Project Beauty Expo, a trade show featuring beauty and wellness products for and created by women of color, held its fourth annual event in Los Angeles this past weekend.
The show featured over 30 brands, aspiring entrepreneurs and beauty enthusiasts of color. All had an opportunity to engage with CEOs from major brands such as Target, Shopify, Hue Noir and more.
There were also over 40 minority-owned companies in attendance including Black Girl Sunscreen, Eden, and Tress -- brands that specifically cater to the needs of people of color.
"This two-day festival is important because in the billion-dollar beauty industry there is no platform that provides women with the tools to prepare themselves to enter this market while also giving them an opportunity to be discovered," says Project Beauty Expo founder Brittany Brown.
Brown originally created this growing platform as a result of her own experience as a budding beauty entrepreneur. After attempting to launch a skin care brand in 2014 and participating in many trade shows, she quickly realized the lack of events geared toward smaller, independent brands.
"I lost tons of money trying to compete in the mass market of beauty and I didn't want other women and men to go through the same thing," says Brown.
She adds, "There are many disadvantages that people of color face and PBE helps to level the playing field."
Another integral component of Project Beauty Expo is the rich education provided during the event.
During the event there were workshops, panel discussions and private networking mixers for buyers, the press, influencers and brand founders.
Representatives from Target reviewed a roster of beauty brands that were later selected to conduct 15-minute on-site pitches.
"This was so perfect for me because I'm a small business and I feel like no other conference and networking event has spoken to where I'm at right now," said entrepreneur and attendee Ashley Jones. "I don't have the inventory yet to be at an Essence Festival or enough capital to engage influencers, so I need to know how I decipher through the clutter to get to that point."
"I hope attendees leave feeling inspired, empowered, seen, heard and realize they have a platform to look to for advice and business tips on navigating the beauty industry," says Brown.
Brown plans to make Project Beauty Expo bigger and better and expanded to different locations.