(Teen Vogue) The Dooplex Creates a Shopping Experience for Women of Color

The growing conversation about representation in the beauty world has shown no signs of slowing down anytime soon. And it shouldn't. As consumers become increasingly vocal — calling out brands when they make a misstep or blatantly exclude a group of people — some brands have responded by making diversity a priority in all facets of their businesses. From the models they cast in their ad campaigns to the shade ranges of their base products, it's a big step that's long overdue.

While many strides have been made in terms of inclusivity in the beauty space, companies often still fall short. And seeing repeated failures can get frustrating in 2018, a time when brands should definitely know better. Even the shopping experience can get frustrating because of limited selections for customers of color. (Personally, I've been let down on more than one occasion when looking for natural hair products.)

In light of that, I've been looking to support more business owned by people of color — ones that truly try to meet my needs. The Dooplex, a new online shop that launched this year, seems to truly get it.

Longtime college friends Kevin Lyles, Roger Fountain, and Jacob Williams teamed up to create their own digital destination, with the goal of catering to black people and their beauty concerns. Launched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018, The Dooplex features a carefully curated mix of minority-owned hair and skin care products. "We sell products that help our customers maintain healthy hair, create flexible styling options, and give flawless complexions. Each and every product line we carry has been used extensively in salons, and comes with a track record of performance by discerning customers," the founding team told Teen Vogue.

Alongside the e-commerce platform is their Doo Rag Blog, which spotlights inspiring, professional women of color. There are also informative posts filled with thoughtful tips, as well as product recommendations for common beauty woes. "The voice and content of the site are as important to us as our sales. We want the site to feel like a place that represents the conversations women of color have every day. From politics to beauty, gender issues, parenting, love, sex and race, we're hoping to tell the story of beauty through the lens of these topics," they explained.

Above all, The Dooplex hopes to create a more fun and inviting beauty shopping experience for women of color. Though it's only a month old, the brands they've started off with are quite promising. Ahead, find seven Teen Vogue-approved picks from the site.

Dr. Earles Hair & Scalp Care System, $35 Courtesy of The Dooplex.


An antidote for a dry and itchy scalp, the Dr. Earles hair system is comprised of a shampoo and scalp treatment. The duo works in conjunction to rid the hair follicles of buildup, banish dandruff, and soothe irritation — all without stripping it of nourishing oils.Courtesy of The Dooplex.


Nothing is more frustrating than the dark marks that acne bumps tend to leave behind, especially on darker skin tones. While they normally fade with time, you can speed up the process with Dr. Earles' skin brightening, oil-free moisturizer, which also helps keep your face hydrated — and not greasy — all day long.Indigo Edge Glyde, $18 Courtesy of The Dooplex.


Every black woman needs a strong edge control in her arsenal to slick down baby hairs and keep flyaways at bay. Not only will this one from Indigo keep your hair in place, it's also packed with healthy ingredients that promote hair growth. Bonus: You can also use it as a curling pomade for heat styling.

Indigo Herbal Nourishment Conditioner, $35 Courtesy of The Dooplex.


While regular deep conditioning is an important step in every haircare routine, it's especially vital for kinky/curly hair textures, since they're prone to dryness. Formulated without hair-clogging ingredients, this deep conditioner will give your mane a well-needed boost of hydration while leaving it with a lasting shine in between wash days.BBD King Keala Oil, $25 Courtesy of The Dooplex.


This lightweight oil, which comes in cherry and pineapple scents, is equally moisturizing on your hair and body. Dispense a dollop on your palms and rake it throughout your strands for extra shine.BBD King Stop Breakage Braid Growth Creme, $35Courtesy of The Dooplex.


One of the most common problems found amongst naturalistas is excessive breakage because of brittle and dry strands. This potent vegan moisturizer for braided styles keeps hair hydrated, even while it's tucked away.

KitiKiti Medicated Treatment Conditioner I, $16Courtesy of The Dooplex.


Prescription-grade conditioners are great for when your scalp needs extra TLC. Infused with calming aloe, this KitiKiti medicated conditioner deeply penetrates the hair shaft to restore moisture and give you the best hair days,
The Dooplex team

The Dooplex team.

Global Cosmetic News

By by Georgina Caldwell

Texan entrepreneur Kevin Lyles has launched an online marketplace for women of color, according to a report published by The Glow Up.

The Dooplex champions small and lesser-known minority-owned brands catering for women of color's hair and skin care needs such as Dr. Earles Skin & Hair, KitiKiti, BBD King and Indigo. The site also carries a blog, named Doo-Rag.

"We are political, and we're not afraid of being political. We're not afraid of saying who we are and having that open communication and conversation that black women have every day, like they would have in a salon. But this way, they're going to have it online."

"We want to say that women of color are not an afterthought; this is not the 'ethnic aisle'. This is for them, with them in mind, with them in the front of our minds, and we want to offer products to them that work."

An African American female entrepreneur, who's made her mark in the retail subscription industry, with a focus on perinatal and postpartum needs.

While other products tend to focus on baby, The Stork Bag offers curated products, which help mothers throughout their pregnancies and postpartum period. It's been loved by mothers throughout the world -- including Joanna Gaines, Khloe Kardashian, to name a few -- since November 2014.

The Stork Bag is the only pregnancy subscription product to have received OBGYN certification. And, it was a labor of love, for sure.

Perry launched The Stork Bag after obtaining her Master's degree, while pregnant with her third son and working full time in the nonprofit sector. On top of that, Ericka recently published a pregnancy journal called "9 Months of Happiness: Maintaining a Blissful Pregnancy," and helps her husband run his self-help YouTube channel YouAreCreators, Inc.

At the end of the day, Ericka is an inspiration for women to reach for the stars, focusing on what makes them the happiest.

To get a sense of what Ericka's like (and her amazing personality), please see her reel, and a link to one of her TV appearances.

DOOPLEX: What was your inspiration for starting the business?

PERRY: My biggest inspiration was mothers, in particular, pregnant mothers. I'm a mom and have many friends and family members who are also mothers. Catering to women during such an important time in their lives was and still is the driving force behind my business.

DOOPLEX: What have been your greatest achievements and biggest challenges?

PERRY: My greatest achievements have come in the form of customer satisfaction and word of mouth brand recognition growth. Knowing that not only are people purchasing The Stork Bag, but are also spreading the word about it makes me proud. I've faced many challenges with growing The Stork Bag but the biggest would have to be in the arena of scaling. Scaling a subscription based business can be challenging until you find what works for your business. This is because many sub-based businesses rely heavily on other brands, we've learned to work around this challenge by implementing processes that help us align with the right brands and provide exclusive content.

DOOPLEX: Advice to women who want to start a new business?

PERRY: My advice to aspiring entrepreneurs would be to Just Do It. As a consultant, I often times come across clients who have a really great idea but are too afraid to step on the gas. I always tell them to Just Do It, put it out there and tweak it along the way. Too much overthinking can lead to failure without even trying.

DOOPLEX: What are your plans for the future of your business?

PERRY: My plan is to grow The Stork Bag into the premier pregnancy gifting brand. Our vision is not only The Stork Bag being the "go-to" pregnancy gift, our goal is for our brand(s) to be synonymous with pregnancy.

DOOPLEX: Being a black woman business owner? What are some of the specific challenges?

PERRY: I don't necessarily see challenges related to being a black woman business owner. My outlook sees far beyond barriers and capitalizes on opportunity. I encourage all female entrepreneurs to do the same, especially AA female entrepreneurs. We're not victims, we're leaders who can create magic if we knew our potential and focused only on opportunity; image what we could create!

DOOPLEX: What do you love and struggle with when it comes to your hair/skin?

I love my skin color, growing up with darker skin was sometimes hard and when I became a young adult and started wearing make up, it was a struggle to find the right foundation. Luckily, I've never struggled with acme prone skin but oil prone skin was a headache!


By Maiysha Kai

Looking for an entirely for-us, by-us, one-stop shop for hair and beauty products? Welcome to the Dooplex, a new online marketplace hoping to elevate the black beauty industry to the next level.

Launched on Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2018, the Dooplex is the brainchild of CEO Kevin Lyles, who left a corporate career in Texas to return to his native Gary, Ind., to help his family's 29-year-old beauty-and-barber supply company, Milizette. Witnessing the ways that his hometown was dying because of the loss of industry and jobs, Lyles sought to give back to the community and help small black-owned salons and beauty suppliers stay afloat by selling their product online. Enter friends and partners Roger Fountain and Jacob Williams who are helping Lyles bring his vision to life through the Dooplex. In addition to offering options from lesser-known black- and minority-owned skin- and hair-care brands, starting with Dr. Earles Skin & Hair, KitiKiti, BBD King and Indigo, the team are also offering community and kinship through their blog, Doo-Rag.

"We are political, and we're not afraid of being political. We're not afraid of saying who we are and having that open communication and conversation that black women have every day, like they would have in a salon. But this way, they're going to have it online."

Their autonomy to craft and convey their own unique message, as well as curate offerings specific to the needs of women of color, derives from the fact that the Dooplex is independently funded. While their pace of growth may be slow and steady compared with other startups, there are no venture capitalists editing their messaging or watering down their products, each of which is salon-tested and professional-grade.

"I think it's important that we make sure that our customers know that the lines that they're buying are black and minority-owned. ... It's never been more relevant than right now. And that is something our customers really respond to—it doesn't have to always be these big cosmetic companies that are the powerhouse. You know, these smaller lines are out there; they've been chugging along in the black community doing really well for women for a long time. It's just that now we have a national platform for them, through e-commerce."

As the Dooplex continues to grow, future plans include a possible in-house label, which would create local jobs, as well as philanthropic efforts to help revitalize the city of Gary, potentially through the creation of a nonprofit. But for now, that growth depends heavily on word of mouth and ensuring that the customers the Dooplex was created to serve know that a space exclusively for them now exists,

"We want to say that women of color are not an afterthought; this is not the "ethnic aisle." This is for them, with them in mind, with them in the front of our minds, and we want to offer products to them that work. ... For us, first and foremost are our customers, and what works for them and what they need."