The 10 beauty entrepreneurs Sephora is betting on to succeed

By Lucy Tandon Copp 8-Mar-2017

The LVMH-owned retailer has announced the cohort of women that it has invited to take part in its Accelerate programme

Sephora has announced the ten female entrepreneurs that it has selected to progress as part of its 2017 Sephora Accelerate Cohort.

Hundreds of applicants put themselves forwards with the hopes of winning the backing of the beauty giant.

The women will all benefit from mentors selected by the beauty retailer specifically to help them steer their way through the market and build up useful networks.

For six months, mentors Pamela Baxter, Founder of Bonafide Beauty Lab, and Dianna Ruth, Chief Operating Officer of Milk Makeup, will give their support to the chosen ten. So who are they?

Meet the cohort


Adriana Oyevides, Founder and CEO of self-care brand Aloe Vida. The brand makes use of organic, Ecocert, Kosher and food-grade Mexican aloe vera as a key ingredient.

"We have a strong commitment to use sustainable and natural ingredients to lower our footprint as a company and to help people to have healthy skin while caring for the earth and respecting animals."


Barb Stegemann, Founder and CEO of fragrance company The 7 Virtues. The company is described as ‘socially responsible’ and sources fair market essential oils from regions rebuilding after war or strife such as Afghanistan, Haiti and Rwanda.

"Social impact is the goal of our company, our raison d'etre, it is our why. I want to leave a better footprint on this earth than I found and communicate new stories of harmony and peace."


Dana Rae Ashburn is Founder and CEO of ABLE Cosmetics, a solution-oriented beauty brand aiming to solve everyday beauty problems through user-friendly tools, instructions and tutorials.

"ABLE's primary goal is to empower and enABLE others to believe in and apply their individual skills. Bringing social awareness to people with disabilities will be very fulfilling for both the brand and me."


Jihan Thompson, Co-founder and CEO of Swivel Beauty. The digital platform is said to be revolutionising how women of colour discover and book hair appointments.

“As a female entrepreneur focusing on the black haircare market, it can be hard to convince people who are unfamiliar with the intricacies of the black hair space that the problem we're solving matters—but we're proving that it does."


Kirsty Williams, co-founder and co-CEO of DashHound, set up a data-science backed social commerce platform for beauty, making it easier for users to follow their favourite influencers and buy the products they recommend.

"The biggest challenge has been explaining to people outside of our target market what our vision for DashHound is and having them see how disruptive it can be to the beauty community."


Marta Cros, Founder and CEO of The Ritualist, has built up an on-demand network of licensed aestheticians
able to perform at-home, professional skin care treatments.

“I am most proud that I am able to support my network of beauty professionals through a decent pay that triples the national average, and offers the sometimes much needed flexibility to balance their passion for skincare with family obligations."


Mary Futher, is Founder and CEO of Kaia Naturals, an eco-beauty brand that produces 100% non-toxic and cruelty-free products.

"The isolation when building a business on your own is often difficult. I'm excited for the opportunity to be mentored and have access to the executives with experience in the beauty business."


Pollini Jorio, Co-founder and CEO of Brandlovers, has created an app that matches users with the best beauty products for them, using big data and machine learning.

"Our goal is to understand and help every single user in a customized way. Finding the best product is a global need, regardless of skin and hair type, income, and store location."


Sara Panton, Co-founder and CEO of Vitruvi, sources traditional essential oils from over 30 countries and formulate them in contemporary ways. 

"I believe that being a female founder in our industry has helped me. I relate to the women who use our products, and I'm able to see the company through the perspective of the customer when navigating large company decisions."


Yve-Car Momperousse, is Founder and CEO of Kreyol Essence, an eco-luxury brand that creates 100% natural and ethical beauty products from Haiti with a focus on hair and skin.

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"Being ethical is part of our DNA and comes very natural for us. By nature, I am a coalition builder that enjoys creating an environment where people feel safe to be themselves and connect."