As Nyakio Grieco struggled to build and grow her now-18-year-old clean beauty brand Nyakio Beauty, she was hard on herself in those especially challenging moments, like repeatedly being told “no” by — or not getting any response from — investors and big retailers. But in hindsight, she knows that those weren’t personal failures, but systemic ones.

“I’m now realizing that a lot of those hurdles that I wasn’t able to get over or that were so incredibly challenging had everything in the world to do with being a woman and being a Black woman in this industry,” she tells me, over Zoom. Same goes for the milestones, like Nyakio Beauty just launching at Target: “I know from my own experience that it shouldn’t take two decades to get to success when you have a proven concept.”

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