Beauty

EBONY Changemakers: Angel Lenise Pyles and Montré Moore—AMP Magnificence Cofounders—Redefine Black Magnificence Rituals and Retail Requirements


When Angel Lenise forgot her edge control during a girl’s dinner in 2018, she had no idea this beauty blip would be the catalyst for starting one of the most industry-disrupting concepts in the beauty space.

Founded in 2019 by Clark Atlanta University alumni and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated members Angel Lenise Pyles, Montré Moore and Phyllicia Phillips, AMP Beauty is a first-of-its-kind beauty retailer that prioritizes inclusive and clean beauty products that make the unique beauty needs of Black women a priority rather than an afterthought. 

Despite Black consumers spending an estimated $7.2 billion on beauty a year, according to Nielsen, products designed with Black skin and hair care needs in mind are usually reduced to a single shelf. In many retailers, these products are not even available at all. Pyles explains that these discrepancies in representation ignited AMP Beauty’s creation. “I was visiting Montré and our third co-founder, Phyllicia. We went to dinner in downtown Los Angeles, and I left my edge control at home,” Pyles tells EBONY, setting the scene for what would blossom into a venture outside their wildest dreams.

“Edge control is sort of a staple for a lot of Black women. I left that at home and asked them if there was any place nearby where I [could] buy some. And the answer, in short, was no.”

This led the women to a larger conversation about their less-than-ideal experiences with the current state of beauty retail and the hindrances systemic exclusion poses to the ritualistic aspect of Black beauty practices.

“We know how deeply embedded beauty is in our rituals and our community. It’s just something that was always a common practice for us growing up. And we realized in that moment that there was an issue and a problem.” 

From there, a star was born.

“We left that dinner and said, ‘Hey, let’s just launch a beauty store, even if it’s something that only we shop, and our friends, sisters and family. It’ll be something for us,'” says Pyles.

“That was in 2018. We formed the business in 2019, and we launched during the pandemic in September 2020.”

Personal exclusionary experiences have been a driving force for the inception of many entrepreneurial ventures for Black women, the fastest-growing group of business owners. In seizing this gap, however, the founders of AMP Beauty are redefining what beauty consumption looks like on a major scale.

“Our vision has ultimately become to create a space where voices, communities and different faces are represented,” says Moore, adding that the intersection of tech and beauty has barely breached the surface. “I think as Black women with our backgrounds in beauty, tech and entrepreneurship, we definitely saw the gap to seize the market and fill the space with authenticity, which is huge.”

Currently, AMP Beauty carries over 50 beauty brands, all focusing on utilizing clean ingredients, an often overlooked facet of Black beauty.

“We think about the media that we consume, we think about the foods that we put into our body [but] oftentimes the products that we use on our skin or hair [are] an afterthought,” says Pyles. These harms are exacerbated by the disproportionate manner in which Black women are impacted by harmful ingredients, including cancer-causing chemicals, such as the ones found in chemical hair relaxers. 

“We make up the minority, but we spend the most in this category, and the majority of the products that are marketed to us are classified as toxic,” Pyles continues.

In ensuring the chemical integrity of their featured products, AMP Beauty is making the beauty space safer for all people, not just Black women.

“When we solve issues for Black women, we are ultimately solving issues in the beauty industry at large. We are the most diverse consumer group, and we have the highest amount of spending,” Pyles declares. But their strides in inclusivity do not stop there. “We’ve extended that mission to not just focus on supporting consumers of color but also brand founders of color who don’t have easy access to retail in general.”

In 2023, Black founders received less than 50% of all VC funding. For Black female founders, that number shrinks even more.

“The opportunity isn’t there if we’re really being frank,” says Moore, explaining that a considerable portion of their success can be traced back to the prolific power of community. One novel experience that we had in fundraising as Black women was that our first two investors who gave us a yes and who believed in us were also Black women VCs.”

In addition to a website, AMP Beauty also has a brick-and-mortar store in downtown Los Angeles with plans to expand and turn AMP Beauty into a household name.

“[A] really exciting initiative for us right now is AMP On Campus,” says Pyles, explaining that the immersive retail experience will be a way to spread AMP Beauty’s mission with the next generation of beauty innovators. “Our first [stop] will be UCLA, which is exciting because we get to introduce our amazing brand and the even more amazing products that we carry to the industry’s next influencers, tastemakers and decision-makers,” says Pyles.

This is a beautiful homage to the brand’s community-forward ethos. And as one of EBONY’s Women’s History Month Changemakers, the community is only expanding. By sharing their story, they hope to make their mission an expansive stalwart of women’s history and are honored to share that journey with EBONY.

“My parents have vintage EBONY magazines at home collected from my grandparents. And EBONY is just a staple in our community when it comes to amplifying our voices and making sure that we have a platform to evangelize our passions, our missions and our dreams. So to just be a part of that, in this way is so huge,” gushes Pyles.

Video Credits:
AMP Beauty



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