We had the good fortune of connecting with Jenn Harper and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jenn, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The thought process behind starting Cheekbone Beauty came from a literal dream I had. I woke up in the middle of the night and had my “this is what I have to do” moment and got on my laptop to start writing what I now know to be my business plan. I knew that I had to start this company and that it had to serve as a pillar of representation for Indigenous youth so that they could see their tremendous value in the world.
What should our readers know about your business?
I was never a makeup expert but always loved makeup. It’s my favourite form of self-care and got me through tough times. In 2015, I was still working in sales and marketing in the food industry; I had this life-changing dream that planted a seed – not a metaphorical dream, a real dream. In this dream, I saw little Native girls dancing, giggling, and exuding such genuine joy – and they were covered in lip gloss. I woke up and instantly wrote down what became my business plan. I always say this, but the world didn’t need another lipstick brand. What the world did need, however, was more representation. I really wanted to create a brand that highlighted Indigenous faces and gave back to the community. Since then, I’ve spent months researching manufacturers and learning about the business before we launched in 2016. Fast forward and it is clear that we are driven by passion.
Since our initial launch, Cheekbone Beauty has expanded in ways that I could have only hoped for. Cheekbone Beauty was an e-commerce side-hustle that I started in my basement with only $500. I went onto Dragon’s Den in 2019 in hopes of attaining $100,000 in funding with a 20% stake in the company to help expand the brand, but I had to turn down my offer from Vincenzo Guzzo as he wanted a 50% stake in the company at such a crucial part of the growth stage. Following Dragon’s Den, we received funding from an Indigenous investment firm, whose values, and mission truly aligned with ours. We have upgraded from my basement to an office space, built our own in-house cosmetics lab, and hired a full-time chemist. To speak to the sales aspect of brand evolution, Cheekbone Beauty maintains an active e-commerce site. It can be found in Sephora Canada stores, both online and in 15 brick-and-mortar stores. With Sephora, we have launched two incredible campaigns – Right the Story and #GlossedOver. With all this success, giving back has remained part of the foundation of Cheekbone Beauty.
To date, Cheekbone Beauty has donated upwards of $150,000 to a variety of organizations. This has been done with the intention to help all Indigenous youth see and feel their value in the world.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Thank you to the Cheekbone Beauty team, my family and my mentors.
Facebook: Cheekbone Beauty
Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics INC