This article originally appeared here.
Combining the educational, entrepreneurial and beauty know-how of its two co-founders, INC Beauty (INC standing for It’s Not Complicated) emerged on the North Texas scene with a mission to help educate not only the next generation of makeup artists and hair stylists, but also to empower clients with style and confidence.
Launched in mid-2018, co-founders Gia McCloud and Jay Veal, created INC Beauty, an on-demand beauty service startup, to help customers create customized looks and give them tips on the best products to fit their skin type and style. And despite the Covid-19 pandemic closing the doors of many salons, INC Beauty is rolling out new services and looking to expand its team.
“We pretty much provide job opportunities for the beauty professionals. In addition, we bring the education to the consumers and the makeup artists without having them going to the stores to gain knowledge,” McCloud told NTX Inno.
Part of the inspiration for the startup came to McCloud, who has worked in the beauty industry for years with companies like Estee Lauder, Anastasia Beverly Hills and Chella Beauty, while attending a beauty training course where only one of the numerous models was a Black model. She had also notice at many salons and beauty retailers there was a lack of women of color to help customers with their specific needs. She said the other week she was at a local mall where there were no Black makeup artists — so she had to call a friend for advice on the right product.
“Although I went to the class and I got knowledge, I just said, ‘Hey we can do this on our own. I love meeting new celebrity artists that that work with multiple brands, but we can do this on our own.’ We know educators that are working for these companies that are not getting recognized, that are producing numbers, so why not have them be our educators for our company and produce a relationship. The revenue will come, but the relationship is what’s going to continue to grow our business,” McCloud said. “I noticed in beauty, I see more Black artists that are starting their own business, and going back to the representation, they’re not getting that, they’re not getting hired at the jobs and I don’t know why, and it really hurts to not know why.”
In response, INC Beauty looks to bring on stylist and artists, training them not only in products, skin types and techniques, but also on how to successfully run their own business. The company then allows customers to hire them to come perform custom stylings. Unlike many other beauty brands, INC’s focus is on generations older than millennials, as well as women who have survived cancer, domestic violence and sex trafficking. While getting their makeover, INC’s stylists teach customers what products to use and how to use them, to get rid of the problem many have of not being able to recreate a style after leaving a salon.
“There’s a lot of organizations and companies within the beauty space that really kind of focus on millennial down, so we wanted to put on the forefront the end of millennial and up, so women can understand that even though they are a little bit older, they are still able to exemplify their beauty and enhance themselves, and feel good about themselves and enhance their confidence,” Veal told Inno.
Overall, McCloud said she sees her mission at INC Beauty to not only help fellow Black entrepreneurs, but also help people feel better about themselves, something she saw in the work ethic of her grandmother who was a well trained hairstylist.
“My goal… is just to make women feel good. I just want to continue to be an educator. I come from a family of entrepreneurs in the beauty industry and I just remember how when my aunt used to design clothes… they always felt good in what she dressed them in. So that’s the goal in how I feel with my clients… or anything that we do,” McCloud said.
Now, with the pandemic, INC has been pivoting some of its services online. The company is offering online one-on-one live tutorial sessions and pre-recorded webinars on different products and styles. It’s also planning on rolling out a cosmetic delivery service and mobile app in the near future.
The pandemic has also created a need for more jobs in the beauty industry, as clientele has dropped amid safety concerns. McCloud said they have received a number of requests, especially in the Houston area, for their service to help out-of-work stylists connect with more clients. She said the company is looking to expand its brand to that region soon.
“With Covid-19, a lot of our customers they can’t go out and have someone match them or even have help with what foundations and which skincare product that are right for them,” McCloud said. “We make it convenient for the everyday woman, for a professional who is probably doing webinars right now, who don’t have the time to do their makeup. We make it convenient and not complicated to provide you service… and wholly educating you.”
INC Beauty is part of the INC family of brands, which also includes INC Education, an educational company that looks to support students of color with tutoring from Black educators, as well as the recently created Black Tutors of Social Media, which is seeking to create a resource for people to connect with Black-owned educational services. However, Veal notes that all of INC’s services are open to people of all races and walks of life. Veal leads INC Education, which recently announced it would be opening a second headquarters in Atlanta, as part of an expansion there and in the Charlotte markets. As he moves the company to Atlanta, INC Beauty will also be looking to expand its services there.
The company currently has five employees, with plans to bring on two more in the coming weeks. Veal said it is planning to have 10 to 15 employees by the end of Q3. So far, the company has been bootstrapped, but is eyeing potential angel funding as it looks to roll out its mobile app.
“We want and need Dallas to see that you can come to an organization like ours to get your cosmetics. You can come to get trained on running your own business in the beauty industry, you can come to us for aesthetics, you can come to us for advice, you can come to us for comfort. All these things, you can come to one organization and be able to feel good at the end of the day that you have two people who are running the ship who are masters of their craft in two different industries for one purpose,” Veal said.