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How Oui The People Is Redefining Body Care, One Product At A Time

Jun 01, 2023Jun 01, 2023

Oui the People founder and CEO, Karen Young.

Karen Young launched Oui the People (formerly Oui Shave) in 2017. Since debuting with its signature single-blade razor, the company has expanded to a full-fledged body care line that's pushing to redefine beauty.

"I think the old sentiment about beauty being in the eye of the beholder put a lot of our sense of selves and value in how others saw us," says Young.

"Beauty to me, now, means not trying to please everyone and feeling good about myself, in my own skin," she says. "The real beholder is ourselves. We hold the power as to how we view ourselves," adds the beauty entrepreneur.

OUI the People embodies this definition by being mindful of the messaging it uses to promote its products.

Instead of making clichéd claims about giving you "perfect", "flawless" or "anti-aging" this or that, the brand's mission is to deliver high-performance body care that makes you feel beautiful as you are.

It's about "embracing and celebrating people of all shapes, sizes, expressions and skin concerns," says Young.

Besides having an inclusive brand voice, Oui the People walks the talk by promoting diversity within the brand too, Young shares.

"I believe you are what you show, even more than what you say," Young notes. "We maintain a diverse team from product development to brand, bringing multiple perspectives and voices to the table— resulting in product development, brand voice, visuals, and community that reflect diversity," says the founder and CEO.

Oui the People launched in 2015 with its weighted single-blade razor that's designed for close, even ... [+] shave without irritation.

"We are in the age of 'prove it'"

As a BIPOC entrepreneur in the beauty industry, Young faced the challenge of being pigeonholed into a narrow niche. "[There's] this idea that as a BIPOC founder, you can only create within a very narrow scope for people who look like you," she says. "The reality is that once you build a product that encompasses people of color and their skincare concerns, you ultimately build the highest-performing, most nurturing products for all people," she points out.

The brand overcame this barrier by "leading with winning formulations that do as they promise. [And] not shying away from visually representing a diversified point of view," tells Young.

"We’re in the age of 'prove it' and we take that to heart as a brand," says the beauty founder.

Young's personal experience with dry skin, eczema, hyperpigmentation and keratosis pilaris (KP) led her to create a unique approach to body care that gets to the root of skin health.

"I’ve always focused more on my body skincare routine than my face, especially coming from a South American upbringing," she says. "[However], the standard fare body care products weren't fit for my needs," she shares.

"I ideated OUI the People, starting with concerns first—mine and our communities'—simultaneously tackling the outcomes of a compromised skin barrier, like dehydrated, discolored or sensitized skin," tells Young.

The cruelty-free brand offers a wide collection of essentials and tools like razors, shaving gels, body oils, balms, serums, masks and bath soaks formulated to suit all skin types and needs.

The cruelty-free brand offers a wide collection of body care essentials and tools for all skin types ... [+] and needs.

Young believes that the beauty industry plays a significant role in shaping societal beauty standards.

"Beauty is culture. Brands inform culture and language," says Young. "But I also believe the changing of the guard is well underway. If your community isn’t invited into the brand, shaping its story and ultimately becoming the very face of what you’re building—you’re behind the times already," she says.

"Real people are shaping beauty standards. So while we still have some ways to go to throw off the old standards (colorism and fat phobia to name a couple), we’re well underway to something fresh," she reiterates.

For those of us who feel pressured to conform to archaic beauty standards that are still being peddled today, Young reminds, "you are quite literally the future of societal beauty standards—how powerful is that?"

"The world will continue to tell you what kind of person, sister, partner or mother (if you so choose) you will be. So many opinions, however, they are just that—opinions. The world is bigger than the little piece that’s trying to shape you," she adds.

OUI the People's vision for the future of the beauty industry is for it to grow into an all-inclusive and diverse space that celebrates the whole spectrum of humanity, instead of prioritizing a select few.

"I think inclusivity and diversity is still a position that feels [like] it needs to be defended within the beauty industry, with most companies relying on what they’ve done for decades," says Young. "The fact is, there is $300 billion in unmet demand that Black consumers are willing to put towards companies that better serve their needs," she points out. "Seeing people, all people, is our collective vision for the future of beauty and we’re excited to be one of the brands leading the charge there," she adds.