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CULTURE

Meet Dorion Renaud, the HBCU Alumni Who is Changing Skincare

Photo courtesy of Dorion Renaud.

Dorion Renaud is a jack of all trades who knows how to work hard. At eight-years-old, he was manning the cash register at his father’s barber and shoe shine shop. By the age of 12, he opened and closed the store by himself. When his father did plumbing jobs, little Renaud would squeeze through spaces his father couldn’t for a share of the earnings. Working various jobs with his father helped Renaud to understand the value of hard work and dedication. Now at 34-years-old, Renaud uses the same life skills he learned as a child for his skincare brand, Buttah Skin. 

Renaud founded Buttah Skin in 2018 after struggling with acne since middle school.

“At that time it really wasn’t cool for young men, Black men, to be using skincare products. So I started off kind of sneaking it and hiding it,” Renaud said.

In college, the acne worsened and he was doing everything he could to fix it. After years of trial and error, he found that shea butter, vitamin c serum and cleanser worked best for him. He began to notice a drastic change in his skin and so did those around him. His peers were constantly asking him what he used, assuming it was a product off the shelves. The Texas native realized that a lot of skincare brands did not have products that would combat the issues melanated people typically experience with their skin. 

“Products that are made for other people just are not made for us. I looked at what we use, what I would go get at the hair store or the shea butter that I grew up getting… and I applied that to Buttah,” he emphasized. He aimed to make Buttah skin something familiar to his community and to use that as an opportunity to open people up to the world of skincare. 

Although Renaud had a lot of entrepreneurial experience working with his father, in his adult life, he has been on the creative side of things. After making a connection with Atlanta rapper Ludacris during college, his modeling career took shape and he modeled for a slew of established brands like Tommy Hilfiger. During his time at Clark Atlanta University, he was always a part of the fashion show learning how to do photoshoots and create campaigns. He made and maintained relationships with his peers who had some of the same goals he did and now they are all fulfilling their dreams together. 

“That’s where I was really able to hone in on my creativity and it be appreciated and celebrated,” he reminisced. “Going to an HBCU was very, very important to where I am in life and so I always try my best to honor that.” 

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Renaud knew that he was preparing himself for something greater when he worked as an undergrad, and now, Buttah Skin is reaping the benefits of his dedication. Buttah Skin is available in major retailers like Nordstrom, Ulta and Macy’s, and is estimated to make $10 million in revenue this year, according to Forbes. Renaud is proud of the fiscal success he has experienced, but Buttah Skin is more than just another stream of income. His personal connection to the brand pushes him to continue to create products by and for Black people, giving customers confidence in their skin. Shea butter is the central ingredient in his skincare products, which range from cleanser to body butter and everything in between. The brand is always striving to expand and reinvent with customers in mind, while still remaining affordable. The staple products, which include the cleanser, moisturizer and toner are all less than $25.  Keeping the people who helped his brand get national recognition is a no-brainer for Renaud. 

Photo courtesy of Dorion Renaud.

“Little do a lot of our Buttah users know, they help me create products. Because if they ask for something or they say ‘we really need this, we really need this’ –– I go to the lab and I try my best to make sure that they have that,” he explained. “We’ve always been a community.”

No matter what business young entrepreneurs are looking to start, Renaud is a testament to how successful they can be through creating community with customers.

“Make sure you keep feeding them. You don’t want to just feed them with products or something they can buy. Feed their spirit, feed their soul, feed their mind.” Renaud said. 

Renaud will be giving out free samples of his skincare products at Yardfest on October 21st.

Copy edited by Alana Matthew

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