At the tender age of 20, Toni Clay is already making waves in the beauty business.
This serial and generational entrepreneur is unifying the beauty world with her Sweet Box Beauty brand that’s inclusive and aims to highlight “the beauty within”, no matter race, sex, handicap, gender, or social status. She’s especially excited about her HERSHE collection that’s endorsed by Cardi B’s hairstylist/beauty influencer Tokyo Stylez as well as Simone Tisci of HBO Max’s Legendary.
After falling in love with all things glam, Toni’s following in her mother’s entrepreneurial footsteps with a goal to make an impact and enhance the natural beauty of the everyday woman.
Below she tells BOSSIP about all things Sweet Box Beauty and her forthcoming restaurant franchise.
When did you first discover your love for cosmetics?
My mom used to get ready for work and her meetings in the morning and as a kid I used to always watch her do her makeup. I would go through her makeup, but I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup until I was up 15. So when I was 15, my grandma bought me my first eye shadow palette and did my first eye shadow glam look and I was hooked! I felt like I was a makeup artist even though I didn’t look like it at the time. That’s when I discovered my love for makeup.
When it came to my own makueup, I noticed as a brown woman and as a dark-skinned one, it was harder to find the fit for me. So that’s when I decided that one day I’m going to start my own makeup brand that’s going to be suitable for anyone and everyone. That’s just something I’ve thought of and something that I really wanted to do and I’m so glad I’ve finally gotten to that point and accomplished it.
What was your inspiration behind Sweet Box Beauty?
I noticed that with makeup, everyone can love makeup, makeup doesn’t have a race, makeup, doesn’t have a sexuality, makeup is for anyone that loves it and that’s what I love about it so much.
Tell us about your HERSHE collection.
I feel like that’s for everyone. HERSHE has female pronouns, “her” and “she”, and I wanted that to promote feminine beauty, not just for, not dark-skinned girls but for anyone while promoting the power of feminine beauty. It’s just amazing to me that anyone can put makeup on when they’re feeling down and feel great, feel beautiful and better. That’s what I wanted to promote.
Tell us about Sweet Box Beauty’s cosign from Tokyo Stylez and Simone Tisci. They’re both talented standouts in the beauty industry, how did that come about?
I have a cosmetology license and when I graduated high school I used to do hair and would explore the work of celebrities. I met Tokyo and Japan [Simone] a couple of years ago and Japan was one of my inspirations as a makeup artist because her makeup skills are excellent. Tokyo as a hairstylist was a really big inspiration to me because I absolutely love her work as well. So when I came about this brand, those are the two people I thought about.
We hear you’re expounding on being an entrepreneur and launching joining the Krab Queenz restaurant franchise, is that correct?
Yes, ma’am. My mom is the owner and founder of Krab Queenz, she’s been operating restaurants since I was eight years old, so I’ve followed in her footsteps. I absolutely love Krab Queenz, not just the food but I also I love, love the people! It’s a great environment for our people, especially in our community to just come and have fun. We have a live DJ, it’s a big fun environment that I wanted to contribute to.
What advice would you give fellow entrepreneurs, especially entrepreneurs in your age range who are in their early twenties?
I know some girl or some guy who tried to start their own business may be afraid to take some certain risks especially at a young age, but I just say, go for it because if you don’t start now, when are you going to? Life is a risk anyway, just take risks to do what you love to do and to get to where you need to and want to be.