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Our idea is to source products that meet the same ethical values as our consumers: GEENIE Founder and CEO

Chana Ewing, GEENIE Founder & CEO joins the On the Move panel to discuss her GEENIE brand and what’s next for her company.

Video Transcript

JULIE HYMAN: We welcome back to the show Chana Ginelle Ewing, who is the founder and CEO GEENIE. She's joining us from Brooklyn. This a marketplace, an online marketplace, for beauty products. And Chana, first of all, tell us how it's been going. You launched just a couple of months ago at the time that there is a lot of demand for products that are owned by people of color, the companies that are owned by people of color. How's it been going?

CHANA EWING: Thanks for having me again, Julie. Yes, so as you mentioned, we launched right at the tail end of July, early August, and we lash at the time with just four brands and four-- excuse me, five brands and five lipsticks skus. And since then, we've expanded to nine brands and have over 20 skus, and so we expanded with the help of our community. GEENIE is a community and marketplace that enables consumers to discover, shop and share brands that embody their beliefs. So that's including BIPOC, LGBTQ, women-owned brands but also sustainable, clean, toxic-free.

So our idea ideas that you shouldn't have to bounce around the internet to be able to find brands and source products from communities that you'd like to shop from that also meet the same sort of ethical and clean values that you may also be looking for as a consumer. And so with our community, we were able to expand into both. So we started with the lipsticks, and now we moved into eyes and also tool brush tools based on the feedback that we received from our community.

ADAM SHAPIRO: Hi, Ms. Ewing, and congratulations. It's still early, I imagine, to ask you for, you know, what are the sales numbers and, I mean, if you're going to make those public, but I am curious, because it takes such courage to launch a business in this kind of environment, what you're hearing from the clients. Clearly, things are at least on track, and I'm going to assume and hope they are going well because of the expansion, but where do you go next, and what are the clients telling?

CHANA EWING: Yes, so it's cool. Because we took a community first perspective, meaning that the folks who are shopping from GEENIE, we actually have an app that we're using called Geneva that enables them to just have conversations with them on a regular-- conversations with each other on a regular basis. And so there's not a lot of like pressure to shop all the time, because they're just always connected with each other. They're always talking about and sharing new brands. So while they are shopping through the marketplace, we're also just creating a space for them to just, you know, share their love for beauty.

They're in there doing self organized beauty tutorials, they are recommending brands that we should follow and highlight, and they also helped us and figure out which colors and which products to use for our new like our first set of brands. So when we said, hey, we want to bring on another color for Gold Label cosmetics, for instance, we polled our community, and we said, hey, you know, what do you think? And they decided which colors. So we got a lot of buy in from them, and they feel like they are part of this process of growing the business with us and also supporting the brands that are on the platform.

DAN HOWLEY: Chana, I want to ask how the pandemic has impacted sales, especially if make up, you know, we've talked about this before on the show about how sales slumped in the beginning, because people didn't necessarily feel the need to put any on, but now that this is kind of the way the world works, I guess, have you seen them pick up again for you guys?

CHANA EWING: So makeup in general tends to be recession proof, right? Like people tend to buy makeup all the time. I will say that obviously because we're not leaving the house as much and because we are wearing our masks, you know, the value proposition for lipstick, for instance, we're like, wear the lipsticks when you're on Zoom. Like I have on one of our brands right now to empower power beauty, and I think, you know, having a great lip for Zooms is great. But one of the things that we polled our community on is well, what makeup would you want to wear right now? And the natural progression was eyes, because everyone is wearing masks right now, having a focal point on the eyes, on the eyebrows makes sense for consumers, because they can see that their eyes are going to be visible, and people are going to be looking at them moreso than their full face.

JULIE HYMAN: That we have. We've all learned to smize, of course, a lot more. Chana Ginelle Ewing, it's great to see you again. Appreciate it. She's the founder and CEO of GEENIE.