Black In Fragrance: 2021-2022 Inaugural Grant Initiative Winners
Written By: Brianna Arps
In launching MOODEAUX, it was and still is just as important for me to see Black fragrance entrepreneurs like myself thrive. As someone who spent two years ideating our debut product, partially while also living on New York State unemployment, I know how disheartening it can feel to be told you're "unqualified" — since most grants, prizes and other non-dilutive opportunities require at least a prototype or a full year in business for consideration.
With Black In Fragrance™, we're taking a different approach to recognize Black business owners at various stages of their journey. Because let's be real: It takes money to even start, to form an LLC, to build a perfumery kit, to test and experiment, etc.
Anything perpetuating the funding gap between those who have big ideas and those who have big ideas *and* the cash savings or capital to get going just isn't right in my eyes. Although MOODEAUX recently launched in October 2021, that's never stopped us from reaching out a helping hand. There's so much more we can all do together, with each other's support.
From Left to Right: Taylor Vinson, Taylyn Washington-Harmon, Amanda Nwobu (Credit: Cristina Fisher)
As such, I'm beyond excited to announce our first wave of MOODEAUX x Black In Fragrance™ Grant Initiative winners! Each individual showcases an immense amount of passion, plus the skill and tenacity needed to push the industry forward. Keep reading to get to know Taylor Vinson, Taylyn Washington-Harmon and Amanda Nwobu and their amazing brands.
Taylor Vinson - Founder of Taylor Rachelle
Taylor Vinson is the founder of fragrance and lifestyle brand Taylor Rachelle. She is a poet and a creative expression enthusiast. Taylor graduated with a B.S. in Communication Studies from Missouri State University and a M.A. in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University. As a user experience researcher by day, she is passionate about creating meaningful experiences and "not just another product business," Vinson says.
As an introvert, she's always appreciated time alone and the intimacy of truly building a good relationship with yourself. Writing was how Taylor found her meaning of self-care and as she got older, lighting candles and speaking positively over herself became a part of that self-care practice.
Taylor Rachelle is a luxury fragrance and lifestyle company specializing in premium scented products made with eco-friendly materials. "Our handcrafted body butters and coconut soy wax candles made with wooden wicks are intentionally designed to be uplifting while promoting self-care and expression," she explains. "In the future, we hope to expand our product offerings and work more closely with artists and creative entrepreneurs."
Launched: November 2020
Taylyn Washington-Harmon - Founder of Starre Beauty Labs
Taylyn Washington-Harmon is a seasoned health editor with a passion for fragrance and all things geek culture. Seeing a dearth in the luxury beauty and fragrance market catered to women and feminine individuals in the realm of fandom, Starre Beauty Labs became her brainchild. Using her knowledge as an artist and researcher, combined with her experience in the wellness industry, Taylyn seeks to create her own niche at the intersection of art and science.
A Chicagoland native, Taylyn brings a scrappy, can-do attitude to everything she creates alongside her passions for aesthetic and olfactory luxuries. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Syracuse University's renowned S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. She currently lives in New York City with her partner and 80-pound pitbull.
Drawing on the spirit of fictional anime and pop culture heroines, or "starres," Starre Beauty Labs is a scent-forward wellness brand, using fragrance to evoke memory, confidence, and fantasy with every spritz. "Whether your starre is a moon princess, a punk rockstar, or a warrior against 60 meter titans," Washington-Harmon says, "Starre Beauty Labs can help you achieve her unforgettable essence that becomes your own."
Launching: Fall/Winter 2023
Amanda Nwobu - Founder of 8-12
8-12 is a concept shop offering indie home and body fragrances from origins near and far, new and familiar. "Our curation centers founders rooted in deep convictions and refreshing perspectives," Nwobu says, "and it is our intention to connect scents that broaden and reclaim olfactory narratives with people seeking to enhance the joy, reverence, and peace in the spaces they occupy."
Launching: Fall 2022
Black In Fragrance™ is building a global ecosystem of support among industry professionals, consumers, retailers and media outlets, each who pledge to help level the playing field for Black perfumers and Black-owned fragrance brands. If you’re a founder who needs support, please email brianna@MOODEAUX.com. If you’re interested in getting involved, email us at BIF@MOODEAUX.com.