Ladies We Love: Emeka Anyanwu, Founder of A’me-kə
I recently announced on Instagram an exciting new partnership with A’me-kə, an online retailer of cosmetic, haircare, skincare, bath and body, and male grooming brands - all made with melanin in mind. The Founder, Emeka Anyanwu shares her inspiration for launching the brand, drops gems for entrepreneurs that are also working a 9-5, and even gives the scoop on what’s next for A’me-kə (which includes pop ups!). Read on for the tea.
LL: What (or who) inspired you to launch A'me-kə?
EA: Several things inspired me to launch A’me-kə.
I was inspired by the success and trailblazing of Rihanna and Fenty Beauty, Pat McGrath and Pat McGrath Labs, Wuzzam Supa and The Crayon Case, Mahisha Dellinger and Curls, Jesseca Dupart and Kaleidoscope Hair Products, Richelieu Dennis and Shea Moisture, Tristan Walker and Bevel, and so many others! I was inspired by my beautiful, inside and out, family members, friends, associates, colleagues, celebrities and public figures I stand for, and even those I follow or have friended on social media. I was inspired by my passion for wanting to see Black people excel and flourish, and finding ways I can contribute to those efforts.
I was inspired by the shared experiences of attempting to shop for beauty products only to find that the product selection, service, and expertise were lacking; specifically, one can assume because of the color of our skin or the texture of our hair. The experience of not being able to find the product we need, or having the wrong foundation color “matched” to us, or having a salesperson avoid us or direct us to a salesperson that looks more like us, or only shopping in certain stores on certain days when we know certain salespeople will be on duty for certain.
I was inspired by the fact that despite the fact that we as Black people come in so many different, beautiful shades of melanin with so many different textures of hair and styling of our hair, the product selection is often so limited for us. I was inspired by the fact that despite the fact that we as Black people over-index (meaning a higher percentage than the percentage of the population we make up in this country) in our contribution to revenue in all of the segments of the beauty industry, the product selection is often so limited for us.
I was inspired by the answer to my question, “Well should more of us get into the business to make products for ourselves?” turning out to be “There are a lot of us making products specifically for us.” Or as I like to say with A’me-kə, Brands MADE WITH MELANIN IN MIND. As opposed to the mainstream brands playing catch up after seeing the success of brands like Fenty Beauty, The Crayon Case, and Shea Moisture. I was inspired by the fact that so many of these Black-Owned Make-Up and Beauty Brands (or as I call them BOMBs) are made of natural ingredients; like Bask & Bloom, Liplove, OBIA Naturals, Omolewa Cosmestics, OOO Polish, and Scotch Porter. This discovery was especially timely as more and more research continues to bring to light how detrimental to our health the chemicals in many of the brands we grew up using are.
I was inspired by what felt like back-to-back articles and social media posts celebrating Black-owned beauty brands being sold in mainstream grocery stores. I was inspired by the thoughts and questions that soon followed. Well, why is this such a big deal? Why isn’t this commonplace in 2019? Why is it that spaces where we spend our money, over-indexing in our contribution to revenue in the beauty industry, are just now coming around to providing more shelf space for brands we are creating to meet our unique needs? What if we had our own space where we know there will be product selection and expertise behind the brands that will meet our unique needs because they were MADE WITH MELANIN IN MIND?
That space is A’me-kə!
LL: How do you balance your day job and your business? Any advice for women who are doing the same?
EA: Time management is key!
I use Google Calendar for all of my appointments, meetings, and events. Everything is color-coded! I have different colors for meetings at work, appointments for my business, and each organization I may have regular events and/or meetings for. I use yellow for my fun events with family and friends!
When I am really busy, or if I have been pushing a task off for too long, I will make an appointment on my calendar to complete the task. Otherwise, I find Wunderlist to be a great app/website for managing my to-do list. It’s free and syncs on your phone and online. I use separate lists for different areas of my life and try to always put a due date on the tasks. The due dates allow you to use the feature that shows a list of tasks to complete today and each day of the current week. Every morning and evening I try to review the list for today, tomorrow, and the week.
At work, I utilize the calendar, flag, and task functions of Outlook for my work to-do list and schedule. I manage those in much the same way I manage my personal Google Calendar and to-do list on Wunderlist.
LL: What’s next for A'me-kə?
EA: When A’me-kə launched on April 4, 2019, the first BOMB List was released. This is the list of Black-owned make-up and beauty brands sold by A’me-kə. The plan is to continue to release BOMB Lists with new Black-owned brands that are added to the offering at A’me-kə!
Additionally, A’me-kə will be creating in-person experiences for brands, stylists, artists, and consumers to come together to connect, engage with, and pour into each other in such a way that together we create self-affirming spaces with the intention of helping each other thrive and flourish in beauty, business, and life!
LL: What advice would you give to your 12 year old self?
EA: I would tell 12-year-old Emeka that her physical features that look different from her peers in her new private school setting, is what makes her unique and beautiful. Even if she is not invited to certain parties, or overhears a joke about one of those beautiful features (specifically the fullness of her lips), do not let that make her shrink. She is beautiful inside and out. And in fact, she won’t learn this until she takes Igbo in college, but her name comes from Chukwuemeka (her father’s middle name). Its phonetic spelling is A’me-kə, and it means “God has done great!” And He did great when he created her just the way she is!
LL: What are your favorite go to beauty products right now?
EA: Right now, for my hair, I’m loving OBIA Naturals’ Neem Tea Tree Shampoo Bar and Curls’ Cashmere + Caviar Hair Gelle. For skincare, I’m using Bask & Bloom Essentials’ Skin Care Essentials Line, which includes the Purifying Face Cleanser, Balancing Toner, and Vibrant Radiance Facial Cream. On my nails, OOO Polish (which is 10-FREE!!). Finally, for make-up, Fenty Beauty’s Lip Paint, MAC’s Toast and Butter lipstick, Beauty Bakerie Coffee & Cocoa Palette, and Omolewa Cosmetics’ Photogenic Powder and new line of Lady Boss Glosses. And of course, Liplove in Dulce!