In The Business of Cosmetics

Fugly Lab is a cometics company
founded by Onamia Chun pictured here.

How was the concept for Fugly Lab born?

Necessity is the mother of invention: I bought thousands of dollars worth of products because it was celebrity endorsed, promised amazing results, or was pressured by a beauty technician. In the end, some products worked well, others did not. The result was drawers full of barely used products.

Some companies and department stores would give samples, but they either required a purchase or filling out a long survey. Finally, when given the sample (usually an overstocked item) it was too pink or too beige for us ethnic beauties. The customer was never given the freedom to only try the product she wanted.

Instead complaining about my frustration, I decided to start my own company which gave women of color complete control to try the new products they wanted without all the fuss. That is our tagline: Select. Sample Simple. I also keep the prices affordable because there is no point in pay $50 for a sample.

How did you end up in a career in the makeup industry?

I would just say I enjoy buying products and as a result I have learned about the industry.

What is the best part of being the CEO of your own online store?

As a mother of three, I enjoy the flexibility and freedom of my own online store. My children and my husband are my biggest priorities. Since I am the boss, I have the freedom to make my own schedule or even take a day off as needed to just be a mom. I like that I can have my own projects but still attend PTA meetings, field trips, baseball games, and ballet practice.

How do you decide what products you will offer your clients?

First, the product must be phenomenal. Period. Second, the product should be designed specifically for women of color or appropriate for use by women of color. I will not carry products that make black women look ashy or asian women look oily. I prefer more natural and organic products because I want my great-grandchildren to be able to enjoy this earth as much as I do.

What are some of your favorite products from the current selections?

My favorite products:

Hair: Curls Soufflé: I use it almost everyday. It tames my curls and eliminates frizz.

Body: FizzyHabit bath bombs (vanilla scent): Words do not give justice to this product. Everyone just needs to try it.

Makeup: mark. Hookups: As an on-the-go mother, it is nice to have lip gloss and mascara within easy reach. Even as a mother, I want to look great all the time; I just need a quick and convenient way to get it done. I keep a hookup in the diaper bag, one in my purse, and one in my car.

What is your number one beauty secret?

SUN BLOCK! I remember my mom constantly nagging me to wear sun block. Now that I have children, I have become the sun block nag. I have it in the car, in all the bathrooms, in the beach bag, on my vanity, etc. Plus, my mom does not have any wrinkles so the “proof is in the pudding.”

Women of color are blessed with more melanin in our skin than our ivory beauties; nevertheless, I do not take the blessing as a free pass to skip the sun block step in my beauty regime. I want my skin to look great when I am 70. I wear makeup because I like it; not because I have to wear it. There is a huge difference.

What was the best part creating Fugly Lab?

The best part is I have a legal and tax deductible way to feed my product junkie addiction. A close second, is helping women of color find the perfect products for them without spending a ton of money to do it.

With the current economy, women shoppers have to be savvy about how they spend their hard earned money. Women still want to be pretty and able to experiment with new looks even on a tight budget. Fugly Lab meets this need for women of color.

What’s next for Fugly Lab?

Our goal is to open a retail store in Los Angeles by late 2009. In addition, I am constantly on the hunt for new brands and products. I welcome any suggestions from readers.


1). Lacquer On The Run: Nicole by O.P.I With it's twist on cap is great to keep in the purse for touch ups if you are as rough on your hands as I. O.P.I products are known for their long lasting chip resistant ability, so if you aren't abnormally rough with your hands I believe long lasting would apply to the Nicole, Nic's Stick.

2). Just Enough Color: Anna Sui Lip Rough
I love lip gloss and this one has just enough color to enhance your lips without being to shiny or oily feeling. The petite lip compact with the rose embosed lid was an indicator of the fragrance that was infused in the gloss. I love to recieve many types of flowers, and roses is one of them but I don't care for my perfumes or any products I wear on my body to have rose as the front running scent.This product would not be a good fit for my make-up bag, but for those of you that don't mind the rose scent, I say the color and gloss is good and the moisture is just enough.

3). Creamy Luxury: Dermetologica, essential cleansing solution
Cleansing my face is a daily ritual and my skin is normal, not oily or dry and even though this would seem to be the perfect balance, I tend to need moisture after a facial cleansing. With this product I went with out putting on a moisturizer after it's use just to see how it turned out and I did not feel extra dry like other products I have used in the past.

4). Body Moisturizing: The Fizzy Habit The fizz reminds us of that of an alka-seltzer and it last about as long with the soak in the tub comes a great balance of moisturizers, not oily, not heavy, leaving the skin with a even amount of softness and sheen. I enjoy taking baths and finding great soaking aids and the fizz is on my list of great soaks.

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