Deirdre Roberson is an ingenious Millenial Chemist, entrepreneur, and the CEO of Eumelanin. She founded the company two years ago as a way to combine her field of chemistry with her love of art and fashion. Deirdre is on a mission to celebrate the beauty found in the melanin of brown skin.
The name Eumelanin is derived from the specific type of melanin that is responsible for the color of black and brown skin and hair. The clothing color palette is designed to celebrate and empower people of color. The brand address issues of colorism and the negative connotations attached to having darker skin. Along with clothing, Eumelanin offers a nickel-free, gold, and silver jewelry line. Each piece proudly embodies the chemical structure of melanin.
The entrepreneur began her journey into becoming a chemist in high school. Growing up as a black girl in Detroit, Michigan, Deirdre’s love for chemistry was contrary to the status quo. It was at school where she met an influential chemistry teacher that helped stir her interest in the field. Mr. Bobovski guided her path as she took all of the upper-level courses in chemistry that the school had to offer. The CEO then attended the HBCU, Xavier University. After obtaining her undergraduate degree she pursued her master’s at the University of Detroit- Mercy. Growing up, she had a sewing machine and a love for art and fashion. In college, she intensely focused on her studies in order to work at the top of the field. Now her passions for science and art have come together in a highly innovative way.
Birthing Eumelanin is her proudest accomplishment. The entrepreneur said that a multitude of various components had to perfectly come together in order to form the brand. The totality of Deirdre’s personal experiences from growing up as a black woman in America was the initial inspiration for the company. She wanted to find an innovative way to address the issues plaguing the black and brown community. Eumelanin addresses social issues that you cannot look past. Colorism is a major social issue plaguing people of color and is a by-product of racism. The CEO says we are wrongfully taught that In order to get by in this world we must align ourselves with ideals. Therefore, she is most proud of being able to praise and empower black and brown skin by giving her customers a vehicle of self-expression.
“If we’re not there at the table then we can’t address the issues that plague our community”
Deirdre is highly passionate about STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art, and math). The field of STEAM is an addition to the well-known STEM. The Eumelanin founder is focused on making sure that children feel empowered to pursue these fields at an early age. She leads an initiative in her hometown of Detroit, Michigan that adds value to underserved communities. Letting kids be enriched with the knowledge of the vastness of chemistry has been life-changing. The CEO is on a mission to highlight the richness of the black community in the world of science. Moving forward, we must educate the future earlier.
Future hopes for Women of Color in Business
Deirdre places an emphasis on the entrepreneurial spirit of black women. However, there is still a significant lack of funding for these entrepreneurs. She explains that black women are accomplishing these amazing feats while having to really dig deep and bootstrap on your own before being taken seriously. Even though black women are the most educated they are not the least funded. Across the sectors of business, these women are still seen at the bottom while performing at the top. Black women are not asking for handouts but reform is crucial for the expansion and growth potential for all women of color in business.
“I see you, I see us, and we should be able to celebrate that without changing anything”
Deirdre finds her purpose in speaking up for black and brown people around the world who have been told their beauty is compromised because of their skin tone. No one is able to choose the skin they are born in to. Yet, society is corrupt and forces those of darker complexion to deal with these issues. For too long there has been a distinct narrative attached to certain skin tones. Eumelanin utilizes art as a way to address these issues in a way that can be universally understood. No one should have to jump through hoops to be loved and seen as valuable. When someone puts on a Eumelanin piece they are embodying what it means to be a rebel and reject ingrained narratives.