Ahsaki Chachere shares to the world that we as Native Americans/Indigenous People are diverse and they do not all look the cookie-cutter look the media created.
AHSAKI CHACHERE: I feel the pain of being a Native Indigenous woman. I feel the pain of being a Black woman. In everything that's happening in our world, I feel both.
DANA OLIVER: Hi, BDs, I'm Dana Oliver. And I'm back with a new episode of "My Beauty, My Way" and a new haircut, chatting about all things beauty and business with Ahsaki Chachere. Ahsaki is the creator of Ah-Shi Beauty, the first Native American cosmetics brand from the Navajo Nation. What was your childhood like growing up on a Navajo reservation in Arizona?
AHSAKI CHACHERE: Well, I grew up very traditionally. Where our house is built is in the very valley in the canyon of where my ancestors are from. I grew up with no running water, no electricity.
I lived in a hogan, in our traditional dwelling. From a one-room dwelling with a dirt floor, I learned how to cook over open fire. I hauled my own water. And we chopped wood.
How did my mom have us relive how she lived? You know, at first I thought she was crazy. And I thought like, Dad, save us. But it was very, very important that we took that time to experience that. Because I don't take turning on a light switch for granted. It was really things that really strengthened me for life.
DANA OLIVER: Now, I want to talk a bit more about how the pandemic has impacted your business and your brand.
AHSAKI CHACHERE: We are the first Native American branch to ever open a physical storefront in the country. And unfortunately COVID happened. It was hard financially. And it really made me sick to my stomach because I had to close down. But I knew I had to because I had to protect my staff. And I had to protect my community.
DANA OLIVER: So when you started to dibble and dabble in creating Ah-Shi Beauty, what were some of the things that were at the forefront for you as far as making sure that there was Indigenous and Black representation in your very own cosmetics line?
AHSAKI CHACHERE: I needed that pigment to be on point. The Indigenous pigment is so diverse. We are from fair to the deepest color. It was really, really hard at first because of the trial and error.
I'm from a family full of women. And in my own family we have different ranges of beautiful browns. So I was able to really concentrate on that. Major beauty brands, they have all the shades. But I have all those in between shades. And I feel like as a beauty bread that is for the people-- "Nihi Dine'e Ba," for the people of Navajo--
I truly see that this brand is bigger than just selling product. When you say Ah-Shi, not only are you speaking my Native language, you're telling yourself this is me. This is mine.
As the brand grows, I continue to educate. I continue to share stories and just to show that we're not forgotten. We're not stuck in no history books. We're here living and breathing and thriving.
DANA OLIVER: Once you were able to nail down foundation tones that you felt really celebrated the diverse range of shades that women come in, what were some of the other products that you started to delve deeper into?
AHSAKI CHACHERE: My hero product is definitely my foundations. And I don't just have one type of foundation. I have many foundations. I have a dual-powder. I have a powder foundation, a foundation stick, cream foundation. I have a liquid foundation.
And go to my next best-sellers are my lipsticks. It's foodie-proof. And if you're a foodie like me, and you eat and you drink coffee all day, my liquid velvet lipsticks are the perfect match for you.
And what is really doing an amazing job right now is the Ultimate Liner. I'm a busy boss babe. And I try to have less product in my bag. So my Ultimate Liner is also an eyeliner an a brow liner.
DANA OLIVER: What impact do you hope to make on the beauty industry?
AHSAKI CHACHERE: I believe the authenticness of my brand. It goes back to representation, to go down in the history books of being that beauty brand that we've been waiting for forever. I want to continue to show the world the beautifulness of being Indigenous and then having to connect the Brown and Black communities and all communities together.
DANA OLIVER: Ahsaki, can you complete this sentence for me? My beauty is--
AHSAKI CHACHERE: My beauty is my culture because without it, I wouldn't be who I am today.