Today we’d like to introduce you to Santana Spence.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I was born and raised in Jamaica. I lived all of my childhood and my early twenties on the north coast of the island before migrating to the USA. Some of the my proudest moments growing up, were watching other Jamaicans represent our culture and country in different parts of the world, I remember always telling myself that one day I too would do something great to represent my country. I always knew that my culture is unique and that Jamaicans stand out among other cultures, but it wasn’t until I came to the U.S that I really realized how fascinated people were about the Jamaican culture (our food, language, music and dance).
I wanted to start a business that would allow me to include my Jamaican culture, so I got the idea that cosmetics would be an excellent way of doing so. The native language of Jamaica is Jamaican Patois, however Standard English is the official language that is spoken by our people. I grew up being told that Patois is incorrect and improper grammar, hence it was being pushed aside and deemed unacceptable for formal communication/settings. I came to understand, by means of my own research, that Patois is a language that is made up of many different types of other languages (West African, Spanish, French etc). It has all the elements that make up a language, which therefore means that there is nothing wrong with speaking Patois, even in a formal setting, once it is being understood.
With this, I decided to incorporate Patois into my brand and products to encourage my fellow Jamaicans that they should embrace their native tongue and not to be embarrassed to speak it.
I created my products (eyeshadow palettes and lippies) with Jamaican creole names, in my unique way of representing the raw authenticity of my Jamaican culture.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I wish it was a smooth road! Haha….
It’s funny how people always say things like “start that business sis.” But you hardly hear them talking about the struggles and challenges of starting a business especially in the early stages of the business. I rarely hear people talk about how they deal with the bumps and curves on the path to a successful business. For me, creating my brand and producing great products was the easy part, because the ideas were literally hovering in my brain. I enjoyed everything about starting my business and curating my products but the struggle for me is branding and marketing. The more my business grows the more resources it requires to sustain it. Luckily for me I have an extremely supportive partner who always steps in when I fall short. So I definitely would not say it was a smooth road at all, however it has been an amazing experience and I’m extremely happy that I took this leap of faith and launched Yardie Cosmetics. This entrepreneurial journey has taught me how to pray through the process, and I’ve had some really great customers and met some amazing people who have inspired and motivated me, and these are some of the things that encourages me along the way.
Yardie Cosmetics – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The name of my company is Yardie Cosmetics, paying homage to my Jamaican and Caribbean people (Yardie). I incorporated my Jamaican culture to create uniquely themed cosmetic products such as eyeshadow palettes and Lip products.
I currently have 4 eyeshadow palettes namely:
1. The Chat Patwah Palette- This Palette represents the Jamaican Patois (Patwah) in it’s rawest form. Each color is given a Patois name, this is my unique way of embracing my native tongue.
2. The Irie Palette- This palette represents the Rastafarian culture that was originated in Jamaica. It has the Rastafarian and Jamaican colors, each color having 5 different shades. The Irie Palette is dedicated to our Rastafarian sistas who enjoys self expression through makeup artistry.
3. The Island Gyal Palette- this palette as the name suggests, “Island Girls” represents our Jamaican females. It highlights some of the most popular day to day street names that Jamaican females use among their peers.
4. The Pickney Days Palette: This Palette takes us all the way back to our childhood days. I wanted to use this palette to take my customers on a trip down memory lane, as they muse on the many outdoor games that they played as a child growing up. The Pickney Days palette shares some of our traditional Jamaican games as well as games that are popular in other parts of the world.
Our Lipstick Collection is called the “Chups Collection”. Chups in Jamaica means a short light kiss. This collection represents some of Jamaicas popular fruits, treats and delicacies.
The matte liquid lipsticks are some of my golden products. They literally stay on all day. Even after eating, kissing, smacking or licking your lips, and the colors are amazing.
As a young entrepreneur I’m extremely proud of my journey in this new and competitive venture. Although I started this journey only a few months ago, I have learned so much, met tons of amazing people but my proudest moment was landing my products in a few of the largest beauty stores in Jamaica like Fontana and A&E makeup world among a few others. I was also extremely proud of how well my products did at the Atlanta Womens Expo back in November, these moments reinforced and bolstered my confidence in my brand as a small business.
Yardie Cosmetics for me is far beyond beauty, it is about sharing my Jamaican culture with the makeup industry and the world at large, hence our slogan “Yardie Cosmetics, Where Beauty Meets Culture. ”
The most fascinating thing about my brand and products is that all our products include a translation sheet. This is what sets Yardie Cosmetics apart from the other brands. All of my products are given Patois names, these words/ phrases are then translated and explained on a sheet that is included with the products. I want Yardie Cosmetics to be a fun learning experience for all my customers. It is my hope that when my products reach my customers, if they are Jamaican they will get a feeling of pride to know that a piece of their culture that has been pushed aside is now being represented on beauty products around the world. If my customers are non-Jamaicans I want them to get an exciting feeling to be learning an exotic language in the most unique way.
What is “success” or “successful” for you?
For me success is being able to have financial freedom, but most importantly, success is reaching a point in my life where I am able to bless other people and create opportunities that many times I wish were available to me.
- Eyeshadow Palettes – $19.99
- Liquid Lipstick – $9.99
- Lip Gloss – $9.99
- Mink Lashes – $11.99
Address: P.O Box 2833
- Website: www.yardiecosmetics.com
- Phone: 770-268-1248
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @yardiecosmetics
- Facebook: Yardie Cosmetics
- Twitter: Yardie Cosmetics LLC
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Quanesha Watkins- Model
Shashu Lawson- Model
The Great Designs- Photographer
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Joanna Platano- Mua