For many women, putting a splash of colour onto their lips gives an instant feeling of confidence and glamour. In Senegal, one woman entrepreneur is building a proudly African beauty brand that is creating beautiful organic lipsticks specially designed for women of colour. Victorine Sarr, founder of Lyvv Cosmetics, is making women feel and look good, whilst also being kind to the environment.
LoA found out more about this growing African organic beauty brand from founder Victorine Sarr this month.
What does your company do?
We are a beauty company that focuses on the needs of women of color. We have on the market right now a lip line that is 100% organic. All our products are paraben and cruelty free. They are also hypoallergenic and also ophthalmologist tested because the products can also be used as eyeshadows and eyeliners. Our products are available today in 6 countries through distributors and retailers - Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, France, Canada and the USA.
“We are a beauty company that focuses on the needs of women of color.”
What inspired you to start your company?
I was the girl that everybody was teasing. In my country being dark can be considered as something bad so I was not among the popular ones for sure. The thing that was keeping me sane and confident was my lipstick. I always had one and I felt good wearing it. So later down the road I wanted to give back that new found confidence and allow girls and women like me to always feel beautiful, even with a simple lipstick. Thats the reason why I started my business with a lipstick line.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
Lyvv is a woman owned, black business for people of color. We are an organic brand and we have one of the best pigmented lipsticks on the market, yet still being eco friendly.
“I wanted to give back that new found confidence and allow girls and women like me to always feel beautiful, even with a simple lipstick.”
Tell us a little about your team
We were lucky to have had a great team since the very beginning. We have a core team of four people, three women and one man. We have specialists in the Legal, PR & Communications, Marketing, and Business Development fields.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I don’t have an entrepreneurial background at all, and no-one in my immediate family is an entrepreneur really, but I grew up always wanting to challenge the status quo. For me, ‘No’ was never an answer. I graduated top of my class in business school and I went straight into the corporate world. I was lucky enough to work for big corporations like Apple and L’Oreal where I learned a lot and gained some massive experience, and also a valuable network. Looking back, I can now easily say that all that was to prepare me for this part of my journey. Everything makes sense now and I’m having the best time of my life right now.
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
My short term goal would be to have my products distributed more across the African continent first, and then to expand our range of products. My long-term goal would be to dominate the beauty business in the world, and to be a reference point when it comes to makeup for people of color.
“My long-term goal would be to dominate the beauty business in the world, and to be a reference point when it comes to makeup for people of color.”
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
I have 100% of my destiny in my own hands. I set the vision, and with my amazing team helping me to push it forward. Also being able to empower other people other women to get on this journey and to gain some independence is already a success for me. Seeing that impact on people, the change that giving a job, a purpose, a living to one person can change a whole family. It is very humbling to say the least.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
My top three pieces of advice would be to know your market and find a niche; to surround yourself with good people; and to always innovate.
Contact or follow Lyvv Cosmetics
Why LoA loves it….
In the highly competitive world of the beauty business, it is always a good idea to find your niche, and Victorine Sarr has definitely done that with her Lyvv Cosmetics brand. Her lipsticks have been created with her target market specifically in mind, and she is winning fans and customers alike who love her products and brand ethos. This is definitely a proudly African beauty brand to watch over the coming months and years. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and ceo of Lionesses of Africa