By Avery Guest
When Jaida Day moved from Los Angeles to La Jolla to attend UC San Diego in 2019, she discovered a lack of hair and skin products for Black students near the La Jolla campus. So, she came up with a solution, founding her own company, Black Beauty Near You.
Day is now in her third year at UCSD, where she studies Mathematics and Computer Science. She is part of UCSD’s Women in Computing, Women in the National Society of Black Engineers, and The Black Student Union and holds leadership positions in all three. Despite being extra busy with student organizations, she recently landed an internship at PwC as a labs technology developer.
In between school and other obligations, Day has been working on building Black Beauty Near You to ensure that her fellow Black students have proper access to cosmetic supplies.
We connected with Day to further discuss her journey as an entrepreneur among the tides in the San Diego start up ecosystem.
Year Founded: 2019
Key Players: Jaida Day and the Black Resource Center, which allows her to run Black Beauty Near You during the center’s Shop event.
Headquarters: San Diego, California
Platform: Black Beauty Near You is all about making beauty products more accessible. The company was founded because Day noticed the absence of hair and skin products for Black students on UCSD’s campus and the surrounding areas. She then decided to bring these products to campus so that Black students could purchase them without the long commute or unnecessary waiting time encountered when ordering online. This was especially relevant for students who lacked proper transportation, and could not afford to spend time or money on an Uber ride across San Diego County.
Black Beauty Near You offers accessories, braiding supplies, hair care products, and styling tools that can not be found on UCSD’s campus. Customers can add products to their carts and make purchases all from the website.
Prior to COVID-19, Day would set up a booth at the Black Resource Center so students who hadn’t pre-ordered on the website had an opportunity to purchase product. As a result of school closures, Day pivoted, now offering pick-up and drop-off options for customers.
She hopes that with her platform, students will receive goods they wouldn’t otherwise have access to- and she knows that price gouging won’t encourage this.
“One thing that makes Black Beauty Near You stand out is that I’m doing this for the students and people who look like me. It’s not about the money. People keep telling me that I should be raising the prices, but it’s not about that. We’re all college students, and if things are expensive, we just won’t get what we need,” Day said.
Market Potential: According to Nielsen, African Americans spent $54.4 million on ethnic hair and beauty aids, which accounts for 85.65% of the total spent on these products. Meanwhile, WWD reports that African American women spend $7.5 billion annually on all beauty products, hair styling items included.obacks this, quoting that
When fulfilling their beauty needs, one of the biggest problems African Americans face is that products on the market are not effective for their needs. As a result, they spend 80% more money on cosmetics and twice as much on skincare as the general market does.
Inspiration: Once Day moved to La Jolla, she could never find the products she normally uses for her hair or skin. So, she would have to stock up on products when she visited home or order on Amazon. While there is a beauty supply in San Diego that had what she needed, it’s a 30 minute drive from campus.
“After talking to my parents about the problem, my mom told me, ‘There’s a problem, so think about something you can do to solve this problem.’ This is how I started Black Beauty Near You,” Day said.
From then, she wanted to reach out to UCSD’s administration in order to get the products into stores on campus. However, she quickly realized that going through campus was going to take months of approvals. She shifted gears and talked to her peers to understand what products she should bring to campus. She sought out connections with the community, hoping to help students who shared similar problems.
This is when she started her pop-up at the Black Resource Center’s Shop event, which later evolved into her eCommerce site.
Challenges: One of the biggest challenges that Day faces is ensuring that she has enough product for all of her customers. When she picks up products off campus at beauty suppliers in the greater San Diego area, she goes in with a clear cut budget, limiting the amount of product she can grab at one time. This means that sometimes she can’t get everything that her customers are looking for at one time, making some clients wait until her next pick up. To alleviate this, she sends out surveys to previous customers and friends to see what products they are interested in, so she can grab the right quantity.
Additionally, she runs the whole business on her own – everything from advertising to promoting. Because she is a student herself, it can sometimes be challenging to manage it all; however, staying organized is a huge help. Despite her busy schedule, Day said she is genuinely happy to be working on this project.
Business Model: Day fronts the money for products, with all the money coming out of pocket. She slightly marks up the prices when she sells products to students on campus, giving her enough profit to purchase more necessary products.
Mentors: Day thanks her parents for pushing her to not only found the company, but also to continue growing it. She appreciates her friends for the endless support, who have helped her with her logo and sticker design, product photos, and purchase her products. She additionally credits the Black Resource Center for helping her along the way, including Porsia Curry, Tay Richardson, and Chuck Stanley.
On the Horizon: Day wishes to pursue a career in web development, either in industry or as a freelancer. She’s passionate about students in underrepresented communities gaining access to computer science education and hopes to help with program implementation for students in these communities.
As for Black Beauty Near You, she hopes to spread the business model to other college campuses, offering other schools the opportunity to provide the same supplies to their students. She hopes that all universities can provide students with the necessary resources, as she’s heard similar concerns across campuses.
San Diego Tech Ecosystem: Day has been inspired by the growing number of student entrepreneurs and startups that have launched from UCSD. She credits the university for creating a safe and encouraging space for startups. She felt implicitly influenced to feel like she could do the same thing.
“Being in the tech industry, people push big companies in your face to apply and work for, but here [at UCSD], they do a good job of encouraging students to work for start up companies,” Day said. “These companies could become big and are doing good things.
Tacos: As an avid taco fan, Day said she’s “always down for tacos,” with her favorite spot being Taco Stand in La Jolla.
Keep up with Black Beauty Near You through the company’s website and Instagram.
Editor’s Note: TritonTech is an original series on UC San Diego created by Fresh Brewed Tech that showcases the innovative ideas born in the halls of academia that are making a great impact on our ecosystem and beyond.