At 20 years old, Danielle Bahi created her own skincare and beauty line known as Bahi Cosmetics. Originally from the Ivy Coast, the Bahi’s moved to Maryland about 10 years ago and she’s been trying to pave her way ever since. Her company has been open for less than a year and is already considered one of the top black-owned beauty brands from all over the country. If you’re like me, all messed up and don’t know where you see yourself better yet your brand in the next year, check out my interview for girl boss inspiration.
What made you create Bahi Cosmetics?
I suffered from severe acne all my life. My nickname use to be the “payday bar”. I was on pills and saw many doctors and they told me I had to live with it. I don’t feel like its pleasant and something you should learn to live with. There should be something out there that can work for you. I worked for and tried high end and low end brands and nothing worked for me. I went to beauty school to try to figure out how to get my skin at a healthy level. It took more than that, but from school I was able to create a product that worked for me. Now I barely have any acne and I only have a couple dark spots.
My friends wanted it because they loved how good my skin looked. I tried it on my friends and mom and it worked as well. I didn’t want to sell it but people were telling me if I have something that works and can benefit others I should do whatever I can to help them. I wanted to focus more on skincare but people still want that glam aspect of it. Mostly at the end of the day I consider myself a skincare brand more than a cosmetics brand.
As a new entrepreneur, how did you fund your vision?
It just started last May, so its not even a year yet. I was very bankrupt from going to beauty school but I reached out to friends who believed in me and they donated as much as they could. I really relied on presales in the beginning at that saved me from alot of debt. My true friends really had my back but I would say presales helped me the most.
What tips do you have for young women interested in starting their own beauty line?
Dont rush into it. Work the stuff you have and test it out on multiple people because everyones skin reacts differently. Work on what makes you stand out and seperates your brand from the rest. Make it unique to you so if people want it they can only get it from you. Also, find who your true friends are. In business you will lose alot of people, so find people who support your dreams no matter what. They will be the ones to hep your business grow.
What void do you feel you’re fulfilling in the beauty industry?
I’m creating something that actually works. I’m saying that becaue its alot of skincare that works for a few days and then it stops. Or it tempoary does the job. I’m happy I’ve created something that 100% works. It does the job and doesn’t stop.
What was a difficult time in your life that you overcame and how did you do so?
One of the people who really believed in my dream other than my grandmother was my grandfather and he recently died. It was jsut a few months ago so its still fresh. He really believed in Bahi so losing him really hit me hard. He was one of those family members who really had my back and that took a toll on me emotionally and my company. Everyday I’m still dealing with it but I’ve came to the conclsuion that he wouldnt want me to be depressed and want me to keep pushing toward my dreams.
Do you feel that there is a difference between black owned cosmetic lines and non-POC brands, in terms of support and sales? Why or why not?
Alot of people are so used to non-black owned because its always been thrown in our face. And white beauty being the best has always been a thing too. With black people they want to support you more because they’re happy for you but they’re not really sure if they wanna spin their coin on you. Its like they’re more so looking for your down fall than being truly geniune in support.
Where would you like to see yourself and your brand in the next year?
I really want to see myself in a high end stores because I always walk into big stores and they think I work there instead of being a business owner. When you walk in a white owned store it just has a different feel to it and it’s like damn I made it because rich white people are able to buy my brand. I’m able to reach the masses now.