Introducing The Alchemy Network: A New Platform For All-Inclusive Beauty

In recent years, YouTube has emerged as a place where beauty mavens, both professional and amateur, can connect, share tips, and learn from each other. Inspired by the success of beauty-centric video content on the platform, the Alchemy Networks, has invited vloggers (such as Fran Medina of channel Hey Fran Hey, pictured at left) to come together to create a digital hub specifically for African-American women.
To learn more about this groundbreaking new initiative, we sat down with Alchemy's COO, Xochil Arkin, to get the lowdown on what she hopes the network will achieve in the beauty space, as well as the opportunity for beauty to be a driving force that empowers women everywhere.
What made you focus on YouTube specifically when creating the network?
"The thing about YouTube, which is so fabulous, is that it's about accessibility. In the infinite universe of the Internet and of YouTube, people have been able to emerge and develop a voice, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that there are true common interests [like beauty]. It's really telling that, for example, I — as a Hispanic woman in Los Angeles — can watch a video of an African-American woman in Colorado Springs and connect with her through beauty. In an infinite digital universe, to all wind up at the same place is a bit odd, and really great!"
What was your process in sifting through all of the billions of beauty channels out there to find the women that you really wanted to be a part of the network?
"We wanted to make sure that they had a really strong connection to their audiences. There were key channels where we were already fans, and we felt connected to these women. Through those channels, we were able to identify other channels and begin the process of mapping a landscape for the network. And what's really great is these women and these channels are now connected to each other — everybody has been so fun and collaborative."
What are your thoughts on how many beauty companies largely ignore the African-American market? Do you think Alchemy could be a part of giving minorities more of a voice in the beauty arena?
"We understand that it's a part of the company's needs to appeal to the largest demographic possible, but there are two key elements that have changed. One is that now, through avenues like YouTube, companies are starting to understand that these women do have influential voices. The other is that there's been a shrink in the racial and cultural gap — there's a better understanding of what we all have in common.
"I know for a fact that one of the key parts of our network, and one of the key elements that we look at when we're looking at partners, is honesty. People will realize that lack of honestly sooner rather than later. These women have legitimate power, and it's broader than just people who look like them. I absolutely think that Alchemy can and will be a part of that."
What kind of an impact do you see the natural beauty movement having on women in general?
"I see it as a shift not just in beauty, but in the way women are regarding themselves. I think that how we define 'pretty' is really important. It shouldn't be about an unattainable ideal, but about being self-possessed — about being you. If we're going to a place in beauty where it's more about just being the best version of yourself, I believe we're going to that place big-picture, with everything. The more self-possessed women get, the better it is for all of us and for our kids."
Photo: Courtesy of Alchemy Network

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