Fanola Babe, Shan Berries is not only a beauty expert but an entrepreneur that created her own makeup line and non-profit organization to support single parents. We had the pleasure of getting to chat with Shan and learned more about her, how she got her start in the makeup industry, and her brand Shades By Shan Cosmetics.
On her love for makeup and how she began Shades By Shan:
S: I've always been interested in makeup and I would always spend most of my hours in Sephora just looking around and searching for the next best thing. I started seeing a trend on Instagram with a bunch of influencers talking about how they were collaborating with brands and I always wondered wonder why they wouldn't just come out with their own brand considering they had their own big platforms.
It kind of then clicked for me one day, I don't have a million followers, but I do have a little bit of a following here in the Bay Area, so I thought "Why don't I start this little side hustle and try to come out with my own makeup brand?"
However, I wanted it to be impact-driven. I didn't want to come out with a brand to just come out with a brand. I wanted to give back to the community because it has gotten me to where I am now because they believed in me. Then I thought long and hard about what the mission behind it was going to be and then the answer was right in front of my eyes the whole time, it was my single mom. I then started looking for charities to donate to single parents, and I could not find any that solely focused on helping single moms or single dads because they can't pay for their daycare this month or they lost their job or whatever it may be. I decided then to start my own non-profit foundation, the Mama Berries nonprofit organization in honor of my mom!
How long was Shades By Shan in the making?
S: It was about 6 months to a year in the making because it wasn’t just about the makeup, it was all about the formula, the pliers, the logos, the graphic designers, it's the website, terms and conditions, the lawyers and so much more! It takes a long time so we had to be patient.
Were there any struggles when you first started out your business?
S: Definitely a lot of hurdles. Even with the nonprofit, we didn't realize that it takes 17 months to complete a nonprofit. Things like the proper accreditation from the government, lawyers, and contracts, etc. We didn't realize all that stuff when we first started, it was definitely a learning experience.
How social media has affected her business in a positive way:
S: We wouldn't be here without social media. Most of our customers shop from our social media, from our stories, from the links we post from our video. Social media is such a driving force for Shades By Shan that we wouldn't be here without it, or we wouldn't have been this successful. I definitely thank social media for that. At times social media does get tough in general. During the Black Lives Matter movement, we of course didn't want to post anything on social media, we just wanted to be there for the community and show our love and support. We ended up launching a Summer of Love collection, but we never in a million years would have thought that it would've come out during the climate that we're in right now. We launched our collection and we're giving back to the National Black Justice Coalition from the collection and the Mamma Berries nonprofit, so it's times like that when we’re definitely blessed to have social media.
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
S: I would definitely say my biggest inspiration is my mom! She is so resilient and such an amazing strong woman and I wish I could be at least 10% of her. She's so strong and always knows the right thing to do. Whenever my sister and I are going through a hard time, and if we can't figure it out we always go to our mom for help because she always has the right answer. I feel like it always comes out well with her. I just really want to make her proud at the end of the day. I see how hard she worked for my sister and me, and now it's time for us to work even harder for her.
During this quarantine, what have you been doing to help with your mental health and self-care?
S: I think just taking breaks and just knowing that it's okay to take a break and not feel okay. When I'm with my family, I'm not really on my phone that much and just have that disconnect, because before I would constantly be on my phone. I think that the pandemic was a wake-up call for everyone to realize that everybody's moving too fast, and to take a step back, and reflect on what's really important in life. So I think that's really kind of opened my eyes to realize that work isn't everything. Social media is a big part of my life, but it's okay to have your days to step away and take time for yourself.
On her haircare routine:
S: I feel like sometimes I spend more time on my hair than anything else. I love my hair so much. I feel like that's why I love Fanola because you guys just create such amazing products that actually can see the difference in real-time. Like using the Vegan No Orange, putting that on your hair and then seeing the difference in a couple of washes to me means a lot!
On her favorite Fanola products:
S: The Fiber Fix Bond Connector is my favorite, it makes my hair feel like silk whenever I use it. I also love the Nutri Care Restructuring Serum and the Vegan No Orange. I have really fine hair and it gets tangled so fast, so these products definitely help.
What is your fave thing about being a Fanola Babe?
S: Fanola feels like family to me, they really care about their community and it really shows and it shines through. Definitely just the amazing products Fanola comes out with, you guys don't slack on anything. So I know that when you spend money on it, you're going to get your money's worth. Fanola is one of the brands that actually reach out just to ask "Hey, how are you?" and I really appreciate that along with coming out with amazing quality products!
What will you do the minute quarantine is over?
S: Honestly, I just want to go to a bar with my friends. I would like to get everyone together and just be in everyone's presence and have a good time!