Ever since the great Kimye skin-toned band-aid snafu in 2018, big-name brands have worked to expand the shade range of "flesh" tone products from bandages to concealer to pantyhose. Smaller, independent brands have been doing this work across a variety of industries for decades and in 2019 I learned about a revolution happening in the footwear industry.
After years of working on Wall Street, at Goldman Sachs, no less, Rebecca Allen noticed that the company's strict dress code was easier to adhere to for white women, who more often than not wore nude pumps. "But a white person’s nude looked absurd on me," Allen said in an article published by The Helm. In 2017, Rebecca Allen left her job and started to "build a brand that could help women of color feel seen and supported as they move through their day." She started with the classic pump in five shades and has since expanded her product offerings to include a strappy sandal and a flat.
Rebecca Allen's story struck a chord with me. As a Black female finance major who has put on a pair of "nude" heels and flown to NY to interview at the same company at which Allen used to work, I whole-heartedly support her mission to empower Black women in professional spaces. Do I think that Rebecca Allen's shoes will combat racism and exlcusivity in the space? No. The exclusivity of the finance industry and business in general is so much deeper than shoes. But we all know how important self-confidence is to putting your best foot forward (no pun intended) and if a darker shade of shoes can do even a little bit to empower Black women in the workplace, then we should do everything in our power to support the cause.
Over the past 3 years, I've taken an interest in investing both personally and professionally. The stock market is a relatively-easy way to start investing and understand the industry, but over the past year I've wished for ways to get involved in privately owned company, specically early stage investing through venture capital. I'm nowhere near close to being an accredited investor, so my access has been limited to my work with the BLK Foundation as a member of the investment committee (and recently, co-chair of the endowment committee). That was until I learned about crowdfunding, which allows everyday people an opportunity to invest in companies that are raising money.
One platform, called Republic, led me to discover Salone Monet, a "nude" footwear company that sports the slogan "nude is not a color" and creates pumps, strappy sandals, and flats in six shades. Salone Monet has caught the eye of Beyonce, Gabrielle Union, Keke Palmer and many more with over $25k in sales in 2020 (a year which was dominated by a global pandemic). More importantly, Salone Monet expects to reach over $100k in revenue in the next six months and expects a TAM of $4.3B. To be clear, this is an investment that I find extremely attractive with a discount rate of 15%.
Rebecca Allen and Salone Monet are two brands that I am spotlighting because not only are they both founded by Black women, but I believe in their missions and want to support them in any way I can. For me, that means showcasing both brands on my blog, buying their shoes, and investing in the businesses (Rebecca Allen is available for sale and investment on The Helm and Salone Monet is available for sale on the company website and investment on Republic). I encourage everyone reading this to support both companies however they see fit.
*Editor/Writer's Note: One of the images in the graphic is from Kahmune, a "nude" footwear comapny founded by Jamela A Acheampong and offers 10 shades with more inclusive sizing.
*I am not an investment professional. All investment strategies and investments involve risk of loss. Nothing contained in this website should be construed as investment advice.*