John Legend is teaming up with A-Frame Brands — a celebrity business development platform based in Los Angeles and led by investor and former fashion executive Ari Bloom — to launch a brand for those with melanin-rich skin, an underserved skin care market.
The label will target the top three issues those with higher levels of melanin in their skin are vulnerable to: significant levels of dryness, pH imbalances, and environmental impact, said A-Frame chief brand officer Martin Ekechukwu. Further details about the line, including a name for the joint venture, additional investors, as well as specific product and price range, will be released in due course ahead of the brand’s debut, which is set for the fall.
“We look for headscratichingly obvious problems, typically experienced by people of colour, disadvantaged people, and really anybody that has not received a particular product in the market,” Ekechukwu said.
Legend’s brand will first launch with a direct-to-consumer site in the US, which will serve as a “content rich” place people go to understand exactly what the brand is, says Ekechukwu. Legend, too, will take the lead in marketing the brand, integrating it into his other projects, including his social media. Though specifics were not disclosed, Ekechukwu said Legend is a partner and owner of the brand.
According to Ekechukwu, finding a retail partner is also important for the brand. The team is targeting retailers that are accessible to a wide range of people — a concept the brand is using to inform its pricing strategy as well. Though he couldn’t reveal specifics because products are still in the development phase, Ekechukwu says the brand is aiming for a price point that would work for the 150 million people the brand identifies in the US who have some level of higher melanin.
“Not all the high value ingredients should only be available for those with means, we want to try and make it as democratised as possible, ensuring that everybody has access to these products” said Ekechukwu.
A-Frame has made a particular effort to create brands that serve the skin care needs of people of colour. Its past ventures include tennis champion Naomi Osaka’s Kinló, a line of sun and skin care formulated to meet the needs of darker-skinned people, and The Proudly Co., Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade’s baby care line for the same consumer.
The celebrity-owned beauty brand space has only grown more crowded over the past year as a number of recognisable names launched new labels including a nail polish line from Harry Styles, a colour cosmetics brand from Ariana Grande and a perfume from Billie Eilish. Celebrities are increasingly eschewing traditional endorsement and spokesperson roles for concrete stakes and C-Suite spots.
The tennis star is CEO of Kinló, a new venture launched with Los Angeles-based A-Frame Brands aiming to provide sun and skin protection to underserved, darker-skinned consumers.