Dorion Renaud didn’t see himself reflected in beauty brands, so he created his own.
BY MELISSA MAGSAYSAY
From the age of 8, Dorion Renaud would experience first-hand the weekly grooming rituals of the customers in his father’s barber shop in Beaumont Texas. “It was my introduction to self-care,” Renaud tells thirteen lune.
As a teen, even with a primer in grooming, he was stumped when trying to control his acne prone skin and the subsequent scarring that many melanin rich skin tones struggle with. Walking into a local drugstore proved polarizing. From the placement of the product to the marketing surrounding it, Renaud witnessed aisles of personal care items centered on fair skin and ultimately not representative of himself.
After discovering how effective pure shea butter was for his skin (he would buy it raw and melt it down in his microwave) he became invested in creating a line of products that spoke to other people of color in both the formulas and the marketing.
Buttah was born as Renaud’s way of bestowing the same level of self-care and dedication to feeling confident he saw his father impart on his barber shop customers in a small town in Texas. “My dad is the first beauty entrepreneur I remember,” he says. “It was in his tradition to make people feel good.”
Renaud continues the tradition and has taken it to the next level with Buttah, which is a universal line of products that works on a vast array of skin tones and types and with advertisements and imagery that is inclusive of gender and ethnicity.
“It was in his tradition to make people feel good.”
Get to Know – Dorion Renaud
What was the impetus to start your brand?
The fact that I would go into stores and not see myself represented. I used to have so many skin problems and never saw myself reflected in the product assortment. I really wanted to educate African American people about products that were not given to us in our local stores. I started with my basic routine and gave it to the world and have expanded from there.
Do you have a beauty philosophy? What is it?
As cliché as it sounds, it starts from within. Let it start on the inside, use quality products and do all the things that make you feel beautiful on the outside.
Where are you from originally? Where do you live now?
I’m from Beaumont, TX. The end of the world. It’s very swampy and desolate but has a lot of good food and a lot of soul.
What were some of your first memories of beauty growing up? What are some early beauty influences? (family/relatives, culture, era, location)
My dad. He owned a barber shop and I got to see people get beautified every weekend when I’d work in his shop since I was 8. Fashion Fair and Essence magazines were my first images of beauty, plus TV images and the beautiful Black women from where I’m from. I saw beauty growing up my whole life.
What inspires you most about the beauty landscape and industry today?
That I can help instill confidence in people. I have always tried to attain beauty like everyone else, but when I had hyperpigmentation, I felt terrible and I didn’t want anyone else to feel like that.
What has been the biggest challenge in starting your business?
Being Black, because a lot of people don’t associate Black people with beauty in America, especially with a Black man. The biggest challenge for me is people understanding the culture, but it’s also the biggest reward for me, to be misunderstood in a way. It is our culture, and we own it. Our power is the misunderstanding and withholding and owning our understanding.
What has been the biggest win thus far?
The biggest win is hearing people tell me they can't live without Buttah. It will always be about the customer and community Buttah has created.
What would you like to see more of in the beauty industry when it comes to diversity and inclusivity?
More quality Black brands being highlighted with other brands not just because they’re Black. And not being placed in an “urban” skin care aisle with a lock on it.