By Rayvin Ashlee Mosley-Hall
A junior here at TSU, hailing all the way from Atlanta, Georgia, is making her mark one lip gloss at a time.
“TSU is seeing the end product of a storm.” Says Justis McKinney as she tells me her story. “They didn’t see the heartaches, pain, growing up fast. Everybody has a story and mine has been written for so long, I’m still on the journey of my story.” Growing up in a single-parent home that had a lot of family issues, she could have let her environment and upbringing shape her for the worst. However, she says it is her upbringing that made her hard-working, independent and driven. The way she talks about her brand, her future and the way she carries herself as a business woman shows through her quality cosmetic line.
Drive, motivation, and creativity. McKinney says those are the 3 words that based Secret Cosmetics. McKinney is a busy girl, she was an ambassador for the school, a member of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, and apart of WTST The Blaze… Just to name a few things. However during her sophomore year, she cut down on the extracurriculars, and that is when she received her first 4.0. “So that focus and that drive were the extra push to get Secret Cosmetics going. At the end of the day you have to look at the bigger picture, you want to be a part of the school but you know when you make it you’re going to give back. So it’s okay if you sit these things out because you have to think in the long run.”
Even though Secret Cosmetics is a steadily growing success, the road to get there wasn’t easy In December of 2015, McKinney promised herself to hustle hard the upcoming summer and that by the fall her line would have launched. “I’m thinking about how much everything is going to be, I can save that up. I was looking at bulk in China and I knew it was not quality, so something told me to look for a private manufacturer. And when they told me the price I was wondering how I can possibly put that much money up. So during June, July and August I was working 2 jobs every day and then doing the occasional tour for incoming freshman.” Her days started at 6 am and sometimes never ended. I hustled the whole summer, and within a couple weeks of school starting, they had my product, colors, logo… Everything I wanted.” It was finally all paying off for McKinney. All the times when nights ran into mornings and the long drives… It was finally coming together!
So what’s next for Secret Cosmetics? Well “Maybe a pop-up store?” says McKinney. “I haven’t made a date yet but soon I am going to start doing pop-up shops on courtyard Wednesdays and students will get $2 off. I have to start with the home team, and when they see that the product is great quality, unique and that it will cause heads to start turning, then we will expand to other HBCUs and communities. When people wear Secret Cosmetics I want them to feel liberated, because it’s custom made just for you. When you put it on people know how you’re feeling today, and when you walk into a room someone will say “What is on her lips?”
Make sure to log onto secretcosmetics.us to check out her lip glosses and lipsticks. Also, things like t-shirts, matte lippies and more are coming soon. Her lip-glosses retail for $12.99 and her lipsticks retail for $15.99, which is not only more affordable than Kylie Lip Kits or MAC Lipsticks, but you will know where your money is going. This is an opportunity not only to support black businesses but to support a fellow TSU Tiger as well!
To connect with Secret Cosmetics, follow them on Instagram @_secret_cosmetics