By Ebimo Amungo
Sharon Chuter is the Nigerian-born founder of UOMA Beauty who has made a big impact in the the beauty industry in since launching her enterprise on Thu, Apr 25 2019 at Neuehouse, Los Angeles, CA. Since then, Sharon Chuter has steered her venture through a Covid 19 disrupted year from Los Angeles and London and made global headlines when she called for more representation for Blacks in the fashion and beauty industry through her Pull Up initiative,
On that day, Uoma Beauty, was launched with 51 shades of foundation right out of the gate.
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The beauty entrepreneur was tired of the one-size-fits-all mantra in the industry, so she did something about it and created her makeup brand designed for “misfits” that features 51 inclusive foundation shades in six different skin families.
Since its launch, Sharon Chuter has made Uoma Beauty, one of the hottest new makeup brands in the world as she took her brand from concept to production in 14 months — an unheard of timeline in the beauty industry.
Listed by WWD as one of the 50 most forward-thinking executives shaping the future of the beauty industry, Sharon Chuter, is a rebel with a cause and on a mission to go off the well beaten path to redefine the rules of inclusivity and diversity.
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A visionary and seasoned beauty industry executive, Sharon has had a career that has spanned multiple continents and has worked with major multinational beauty and consumer brands including Revlon, L’Oréal, PepsiCo, GSK and most recently Benefit Cosmetics.
As the creative director of UOMA Beauty, Sharon has taken a very hands-on approach to create a makeup range that is forward thinking, radical and uncompromising. She draws inspiration from her African heritage and infuses it with fierce modernity to create a truly fresh aesthetic.
Sharon Chuter journey ventured into beauty entrepreneurship by chance as she had hoped to be a musician. In an interview with MAKEUP.COM she disclosed that she was once an academic.
“I actually started as an academic, and then became a musician, and from there I stumbled into beauty by accident. I wanted to become an entrepreneur, but I wasn’t ready — so I worked with everybody — at L’Oréal, LVMH. I also have a background working at Pepsico and in pharmaceuticals in between that. Before UOMA, I was at Benefit Cosmetics at LVMH. It was a great position, I was under 30 in an executive position as a woman of color. But I just found that I changed a lot in that gap where I wasn’t working in beauty — I saw the relationship between profit and ethics. I was intrigued by the concept of sacrificing profit to do what’s ethical. That really resonated with me to my core.”
UOMA – pronounced OMA (uh-mah) means beautiful was founded to re-write the rules of inclusivity and diversity to create a world of beauty that truly is for all of us.
Apart from calling for more options for black beauty product users, , the beauty entrepreneur has been calling out the beauty industry’s lack of representation of people of color and especially of black people but to no real avail.
Pull Up or Shut Up Campaign,
In the wake of the killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis, Sharon Chuter created the Pull Up or Shut Up Campaign, a public forum on Instagram in response to the Black Lives Matter movement that challenges beauty brands to share the percentages of black employees at their headquarters and on their executive leadership teams.
View this post on Instagram
Dear Brands – Thank you for the public statements of support for the black community. Whereas we understand and appreciate the support, be conscious that to piggy back off a trending hashtag when you have been and continue to be a part of the problem is once again appropriating and exploiting the black community. So we ask all brands who have released a statement of support, to publicly release within the next 72hrs the number of black employees they have in their organisations at corporate level. We also need to know the number of black people you have in leadership roles. You all have statements and policies about being equal opportunity employers, so show us the proof! PULL UP or SHUT UP! #pulluporshutup @pullupforchange
According to the UOMA Beauty founder, only 8% of people employed in white collar professions are black, and only 3.2% of those folks are in executive or senior management level roles, despite the fact that black adults account for 13% of the U.S. population and college-educated black adults make up 10% of the population.
After she posted her video, a plethora of brands have come through with their stats. Kylie Cosmetics reported that their staff is 13% Black, and 47% Bi-racial people of color. The big powerhouse ULTA reported 18% Blackboard members and 13% Black executive team leaders, while Sephora reported 45% people of color in corporate offices, with 6% being Black. L’Oreal, a self-proclaimed company for multicultural women, reported 7% in corporate positions and 8% at the executive level is black.