As black women, let’s face it, it can be pretty hard sometimes finding those perfect lipsticks, foundation and tights to match our melanin. But one #RoyalWoman is #OnTheGo and making it happen!
Tayo Ade is a successful commercial property lawyer in Australia and has been so for the past ten years. She’s also an equally successful professional dancer, skilled in Brazilian samba, belly-dancing, ballet and Bollywood. It was this creative avenue which started her on the road to entrepreneurship.
A few years ago, Ade was getting ready for a performance and her instructor wanted all of the ladies to wear skin-tone fishnet stockings for the evening in a samba piece. The requirement was never a big deal for anyone, except Ade.
“I’ll often hear in dance ‘make sure you wear your flesh tone on your skin tone’,” she recounts for RoyalTee. “And I’ll always be like ‘ok’ because they were referring to one skin type and not my own.”
The stocking requirement was short-notice and Ade wouldn’t have been able to order them on time. As a result, she decided to pull out of the show altogether. Most of Ade’s dance members were white and couldn’t understand her frustration. It was an aggravation the young Nigerian mother has experienced since her parents first came to Australia when she was a little girl.
“People were just looking at me confused like ‘why can’t you wear skin tone fish nets’,” says Ade, “not even thinking that they need to be a brown color. ”
Then a lightbulb came on.
“I thought to myself, this is Brazilian samba, I dance in my color, “she laughs. “So I thought why not put everything in one place so people don’t have to search high and low to find something. They can find it there and see what other people are saying about it.”
From there, the idea of FreshTone.net was born. The website was officially launched this past July. It features a variety of products geared towards women of color from beauty care and nail polishes to dance wear and performance make-up, pumps, flats, and of course tights! Ade intends for the site to take out the headache of finding what you want, when time can be less than your best friend.
“I’ll often hear in dance ‘make sure you wear your flesh tone on your skin tone’, and I’ll always be like ‘ok’ because they were referring to one skin type and not my own.”
“When you need something in a hurry or you need something that you’re really irritated about,” she says. “It can be a task looking for that stuff. I wanted to take all the time and stress out of it.”
Aye works with two other contributors on the site. Some products she provides the appropriate links for. However, 80% of the products on FreshTone have been brought by Ade herself. The website also offers dolls, book bags and school supplies for kids. The products featured are based both on her personal and other people’s experiences. Ade leaves the site open so people can give their honest reviews of the product. Overall, she wants her site to be a one-stop shop because she’s a one-stop woman.
“When I had to look for something, whether its kids’ toys or make-up, I have to go to a lot of places,” she says. “I’m hoping people will check my site first and to really create a community online where people are leaving reviews and other women of color men and children can come and have a look and see what people are saying so it really takes the hassle out of it.”
When Ade is not working on FreshTone or as a lawyer, she is an active member of the International Association of Black in Dance, an organization that promotes African-American dancers, artists and educators in the arts.
Within the next two to three years, Ade hopes to open a shop and launch a line of undisclosed products she says she’s not quite ready to reveal yet. She’s also looking on launching another website with a friend about motherhood.
The mother of two says she will like to have sponsorship for her site one day. For now, the passion outweighs the coin.
“The reason I started it (FreshTone) wasn’t to make money,” she explains. “It was to help people.”
And what makes Tayo Ade a Royal Woman?
“Being a Royal Woman is how I was raised by my mother because that’s something she is and something my grandmother is. I never had to really question that growing up, that was something that made me resilient through the challenges I’ve faced. Out here (Australia), it’s a little different from over there (the United States). Having to explain myself is something I had to do a lot. I think my resilience is something that makes me part of this category and doing things like raising a young family, having this business and keeping interest through dance.”
You can visit FreshTone at http://fleshtone.net/