JCPenney, Black Girl Ventures Foundation and Rare Beauty Brands Announce Winners of 2023 National Beauty Pitch Competition

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JCPenney, Black Girl Ventures Foundation (BGV) and Rare Beauty Brands (owners of Patchology and Dr. Dana Nails) are proud to announce the winners of the 2023 National Beauty Pitch Competition. The contest, founded in 2020 by BGV and Rare Beauty Brands, invites Black and Brown women-identifying founders in the beauty industry to compete for a grand prize that includes a $10,000 grant, retail distribution, mentorship with key executives at Rare Beauty Brands, additional capital from crowdfunding and more. This year’s winner is also awarded shelf space in select JCPenney Beauty stores.

Congratulations to this year’s winners:

  • First Place: Halima Hubbard, founder of Bath Notes
  • Second Place: Rachel Zeigler, founder of Naked Chemistry Skincare
  • Third Place: Keta Burke-Williams, founder of Ourside

JCPenney is proud to partner with Rare Beauty Brands and Black Girl Ventures to amplify Black and Brown women-founded and owned brands through this competition. In 2022, McKinsey & Company released a report detailing that Black-founded or Black-owned beauty brands are responsible for only 2.5 percent of revenue in the industry, yet Black consumers make up 11.1 percent of total spending in the space. This competition aims to bridge that gap while providing funding and shelf space to increase representation across the industry.

“One of the most exciting things about JCPenney Beauty is the way in which we’re able to discover and amplify new, diverse voices within the industry,” said Lisa Green, Vice President, Division Merchandise Manager at JCPenney. “It’s an honor to shine a light on these incredible founders and I am so thrilled for all the finalists from this year’s competition.”

The yearly competition is open to qualifying founders across the U.S. who generate revenue under $1 million. The program includes pitch practice, a live pitch competition, and a crowdfunding campaign. This year, the competition received 255 applications and seven founders were selected as finalists.

The seven finalists then competed in a pitch competition in front of a judging panel including Aishetu Fatima Dozie (founder of Bossy Beauty), Daren Curry (VP of Digital Acceleration at Rare Beauty Brands) and Leslie Roberson (founder of Black Beauty Collective). Viewers were able to “vote” by making financial contributions to each finalist’s crowdfunding campaign on Raisify. This year’s competition raised thousands of dollars for these founders, and all finalists will receive the money raised, regardless of where they placed.

“Participating in the Black Girl Ventures pitch competition with JCPenney and Rare Beauty Brands was a transformative experience,” said Halima Hubbard, founder of Bath Notes and winner of the 2023 National Beauty Pitch Competition. “With their guidance, I crafted a winning pitch, and now, I’m ready to seize the opportunity to scale my beauty brand to new heights.”

Stay tuned to see Bath Notes products on the shelves of JCPenney Beauty soon!

About the Winners

First Place: Halima Hubbard, Bath Notes

Born and raised in the city of Los Angeles, California, Halima Hubbard is a dedicated entrepreneur with a deep passion for wellness and beauty. Her journey began in the corporate beauty world, where she honed her skills and expertise for over eight years, including over six years of experience at Estee Lauder for iconic brands like Smashbox and GlamGlow.

However, it was during a simple moment of self-care that the seeds of her entrepreneurial venture, Bath Notes, were sown. As a mother of two beautiful daughters, she realized the importance of her “me-time,” especially during her challenging experience with anxiety. Those precious moments in the shower or bath became her sanctuary, a place to reflect, rejuvenate and even dream.

In 2020, amidst a world grappling with the weight of COVID-19, Halima decided to turn her passion into a purpose. Bath Notes was born, a brand that transcends mere beauty products. It became a haven, a holistic self-care experience for anyone seeking solace in turbulent times when spas and salons were shuttered.

Bath Notes isn’t just a beauty brand; it’s a heartfelt reminder to prioritize well-being and find inner peace, regardless of external circumstances. Through her entrepreneurial journey, Halima Hubbard seeks to inspire others to embrace self-care as a vital part of their lives, nurturing wellness, one bath at a time.

Second Place: Rachel Zeigler, founder of Naked Chemistry Skincare

Naked Chemistry is owned by Rachel Zeigler, an Aveda-trained cosmetologist, currently licensed in New York, California and North Carolina. A well-rounded cosmetologist, Rachel is experienced with caring for skin and hair and is also a hair removal expert. Rachel has studied what the skin needs to thrive naturally and is enthusiastic about creating sustainable and vegan products that nourish the skin inside and out while offering effective results. Rachel holds a bachelor’s degree in communications arts and is a proud alumna of Johnson C. Smith University located in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Third Place: Keta Burke-Williams, founder of Ourside

Inspired by a story from her mother, conversations with her sister and the belief that Black girls can create something of luxury for all, Keta Burke-Williams is introducing a new conversation into the fragrance industry through Ourside. Ourside is disrupting the $57B fragrance category through their unique offerings at the intersection of luxury, inclusivity and clean beauty. Prior to founding the brand while a student at Harvard Business School, Keta honed her skills at Kraft Heinz and Carnival Cruise Lines, where she led and transformed multimillion-dollar business units.

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