Her journey began like many of ours: a young Black girl dreaming of being something amazing. But once she hit college, Kim Roxie, founder and owner of LAMIK Cosmetics, discovered her passion in life. She started off just making lip-glosses, then realized she was fabulous at it. From there, the beauty entrepreneur (whose line is now sold in Macy’s) created a full family of eco-chic makeup primarily catered to women of color. The busy bee stepped away from the counter to share some of her inspirational light with EBONY.com.
EBONY: I’ve known about LAMIK Beauty for so long and never knew until about a year ago that it was owned by a Black woman.
Kim Lamik: It’s funny, I didn’t start releasing that I even founded the company until about two years ago. So it’s not crazy that you did not know. A lot of my customers that would come into my store for so many years started seeing stuff on TV and in the media. They were like, “What?” I started at 21, and what’s interesting to me is: right now being an entrepreneur is good, but it wasn’t that way a few years ago. Meeting a young entrepreneur and taking them serious was an issue. So I kept it under wraps that I was the founder.
EBONY: How did you get started in the cosmetics industry?
KL: I wanted to live in Atlanta, so I went to Clark University. My freshman year, when everyone was concentrated on school, I was working. I couldn’t afford to just be there. So I got a job at the mall doing make-up. I had never done makeup before, but that is where it all started. Then my senior year in college came around and I asked myself, “What are you going to do when you grow up?” I started looking at what I had and what I could do, and I began making lip-gloss. I figured this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
EBONY: Why did you decide to cater to women of color?
KL: I felt like the representation of the beauty industry and what people classified as beautiful was not me. I know some of my customers are way darker than me. This is why I started LAMIK. LAMIK is an acronym that stands for Love and Make-up in Kindness. Everything you do, you should do in love and kindness.
EBONY: How did you get past feeling outcast from the beauty business in terms of representation?
KL: It’s really something when the whole world has to agree on what you’re saying. A lot of times we are waiting on somebody to validate. So for me, I feel like I’m a role model. A lot of my encouragement comes from inside the community. I know these girls are looking up to me. I know grown women are looking up to me. I know I must do what I have to do to make our beauty more normal in the mainstream, because it’s still not there yet. We have so much further to go. And part of my organization is to make this more normal. I always call myself the next generation of beauty. This is where beauty is going, this is where it’s at.
EBONY: Can you break down what it means to be the first eco-chic make-up brand?
KL: What eco-chic means is that we are eco-friendly because of a couple of reasons. One is because of our packaging; most of our packaging is recycled paper. When you’re actually using the product, we show you how to use it in a more eco-friendly way. So instead of having 20 different products, a primer, a this, a that, we show you how one product can be your primer, concealer and brow highlighter. So we are being eco-friendly in a sense that we are reducing how much you are consuming.
We also leave out the toxic ingredients like formaldehyde, lead. And we replaced those ingredients with stuff that is better and safer for you. That’s where the whole eco part comes in. So it kind of pushed that to a place where it’s not brown and green packaging, it’s pretty. It’s silver, white, pink. It’s very chic looking.
EBONY: What has been the biggest challenge in creating an eco-friendly cosmetic line?
KL: On a creative standpoint, it’s not that difficult creating it per se. The difficulty comes when you’re manufacturing. You have to work with the right companies and manufacturers so that you produce the product that you want. It might be a little bit more expensive and time consuming, but that’s when some of the difficulty comes in.
EBONY: When it comes to building a beauty brand from scratch, how do you begin? Where does it start?
KL: Well, I’m kind of all the way around. I’m almost like a chemist. Sometimes I do go into the lab when I’m trying to make up colors. I’m also a licensed aesthetician and a make-up artist. I’m so all the way around at the same time. I believe you have to start with a vision, something that you have talent and a purpose for.
EBONY: I think we all feel like that our dreams are too big at times. But it’s true you have to begin with a vision.
KL: Who are you waiting for to show up? That’s not where real founders come from. Founders seek, find, and define what it is. Being comfortable with making definitions is really important. You can’t sit around waiting for someone. We have to get to a place where we realize that what we have as individuals is one of a kind. What you have is one of a kind and what you have is only something that you can bring to the marketplace and to the world that no one else can get credit for.
EBONY: When you mentor young women of color, what is the biggest detriment you find they face in terms of being their greatest?
KL: Distractions! There are distractions throwing you off your course. If you could get off your distractions, every moment of your day becomes focused. When I mentor, I’m always identifying the distractions so we can get into a good place and really move forward.
EBONY: It’s good to hear that fresh take. We look at women like you and think you didn’t have any problems on the way to success and it’s just this straight line to living your dream.
KL: I actually had to write out one of my girls’ schedule for her, because to her she couldn’t accomplish anything. She has a baby and other things going on, like most women in the world. I wrote her schedule and we figured out that she did have 40 hours to give to work and plus had a day off. We had to go through the whole thing. We are always looking at the things we don’t have, the resources we don’t have, instead of looking at what we do have. The only reason I can speak to you about distraction is because I’ve been distracted before. I can speak on that because I deal with it every day. Stay focused and everything else will follow. Your best days are ahead of you.
EBONY: I hope you continue to share that message with women who want to be great and achieve excellence.
KL: It’s about owning your greatness. Everybody is not called to be an entrepreneur; everybody is not called to be a journalist. Whatever your greatness is, you need to own it. Everybody is an entrepreneur in spirit of owning his or her greatness.
EBONY: What would you like to see happen in the beauty industry in regards to African-American women in the future?
KL: I want to see more businesses do business with Black women. I don’t want it to be so taboo that someone would do business with a Black-owned company in the beauty industry. I just went in Nordstrom and there was not one Black-owned cosmetic line there.
I was in Atlanta and the market is very Black. And I know a lot of times when you’re in Idaho, you might not find a lot of Black lines, because there aren’t many Black people. I understand that and I get the geography. But to be in Atlanta, Georgia, where there are a lot of Black people, and to not have one line that was Black owned didn’t sit well with me.
I want to see Black-owned or Black-directed companies doing business with these major retailers across the country, because there are department stores that are not doing it. It has to be done and I want to be a part of it.