Partnership is part of DU President’s efforts to promote Black excellence and support Black businesses
As part of Dillard University’s annual Inauguration weekend in late January, Dr. Rochelle L. Ford, who was sworn in as the eighth president of Dillard University, chose Black Opal, a Black-owned cosmetic company, to supply the cosmetic products she wore for the festivities.
Dr. Ford has earned a reputation as a hard-working transformative leader. Previously, she served as the dean of the School of Communications at Elon University, the second to serve in that position in the university’s history. And she has taken the effort to highlight Black women business owners a step further by partnering with Black Opal, LLC, to put its products in the Dillard University Campus Bookstore.
“As I joined Dillard University as the new President, I was the new face that everyone will see—so my makeup had to represent my values. Being Black is much more than having a Black face, it’s our cultural commitment to bringing others up with us. I am proud to support a Black business at every chance I get and promote the products they make when I use them,” said Ford. “The partnership to bring products made for us and made by us to the University is essential. When you see my face in leadership, I want you to think of the other Black women who helped me get there—from the Black-owned company that provided my makeup and clothing to the mentors and others I met in education and career along the way. When one succeeds, we all succeed.”
The Dillard bookstore will be the first HBCU bookstore to carry Black Opal products, says Desirée Glapion Rogers, the company’s CEO, New Orleans native and former White House Social Secretary.
“It’s imperative that we support our HBCU community and continue to scale our impact in the Black community. It’s especially important to me as a New Orleans native – I’m happy to be coming home.”
Black consumers are responsible for 11.1 percent of total beauty spending, yet Black-owned and founded brands are often misrepresented in the revenue earnings.
Rogers continues, “We were extremely excited to partner with President Ford (and Dillard University). Black-owned beauty businesses account for only .5 percent of revenues in the industry. As CEO and co-owner of Black Opal LLC, we’re on a mission to double this percentage in the next 5 years. That’s why our partnership with Dillard University is so important.”
Black brands in the beauty industry raise a median of $13 million in venture capital, substantially less than the $20 million that non-Black brands raise. Still, the median revenue of those Black brands is 89 times higher than what non-Black beauty brands return over the same period.