As I spend my days reaching out to brands, deciding on app icons and all the many things that go into planning our launch, I sometimes forget why I was so determined to create Slapp in the first place. As it has so many elements: video, editorial and e-commerce it is surprisingly easy to forget what first fuelled this fire within me. Thankfully as the founder of Blush London, I get to go to press launches on a weekly basis and every few weeks (and sadly sometimes days,) I’m reminded of why Slapp is so essential.
Recently I attended a popular French skincare brand's ‘biggest launch of the year.’ The invite featured swatches of liquid makeup and I was super excited as I thought it was the launch of an extended range of shades, for their tinted moisturiser.
I attended their launch event last year and there was a BB type tint that sadly didn’t come in my shade. This is it, I thought. They’re jumping on the ‘all shades for everyone’ bandwagon and I’m going to finally get a chance to try it out. So I peeled myself away from my laptop and app development session and made the journey down to Soho. In I burst, excited to see the big reveal. The event was stunning and so much effort and investment had clearly gone into it: delicious canapés, refreshing elderflower mojitos (my fave) and a nutty professor type chap in the basement concocting chocolate flavoured blue ice cream. As soon as I entered, the immensely amiable PR bounded over to welcome me and introduce me to the new range. She was excited and so I was I; after all surely I wouldn’t have been invited to an event for something I couldn’t use?
As she proceeded to preach the product’s benefits: SPF, lightweight and complexion perfecting, she only had one negative thing to say… Unfortunately it wasn’t available in my skin tone. I was disappointed but unsurprised. For some reason I knew it was coming.
Sadly so many of the best skincare brands, Korean and French in particular, still don’t cater to my complexion. I understand that brands can’t create colours for every single shade, but they must understand that a generic ‘dark’ is better than a nothing.
As she continued to explain why ‘the laboratory were yet to create a shade for darker complexions’ and that they ‘were just testing it out to see how the product was received,’ I must admit I started to switch off. Instead, pondering on how they could conceivably ‘test it out’ on only two types of people’? Who’s to say that the fairer girls wouldn’t have hated it and the darker girls would have loved it? How can you create a light and medium and invite at least 20 brown bloggers and expect them just to accept that you didn’t want, or care, for them to buy it, but ‘would love for them to review it’.
As she rubbed the white formula into my hand and it failed to sink in, sitting on my skin like a slap in the face. I remembered why I started Slapp.
Even though so many great brands have really taken heed and realised that darker girls do have purchasing power- and we live in a global world where it’s no longer ok to resign us to hair shop makeup counters and MAC queues, there are still so many great brands that don’t. Please don’t get me wrong some of these brands that don’t cater to me, really are great. It just seriously upsets me that they deem my custom to be such a chore. Whatever happened to going the extra mile?
So when I see huge powerhouses like Boots attempt to berate Thandie Newton on Twitter for calling out the brands that don’t still cater to everyone, it only further proves that they’re massively missing the point. I have been to two press events this week, the first I received a gorgeously packaged foundation from a new brand I’ve been dying to try- Le Metier de Beaute– in my SpaceNk goody bag, only to discover when I got home that it was a shade number 2; whilst yesterday I was personally invited to an event to review a product for my magazine, that there was no way anyone who wasn’t white or a very fair olive could use. It is July 2016 and I am still made to feel like some kind of Leper because I was born with a rather lovely (if I do say so myself) natural tan.
The real reason for me writing this and the entire reason I am launching Slapp is because I want girls, whether they’re pale, fair, olive or dark skinned to be able to open my app and shop the brands that provide shades for them. Because we will only carry brands that cater to everyone. Brands that celebrate the beauty of everyone and brands that respect the roots of everyone. So here’s to September 2016, the launch of Slapp and to a time that looks very different from July 2016.