By Paola Sacerdote
Cameron Brew, CEO of Black, Gorgeous and Rich (BGAR), inspires many as a 16 year old kidpreneur of a black owned company, sharing her definition of confidence as a young black woman within today’s beauty standards. BGAR is a collection of clothing, makeup, perfume, and undergarments for ladies and men. Her company name says it all and Bronze was very curious to know how Cameron came up with the idea for her brand and what inspired her to come this far as a business owner.
Bronze Magazine: What inspired the company name “Black, Gorgeous, and Rich”?
Cameron Brew: My mom has always instilled in me a sense of who I truly was. Since I can remember, she would always say how beautiful I was and called me a model. What stuck with me was that she would say, ‘You are Black, Gorgeous and Rich, and if anyone tries to tell you anything different, they are lying to you.’ I can see now that my mom was preparing my mind to meet the world I was going to face, of people telling me I was ugly because I was a brown-skinned girl. When people would tell me that, it did not affect me the way I see it affecting some of my friends. At my age, I see girls doing almost anything to feel some self-worth. They look for people outside of themselves to place value on their lives instead of having it for themselves. Black, Gorgeous and Rich is a daily reflection of who we are as Black people on clothing. When you wear our clothing, you feel the message.
BM: What is it like to be known as a 16-year-old kidpreneur? What would you tell others your age?
CB: I would tell others my age that it’s not too early to think about your future. Most people my age are waiting for something magical to happen at 18 to say, ‘Hey I’m an adult now,’ but there are so many uncertainties in life today. I would encourage them to find something they like to do and focus on creating something more out of it. I am hoping the Black, Gorgeous and Rich brand will be a big thing by the time I am 21 years old. I’m just focused on becoming who I want to be.
BM: How do your products in Black, Gorgeous, and Rich reflect the idea of a non-European standard?
CB: We have bought into the European standard of beauty so much, focusing on the outside that we have lost sight of who is deep down inside. The products are only an outer reflection of who we are on the inside. The European standard cannot dictate to us who we are only. We understand what it’s like to be Black in this world. When you look at a jar of my skin moisturizer and apply it, because it is so luxurious in its feel, you automatically feel Black, Gorgeous and Rich. The jar is priming your mind to remember who you are, despite what anyone else says.
BM: You mention “Confidence is Key.” What is your definition of confidence?
CB: Confidence to me is relying on what you know to be true without a shadow of a doubt. When you wear Black, Gorgeous and Rich your confidence is apparent. Believing in yourself is everything that you have. Without your self-confidence, you will always go around doubting yourself. There are things in life that you just have to be sure of, and your self-worth should not be up for negotiation. So, in my book, confidence is key.
BM: What do you believe is the difference between big brands and local businesses?
CB: Big brands have been able to be successful because of the trust in their names. We come to trust big brands because we know what to expect. Local businesses offer accessibility. If I want something at the last minute, I can run out to the store and get it. Local business owners tend to be able to connect with their customers on a personal level a lot better than big brands. They usually live in their communities and know who they’re dealing with. That’s one of the main reasons we’ve been as successful as we have.
BM: Surprisingly, less than 1% of designs in major department stores are owned by people of color. Do you see this changing in the future?
CB: I don’t see it changing on its own. The change has to happen with us first. We have to demand more products and services from our people and make them rise to the challenge. We control the market, but we act like the market controls us. When we demand more, the market will have to supply more. We have to demand more black-owned products in stores. Our problem is nobody knows we exist.
BM: The hooded blankets are your most popular item; which product is your favorite now?
CB: Right now, it’s our cologne, Billionaire. My stepdad taught me how to sew and that is what excites me about Black, Gorgeous and Rich, when you have a desire you can create anything. One day my dad walked by me and I realized he was wearing Billionaire, which made me smile. Our cologne is light and airy, clean and sophisticated. I like that a lot. My stepdad choosing my cologne that day showed me that I had the power to give people a choice in what they wear. That was big for me! I don’t take these things for granted because they impact our lives. Imagine your future husband wearing my cologne on your first date, and every time you think of him, the scent of my cologne comes to your mind. That’s the kind of impact we want to have. It’s all about this brand having an impact on the lives of our consumers.
BM: What was one challenge you faced opening Black, Gorgeous, and Rich?
CB: The biggest challenge I faced was me. In the beginning, it did not seem real and I went through all the mental challenges of ‘What if we fail?’ I was afraid to tell my mom that I wanted to open a store because she believed in me so much. I did not think that a brown skin girl from Philly stood a chance against the big brands out there, but the more we played around with the idea the more it became real. This is why I say that confidence is key. You must believe in yourself. I am lucky because I have my mom, but everyone is not as lucky as me. But even if you feel as though you have no one in your corner, just remember that self-doubt is normal in the beginning, but keep working anyway. There is a market for everyone, you just have to find yours.
BM: Tell us something about Black, Gorgeous, and Rich that has not been released?
CB: We are putting together our Spring and Summer collection, so you’re going to see some new designs from us soon. This process would not have been possible without my team, from my manufacturer to my stepdad, my mother, and everybody working behind the scenes. We have some big things coming this year!
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