Celebrating Women’s History Month: Nyakio Grieco

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“Living in my purpose.” That is how Nyakio Grieco describes her beauty journey.

As co-founder of the Kenyan-inspired, independent brand Nyakio, Nyakio Grieco always looks to the past and future while grounded in the present.

Launched in 2002, after graduating from the University of Oklahoma, where her father was head of African Studies, Nyakio incorporated some of the “beauty secrets” passed down from her grandmother, such as an exfoliant made from Kenyan coffee beans and sugar cane. The line was expanded to include a variety of oils and balms and then sold to Unilever in 2017. Expanding from e-tailer to retailer, Nyakio is now a premium brand at Target stores.

During the Covid pandemic of 2020, she founded thirteen lune, a retail platform for beauty brands created by people of color for people from all ethnic backgrounds. They incorporate the 90/10 Rule in that 90% of their brands will always be from Black and Brown-owned and founded companies.

Motivated by the death of George Floyd and the formation of the Black Lives Matter movement of 2020, the purpose of thirteen lune is not just to create and provide beauty products but to foster opportunities for generational wealth in the Black and Brown communities.

After a test launch in 2021 in 10 J.C. Penney Department Stores, which has undergone a bold re-imagining in recent years, thirteen lune will be a store within a store. Celebrating “The Beauty of Inclusion” Black- and Brown-owned, independent brands will get broad exposure at thirteen lune. What began with 13 brands has now grown to a collection of nearly 140 different lines. “These creator-producers bring a lot of talent to the table and contribute a lot. I want consumers to see themselves in the shops and products presented.”

Being a beauty founder is not for the faint of heart. Growing an idea, sourcing capital, late-night concerns are all part of it, but Nyakio states that every challenge makes her better able to solve the next crisis. She has looked to IBA to enhance her product knowledge, participate in webinars, and network with other independent beauty leaders.

“These are challenging times, and inclusion can help bring us all together,” Nyakio added.

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