Jamaica Observer Feature (Yardie Cosmetics)

When Jamaican-born Santana Spence packed her bags for the United States she made extra space for the passion she had for her native language and culture. Years later, as Americans grew fascinated with her dialect, the beauty lover crafted an idea that merged both her passions. A long way now from the streets of Norwood in Montego Bay, Spence presents Yardie Cosmetics — a collection of make-up products that is more than just beauty; it's about the love for Spence's Jamaican roots and culture. “I always wanted to do a business that would allow me to include my Jamaican culture. Some of my proudest and most inspiring moments growing up, and even now, have been watching TV and seeing other Jamaicans represent... our country well. I can remember telling myself that one day I would do something significant to represent my country too,” Spence told Under The Dryer (UTD) .

The most fascinating thing about Yardie Cosmetics is that all products include a short heritage lesson. Eyeshadow palettes come with a translation sheet, which allows non-Jamaicans the opportunity to learn and understand patois in a simple, yet fun, way.

Been dying to try one of those bold eye-shadow looks you have pinned on Pinterest? Then the “Island Gyal” palette is the way to go. If neutral is more your speed, then the “Pickney Days” palette is perfect for you. Gloss up lips with a lippie from the Chups Collection, and add volume to lashes with a style of the brand's Mama Lashy 3D & 5D mink lashes. And if you're still not sure what look to rock, we've been saving inspo from make-up artist Lyric Rochester at GlamCon 2019!


Under The Dryer (UTD): What is your business motivator?

Santana Spence (SS): My business motivator comes from my family and life experiences. When I look back on everything that I have been through, all the struggles and sacrifices that my mom went through to raise my siblings and me, that very thought alone is my biggest motivation. So every day when reality sets in that I have not yet rewarded my parents (my mom and stepdad) for everything that they have done for us, it pushes me to work harder.


UTD: Who's your business hero?

SS: I have more than one business hero, but my number one would be Courtney Adeleye, owner of the Mane Choice. Her story, both business and personal, is extremely inspiring. Many times when I need some encouragement, I would go on her page and tune in to her live videos or read her posts where she shares her journey, her challenges and her successes. I admire the transparency that she shares with her fan base; she's really a mentor to me as a young entrepreneur in the game.


UTD: What has been your most challenging business lesson to date?

SS: Branding. I have learned that branding is way more than just a name, or a logo. It's about setting clear goals for your company, among other factors that can be really challenging if one does not have necessary resources to do so.


UTD: What are your three must-have beauty products?

SS: I'm never without my lippies (especially a good lipgloss), lashes (3D minks are my go-to) and a brow pencil or pomade.


UTD: Bold red or soft nude pout?

SS: Definitely bold red! You can't go wrong with a red lippie. Sarril (Sorrel) from my Chups Collection is my favourite red lippie.


UTD: Other than home, where do you go to unwind whenever you visit Jamaica?

SS: I'm a big foodie, so the best place to go to unwind would be a food spot. Somewhere where I can get seafood or jerk chicken and festival. Or an all-inclusive hotel on the North Coast where I can indulge in an all-you-can-eat buffet.


UTD: Alexa, play... 

SS: Mama by Vybz Kartel and Toast by Koffee.

Check out looks from make-up artists using Yardie products on the brand's IG:@yardiecosmetics and visit yardiecosmetics.com to purchase.