A message from Bristles Beauty co-founder, Bri:
During these tumultuous times I, like so many others, have been spending a lot of time listening and learning more about the racism and discrimination that has continued to plague our world.
I have always stood against racism and have taken action to stand against it in several ways in my personal life over the years and will continue to support and demand equality for BPOC and others facing discrimination. Black lives matter. And with the ongoing atrocities that plague our communities -- including, but not limited to, racial discrimination, racially-charged police violence, and systemic racism -- I have turned my focus on how to take action as a small business. I see the demands of consumers, myself among them, to know the percentages of black employees held at any given company and especially the number of those in executive positions.
Bristles Beauty is super small right now, but as it grows I want to be able to be proud and know that we have always stood for equality and taken action to support Black people and others who face discrimination. Being that we are a two-person team and that it is just myself and my mother running the company, we have yet to be able to make any outside hires. However, in my past position as an Account Executive and business manager for the Canadian branch of an international beauty brand, I have always actively hired a diverse cast of team members, including BPOC, and will do the same for Bristles Beauty when we get there.
As two Caucasian women, my mom and I recognize the inherent privilege we have as white women. We want to make sure that the values we hold ourselves translate into Bristles Beauty, too, and that we use our privilege to bolster issues that matter.
Right now, what that means is committing ourselves to take action in the ways that we can as a small start-up, some that have taken place since our inception and some new:
- A diverse PR list: Since our inception, I have cultivated and continue to grow a PR list of talented artists and have been committed to ensuring that all different skin tones are represented, with a focus on a diverse number of POC. I will continue this going forward while also committing to finding more LGBTQ+ artists who are interested in collaborating with us.
- Donating: On behalf of Bristles Beauty, I have set up monthly donations to four different Canadian or local organizations that promote and support actions we believe in, all of which are LGBTQ+ friendly. Although small now, I hope to be able to grow the donation amounts as Bristles Beauty grows. I hope to also be able to provide a built-in donation method on our store in the future. I encourage you to look up the organizations yourself:
- Black Lives Matter Toronto, blacklivesmatter.ca - Donations go to the operating budget of Black Lives Matter Toronto, which actively works to liberate blackness and to dismantle state-sanctioned oppression, violence, and brutality committed against Black populations in Toronto.
- Native Women’s Resource Centre of Toronto, nwrct.ca - Supports and provides a safe environment for Aboriginal women and children through their main programs of Housing, Advocacy, Families, Employment, Education, and Youth.
- Covenant House Toronto, covenanthousetoronto.ca - Provides care for youth experiencing homelessness or sex trafficking. Donations help provide meals, beds, health care, skill-building, and housing to homeless and at-risk youth.
- Rainbow Railroad, rainbowrailroad.org - A Canadian-based organization that helps members of the LGBTQI community across the world escape state-sponsored violence by planning, funding, and executing passages to safety in new homes where they will be free from persecution.
- Amplifying voices and maintaining diversity: As we grow as a brand, I will actively seek models with diverse backgrounds, including those who identify as BPOC, POC, and/or LGBTQ+. Right now we do not hire models, but as that changes, I have committed myself and Bristles Beauty to uphold diversity in all hiring. As of right now, I am actively searching for those on our PR list willing to provide content for our website and social media which shows our brushes being used on their features, to show off a diverse range of eye shapes and different skin tones. (If you’re interested, please shoot us a DM!) I am also working on other projects that I hope will help to amplify diverse voices within the beauty community, and hope to share more on them soon.
If you can think of any other ways for small businesses and beauty businesses in general to actively stand for equality, I’d love to hear from you! You can even send me an email at email@example.com.
Accountability is so important when it comes to diversity and I want the consumers of my brand to know that I hold myself accountable to display diversity within my brand. To continue to find new ways to do so. It’s been a conundrum to decide whether or not to even write such a statement as this -- being how minuscule of a brand we are at the moment. I have asked myself questions like, “Will this be seen as band-wagoning?”, “Am I doing enough?”, “Do our followers want to hear this from us right now?”, “Does this add to the conversation in a meaningful way?”, “Does this place focus on what matters?”
In the end, I thought to the other posts I’ve been seeing on social media, the issues I have continued to be invested in, how others have been helping and how that has spurred more and more conversations and action; and so I decided it is better to speak up and show what Bristles Beauty stands for -- and how we’re standing for it -- in hopes to encourage you to continue to look at the brands you purchase from and the artists you support and to hold them and yourself accountable for ensuring that Black people and others who face discrimination are represented, amplified, and heard.