Sharon Chuter

Sharon Chuter: The Visionary Behind UOMA Beauty


Feb. 17 2024, Published 6:37 p.m. ET

Sharon Chuter is the founder of UOMA Beauty, a brand that advocates for inclusivity. She started the business out of her desire to change the unrealistic beauty ideals in her society, which regarded women with straight hair and light skin as beautiful.

To help people of color find the right foundation for their skin tone, Chuter launched her company with 51 shades of foundation. This was slightly more than that offered by Rihanna's Fenty Beauty. Before starting the business, she had gained extensive knowledge about the business while working for brands like Revlon and L'Oréal.

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Sharon Chuter’s Early Years in Nigeria

Chuter was born and raised in Nigeria. While growing up, the thought of venturing into the beauty industry never crossed her mind. She studied to become an engineer but ended up falling in love with music, which she pursued for a while. After realizing that the music business wasn't paying her bills, Chuter set her eyes on being an entrepreneur. After doing her research, she realized that the popular beauty brands didn't sell their products in Nigeria.

The desire to work with international companies led her to contact different beauty brands, but most of them turned down her request. Fortunately, Revlon accepted her request to become their distributor in Nigeria. Before her pitch to the company, Revlon had been trying to venture into the market, but they faced strict restrictions as the country banned the importation and sale of their cosmetic products.

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Creating UOMA Beauty

Sharon worked with Revlon for years as their distributor. During her time at the company, she rose through the ranks to take on top leadership. As an employee, one of the major problems she experienced was the lack of inclusivity in the range of products offered. This ignited her passion to start UOMA Beauty, a company that offers products for different skin tones but still embraces the principles of inclusivity. Starting her business was challenging because she lacked enough capital. As a result, she opted to sell her house to get the money she needed.

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Championing for Inclusivity in the Beauty Industry

Chute's UOMA Beauty championed its message for inclusivity in beauty by creating a product that includes all skin tones in the complexion category for makeup. In addition to the diversity of beauty products, Sharon has also been steadfast in championing for inclusivity in the beauty industry. This is evident in her "Make It Black" campaign that pushes for the sale of limited-edition beauty products which are sold on the Make It Black website and Walmart.

Starting in 2021, the money they have raised from the sale of the products will be put into the Pull Up for Change Impact Fund. Chuter created this fund in 2020 during her #PullUpForChange campaign, an initiative that was developed to request companies to disclose the number of employees in leadership roles. Currently, the campaign has raised over $700,000, which has helped kickstart black entrepreneurs' startup journey.

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Taking Broad Steps to Bring Transformative Change

Many people from Africa may not believe that they can start a business from their home country and expand it internationally. However, this is a mindset that people can change if they work hard. As is evident with Chuter, creating quality products can be a stepping stone to bringing change.

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