It’s been an exciting couple of years for EnJunaya Canton, owner of Zuhuri Beauty; a skin care line originally created for African American women. Based out of Los Angeles, EnJunaya has been rapidly growing her company for the past few years and is constantly thinking about how she can take it further.
Started in 2006, Zuhuri Beauty was born out of a desire for cleaner, healthier skincare products. After seeing transformative results from starting an organic and vegan diet, EnJunaya realized how much of a difference that healthy, natural ingredients can make.
The realization got her thinking about skincare. She had a background in chemistry and some knowledge about the industry, so she took a leap of faith and started Zuhuri Beauty.
EnJunaya has grown Zuhuri quickly and consistently over the past few years. She sells direct online, including Amazon, and through a handful of retailers. She has also been featured in Macy’s and Walmart.com.
But, like many small business, Zuhuri Beauty was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. It was an incredibly tough time, and EnJunaya spent long hours trying to maintain the business in addition to trying to find funding to help her keep it running.
She was able to receive the money she needed through PACE (Pacific Asian Consortium in Employment), a community development corporation that focuses on areas including entrepreneurship and economic inequity in diverse communities throughout Los Angeles.
“I had gone to every program that had existed [and got rejected],” said EnJunaya. “I found PACE and they said, ‘We are going to help you.’”
PACE received grant funding from U.S. Bank’s $1 million Market Impact Fund to support their business counselors who are working hard to help small businesses who were impacted by COVID-19, like Zuhuri Beauty, with relief and recovery efforts.
“COVID-19 has disproportionately affected minority-owned small businesses. Since mid-March, PACE has received more than 1,300 inquiries from small business owners requesting $140 million in financial assistance,” said Kerry Doi, President & CEO of PACE. “We are grateful to U.S. Bank for once again stepping up and demonstrating their commitment to providing relief to Los Angeles’ vulnerable and minority-owned small businesses.”
This funding has helped EnJunaya to weather the storm during COVID-19 by keeping her part-time staff and continuing product development. She said it’s about more than just the financial support – it’s about supporting her vision.
“PACE and U.S. Bank have been amazing to me, in all areas. Money is one part it, but what’s more is when you know people really believe in you, even when you’re not believing in yourself.”
After going through countless trials and tribulations to get where she is today, EnJunaya understands the risks that come with starting your own business. In 2016, she quit a six-figure job to go work at a cosmetics store to learn the skills she knew that she’d need to be successful with her business.
For the first-generation college student with two master’s degrees, that leap of faith led to an abrupt lifestyle change, including replacing her BMW with a $2,000 well-used Acura. Now, EnJunaya’s bet on herself is starting to pay off, with Zuhuri sales growing at a 50% clip for the past four years.
EnJunaya said she hopes to inspire other entrepreneurs of color to take action for themselves and to pursue their passion. In fact, she also offers coaching services to help them do so.
“You have to do it – this idea isn’t going to die in you, it will irritate you forever. So, try to have this voice in your head that keeps saying ‘Just do it.’”
Written by Ben Stevenson of U.S. Bank.