With social media so saturated with products being thrown at us, it often feels like we’re in a daze just swiping on our feeds. But a few months ago, something rare happened to me. During my normal timeline graze, I came across something that grabbed my attention and made me ask myself, “Wait a minute, what is this?!”
See, someone on my timeline retweeted one of the dopest structured eye palettes I have ever seen. First, shaped like a pyramid, SmooveGal Beauty’s three-dimensional Egyptian Paradise Palette ($40) boasts a whopping 24 deeply pigmented hues, ranging from an emerald green matte to a champagne neutral shimmer. With a range like that, there’s something for every look, trend and season of the year, which I adore.
Even better: The EP palette was created by Autumn Hulett, a 20-year-old Black woman who attends Prairie View A&M University. (I super adore)
After seeing the viral tweet, I just had to know more about the woman behind the product. Doing some research, I found that SmooveGal initially started with a lash line before Hulett decided to expand to shadows.
I reached out to Hulett and from our phone conversation, I was super impressed with her professionalism, eye for design and utter passion for the beauty game. Here’s what the incredible marketing major had to say about her EP palette, breaking into the industry and what’s up next.
HelloBeautiful: So, please tell me. Where did SmooveGal come from?
Autumn Hulett: Well, I had this job in high school, but I got fired because I didn’t want to drive across town to go to work. (Laughs) But I knew I needed money. Coming from a family of hustlers, I knew how to make it work. So I started SmooveGal and initially started selling accessories and wallets. But I was also really into beauty and I love switching up my look so people don’t recognize me.
At the time, I also loved wearing lashes and would go to the beauty supply store down the road and buy a pack of $1 lashes and I would end up spending $40 because they didn’t last. I was wasting my money and that’s when it hit me that I needed to create, buy and sell my lashes.
HB: Well, and being at an HBCU with so many Black women, you have the perfect market right at your fingertips.
AH: Exactly. Black women are the largest consumers when it comes to beauty and makeup. Plus, [a lot] of Black women are really into lashes! So I came out with my line freshman year after I got a refund check and was like, “Let’s do this!”
I started dragging a big old wagon of lashes around campus, but the wagon was too small, so I googled “hot dog” cart,” bought one for $300, fixed it up and started selling my lashes out of that.
HB: That is so awesome! So you went from lashes to shadows?
AH: Sophomore year I was my dorm chilling and I just asked myself what if I did a pyramid palette and what If it was 3-dimensional? OH SNAP! [Laughs). So I looked around and had all of these old lash boxes and I started cutting them and began carving out the idea. I took a mirror from an old palette and started gluing, taping and cutting holes into things. From there, I tried to get it into production and I was told no a lot. Folks told me it’s impossible and that no one would be able to create it. But I found someone who could do it.
HB: Walk me through the shadows and the structure. I’ve never seen anything like it before.
AH: Well, there are 24 shades, with 6 colors on each of the four panels. The middle is the mirror and it can stand up on its own, be a vanity to go or just a decorative piece in your room.
HB: How did you end up picking the shadows.
AH: I have a lot of friends at my HBCU that are makeup artists and I asked them did they mind using my shadows on their customers. I also wanted feedback, honest feedback such as which shadows worked better than others, which were easier to blend, you name it. I didn’t want them to let up on me. If these shadows sucked, let me know. What they told me was helpful, because I needed to make sure these colors showed up on and worked for Black women.
HB: With names such as Isis and Nubia, what is the palette’s theme?
AH: While anyone can and should use the palette, it’s an ode to Black women and an ode to Egyptian culture. That mattered to me. To do the research, make sure I got it right.
HB: Did you expect the response to your palette to be this overwhelming? That tweet went viral girl.
AH: Never! I mean, I know have this great concept, but I didn’t think it would be like that. I am just happy that people are recognizing how dope it is and looks.
HB: This is such a great time to be a Black woman in beauty. From Mented to Fenty, it’s so great to see this product be part of the landscape, BUT be so different than what’s already out there.
AH: Thank you. I try to stay humble because I am still a baby out here. I’m literally just someone out of Texas, an HBCU, but no one has seen this before. And God forbid Rihanna or Kylie comes out with some crazy spaceship concept, but all in all, I did this, first and I am proud of that.
HB: As you should be. Finally, what’s next for you and SmoothGal?
AH: Well…I can’t say too much other than it will be a whole stepping outside the box and that the next collection, which should come out next spring, will be related to the EP palette too.
BEAUTIES: The EP palette is now 20 percent off ($32)! Purchase it here.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.