Adiya Dixon, founder and president, Yubi Beauty
Adiya Dixon Wiggins loves beauty rituals. It’s not just about looking good. It’s about feeling good. This was instilled in her at a very early age. “I grew up spending my summers with my grandmother in Northern New Jersey,” she said. Her grandmother had a beauty salon that was always packed with women. Women came in tired, worn out, and stressed. They left refreshed and rejuvenated.
“It was then that I realized the power of beauty,” said Dixon, founder and president of Yubi Beauty. As a working mother of two and an international counsel of a Fortune 1000 company, she started her day early and ended it late, and often had to travel. She had little time for the personal care and beauty rituals that she knew would lift her spirits.
“The beauty industry wasn’t meeting the needs of women.
“The beauty industry wasn’t meeting the needs of women,” she thought. “Something was fundamentally wrong.” Dixon combined her problem-solving skills — honed as a lawyer — with her fresh take on the beauty industry as a consummate outsider. Instead of focusing on makeup where big brands dominate the market, she would focus on makeup application tools. “I wanted to make it easier for busy women like myself to incorporate a beauty ritual into their routine,” she said. This segment of the market is highly fragmented.
The global market for makeup tools was $1.25 billion in 2018, according to technavia, a research and advisory company. The premium makeup tools segment is expected to drive the market upward.
Makeup application tools are supposed to facilitate makeup application, yet they were not taking the needs of busy women into account. The design of application tools was awkward and unhygienic. Little innovation had occurred since Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel ceiling, commented Dixon. Providing faster and easier ways to put on makeup would bring back the joyful experience of Dixon’s grandmother’s beauty salon and make beauty a daily ritual that fortified and strengthened women for the rigors of the day ahead.
Dixon created a prototype and took it to an engineering firm. Much to her delight, the head engineer did not pooh-pooh her idea. He wanted to impress his daughter by designing the product line. Unlike traditional tools, Yubi Beauty slides onto your finger to become an extension of your hand. It’s as easy as using your fingers but more hygienic and less messy. The design of Yubi products incorporates vegan bristles and latex-free sponges. The handle is recyclable. No surprise that a founder who is also a lawyer patented the design.
In 2018, Yubi was named by Time Magazine one of the 50 Best Inventions 2018. Inventions are judged on originality, creativity, influence, ambition, and effectiveness.
As a securities lawyer, Dixon knows the risk and rewards of raising equity financing. It is highly likely that she will raise angel and venture capital. However, to mitigate the risk that investors will take too much control of the company, she will seek outside funding at a later stage after Dixon has built up the valuation of the company. She bootstrapped the development and used guerilla-marketing tactics. Making women aware of Yubi and educating them on its use and benefits is now Dixon’s greatest challenge.
“Consumers, especially millennials, are more dependent on web tutorials to learn about various makeup techniques,” writes technavia. “The emergence of beauty and makeup tutorials will have a positive impact on the market and contribute to its growth…”
As a scrappy, self-funded company, maximizing social media is a must. Yubi’s team posts 15-second quick videos of Dixon’s personal stories about why and how Yubi was developed on Instagram and Facebook. Sixty-second videos demonstrate how to use the product. Live events are very effective, as well. Relationships with influencers are developing.
Video filmed by Kamilla Nichole for Yubi Beauty
Customers can buy Yubi on its website. This enables Yubi to have a direct relationship with the customer. The team can get direct feedback from customers, which feeds product development. The company is not just focused on building a high-quality cosmetic application tool. It also focuses on the ordering, shipping, and delivery process to ensure an excellent customer service experience.
Within six months of launching, Yubi was picked up by the Home Shopping Network. It will also be available on Amazon.
To build relationships with other distribution channels, Yubi attended Cosmoprof and other trade shows. Attending trade shows is also a way to keep track of new technologies and product innovations. At the moment, Yubi does not have a retail presence. However, long-term it will. Building relationships now will shorten the time into retail stores. Dixon has many international connections. Her long term plans for Yubi include exporting.
Improving the lives of women can take many forms. What market opportunities will you take advantage of?