BUST Founder Stephanie 20dce

What Makes Gen Z BIPOC Folks Feel “10 times more beautiful”? SELFMADE’s Founder Stephanie Lee Knows

by BUST Magazine

Much of advertising makes us question if we’re pretty, sexy, or skinny enough to be “worth it.” According to a 2018 Eventbrite study, the average American spends 22% of their disposable income on products that exploit the idea of self-care and that are built by brands that capitalize on our universal struggle with self-worth. These brands convince us that these transactions will “fix our flaws” and finally make us feel worthy. In spite of Gen Z having access to an unlimited number of beauty brands and sophisticated tools at their fingertips, they are sadder and angrier than generations before. This is because they’re busy fighting climate change, protesting racial injustice, and pushing back against the long standing beliefs and standards of beauty and wellness.

This insight, plus her lived experiences as a woman of color, led Stephanie Lee to create SELFMADE. This new, emotional wellbeing brand sits at the intersection of mental health and personal care to meet young folks, particularly in Black, Brown, API, and Indigenous communities, where they are by infusing credible psychological concepts and emotional skill-building tools into existing daily rituals. After experiencing her own mental health crisis and speaking to women across 11 countries about mental health and self-worth, Stephanie saw a need to make a space for young folks to learn how to write their own self-worth stories and reimagine the definition of beauty based on relationship with self because, as she emphasizes, “Beauty is your relationship to yourself, not how others perceive you.” This was further validated by research studies SELFMADE has run with 100+ Gen Z BIPOC individuals that shows those who feel worthy are 10x more likely to see themselves as beautiful. Which is contrary to the old adage, “you look good, you feel good.”

Personal care as a vehicle for mental health
To deliver on these brand values, SELFMADE meets folks where they are in their lives, both physically and emotionally. Each product launch is a full ecosystem centered around a core psychological concept, and is made up of a personal care product, a digital tool with content and activities created with mental health experts, and a digital zine of curated stories from their community, that all tie back to that foundational concept.

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SELFMADE taps into rituals that are already happening daily. Studies show that female Gen Zer’s spending on beauty has increased 18% year over year and that 3 out of 4 Gen-Zers report using skin moisturizer and cleanser before the age of 18. That longevity translates into spending power. And it’s forcing a necessary shift in redefining society’s relationship to beauty. SELFMADE seeks to help their audience prioritize their mental health as much as they do their skincare routine. Their digital tool is built intentionally for either those babystepping into their wellness journey or those ready for a deeper dive, by providing a choose-your-own adventure format that allows people to go at whatever pace they feel comfortable.

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“It’s so refreshing to purchase a beauty product from a business that cares so deeply about humanity.” -Kendrick

The brand tapped the expertise of clean beauty specialist Robyn Watkins, founder of Holistic Beauty Group, and validated their product ecosystems with mental health professionals, Dr. Byron Young and Dr. Jeshana Avent Johnson. SELFMADE has launched two product ecosystems so far, with a third coming out later this year.

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SELFMADE’s debut product, Secure Attachment, is their multi-use moisturizing and priming face serum, focused on developing secure attachment style in relationships (with self + with others). Reviews on both the serum and its corresponding digital tool show that folks really appreciate products that help them work on their healing process, inside and out, as part of their daily routine. Secure Attachment also made it to Vogue’s top 52 face serums of 2021. SELFMADE’s True Grit Resilience Scrub, the brand’s second product, exfoliates and nourishes anywhere hair meets the body, including the scalp, underarms, pubic area, and toes and is based on redefining resilience and tapping into community when we need it most.

Recent research on how COVID-19 has impacted young folks shows that they are prioritizing their emotional wellbeing and that mental health is at the center of how they view and evaluate their overall health today. Now, more than ever, having a brand that can provide tangible tools and resources to support emotional wellbeing is essential. Explore SELFMADE’s products, CommonRoom, and digital zine at beselfmade.co and join SELFMADE in creating a radical self-love movement where we all know we are worthy as we already are.

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Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

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