Terp Startup Sabreen Cosmetics Makes Clean Beauty Accessible to New Markets

This summer, the Dingman Center will be conducting interviews with the fifteen student startups who are participating in our Terp Startup summer accelerator at the College Park WeWork. Participating student entrepreneurs received a stipend up to $5,000 that would enable them to work exclusively on their startups over eight weeks in the summer.

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Sabreen Cosmetics logo designSabreen Cosmetics

Co-Founder/COO: Kareemah Mustafa ’19, International Business major, Technology Entrepreneurship minor

DC: Tell us about your startup. What problem are you solving and for whom?

Mustafa: Sabreen Cosmetics seeks to serve the often-underrepresented women of color in the clean beauty industry by empowering, educating and providing safe non-toxic, PETA-certified vegan and cruelty-free products.

DC: How did you first come up with your idea?

Mustafa: Sabreen Cosmetics was founded in the honor of our aunt, the nieces of Nabeehah Sabreen, who passed away from Breast Cancer in 2009. Nabeehah was a strong, socially conscious, regal, and classy woman. She was an avid cosmetic consumer, purchasing products that enhanced her beauty. To preserve her legacy, we came up with the idea to create a cosmetic company in her honor. Founded by my two sisters and I, we chose to name the company Sabreen Cosmetics due to its strong meaning and her connection with cosmetics. Our aunt was a woman who often endured and overcame obstacles while still remaining graceful and dignified. In the present day, women of color continue to face similar socio, health, empowerment and educational obstacles. It is our goal to use our brand to educate women of color about the importance of using healthy and safe cosmetics products, as well as uplift and inspire women to exude confidence to reach their full potential and overcome any obstacles.

DC: What are some major milestones you’ve achieved so far?

Mustafa: Besides meeting our projections in sales, some of the major milestones we have achieved is gaining press coverage from: xoNecole, Black Enterprise and InHerSight. Sabreen Cosmetics was also awarded the Founders Showcase prize at the Pitch Dingman Competition. We also was invited to speak at the inaugural Brooklyn Nets BK Beauty and Wellness Expo sponsored by Sephora on their Self-Made Beauties panel, which have gave us a broader audience to share our brand and story.

DC: What drives you to keep going?

Mustafa: Being able to preserve the legacy of my aunt is what keeps me motivated and inspired to keep going when I run into obstacles in my business. I know she would be extremely proud of what we are building and would want me to keep going until I reach success. Also being able to use my platform to redefine the beauty standards, empower and represent for women of color is so important to me. Seeing our customers happy, confident and empowered when they wear our lipstick motivates me to continue to create great products and build long-lasting brand.

DC: How do you feel about working in a cohort with fellow student entrepreneurs?

Mustafa: I am super excited to work with the 2019 Terp Startup cohort. I’m sure that I will be able to learn something from each and every one of them. I look forward to supporting their brands in any way that I can.

DC: What are you hoping to achieve during Terp Startup this summer?

Mustafa: 1) Expand our product line by launching 3 new clean beauty products. 2) Improve our marketing strategy to better engage with our consumers. 3) Continue to gain exposure in the press, local community and on social media.

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