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Youthforia, I know you’ll do the right thing! The issue has more to do with purpose than strategy.

Before I lay out my recommendations for Youthforia on managing the inclusivity crisis for a win-win outcome for all, I want to preface with an open letter to Fiona Chan, the founder of Youthforia. 

Let’s all pick each other up and create a more humane, conscious & beautiful planet, “A Woman’s World.”


‘We spoke before you launched Youthforia. Ever since, I have been in awe of how intently you listened and then went on to show all the Indie Beauty founders and stakeholders how winning is done!

I offer the recommendations below, in all sincerity, to help you emerge stronger from the current turmoil.

Indie Beauty needs gutsy and humble doers like yourself. We all make mistakes, but what matters is bouncing back as an evolved version of ourselves and never stopping from blazing your trail.”

Rohit Banota,

Founder, Jump Accelerator

She & her brand have been in the line of fire.

For context, Youthforia is a playful beauty brand that launched in September 2020. It believes makeup is an extension of skincare and offers high-performance makeup products that you can sleep in.

The brand is sold at high-profile beauty retailers like Ulta in the USA and has a solid DTC consumer base.

What happened: 2 Inclusivity blunders

First, influencer Golloria George said the initial 15 shades of the Date Night Skin Tint Serum Foundation didn’t cover darker skin tones.

Second, Youthforia’s course correct range contains a black shade W/O undertones that don’t work for anyone, even those with the darkest complexion.

 We must acknowledge the feelings and thoughts of the African American community, as evidenced in Beauty Independent’s article here!

Jump's 2 Paths Recommendations for YouthForia

PATH 1: If an existential threat: Youthforia to JUMP out of hell & make amends + friends:

1. First, the founder, Fiona, issues an authentic apology to the African American community & all the other stakeholders

a. No props, no flashy cameras; be your authentic self

b. Go live on IG

c. Don’t justify. Rather, please focus on the hurt you have unintentionally caused and own it all

d. End with the intent & the conviction to make amends

e. Announce point 2 below

2. Then, invite the fiercest critics & sympathizers from across the board

a. Marketers, founders, product formulators & influencers, fans within the African American community 

To a “Youthforia, Wesorryya’ll” listening session with

-Youthforia’s founder, formulators & the internal product & marketing team.

3. Listen in 1:1 + group setting

a. External stakeholders share frustration & inputs; the team takes notes

  1. Ask open-ended follow-up questions 
  2. Don’t argue or justify 

4. Do the group session first, & then the 1:1

a. Founder & team take all the blows

b. Record the session

c. Encourage each to share

5. The objective is to gain inputs on

a. Why Youthforia landed here? 

-The intent, decision-making, formulation process, manufacturing, and messaging will be evaluated in detail

b. How does it make the African American community feel? 

-Get to the bottom of the emotional hurt these stakeholders feel

c. How can Youthforia course correct?

-Seek advice from formulators and developers of inclusive shades

-Counsel from innovation and marketing gurus on the process and messaging respectively

During 1:1 sessions, get deeper with every feeling & input by asking open-ended questions and seeking elaboration 

Record all 1:1s, too. 

Another objective is to build a rapport and relationship and get to know each of these people personally, especially the founder, Fiona, and her leadership team.

6. Compile all the inputs

a. Code under topics with the contributors, and get to the core reasons & solutions for failure at each stage of intent, development & marketing.

7. Dinner, thank you

a. A subsequent invite to “For your eyes only” session

8. Using the same coded inputs, advice from the internal team & experts

   a. Ready a step-by-step plan to put inclusivity at the core

9. Invite back, share the roadmap for inclusivity

a. Changes to every process, product dev. & brand messaging

b. Thank each by citing contributions to the brand’s inclusivity roadmap

10. Inclusivity Inspectors

a. Create an “Inclusivity Inspectors” club with these stakeholders, keeping the brand accountable

b. Start adding people from other ethnic minorities

11. Leverage “Inclusivity Inspectors”

Let them

a. Share your reasons for the debacle & course correct in their voice

b. Share their voice with all beauty stakeholders, including beauty retailers & all influencers & then collab 

  1. To keep Youthforia accountable with continuous evaluation of new products & marketing 
  2. Share their evaluation with all beauty stakeholders, including beauty retailers and influencers

PATH 2: If Youthforia can survive the uprising

1. Apologize sincerely & roll back the product/claim

a. No justification or blame game.

2. Share inclusivity roadmap

a. Communicate & reinforce your original intent for an inclusive brand and share where you are and what the end goal looks like

b. How you plan to get there with milestones 

3. Stay away from sweeping claims

a. Claim with the leeway for context, meaning any testing you have done or consumer feedback you have, how they used it, who used it, skin tones etc., and what did they self-report 

b. For inclusive shades, ask them to do a patch test and offer 100% return guarantee for new launches

4. Get more inclusive with products but avoid big claims

5. Focus on the brand’s core promise “Make up that you can sleep in”


Sitting idle and doing nothing is not going to help. Youthforia could assess the amount of risk and then take action to solve the current crisis and not only ensure that it doesn’t happen in future but also leverage this crisis to raise your internal standards, share the same with everyone, walk the talk and win back friends and turn them into super fans.

Fiona, having seen your emergence, resilience, and climb to the top, I can vouch that you’ll come out on top by winning back everyone’s heart and every shade, slowly but surely.

Read my other blog on how can Olaplex turnaround here!


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