According to Grand Rapidian Melissa Polanco, 37, a 20-year-old who grew up in the Dominican Republic, the makeup industry has a lot of misconceptions about what beauty should look like. When she started her cosmetics company, her goal was to provide representation for women of color—not just women—but for everyone, every skin color.
Polanco said, “Many people don’t see faces that look like them when they’re scrolling social media sites or looking at the ads that line the walls of national makeup retailers like Sephora and Ulta. ” “You’re not going to see a lot of brands owned by women, and especially women of color. There aren’t a lot of Latina female-owned makeup brands.”
So, Polanco sets out to change all that.
She started the makeup company in 2018 with her sister Lisa Martinez, who had no background in product development. Polanco went to Grand Rapids Community College and transferred to MSU where he received his degree in Zoology.
She’s always wanted to build her own brand, so she and her sister researched and Googled together: “how to start a business” and “how to form an LLC.” She researched makeup companies and joined a Canadian company to make her own products. Soon the pair were selling their branded makeup in pop-up markets and even had space in Studio Park before the pandemic. He named the brand by combining the names of his two daughters and came up with “Ella’s Eve”.
“I was trying to celebrate diversity and that name, Ella’s Eve, just wasn’t connecting with people,” Polanco said.
Therefore, Polanco participated in a local pitching contest and won a $10,000 prize in marketing services from Palco Brands Marketing. The brand marketing company came up with a new name: Ring of Colour.
“No pun intended,” Polanco said. “But there’s a ring to it. It makes more sense because it’s just a circle of celebrating all.”
Polanco has no shortage of success in the competition category. She entered Start Garden’s “100 Ideas” contest and was selected two years in a row. He also won $5,000 from another Start Garden pitching contest.
On March 31, it rebranded. Alone this time. Polanco is now marketing its Ring of Color products directly to consumers and is in talks with an undisclosed online marketplace. Her products can be purchased on her company’s website, ringofcolor.com as well as at verishhop.com.
Ring of Color lipsticks are cruelty free, paraben free and hypoallergenic. The shade range is limited and designed to look good in any skin tone
“Lipsticks are comfortable and non-drying. It’s very long-lasting, and you can wear it all day,” Polanco said.
The Ring of Color product line includes the Velvet Matte Liquid Lipstick, which “starts as a creamy velvet and dries to a comfortable and non-drying matte finish. It comes in three shades: Kilara, a red, orange terracotta; and Power, which she describes as “Toasted Rose Medium Nude.” Third is Valentina, a deep warm rose hue. Polanco said there’s also a Vinyl Lip Lacquer, a hybrid formula that combines a lip gloss Provides the high shine and “full color payoff” of lipsticks. Other shades include names like Fallen Roses, Sweet and Truffle.
“The new products launching soon are vegan, cruelty-free and simply beautiful: the first is called ‘Color Me Diamond Lip Gloss,’ a vegan sheer gloss formula that glides on and glides on for plump-looking lips. The product comes in two shades: Daria (Baby Pink) and Sierra (Peach Nude).
Polanco said the other is “Creamy Crayon Liners,” lip liners that outline, define, and fill in lips with a smooth-butter creamy liner with emollients like coconut oil, fruit wax and sunflower seed oil. The lip liners come in Rosa, a nude “old” rose color, and Berry, a mauve berry color.