After launching UOMA beauty at LOOKFANTASTIC, we caught up with founder Sharon Chuter to share her brand story and her experiences as a black female entrepreneur. As a pioneer of inclusivity, Sharon spoke about her mission to make the world of beauty a place where everyone feels welcome and celebrated. Discover our exclusive interview where Sharon tells all.
- Q What is the inspiration behind your brand?
- A I knew I wanted to do something when I found myself complaining all the time – I am a big believer in “talk is cheap” and “be the change you want to see”. We all complain about the things we are not happy with, but no one is prepared to risk it all to be part of the solution. This is why I embarked on this journey. I’ve put it all on the line and hope that I play a small part in making the world a better place – a place where women who look like me understand that they are truly beautiful and have the courage to explore that from the outside in. We feel beautiful when we are confident and are genuinely at peace with ourselves; women are unstoppable. Every person deserves to have that feeling of being enough, being worthy, being beautiful. It is quite a liberating feeling.
- Q How did you come up with the name ‘UOMA’?
- A UOMA means beautiful in Igbo-- a Nigerian dialect. Our brand allows you to be your truest, ultimate self—THAT’S beautiful. UOMA Beauty is about Freedom! Freedom of authentic self-expression. That’s what beauty means to me. To be free to be me – with or without makeup or all the bits that we add. Unapologetically me. No filter, no compromise.
- Q What sets your brand apart from other cosmetics brands in the market?
- A We are ethical disruptors. We are authentic, we are inclusive, we are unapologetic. We celebrate our heritage whilst being available and inclusive to every single person. We take our moral standpoint and ethics very seriously. We don’t follow, we lead. We aren’t afraid to make mistakes. I think our customers see that and love us for it.
- Q What are your 3 favourite UOMA products?
- A Say What?! Foundation - I'm Brown Sugar! Badass Icon Matte Lipstick range Black Magic Color Palettes
- Q How would you describe your experiences in the beauty industry as a black female entrepreneur?
- A I have to note that my experience is not typical. I had the advantage of being in the industry beforehand, pitching to retailers for 13 years before I presented to ULTA. This is not something that is true for most black founders. My experience was really good. I met ULTA by chance at an event. I met David (the CMO, who I didn’t know at the time) and he introduced me to his team members and then I was invited to pitch at their HQ.
- Q What are the benefits of UOMA beauty products?
- A At UOMA we believe that if you're going to wear 12 hours of gorgeous makeup, it better be working for you and we know that different skin tones have different needs - so why create a one-size fits all formula?! Our Say What?! Foundation is formulated with skin-loving ingredients to address the most common skin concerns in each shade range. For example, our White Pearl formula, for very fair skin tones is formulated with microalgae extracts to relieve sensitive skin and help reduce inflammation and redness - a common skin concern for this shade range. Our Brown Sugar formula, for brown skin, is formulated with Woolly Thistle extract known to help control and regulate pigmentation to address hyperpigmentation which is a common skin concern in this shade range.
- Q What’s next for UOMA?
- A With UOMA Beauty, I want to continue to disrupt the industry. To really become a truly global home for all. Where we enjoy and share from our heritage and bond over our differences. We are not a beauty brand, we are a movement. I hope to see more people inspired to create new brands and share more cultural stories. I want to see an Indian makeup brand in the beauty hall where I can go to and enjoy a new perspective of beauty. My hope is that in 10 years' time, when we walk into a beauty hall, we can see brands from all over the world each sharing their authentic views of beauty.
Discover the full range of UOMA beauty products at LOOKFANTASTIC.
Writer and expert
Life motto: 'There's no such thing as too many beauty products'