On the mall’s second floor, the department store layout serves as a brick-and-mortar space for 12 Black-owned businesses.
Owned by Angel Fant, Koqóvel Cosmetics & Skincare is one of the first displays that greets shoppers inside.
“My brand is around motivating and developing women through confidence,” Fant said. “We want women to feel beautiful inside and out.”
Fant said her cosmetics and skincare line is part of a complete rebrand. She’s been in business for 7 years, initially operating a full-service salon in Speedway, but decided to expand into the cosmetics industry when the opportunity came to work with SHE.Xperience.
Inside the store and in addition to her products, Fant also offers one-on-one consultations and makeup application services.
“We expanded into cosmetics because that sort of opened us up into everything beauty,” said Fant.
Fant’s cosmetics and skincare business joins a variety of other offerings inside the SHE.Xperience, including accessories, home décor, candles, clothing and more.
“SHE.Xperience is cooperative economics in action,” said President and Founder Katina Washington.
The concept is a spinoff of Washington’s SHE. Event Indy, a yearly expo held at the Indiana State Fairgrounds that promotes resources and exposure for Black-owned businesses. In addition to the annual event, vendors now have a year-round space to run their sales.
Washington said the concept is meant to be looked at as a business accelerator, specifically for Black business owners. SHE.Xperience provides businesses with space to operate in a storefront along with direct access to tools, like business coaching and capital, to help their brand thrive.
“Businesses are able to come in for 3, 6, 9 months, or however long they feel that they need to get their business in a position to thrive,” said Washington. “Every business that is here, and especially some of the businesses who have been here from the beginning, I’ve seen all of them scale.”
As a non-profit, Washington said a lot of what they do, and resources they provide, runs off partnerships, donations and grants, including the mental health support that’s also offered to participating vendors.
“We know that what’s going on in our minds, it definitely bleeds into our business. So we provide mental health resources, we provide decompression exercises here,” said Washington.
While businesses are welcome to stay as long as they need, Washington said the overall goal is to help build them up so they can eventually support themselves outside of the SHE.Xperience.
For Fant, she said she’s well on her way thanks to Washington, her support and connections.
“One of the biggest struggles, of course, is getting capital,” said Fant, “and with the partnerships that we’ve gained through Bankable, through Huntington Bank and just a wealth of other resources, we were able to expand because of that.”
“I am a young woman from Gary, Indiana that had no idea I would be in the position that I’m in now to have a whole cosmetic line. So, it’s definitely a surreal moment,” she added.