Sponsored by Truist Bank
The DEC Network: We got a chance to catch up with Kristen Wells-Lewis, founder and CEO of Black to the Lab, an educational toy business founded in 2020.
The DEC Network: Here are a few questions we asked Kristen.
The DEC Network: What inspired you to start a business?
Kristen: “Black to the Lab is my childhood dream in one box! I excelled in my early education, but oftentimes, I was deprived of academic opportunities that allowed me to explore STEM. [My] schools lacked textbooks and access to quality laboratory equipment. Yet, I was able to graduate with my Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry.
I remember having a difficult moment in my organic chemistry course. My professor encouraged me to use the labels on beauty products I owned to study. [This encouragement allowed me to understand] all the creative ways science was used [within] various industries that were untouched in academia, like Cosmetic Chemistry!
[In the] moment where passion and purpose collided, [I took] everything I loved, my academic skill set and my desire to create, and [I built] my first companies[:] The Chemistry Of and CoacoWells.
In those spaces, I learned to create products and formulations that so many people have grown to love. Yet, [the] formulation just wasn’t enough for me. I searched for ways to make a community impact [and] ways to speak to the young girls in the way I [wish I was spoken to growing up]! Ways that encouraged them to mix their wild imaginations and academia into one pot.
I, then, discovered I could align my passion for formulating products with my purpose of building community! [I have taken] what I know now with what I wish had known [in the past] to empower the next generation to use their academic space to [assist in creation]. ‘Black To The Lab we go!”
The DEC Network: What an inspiring story! Tell us a little more about your business.
Kristen: “Black to the Lab is a STEM Educational learning toy designed to expose young girls to science, technology, engineering, math, and STEM’s unique impact on the cosmetic industry.
Black to the Lab features an activity kit of hands-on learning experiences. [The kit uses] cosmetic chemistry concepts allowing youth [to have] the ability to create some of their favorite cosmetic items such as lip gloss, body scrubs, lotion, and more.
Black to the Lab utilizes a fun and creative approach to allow students to explore the following learning components: creativity, inquiry skills, math, science, engineering-design thinking, critical thinking, and more.
In addition to the hands-on learning activities, Black to the Lab’s goal is to promote career awareness of more women in STEM, particularly, as it relates to cosmetic chemistry by exposing students to the historical and present-day beauty industry leaders.”
The DEC Network: Couple more questions! What does your day-to-day work life look like and what’s next for you and your business?
Kristen: “I manage the day-to-day operations, sales, and outreach for Black to the Lab along with the creative direction for the brand.
In the next 3, 5, and 10 years we plan to expand to retail, offering various cosmetic chemistry kit activities, curriculum, and year-round large-scale activations across the country.”
The DEC Network: It was amazing to chat with Kristen and learn more about her story and business.
To learn more about her business, go to https://www.blacktothelab.com/
Here are her social media handles:
- Instagrams: @kris_thedaughter @blacktothelab
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kwellslewis/
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