BrainTrust today announced the launch of its new Founders Studio, led by Kendra Bracken-Ferguson. This tech-enabled community platform was designed for the specific needs of Black beauty and wellness founders who are redefining the future of Black entrepreneurship. Nine out of ten Black founders lack investment and working capital as well as access to opportunities available for many non-Black founders. The Founders Studio’s transformative ecosystem will create inclusive economic opportunities for Black beauty and wellness founders, increase business performance, build sustainable pathways for growth, and unleash millions of dollars in untapped revenue from diverse consumers. Founders Studio has secured over $100 million in soft value from corporate partners that will help solve critical business needs, provide marketing resources, and supply financial growth tools to support the founders. Corporate partners include JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce, Afterpay, BeautyUnited, Clearco, and SHE Media.
Kendra Bracken-Ferguson, Founder of BrainTrust and Founders Studio and a three-time founder herself, has seen firsthand how a lack of access to formal resources creates roadblocks to success for Black founders. Her many years of brand building and expertise in all facets of the beauty and wellness business have given her a unique perspective within the industry. Serving as a mentor and advisor to countless founders led her to develop Founders Studio as a more scalable way to help thousands of Black founders change the paradigm within the $500 billion global beauty and wellness industry.
“BrainTrust Founders Studio will forever alter the industry through its support of today’s Black beauty and wellness leaders with the vital resources and collaborations they need to propel their brands to the next level—and beyond,” said Ms. Bracken-Ferguson. “Whether I am building a brand with Halle Berry, Super Dope Q, or Micha Brown, the same capital, resources, support, and knowledge are needed. It is the braintrust of advisors, coaches, and mentors that will ultimately be the catalyst for sustained success. This community is built on the ideas that collaboration breeds creativity and that success for one leads to success for all.”
As part of this ecosystem, the tech-enabled platform will match participating founders with supporting resources and relevant partners and advisors to create high-value branded product companies. Corporate launch partners will offer everything from mentorship and expertise to access to capital. For example, JPMorgan Chase, which supports local communities to ensure that entrepreneurship, innovation, and commerce thrive, will provide professional financial guidance, wealth management, investor support, and funding. Afterpay will provide payment solutions, expertise in retail-focused financial strategies, and marketing support across various channels.
Gloria Chang Yip, Executive Director, J.P. Morgan Private Bank Los Angeles, said, “We are thrilled to partner with BrainTrust Founders Studio to support minority-owned, diverse businesses as they grow and create an even greater impact on the fabric of our economy. Whether the company is at an early stage venture, raising its first round of capital, or a unicorn about to go public, JPMorgan Chase supports companies and their founders at every stage of growth.”
The platform will launch with 25 inaugural beauty and wellness founders, with new founders invited to join in January. Launch founders include Brown Girl Jane’s Tai Beauchamp, CurlMix’s Kim Lewis, Lauren Napier Beauty’s Lauren Napier, and Charbon Plus’s Lucien Aymerick Eloundou.
Lauren Napier’s own experience as a founder attests to why BrainTrust Founders Studio will change the paradigm for other Black beauty and wellness founders. She said, “Despite having an established, 20-year career in the beauty industry, I was still denied funding, even with great credit. So, I launched my first business, Lauren Napier Beauty, with my tax refund and a credit card—and then grew that brand to retail in 22 countries across the globe.” She added, “The reason that BrainTrust Founders Studio is so timely and critical is that the generational wealth that allows significant levels of funding from friends, family, and networks is simply not as widely available to most Black founders due to systemic economic oppression, lack of confidence in Black and women founders, and flat-out bias. Today, I am expanding my currently successful business into a new venture to elevate a community, a platform, and products that serve the needs of Black consumers and beyond. That support, coupled with lessons learned and experience gained from my first business, will help support the next phase of building my new company.”
For more information on BrainTrust Founders Studio and for a complete list of inaugural founders, please visit BrainTrustFoundersStudio.com.
About BrainTrust Founders Studio
BrainTrust Founders Studio is a membership-based, tech-enabled community platform that helps beauty and wellness founders start new brands, supports existing founders who are ready for growth and invests in subsequent founders who are primed for acceleration and follow-on capital. Whether you are starting, growing, or at the point of acceleration, BrainTrust Founders Studio provides an ecosystem of community, education, mentorship, and capital to support your business needs.
LAUNCH CORPORATE PARTNERS:
JPMorgan Chase & Co.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.7 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at www.jpmorganchase.com.
About Afterpay Limited
Afterpay Limited (ASX: APT) is transforming the way we pay by allowing customers to buy products immediately and pay for their purchases over four installments, always interest-free. The service is completely free for customers who pay on time - helping people spend responsibly without incurring interest or extended debt1.. As of June 30, 2021, Afterpay is offered by nearly 100,000 of the world’s favorite retailers and has nearly 20 million customers in North America alone2.
Afterpay is currently available in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Spain, where it is known as Clearpay. Afterpay is on a mission to power an economy in which everyone wins.
1Late fees may apply. Eligibility criteria apply. See afterpay.com for full terms.
2 Results announced in FY21 stated US customers who have signed up to use Afterpay
BeautyUnited provides education and access to support the next generation of beauty and wellness leaders. The goal of BeautyUnited is to make our industry a more diverse and inclusive place. The industry currently employs 3% BIPOC. BeautyUnited aims to move that to 15% and beyond.
Clearco offers the most founder-friendly capital solutions for e-commerce, mobile apps, and SaaS founders as well as access to a powerful global network, insights and data, and recommendations. Clearco is a trusted network of founders for funders.
As a top 10 lifestyle media network, reaching over 80M monthly visitors and part of Penske Media Corporation (PMC), SHE Media focuses on the power of content to move our culture forward through the celebration of passion and purpose. We believe that media companies can and should be a force for good in the world. Comprised of a community of creators and hand-picked publishers within the SHE Media Partner Network and the flagship brands, SheKnows, BlogHer, STYLECASTER and Soaps, we produce digital and live media content that connects and inspires millions.
Salesforce.org powers the purpose of those dedicated to solving our world’s biggest problems. A global community of nonprofits and educational institutions rely on our technology to help them operate effectively, raise funds, and build more meaningful relationships with those they serve. With their guidance, we build innovative tools and solutions that enable the critical, cross-sector, collaborative problem solving needed to change the world — together — one relationship at a time.
Carabiner Group is a team of trusted advisors and certified consultants who make Salesforce easy for clients across all industries. We collaborate with partners from start to finish, delivering scalable solutions and developing effective strategies on the cutting edge of the Salesforce ecosystem.
A community and storytelling agency founded by Soho House alumni, Jennifer Pauline will serve as a strategic partner for Community Relations and Programming for BrainTrust Founders Studio.