Make SPACE For Black Women in STEM
Updated: Jul 16, 2020
By Queashar Halliburton
Alyssa Space is setting a new normal for women with careers in Science Technology Engineering and Math (also known as STEM). With a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Michigan State University, Space always knew she would use her education to found a beauty brand or work in the beauty industry.
As the CEO and founder of For Her Cosmetics and My Space Laboratories, Space is making history by bridging the gap and changing the trajectory of girls in STEM-related careers. Space is a cosmetic pioneer who has established an inclusive beauty brand to beautify and empower women of all backgrounds and shades.
“My passion for both science and beauty has [translated] into my products and company mission. At For Her Cosmetics, we believe in celebrating and embracing individuality while offering a variety of quality natural, vegan, and cruelty-free products and services. Our products include all-natural lipsticks, vegan lip glosses, mineral highlighters and eyeshadows, human hair lashes, and a lash growth serum. We are currently formulating body shimmer, natural makeup remover and mascara” stated Space.
Space developed a love for science and beauty as a young girl. Always seeking to understand the deeper meaning of beauty, she always connected being beautiful and being gifted in science. However, as a darker-shaded brown woman, Space felt that she wasn't enough or second best to her lighter-skinned peers. The apparent attitude of colorism caused her to feel slighted in high school and this perception of colorism haunted her well into college. That uneasy feeling caused Space to develop a sense of compassion and solidified her commitment to creating a beauty brand that was inclusive to all.
“Growing up, I never saw a woman of color call herself a chemist, let alone have a beauty line. This was something very foreign to me. Since 2015, this has changed tremendously. There’s still tons of work to be done” expressed Space.
Alyssa's“Chemistry in Cosmetics” program is educating young girls and boys about STEAM. The STEAM Enrichment program uses a hands-on method to teach students about science, technology, engineering, art, and math.“Being an African American woman in chemistry is an honor and not taken lightly. I understand my purpose is to shine a light on industries that aren’t necessarily ideal or thought of when going into science” added Space. “Chemistry in Cosmetics” focuses on increasing the retention rate of young girls and boys and is meant to serve as a gateway for students to explore STEAM-related fields by building confidence and knowledge in science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.
The program has also been featured in the Downtown Boxing Youth Program, The Boll Family YMCA, The Michigan Science Center: STEMinista Program, and at the National Society of Black Engineers national conference in Detroit, MI in 2019. “Chemistry in Cosmetics” will soon be implemented into other programs like the Rhonda Walker Foundation and more Detroit Public Schools and nonprofits.
Space understood that young girls love cosmetics and used her creativity and innovation to develop something fun, exciting, educational and valuable for her students’ personal growth. “I make my program available to students, especially girls, starting in 3rd grade. Statistics have shown that girls lose interest at this age and are pushed into other fields that “are for girls.” I am building confidence with these girls at an early age to instill that they can do anything they put their mind to” explained Space.
Photo: Alyssa Space at MySpace Laboratories sharing “Chemistry in Cosmetics” with the ladies of the Rhonda Walker Foundation. Facebook
Space believes in the power of mentorship. She has leveraged what she’s learned from SCORE to help establish her two businesses. “SCORE has given me the mentorship and tools needed to get my businesses up and running. I was honored to be able to work with women and mentors that looked like me and cared about my progress. My SCORE mentors helped me take my business from paper to reality. It has been an uphill journey since then” stated Space.
When asked what her keys to success are, Space named three, “My three keys to success are being strategic, determined, and disciplined. Implementing a strategic plan will help you excel. You have to have a spirit of determination and realize never quitting on what you love will bring you all that you desire. Finally, to implement these first two keys, you must have a level of discipline. Discipline is what sets winners apart from the rest.”
Photo via Build A Dream
In 2019, Space was honored by being named to the “Forbes 30 Under 30 List”. As a young entrepreneur, she has overcome many obstacles during her purpose journey, “It has been a battle to balance my life, but there always seems to be beauty in chaos. I have found the importance of delegating. This is why I love my interns! Without them, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish half the things you have seen me do” exclaimed Space. Like most business owners, Space has had to deal with feelings of self-doubt, imposter syndrome, and anxiety. “Although I strive for perfection, I am always hard on myself and find rest in the fact that I am doing a good job. Therapy has helped with dealing with my overwhelming emotions and I am getting better at handling my anxiety as a person and businesswoman. It’s ok to need help and ask for it”.
In the future, Space is looking forward to growing For Her Cosmetics into a global brand in the next two to three years while building her team and workforce. She plans to have a storefront in Detroit while employing locals. She wants her storefront to be a hub in Detroit for cosmetic creation and expression.“I want to bring “Chemistry in Cosmetics” to even more students while changing the educational culture of Detroit students and students all over. Pitching and fundraising for my nonprofit Myspace Laboratories are also essential. The sky's the limit for what is to come for both my businesses” cheered Space.
For more information or to donate to her educational endeavors contact For Her Cosmetics and My Space Laboratories on Instagram and Facebook @forhercosmetics and @Myspacelaboratories or visit her website at www.forhercosmetics.com and www.myspacelaboratories.org.
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