip kits, conceived on her Brooklyn NY living room floor in 2017, Stay Golden Cosmetics has since evolved to 20 varying lip shades and eye pigments and has been seen on the likes of Nicki Minaj, Lizzo, and Cardi B. Danielle’s other brand baby, uQueen, is naturally-sourced alchemy from elixirs like Almond Shea Glow Butter to Rose Papaya Glow Toner, all of which are made with organic, ethically sourced, vegan ingredients sourced in Bali.
From scoring points on the basketball court, to taking the beauty world by storm with a now 7-figure beauty brand built on glitter, we spoke with Danielle to learn more about Stay Golden Cosmetics, and the impact of more women of color disrupting the white-centric fashion and beauty industry.
How did the idea for Stay Golden Cosmetics come about, and what was your process for launching your business?
Our product, Glitter Lip Kit exploded in a series of viral events on social media which led to us hurriedly creating Stay Golden Cosmetics, as the brand that would mother Glitter Lip Kit.
Before the virality, my main brand was To Be Golden; a Branding, Events and Marketing agency for small businesses. Our aim was to help people transition to social media and utilize various platforms to promote their businesses. On our site, we had a Shop that had motivational pieces like mugs and journals and a very unique concept for Glitter Lip Kit, which was placed on there as a test. We went from getting 7 orders a week to 600 one night after marketing placement and collaborations. From there, we quickly developed the brand and created its own platform.
With establishing Stay Golden Cosmetics own identity, we created its own social media pages as well as its website. We also implemented a fulfilment method that would allow us to ship larger quantities in a shorter space of time. We updated and improved our packaging and presentation as well as continued and expanded partnership with more platforms so we could become more visible to more people.
Before your entrepreneurial journey, you were a model and national basketball star in your home country Jamaica! How did your modeling career spark your interest in wanting to create a beauty line for Black and Brown women especially?
Modeling presented the opportunity whereby I realized that I could do more. I was somewhat limited on the ideas of what or who I could be leaving Jamaica, but modeling led to opportunities abroad, that led to more opportunities to network with people who were doing all these amazing things that felt super aspirational.
To see people like myself thriving and thinking outside of the box definitely helped with shaping my mind to think bigger. As a model, I found myself always redoing my makeup after sitting in a makeup artist’s chair – it’s sadly still a thing! But what truly shifted gears for me was my education in Marketing. I love the idea of branding towards women of color because for a while, the majority of beauty commercials didn’t really represent women of color with deep skin tones like mine.
Before Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty hit the market and exploded, there was such a huge reluctance for major makeup and beauty brands to cater to people of color. Why was this?
I think there may have been a perception that they could fail creating shade ranges for people of color that didn’t really suit people of color. It’s a great investment and I don’t think brands were willing to take the risk at the time. With Fenty, Rihanna being the face, I believe her influence alone allowed for that investment to be worthwhile.
She’s an icon and a true influencer to people of color and immigrants from all walks of life. Her campaigns, when releasing her 50 foundation shades, showed women from all shade ranges in the most creative and relatable way. Women who were very pale, women with freckles, the darkest of women with blue undertones, people with vitiligo; they were detailed and touched on spectrums that no one else did. I don’t think anyone could have done it better than what Fenty did.
Stay Golden has been worn by major celebs like Lizzo, Nicki Minaj, Cardi B and more. How do you get the attention of celebs when marketing your brand initially?
These were all super organic approaches. We create the buzz and the creative directors or makeup artists of these amazing celebs saw it somehow. Once the alignment happens, we always support and show love to these major players.
You started out with just 5 glitter lip kits, and have built the business to be a 7-figure brand! What have been your biggest challenges along the way?
Our biggest challenge is staying on top of the consistent shifts that happen on social media. Social media was once easier to navigate, now, it’s like jumping through hoops to ensure the content we create is being seen by our community.
Another challenge is curating what our community wants to see and adding value to them as a beauty brand. We know everyone doesn’t need a tutorial all day everyday, so ensuring that we diversify our content and that it’s fitting for our tribe can be a challenge.
What have been your biggest highlights on your entrepreneurship journey so far?
Being able to hire my friends and family definitely stands out. I see how they’re able to provide for and elevate as a result of working with the brand and it truly makes me happy.
You are passionate about empowering other women through your brand as well as your business experiences. Can you share more about this?
I learn so much every single day, sometimes I don’t even realize it until I speak to friends or people from my network. I always share knowledge; I feel that once I’m able to help someone, I’m going to pay it forward. I know exactly how it feels to not have someone to talk to about challenges and even wins, so when people reach out to me, or I learn something new, I share it with my fellow entrepreneurs or whomever asks.
We’d love to also learn about uQueen organics. What are the most popular products among your customers right now?
uQueen is my heart and soul because this is how I’m able to spread my passion for self-care and self-preservation. Our Glow Kit is most popular; it has our Safflower Oil and Almond Shea Butter which feels like heaven on my skin. I’m honestly not surprised when people mention how much they love this Kit, but I sure do love the feedback. It always puts a smile on my face.
What are your favorite items from both uQueen Organics and Stay Golden Cosmetics that you use every day?
From uQueen, I use our face care products every single day as well as the body care system. They’re part of my habitual skincare routine. I love how my skin looks and feels after taking this time for myself. From Stay Golden Cosmetics, I use our So Thirsty or Summer Body Glosses everyday. For date nights, I use our Rum Cake or Fyah Gloss for a bit of extra.
What do you want a first-time customer to love most about the brands when they buy from Stay Golden and uQueen?
I would love it if they love their entire shopping experience. From the first encounter with our website, to the emails they receive after placing their order, to receiving and unboxing their products. From the visuals inside the package to the emails after. A lot of thought and care was put into our customer experience. We want them to feel special, like they just got a gift for themselves.