Kendra Bracken-Ferguson’s BrainTrust company has launched the Founders Studio, which promises to improve long-term business viability and revenue growth for Black entrepreneurs.
The Founders Studio will give Black beauty and wellness entrepreneurs free access to a bevy of financial and business resources from major companies including JPMorgan Chase, Salesforce AfterPay and BeautyUnited. The studio will also provide mentorship opportunities to ensure businesses on the platform keep moving forward.
The platform has three membership tiers based in the size, revenue and business needs of each partner. According to Business of Fashion, 25 Black hair and beauty companies have already signed up for The Founders Studio including Kim Lewis of CurlMix, Lauren Napier of Lauren Napier Beauty.
“I saw this need as a Black female founder myself [for] access to education, mentorship, and capital and I wanted to have verifiable, tangible results that [show] the Black beauty and wellness founders we are working with have evolved their businesses, have more access to capital and are in a better financial situation,” Bracken-Ferguson said.
Minority beauty and wellness designers have waited years for the resources to help them navigate big partnerships, receive funding and sustain long-term business growth. While last year’s resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement brought a bevy of resources and money to Black entrepreneurs, some already believe the money and opportunities are starting to dissipate.
However, the movement has pushed Black men and women in the financial industry to do more for each other and to help each other succeed. That includes Bracken-Ferguson, who hopes the platform eventually enlists 1,000 Black founders.
“2022 has to be about moving beyond the pledge,” she told Forbes, noting that in addition to helping smaller brands grow, she hopes the work of the Founders Studio helps hold its bigger corporate partners accountable to their diversity and inclusion commitments. “It’s not enough for a brand to be on a shelf for one year. The true success is when we can look five years later and we can see that a brand has tripled in revenue dollars and in their retail footprint.”
Bracken-Ferguson has significant experience in the health and beauty industry. She previously served as the director of digital media for Ralph Lauren and is a longtime business partner with actress Halle Berry. Together the pair launched Respin, a platform that brings together beauty and wellness products and content. Additionally, Bracken-Ferguson co-founded the Digital Brand Architects agency in 2009.