Interview with a beauty entrepreneur

I’m thrilled to introduce y’all to Geenie CEO Chana Ewing. She accomplished a nearly impossible feat by launching a beauty marketplace for women of color and raising from angel investors during the pandemic.

Within just a few months, she built a community with more than 400 members and 15 brands. 

(Photo by Luis Garcia)

Since I’m thinking a lot about community-driven projects these days, with regards to Des Femmes, I asked Ewing what she learned over the past year. 

“Geenie, in particular, is a space for underdog beauty creators and brands, which we didn’t expect when we started a year ago. Over the past year we’ve realized we’re becoming a discovery platform for content creators and indie brands,” she said. “We create zones and spaces for members to freely connect. Like having different rooms within your home, each with ongoing, consistent content.” 

She says Geneva is most useful for quasi-private conversations among Geenie’s creator members, while Instagram is useful for public broadcasting. 

“We treat Instagram like our own magazine, content goes up every single week. We have live events that we do called ‘Unpack with Us,’ a thread around beauty issues or topics. We also do iconic moments in beauty history and we talk about that,” Ewing said. “In any given month we’re trying to think about people who are typically not seen in that moment by the broader beauty industry.”

Ewing says intentional content and virtual meeting spaces are the two pillars of her e-commerce business.   

“People come seeking encouragement and feedback,” she said. “The more consistent you can be, the better. For example, we have virtual events twice a month.”

What do you want to ask Chana about building a community-driven business? Feel free to ask her questions in the comments!