Looking to Support BIPOC-Owned Brands? Bookmark Thirteen Lune
If you haven't already heard of Thirteen Lune, you're about to see it everywhere—and rightfully so. It's an e-commerce site where beauty lovers can discover Black and Brown-owned brands, and while it just recently launched, it's already making serious waves in the beauty industry. Having just recently raised $1 million with investments from Gwyneth Paltrow, Sean Combs, and Naomi Watts and receiving high praise from editors, brands, and consumers everywhere, it's a huge success.
"People say to us, 'I can't believe this has not existed until now,'" Thirteen Lune cofounder Nyakio Grieco tells HelloGiggles. "More importantly, our brand founders and Black and Brown guests [say], 'Finally, a retail site truly celebrates us.'"
Grieco, who founded her own namesake line, Nyakio Beauty, and has spent 18 years as a beauty entrepreneur, first came up with the idea when she partnered with Patrick Herning (cofounder of size-inclusive brand 11 Honré) in 2019, as they both wanted to create something that would "live, breathe, and preach" inclusivity. She says she has always found it perplexing that the beauty world had all this incredible talent from people of color that was not being easily recognized.
Thus, Thirteen Lune was born. It was named after one of her favorite numbers, which has a very special meaning to Grieco. 13 is a sacred number in Mayan and African cultures and in astrology (a subject Grieco loves to study), as there are 13 full moons in a full calendar year. "There is a certain magic in [it]," she says.
The site's mission is simple: to help consumers discover and engage with Black and Brown-owned beauty brands. Grieco explains that this is a platform to elevate these founders and help build generational wealth for them to break down systemic racism.
Timing-wise, the launch came at a critical time, right as America faces a racial reckoning. With the George Floyd protests in the summer of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic ripping through Black and Brown communities and dealing a heavy blow to BIPOC businesses, industries everywhere—including beauty—were forced to look at their own failings at supporting people of color.
Sephora and Ulta were among the many retailers to participate in Aurora James's 15 Percent Pledge, in which companies promised to dedicate 15% of their shelf space to Black-owned brands. It was a change that was a long time coming, but there is still more work to be done.
"Being in the beauty trenches as a woman of color has been profoundly challenging, disappointing, and, ultimately, life-affirming," she says. "But it did not need to be so difficult and—at times—demoralizing."
Thirteen Lune first launched with 13 brands, like Buttah Skin and Liha Beauty. Grieco explains that she and Herning wanted to pick brands that are unique and interesting in their own way: "The first thirteen brands display a diverse founder story, are leading products in their respective categories, and are all made of luxe, efficacious, and clean formulations," she says.
The site has now expanded to include more brands that are BIPOC-owned, but it also has brands that have proven to be great allies to people of color, such as Joanna Vargas. "It became very clear to me in 2020 that there were brands and founders by people who were not Black and Brown but, regardless of color traditionally, make an effort to be inclusive in their product assortment, exemplifying allyship to incite meaningful change beyond beauty," she says. "The only way we are going to get to a place of true unity is by coming together."
Allyship for Grieco means not only supporting those who don't resemble you physically but also making sure those people are included in your business model. This means creating products that everyone, regardless of skin color or hair texture, can actually use.
When asked to pick a few standout products (a tough task she likens to picking a favorite child), Grieco points out a few things she's currently loving: Lauren Napier Flaunt Facial Wipes, Hyper Skin Hyper Clear Brightening Clearing Vitamin C Serum, and Bomba Curls Forbidden Hair Mask, to name just a few. But after browsing the site, the curation is pretty incredible—you really can't go wrong.
As for future plans, Grieco hopes to expand the brand with editorial content and a podcast, but its mission will always stay the same: to be a place where people come together. She hopes that consumers come to learn that these products are for everyone.
"The hope is to shift the old paradigm that these brands are only created for Black and Brown people," she says. "Of course, they are inspired by these communities and our beauty, but they are not exclusive to us. Beauty should unite and unify rather than be seen as a way to divide."