Thirteen Lune Is the New Beauty Site Putting Black- and Brown-Owned Brands Front and Center

Thirteen Lune, the new site that curates products from Black and Brown-owned beauty brands, feels so necessary in this moment that you might suspect it had been fast-tracked over the past months, as the pandemic dealt a harsh blow to Black businesses and America faced a racial reckoning. But the idea for the shopping platform actually started a year and a half ago, when co-founders Nyakio Grieco and Patrick Herning met for the first time. “We talked about various ways that we could collaborate and work together to really expand on this concept of inclusivity,” Grieco told Vogue over the phone from Los Angeles. “We saw how there is still so much work to be done within this industry.”

Grieco has been working in the beauty industry for 18 years. After leaving her job at Creative Artists Agency, where she discovered her deep love for beauty working with actresses on sets, she founded Nyakio Beauty in 2002, inspired by her Kenyan roots. “My grandmother taught me my first beauty secret, using Kenyan coffee beans and sugar cane rods that she grew on her farm as exfoliants, at eight years old. It really stuck with me,” Grieco remembers of her first visit to Kenya. When she approached her twenties, Greico realized that “Africa was always very underrepresented within premium beauty. So I decided to leave my job and bottle my grandmother’s coffee scrubs.”

Nyakio Grieco

Courtesy of Thirteen Lune

Patrick Herning

Courtesy of Thirteen Lune

Partnering with Herning (the co-founder of size-inclusive retailer 11 Honoré), Grieco is continuing her mission of making the beauty space even more inclusive of underrepresented cultures through Thirteen Lune. In a nod to its name—inspired by the fact that 13 is an honored number in Kenyan culture, and that there are 13 moons in an astrological moon cycle—the site launches today with a total of 13 stand-out brands, all owned by people of color. Buttah Skin, for example, was founded by model Dorion Renaud, who was inspired by the power of raw, organic shea butter. Bomba Curls is a nourishing natural hair-care brand based around generational Dominican beauty secrets. UK-based Liha Beauty combines Yoruba tradition with English aromatherapy for its hero moisturizing Idan oil. Grieco and her team were deep in the vetting process when protests—and resultant consumer activism—began this summer. “I went through a lot of those Black and POC-owned beauty brand lists that were going around this summer, buying the products and then seeing how they work on my skin and hair and on my daughter as well,” Greico says. When it came to reaching out to her chosen brands, Grieco was mostly met with resounding yesses. When she explained her mission to center minority-owned brands rather than leaving consumers to comb through major retailer sites, she often heard exclamations like, “Finally, something like this exists!”

A preview of Thirteen Lune

Photo: Courtesy of Thirteen Lune

After its initial launch, Thirteen Lune will be expanding its list of brand offerings. Grieco also hopes to create an editorial vertical that will provide in-depth information about each brand and founder that is featured on the site. “I’m looking forward to creating a unifying platform where everyone is welcome to come and discover and celebrate these incredible brands,” Grieco says. “I hope we can be the first of its kind to create this space that will actually provide long-term support for other retailers and authentically invest in some amazing Black and brown-owned brands,” Grieco says. “For me, it’s bigger than hair and skincare. It’s a movement.”

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