Desiree Rogers, the former CEO of Johnson Publishing which owned Fashion Fair Cosmetics for women of color, has just announced her next move as co-owner and CEO of the Black Opal beauty brand. After initially approaching the owners two years ago, Rogers (who also served as a White House social secretary under President Obama) and her longtime friend and now partner Cheryl Mayberry McKissack have finally sealed the deal to take over the Chicago-based company.
“This brand offers products that people of color believe are meant for them and is affordable,” says Rogers, who is eager to expand the men’s and skincare product offerings. “We will also add shades to our existing formulations that consumers have requested and feature highly pigmented colors that pop on the darkest of skin tones.” Now under the control of two African American businesswomen for the first time in its history, Black Opal will continue to be a mainstay product line among makeup artists working in television and film and for celebrities on and off the red carpet. “I first noticed the brand in makeup artist kits when I was having my makeup professionally done,” says Rogers. “It has also served people of color for over 25 years having been developed exclusively to tend to the specific skincare and makeup needs of this group.” We talked to Rogers about this next chapter for the cosmetic brand and learned what changes are ahead.
How do you plan to bring Black Opal into the future digitally with so much change in the industry in recent years?
We will not ignore the base that has supported this brand for over 25 years but will open up a dialogue with them. It has already started–I can’t wait for our consumers to see how their conversation is impacting the direction of the brand along with our vision to excite them with new products, makeup artistry and real faces behind the brand.
Things have obviously changed in the market since Black Opal was founded and many brands are now more inclusive in their shade offerings for people of all colors. How do you compete with those brands in this new climate?
It’s all in the quality of the products. The biggest advantage that Black Opal has is it’s formulations that are tried-and-true. The brand has been serving this consumer long before it was trendy. There are ingredients in these formulations that are just not being used by companies that are producing more shades. It is just not cost-effective for them. By focusing on only people of color, we are able to deliver, in my opinion, a superior product.
What are some of your favorite products from the brand?
I’m love the primer, foundation sticks and mascara.
What excites you the most about tackling this new project?
I am thrilled to partner with another black woman to lead this incredible brand into the future. We have also decided that our mission is to continue to supply high-quality skincare and makeup for people of color at an affordable price and do what we can to promote a message of financial independence.
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