STUDENTS | August 7, 2018
At a young age, Jah’Kaya Tekhen says she knew she was destined to have her own business.
Today, the University of Chicago Charter School junior is the founder/creator of Legendary Cosmetics, a beauty line selling products ranging from lipsticks to foundations. She caters to all complexions, but specializes in darker tones. She says she plans to help people feel “lavish” for years to come. The business is set to launch this fall.
Before Legendary Cosmetics, her parents, whom Jah’Kaya credits as her “greatest inspiration,” assisted with her first great idea: soap. When that didn’t work, Jah’Kaya says she moved on to her next “million-dollar plan” — jewelry. When that business plan failed to stay afloat, Jah’Kaya says she finally realized the problem. Without passion, there could be no success.
Jah’Kaya says Legendary Cosmetics is a business she already plans to pass down to her future children.
We sat down with the young entrepreneur and learned the story behind her business and passion.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Q: When did you develop a passion for makeup?
A: My passion for makeup started when I began modeling in the sixth grade. I love makeup. I don’t know how to do it, but I love giving people the product and seeing how they feel after wearing it.
I also have a passion for nursing. I love helping people. I love being there for people. The two come together in that way.
Q: Can you explain how Legendary Cosmetics got its start?
A: Legendary Cosmetics originally started off under the name Glitz Lips. I was rushing the process of starting a business because I knew it was something I really wanted to do. The problem was that I didn’t even know how to make a business plan. I’d had the soap and jewelry businesses in the past, but they weren’t thought out.
So, I started off by making my own lip glosses. One was clear and the other with glitter. I realized that I wanted to branch out and create more than just lip gloss, so I changed my name to Glitz Cosmetics. After thinking about the name some more, I knew I had to change it again because Glitz Cosmetics didn’t hold any meaning.
I changed it one last time. Legendary Cosmetics was born.
Q: What’s the meaning behind the name of the brand?
A: My slogan is “helping you feel lavish.” I want people to feel rich whenever they wear my makeup. I want them to feel lavish. I want my kids to carry on my business and make it legendary.
Q: After you finalized the name of the brand, how did you go about creating the products?
A: I met with the founder of Style Elevation, a fashion line that specializes in clothes for curvier girls. Initially, she sold cosmetic products. I scheduled a meeting with her to sit down and figure out how to grow my business.
She connected me with a few companies, but the one I liked was a private manufacturer that made 100 percent natural and organic products. I made sure I understood the ingredients in each and every product, and we’ve been working together ever since.
Q: Currently, you’re marketing lipsticks and foundations under Legendary Cosmetics. Was there a reason you chose these two products out of the rest?
A: Right now I’m starting with little things. I plan to come out with a new lipstick and lip gloss that’ll be called “Nude with Attitude.” I’m also working on about five shades of foundation for girls my complexion and lighter. I specifically asked if they could make one for darker complexions.
Eventually, I plan to sell more, like mascaras and eyeliners. I’ve just been looking into those products.
Q: Why is it important for you to have a makeup line that ranges in color for people of all complexions?
A: I want people to know that my beauty line isn’t just for people my complexion. It’s for everyone. I want people to feel lavish when they wear my makeup.
When I was younger, I used to get bullied for how I looked. Now I feel comfortable in my own skin, and I want people to feel the same way when they wear my products.
Q: If any, what challenges have you faced with your business?
A: When I started, I tried making my own lipstick. Finding the ingredients was a bit tricky. I was ready to give up because people were disappointed with my products. But my parents kept pushing me. With everything I do, they tell me not to quit. They inspire me to do better.
Q: How would you like to see Legendary Cosmetics grow?
A: I look at other businesses and know that I want to grow and eventually be better than them. After high school I plan to go into nursing and keeping Legendary Cosmetics going. I see myself handing this business down to my children. We’ll keep it legendary.
Q: Do you have a motto that pushes you to keep working to be the best?
A: I always tell myself, ‘You are a bright, beautiful goddess.’
Q: Do you have any words of advice for people wishing to start their own business?
A: I want people to see that I’m living my best life, and no one will ruin my plans. You can be the same as long as you do your best and be your best self. Keep going. You can do it.