Like so many things in 2021, it started with a DM.
When Sharon Chuter, founder of Uoma Beauty and activist platform Pull Up For Change, received a DM from Walmart in October of 2020, she initially assumed she was getting scammed. When the retailer — the world’s largest– followed up with an email, she started to pay attention.
Eventually, she was in a meeting with Walmart about collaborating on an exclusive beauty brand. “There were, like, 19 people on our second call,” Chuter said. “They threw pretty much a blank check. It was essentially: ‘What do you need to make this the success that we know it will be?’ ‘How do we support you?’ And the tone has not changed.” Walmart had had its eye on Chuter and her first brand, Uoma Beauty, since its launch with Ulta Beauty in 2019, said vp of beauty at Walmart, Musab Balbale. “She’s a driving force in the beauty industry, and we strongly support the values of inclusivity, sustainability and accessibility that her brand represents,” Balbale told Glossy.
The resulting collaboration, Uoma by Sharon C., is a concept Chuter said she’d originally been developing with a different retailer in mind, but said, “When it’s right, it’s right.” It launched in 3,365 Walmart doors, as well as on Walmart.com, on Friday. The collection consists of six products across the skin-care and makeup categories. What’s revolutionary about them, Chuter said, is not that they’re inclusive of all shades — although they are; the skin tint, for example, comes in 30 shades — but that their price point is so low, ranging from $6-$24. With a cheaper price point, hopefully, comes a younger consumer. Chuter said the brand was not so much designed for Gen Z, but it is inspired by them and some of their core values. That includes caring for animals, as well as being sustainably-minded and accessibly priced.
“I was not going to be anybody’s Negro,” she said, of the rush to stock more Black-owned brands in the aftermath of Black Lives Matter last summer. “I had my vision for this brand and knew the audience I wanted to talk to. I knew how I wanted to talk to them.” Walmart got it, she said. “The focus is sustainability. It’s products with more conscious ingredients and true innovation. And it’s bringing excitement to the beauty aisle that attracts a younger shopper, who right now has probably given up on [the beauty aisle] because of the heritage brands there.”
The brand launched with three skin-care products and three makeup products. There’s the Go Awf! Au Natural Cleansing Oil ($14.99), a format Chuter fell in love with while living in Asia. The Go Awf! 2-in-1 Water-Activated Cleansing Wipes ($5.99) are cotton pads that foam up when wet — they’re single-use, but biodegradable. The Supa’Natural Glow Vitamin C Serum comes in two strengths of Vitamin C (10% and 20%, for $17.99 and $23.99, respectively). As far as makeup goes, there’s a Flawless IRL Foundation ($14.99), the It’s Complicated Glossy Lip Tint & Oil ($5.99) which comes in six shades, and the Badder Boom Volumizing Mascara ($8.00).