Olamide Olowe: Queen of Skincare

When Olamide Olowe, co-founder and CEO of skincare label Topicals, announced her company had secured $10 million in funding from CAVU Consumer Partners, she became the youngest Black entrepreneur to get over $2 million in funding.

Topicals raised $2.6 million in funding from Lerer Hippeau and Mucker Labs since its founding in August 2020 and in March 2021, it launched in Sephora and sold out in 48 hours.

Though the 26-year-old founder may not have set out to make history, but her brand has achieved many firsts since it launched two years ago. It has gone from being sold in 300+ stores in Sephora to now obtaining this large venture capitalist backing. 

She is fast growing her skincare empire. The $10 million in funding by CAVU will be used to grow the brand in terms of marketing awareness and the expansion of its hiring/talent acquisition.

Topicals is also backed by celebrity investors like Gabrielle Union, Kelly Rowland, and Yvonne Orji.

Topicals is a skincare company transforming the way people feel about their skin through effective products and mental health advocacy. Topicals appeals to Gen-Z consumers through its TikTok and Instagram marketing, eye-catching packaging, and mental health advocacy.

It became an instant favourite amongst Gen Z folks for its thoughtful and downright fun approach to the topic of skincare.

Olowe began building Topicals after graduating from UCLA though she spent two years as intern developing SheaGirl, a sub brand of Shea Moisture focused on young women. She was inspired by the ethos of doing well by doing good to build Topicals with a social mission while working at Shea Moisture.

“As she began to research her skincare concept, Olowe saw a need for more products that are inclusive of darker skin tones. She was astonished to discover that 50 percent of dermatologists report not knowing how to treat skin of colour. This guided her to change the narrative of Topicals to one surrounding chronic skin conditions on darker skin tones”.

Olowe who was included in the Forbes 30 list for 2022 for her previous fundraise of $2.6 million, told Forbes that “Storytelling is the heartbeat of what we do at Topicals, it starts with media, it starts with mental health, it starts with all of us believing that we don’t have to subscribe to certain beauty standards. Beyond disrupting the ointment category, Topicals helps people accept and embrace flare-ups and have fun taking care of themselves. As someone who grew up with chronic skin conditions, it is so rewarding to see people talking about their skin journeys in a positive way.”

Olowe, who spent much of her childhood coping with chronic skin conditions like hyperpigmentation is on a mission to end the stigma around these skin-related conditions.

The company has reimagined how consumers can treat flare-ups by developing products that contain ingredients and herbals scientifically proven to work by third-party, peer-reviewed clinical studies.

Olowe with her partner, Teng have built a skincare line that catered for people with varying skin tones and conditions.

The dark-spot-eliminating Faded gel and hydration-boosting like Butter mask are Topicals’ star products (and the only beauty SKUs to date), along with its new velour logo jacket which channels the aughts in the best way possible and a tube key to squeeze out every last drop of product.

They succeeded in changing the narrative of Topicals to one surrounding chronic skin conditions on darker skin tones.

Olowe said Topicals started as a kernel of an idea right after her graduation in 2018. “It took me time to figure out what the brand was going to be. When I stumbled on psychodermatology, which is the study of the connection between skin and your mind, I knew I had found the space I’d been seeking. I wanted to make other people aware of the connection between skin health and mental health”.

Olowe who says she is living her dream, having been fortunate to be exposed to SheaMoisture and venture capital, believes she owes it to others to help them live out their dreams.