Hi Ofunne! Can you tell us a little bit about Cocoa Swatches and what you do?
Cocoa Swatches is a platform that allows women with underrepresented complexions to find makeup products that work for them. I swatch the latest makeup products and share the photos through a mobile app in an easy-to-use directory format. I also use social media to share curated makeup content with the community.
How did you come up with the idea for your company and validate it in the market?
After working as a fashion and beauty blogger in my spare time, I noticed how difficult it was to find makeup products that I actually liked. Upon entering grad school, I came up with the idea to crowdsource makeup swatches on Instagram: to obtain swatches of the latest makeup products and have them all in one place. After seeing such a positive response to the page, I decide to expand on the idea and turn the concept into a mobile app.
When we think of makeup, tech may not be the first thing to come to mind, but your app is making waves! What are some tech-related challenges you’ve faced in the beauty industry and how did you conquer them?
Some of the tech-related challenges definitely include trying to bridge the gap between having a great idea and bringing that to life through code. Although I had worked in the tech industry previously, I had no idea where or how to start creating an app. I had to do a lot of research to find resources that would allow me to create the app without completely starting from scratch or learning how to code from scratch. It’s been an uphill battle, and I’ve had to get comfortable with being scrappy and always being ready with a Plan B.
Additionally, trying to introduce a new platform into the beauty industry has been a challenge. I’ve really tried to work hard on messaging and PR to attract partnerships and clients to work with and to make the brand better and stronger.