Gen Z students are taking matters into their own hands when it comes to diversifying the cosmetics industry. Jassma’ray Johnson, who graduated from Iowa State University earlier this year, is one of them. She founded Simply Sámone, a cosmetics company that offers lip glosses, in 2020.

The 22-year-old launched the brand after harboring a passion for cosmetics as a child. She made her lip gloss in the fourth grade and became known for the signature look among her peers in high school.

“I just felt like the fourth grade me again, and I wanted to feel seen, I wanted to feel heard,” Johnson told Des Moines Register about what prompted her to start the brand in college.


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This need came from the isolation from moving away for college. The beauty founder is the first of her family to go to college, and she started experiencing impostor syndrome in this new environment.

In 2020, only 645 Black undergraduate students were enrolled in the spring semester out of 25,884 undergraduates.

“I learned so much about myself while running a business, and I would definitely say this helped me love myself fully,” Johnson said. “That’s something that I didn’t know how to do before I started my business. I thought I did. But I really didn’t.”


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The recent graduate has Graves’ disease, an autoimmune disorder that can affect the eyes. When she was younger, she was the subject of jokes at her expense. 

Through Simply Sámone, she isn’t just boosting her confidence — she also wants to help empower others.

“The things that I lacked in being a kid growing up is what I try to make sure that I provide for future generations,” she said.

Johnson wants to expand her company to include body oils, lip liners, foundation and eye products. She is also working toward a massage therapy license and eventually wants to have her store catering to women of color.