Sustainable cosmetics are hot within the beauty industry, but the eco niche has a notable blind spot when it comes to serving a broad range of skin tones. LAMIK Beauty creates vegan products for Black women, a demographic that spends 80 percent more on cosmetics than other women, but only receives 10 percent of retail shelf space.
Founder & CEO Kim Roxie started LAMIK Beauty in 2004 after discovering that 75 percent of the products marketed to WOC were toxic. The 21-year-old, Clark Atlanta University student was appalled to find so few healthy options that she began developing her own vegan formulas in the kitchen of her apartment. With a $500 investment from her mother, she started selling her original cosmetics at Sharpstown Mall in Houston and collaborating with a retired Estee Lauder chemist. After graduating from college, Roxie also earned an esthetician license.
Since then, LAMIK, which stands for “love and makeup in kindness,” has built a loyal, national following. The top five cities where its customers live are Houston, Atlanta, New York, Dallas, and Chicago. The brand has been featured in Hello Beautiful, Essence, Allure, Cosmopolitan, and the Houston Chronicle. BET noted that LAMIK was one of the top eight Black-owned, beauty brands in the country.
For four years, Roxie scored a major distribution coup, when her foundations, eye shadows, and lip glosses sold at Macy’s stores in Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia. In 2017, she won $25K in the Keys to Success Pitch Contest, plus a $25K bonus. Houston Business Journal named her a 40 Under 40 honoree in 2019. Each year, both the brand and its founder keep racking up win after win.
In 2018, after running a successful boutique in the River Oaks area of Houston for a long time, Roxie decided to transition her business from being a brick-and-mortar retailer into an online one. She soft launched a test version of her online store in 2018 and used 2019 to develop her ecommerce strategy at accelerator programs in Austin, Silicon Valley, and San Diego. “In every accelerator, I was the only black woman there, and it never bothered me,” she told Houston Business Journal.
Roxie was supposed to launch her online store officially at SXSW 2020, but the pandemic had other plans. When SXSW was canceled, she took it in stride. “My biggest lesson is to stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready!” she says.
Despite the unexpected roadblock, the CEO decided to proceed with the LAMIK 2.0 launch, because she was excited about the new functionality her team had created. The revamped site includes an AI-enabled version of her Celebrity Brow Kit that allowed users to try on different shades virtually. The makeup recommendation widget has been a big hit with customers, and Roxie is excited because the tool allows her to bring her beauty expertise to more people, as if she were their personal beauty counter adviser.
As she grew her business, Roxie also became deeply committed to breast cancer awareness and prevention after her mother died from the disease. She is the founding chair of the African-American Women’s Initiative at The Rose Foundation. She has raised $300,000 to help the nonprofit give uninsured Black women access to cancer screenings, diagnostics, and treatment.
Founded in 2004
Based in Houston, TX