Following the beauty industry’s support of the Stop Asian Hate movement created last year, brands are expanding their involvement in Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month with special-edition sales, advocacy and support for non-profits.
The Celebrating AAPI Beauty box, for one, features products from AAPI-founded brands Cocokind, Fable & Mane, Glow Recipe, Hero Cosmetics, JinSoon, Live Tinted, Mount Lai and Tower 28. At $100, the box is being sold on each brand’s website with $10 from each box going to AAPI advocacy organizations; these include Heart of Dinner, which combats food insecurity among the elderly Asian-American population.
Soko Glam, meanwhile, is offering a $60 “Then I Krave’d” tote bag with products by Then I Met You, Krave Beauty and Good Light. This is the second year in a row the e-tailer is offering a curated box featuring AAPI founders. It’s donating 100% of the proceeds to AAPI advocacy organizations Seniors Fight Back and AAPI Women Lead.
AAPI-founded brands are especially focused on organizations supporting the elderly.
“We know our elderly are the most vulnerable to racist attacks, both verbal and physical,” said Christine Chang, co-founder and co-CEO of Glow Recipe, referring to a wave of news of attacks against Asian American senior citizens in the past two years. This is the first year the brand has worked on a collaboration for AAPI Heritage Month, following a partnership with the organization Act To Change in 2021.
“All of the founders involved in this initiative are children of immigrants or first-generation Asian Americans and were raised by fiercely resilient parents who worked hard and often kept their heads down and voices low,” she said.
Glow Recipe co-founder and co-CEO Sarah Lee said, “We know that, during AAPI heritage month, many allies of the AAPI community are highly engaged and sharing our stories, so we were thrilled to introduce this collaboration at this time. We’re grateful for the tremendous support and conversation we’ve seen from our community on social, as well as from many beauty editors.”
Beauty brands supported AAPI Heritage Month last year following the creation of the Stop Asian Hate movement, started in response to the growing number of anti-Asian hate crimes taking place in the U.S. According to data from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, anti-Asian hate crimes increased by 339% last year. This is part of an overall 11% increase in suspected hate crimes.
For Hero Cosmetics, this is the brand’s first year participating in an AAPI collaboration. The brand’s founder and CEO Ju Rhyu joined after talking with Priscilla Tsai, the founder of Cocokind, and Amy Liu, the founder of Tower 28, about a Lunar New Year kit they launched in January. Part of the proceeds from the collaboration went to the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum.
Beauty founders have been subject to harassment for their advocacy on the issue. In a January 25 Zoom event for AAPI creators hosted by the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum and Cocokind, harassers Zoom-bombed the meeting with anti-Asian images. Olivia Munn, who was appearing in the virtual event, spoke out about the incident afterward.
“We were focused on high impact and commitment to the Asian American community,” said Rhyu. “Hero will do something every year to keep the ball moving, in terms of opening the dialogue and conversation. I imagine how and what we do will look different every year, but we — and I — are committed to doing the work.”
“We make it a point to continue to collaborate with fellow AAPI-founded brands throughout the year,” said Liu, noting the brand has also done collaborations with other beauty companies like Good Light, as well as brands in other categories such as cult chili sauce brand Fly by Jing.
“Given everything that’s happened in the past few years and the rise in hate crimes against the AAPI community, driving awareness of the month is an incredible way for everyone to come together to highlight and celebrate our culture and heritage,” said Stephanie Zheng, founder and CEO of Mount Lai. This is Mount Lai’s first year doing an AAPI-focused collab.
Other brands are supporting the month through social media initiatives. Bloomeffects has launched an AAPI Month social media campaign featuring Instagram Live interviews with AAPI brand founders. It is also launching a giveaway featuring a box of 12 brands including Emilie Heathe, Everyday Humans and Pink Moon. A portion of sales from May will be donated to nonprofit Gold House, which supports AAPI creatives and multicultural representation.
Patrick Starrr created an AAPI Heritage Month makeup video featuring products from his brand One/Size for a makeup transformation on Oliver Moy, the lead singer of the boy band the North Star Boys. Moy said he did the video because, while growing up, “There weren’t many Asian Americans to look up to. There was a small handful. Nowadays, we want to be able to inspire by being the influence.”