Making it in the world of Makeup Artists and Beauty Influencers is no easy feat. Making it in the world of cannabis isn’t either. Making it in both industries, simultaneously, while managing to breakthrough to hundreds and thousands of online friends, followers, and supporters is something that can only be described as impressive. A true feat of Latinx Excellence.
Yet Solange Nicole, the Ecuadorian-Brazilian beauty influencer and now an entrepreneur, has accomplished all of this and more — and she’s not done yet. Solange Nicole has been able to leverage the rising tide of social media that has allowed niche groups and subcultures from across the world to connect and share ideas, trends, and original content with more ease than ever before.
Solange, who got her start as a makeup artist on Youtube by sharing makeup and skincare tutorials was able to go from filming in her Los Angeles home to competing in a televised makeup competition produced by Kim Kardashian and hosted by Laverne Cox. That same year Solange became a pioneer of the CBD industry by being one of the few latina females to join the 21st century’s gold-rush when she launched Millennial Beauté, a CBD beauty brand specializing in face masks and scrubs. But how exactly did a social media beauty influencer become one of the pioneers in the CBD industry? Well, like any entrepreneur, it started with a great product, the right motivations, and the perfect platform for getting the word out.
“I started off as a Beauty Influencer when I started doing skincare and beauty tutorials. I was able to gain the trust of currently 140,000 people on Instagram,” Solange told me. “With that I started exploring the idea of showing people how to mix their own skin care ingredients and how to create their own DIY formulas at home.”
Social media has been a vital instrument in Solange Nicole’s success, allowing her to increase her sphere of influence, while providing her with a creative outlet to tell her story and to effectively sell her products.
“There’s just so much you can do through social media alone. Starting an Instagram page and putting your ideas out there and being your own advocate is more than enough to really start your own business nowadays.”
Solange Nicole who doubles as an online beauty influencer and a CBD business owner, uses her large social media following as a marketing tool. Solange Nicole continued to say, “It has its pros and cons like anything else and it’s really up to the user to take advantage of certain tools, like being able to connect with people.”She’s particularly good at this. She refers to her online followers as her “B.F.F.s” and the relationship appears to be reciprocated.
For better or worse, social media allows people from all over the world to connect online where they can share ideas, recommend products, and speak freely without being restricted or censored. Being your own advocate and letting those who use your products recommend them, of their own volition, is especially vital when it comes to anything that involves the legal cannabis industry which is still not federally regulated.
“You’re able to also be very creative with what you do because everything that you put out has to be in a video or picture format. So that really allowed me to learn a lot about editing and capturing content, which was very, very new to me back in 2016 when I started. As an entrepreneur it opens a lot of doors as well. I was able to connect and reach people that I probably wouldn’t have without social media.”
In regards to this, it’s not hard to see why a makeup artist who uses a creative social media platform to share her content wouldn’t want to be censored. It’s about creativity and sharing her personal beliefs and ideas.
“It’s really good as an influencer because I’m able to pretty much put out whatever it is that I believe in without there being certain rules on what you can and can’t say,” she said on the matter.
As her number of social media followers began to rise, Solange Nicole made the move from Youtube to television, participating on Kim Kardashian’s Glam Masters, which aired on Lifetime in late 2018. It was over the course of filming the episode in which she would appear that she was inspired to take her shot in the entrepreneurial world of CBD and skin care by creating Millennial Beauté.
“I got to work with a lot of different models and people on set during that weekend.” It was then and there when Solange realized that “a lot of people’s insecurity was their skin.” They were excited to be on the show and to have Solange participating because the opportunity to have your makeup done by a professional is certainly exciting, but that would only be a temporary solution to what Solange describes as a much deeper issue. The insecurities that she saw in people of all walks of life, would remain after the makeup came off because those insecurities stemmed from skin conditions like dryness and Eczema.
“I was really inspired to create a skin care line that was genderless and that really focused on using clean science to help people heal.” With this newfound inspiration, Solange set out to create a skin care product that could help others in the long-term. How she settled on CBD as a main component in her facial product’s formula appears to have come from her origins as a Beauty Vlogger, making DIY formulas with natural ingredients that she loved.
When I finally caught up with Solange, she was back in Los Angeles after attending SecretSesh Los Angeles in California where she met a mutual acquaintance, Ricky, owner and founder of Munchie’s Boutique — a fellow entrepreneur in the world of cannabis.
“I actually met [Ricky] at SecretSesh Events and I fell in love with his products,” said Solange. “Before that, someone had given me a product from Munchie’s Boutique… I remember using a lot of the product and I shared it with my family when I was first really interested in CBD. So it kind of all came full circle when we finally met.”
One of the products that Solange loved the most was hemp oil, which really sparkedher interest and she began to explore more ways that she could introduce cannabis byproducts into the skin care industry. After a while, she started to see positive results and even more positive feedback from people who were using her products to remedy the issues that she had noted as the primary causes of insecurity with their skin.
“I really started to fall in love with the results. I saw a lot of anti aging benefits and a lot of people that also [had] Eczema would reach out to me and say, ‘this formula finally helped me with my Eczema or with my acne.’ So I got very inspired.” Solange Nicole attributes much of Millennial Beauté’s success to the effectiveness of her clean ingredients — “clean science,” as she put it.
What exactly was it about her products that was making a difference in the Beauty Industry? What made CBD such a critical ingredient?
“CBD is amazing at nourishing the skin and preventing acne, it has anti-aging properties, and it’s also packed with a lot of Omega 6, Omega 9 and with antioxidants. It’s pretty much like an all in one ingredient for the skin.” she said.
It wasn’t just that. Millennial Beauté also uses ingredients like charcoal, which has become a widely popular ingredient that is available in everything from face masks to whitening toothpaste. Solange Nicole says that this is instrumental to her product’s effectiveness, and why it may be a better solution in the long-term compared to other products that only replace one problem with another.
“My masks actually have activated charcoal with CBD so I’m pulling all of the toxins out of the skin, I’m refreshing the skin and pulling any gunk out of there while the CBD is helping nourish the skin with Omegas and antioxidants. It’s also helping relieve any dry skin by balancing the oil. People aren’t drying out their skin, which is what a lot of acne products do. They just dry your skin so that it dries the acne. Millennial Beauté actually nourishes by balancing the oil and still is able to prevent acne and Eczema.”
Regardless of whether or not you prefer to use CBD products, (or not at all), what is so impressive about Solange Nicole’s story is that she was able to be a pioneer in a $20 billion dollar industry that doesn’t reflect the demographics that you would hope to see in 2019. The number of female CEOs dropped 25% in 2018. That statistic coupled with the fact that in 2012, around the start of the gold-rush, 73% of cannabis industry business owners where men and 81% were white.
Business owners like Solange Nicole should be celebrated for her accomplishments in the cannabis industry because as an influencer she has a platform and the support and admiration of the Latinx community. Solange Nicole recognizes the importance of her platform and she intends to be a role model for any future entrepreneurs that see her success as an inspiration. “It’s very exciting because I get to pave the way for a lot of people or even other minorities that might want to do the same thing and just having the opportunity, to be an industry leader or a pioneer in anything is an amazing opportunity.”
Solange went on to offer some advice to aspiring entrepreneurs who have a vision, but worry that they might like the resources to achieve their goals. “There’s a lot of information left to be learned as well as put out for CBD. So jumping on top of that and being the first to put your ideas out there and being confident in what you’re doing is what really makes a difference in my opinion; not necessarily having very specific resources or a lot of money because once a lot of people believe in what you’re doing, and if it really works, all of that will come together.”
So what can we expect to see from Solange Nicole in the future? Solage Nicole has her sights set on exploring more of the benefits of cannabis products. At the moment, there are a lot of restrictions in regards to research and what CBD companies can claim about their products. Again, Solange Nicole turns to the importance of her social media platform as a vital tool for her future plans.
“Having my customers be able to be the ones who make those claims, being a community, to be able to learn more [about] CBD and what its potential can be, not just in skin care but in our everyday life. I think that’s really my focus with Millennial Beauté now that I’m learning more about cannabis and CBD — just really advocating and creating a lot of education around what I do.”
At the end of the day, Solange is proud and certainly of what she gets to do. She found a way that she can be creative by producing content online, while helping others, and creating a product that uses cannabis in ways that are new and exciting.
— You can follow Solange Nicole online on her Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, or check out her website. You can check out some CBD products from Munchies Boutique online here.
About Benjamin Thomas:
Benjamin Thomas is a Mexian-American writer with a passion for culture, lifestyle, and the human experience. He is the founder of Drop B Media, creative media agency based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a proud alumnus of UNLV! You can follow him on twitter: @dropbthomas