Meet Deirdre Roberson, founder, and CEO of Eumelanin, a unique fashion brand that infuses science by using the chemical structure of melanin in clothing and jewelry designs. As a real-life chemist and a creative woman of color, Deirdre says her apparel line celebrates and empowers people of color all around the world.
The name of the company, Eumelanin (pronounced: you-mel-a-nin), is a real scientific term that refers to the most abundant type of human melanin responsible for the pigment in black and brown skin. Therefore, the company’s mission is to address issues of colorism and redefine what it means to be beautiful in every shade.
Deirdre launched the company online in early 2018. Since its inception, the brand is already grossing five figures a month and producing online sales in over 43 states. Besides, it has already won numerous awards and pitch competitions. Eumelanin was a featured brand at last year’s Essence Festival and won 1,000 square feet in pop-up space over the summer at a local mall in Detroit.
With her first retail store, she was able to bring Eumelanin to life and birthed The Melanin Wall. In 2019, the company opened up its second pop-up retail location in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, selling ‘chemistry and culture’ to meet the growing demands of clients.
Eumelanin is manufactured and based in her hometown of Detroit, MI, which currently has the most significant percentage of African Americans in the United States at 80%. Deirdre grew up in the southwest part of the city, which is one of the most diverse populations in the city comprised of African Americans, Latino Americans, and Arab Americans.
She says that she witnessed how skin tones and shades were used to separate and invalidate people in the community. Deirdre comments, “Colorism does not only affect black people but people of color around the world.”
“Eumelanin is a brand designed to challenge behavior that does not honor any of us — behavior too many of us have accommodated and tolerated because we were afraid to speak up,” she adds.
Deirdre envisions her company to one day be a brand that has an impact on colorism globally, that celebrates self-love holistically, and that combats negativity associated with having darker skin.