Darrin Cook is not only an entrepreneur, but a visionary leader, author, and media mogul. His book, “The Weight of New Orleans”, details his inspiring journey to entrepreneurship, which started with the New Orleanian taking control of his life and losing 175 pounds. That weight loss helped him gain the confidence he needed to start multiple successful companies, including My Mogul Media, a web design and marketing powerhouse that designs winning creative strategies for clients like the National Black MBA Association, The City of New Orleans, and more.
But it’s not just Darrin’s media company that is making waves. He is also the Founder and CEO of one of the fastest growing black-owned hair and skin care brands in America, Glow Beauty Group. Darrin founded Glow Beauty Group in 2018, with a mission to bring world-class cosmetics and hair-care products to people of color. Since then Glow Beauty Group has grown quickly, even being featured at the Essence Festival’s Beauty Carnival and in media outlets like The Curvy Fashionista and Sheen Magazine.
Glow Beauty Group offers a variety of products in hair and skin care, from beard oil and silk hair bonnets to hydrating facial mist and purifying cleanser. Another great thing about Glow Beauty Group’s products is that they are non-toxic, cruelty-free products made right here in the United States — and each purchase invests in disadvantaged communities.
That’s right: Darrin goes the extra mile with his beauty company with his non-profit organization, The Glowfidence Foundation. A portion of each purchase from Glow Beauty Group goes directly to The Glowfidence Foundation, which promotes educational and economic growth for people of color in the USA through industry expert-led courses, micro-grants, entrepreneurial coaching, and more.
Our team at Buzzbassador interviewed Darrin about Glow Beauty Group, his startup story, and his experiences as a Black business owner. Read along below for the full interview.
*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
What inspired you to start Glow Beauty Group?
I understand that all people of color carry a weight through their lives, especially in these divided and painful times in American history. Nothing makes more sense to me today than helping others better their lives in ways I did with my own. Glow Beauty Group was born in 2018, dedicated to bringing world-class cosmetics and hair-care products at affordable prices to our brothers and sisters of color. I believe we are unique in our domain, being a beauty company owned by a person of color that is committed to the highest quality of products at affordable prices.
We are also unique in the fact that we are empowering the youngest and most impoverished of communities of color in the USA to realize their life dreams through education, support and training. Proceeds from Glow Beauty Group are donated to our non-profit sister organization, The Glowfidence Foundation, which helps change lives by providing educational resources to those who may feel invisible — the underserved, the minorities, the marginalized. We feel them because we are them. We also know how far we can fly with just a little push. Glowfidence brings together industry experts, specialists, teachers, professionals and donors to create a platform where a young man or woman struggling against their circumstances can ask for and receive the knowledge, encouragement, and confidence they need to grow wings and fly.
It’s February, Black History Month. Why is this month important to you?
I celebrate Black History Month every single month, not just February. Black History Month is not not only important, it is vital! Just about everything that someone may love in America was created by a Black person. From our culture, to our food, to our everyday ways of life is in fact… magic. We are the most innovative, creative, and brilliant people to ever walk the Earth, and it’s time for us to come together and continue to achieve greatness. There is tremendous power in unity!
In what ways would you like to see the community show up for Black businesses this month (and always)?
I think we need to be more intentional about who we choose to do business with. Whatever you’re looking for, chances are you won’t have to look very hard to find a qualified Black business to fulfill your needs.
Statistic: There are over 2 million Black-owned businesses in the United States. (Source: Fundera)
Black businesses are such pillars in our communities, and do not get the respect and recognition they deserve. We should challenge each other to “Buy Black” each day, because for so long we have been taught that Black-owned businesses are inferior due to poor customer service, lack of knowledge or professionalism, and many other myths. It’s time for us to start pouring back into our own communities regularly so that instead of waiting for a seat at the table, we can build our own tables and rise together.
What are some of the biggest challenges Black and brown communities must overcome to launch their own businesses, and what advice do you have for them?
Some of the biggest challenges for new Black and brown entrepreneurs are the difficulty of attaining funding and the lack of industry insight and marketing knowledge. These entrepreneurs also may not have great connections or mentors to inform them of the importance of “the follow-up” (since most deals do not happen during the first conversation). My advice is to start following subject matter experts on social media and YouTube. Whatever industry you would like to be part of, I’m certain you can find someone who has a lot of knowledge and experience and who is willing to share for free on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc. While it is great to follow celebrities or trendy blogs, it’s important to have a healthy balance and also follow people who will challenge, uplift, educate, and inspire you to help launch that dream business. Another thing: don’t be so worried about being perfect. No one is. Just be true to yourself, and try each day to be the best version of yourself. Remember, when it comes to business, people are buying into you, so authenticity is key.
Who is a Black entrepreneur or public figure that you look up to — dead or alive — and why?
One Black entrepreneur I really admire is Tyler Perry. Tyler and I are both from New Orleans, and his determination to succeed and follow his childhood dreams despite many setbacks is so inspiring. He shares his story about being homeless, hungry, and not having anyone attend his live performances, but he still did not lose sight of his goals. He never lost hope. Whenever I’m feeling discouraged, I reflect on people such as Tyler, Oprah, and President Obama, who made a way out of no way. The key is they always stayed true to themselves, and didn’t allow the “noise” or opinions of others to deter them. These are the principles I live by, as well as keeping God at the forefront of everything I do. With faith the size of a mustard seed, we can surely move mountains!
Last question, specifically for the Buzzbassador community: in what ways has your brand ambassador program helped to grow your business?
Buzzbassador is helping us pivot into growing our “street team”. Glow Beauty Group has a large following, and our customers often ask if they can be more involved with spreading awareness about our brand. The question has always been, “YES!”, but we just didn’t know the best way to facilitate this — until we found Buzzbassador. I’m personally excited to really dive deeper into the Buzzbassador features to maximize Glow Beauty Group’s ambassador program. Every day we receive new ambassador applications via our Buzzbassador form — it really keeps us organized, and the platform is super user-friendly.
February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of achievements by Black Americans and a time for recognizing their central role in U.S. History. Our Buzzbassador CEO, Calvin Waddy, says Black History Month is a great time to reflect on his favorite topic — entrepreneurship — and how it intertwines with the trailblazing done by generations of Americans from Black and brown communities.
“Black entrepreneurs are a crucial part of Black history and American history in general,” says Waddy. “Black Americans have been defined by a spirit of creativity and innovation since the beginning of our time in this country, because we as a community have time and time again been forced to break down barriers and find our own way out of difficult situations. Black entrepreneurs have invented some of the world’s most cherished products and most powerful companies.”
That entrepreneurial spirit is not only a part of Black history, but also a part of the American story still being written today, evidenced by the growing number of amazing Black-owned businesses that are a part of our economy. In fact, the fastest-growing population of entrepreneurs in America is Black women. Even here at Buzzbassador, we have the privilege of working with many Black founders daily as users of our app.
We want to celebrate this special month by highlighting some of those founders and their companies, while encouraging our readers and social followers to support Black-owned small businesses, both through shopping and sharing — not just this month, but always! Follow along to learn about 6 Black business owners across a range of industries, their startup stories, and what Black History Month means to them.
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