The following is the abridged version of Tess and Jayla Roxx’s conversation.
Photo Credit: Adam Perez
Tess: First, thank you for meeting with me. Seeing you start a brand so young and be a trailblazer in the beauty industry and in general is inspiring to me as I enter the world and try to be inclusive, and start a site that’s a safe space.
Jayla: I love it. I like that you used the word trailblazer. I really like that word because it’s something that I don’t really see for myself because I’m in it knee deep. I’m just like, “Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing what I need to be doing for my people? Am I just a capitalist?” You know, all those things that come up and I just have to surrender myself and go, “This is what the universe wants for me. This is what my purpose is. Let me align my intention with my purpose and just go for it.”
Tess: I read the Forbes article and you said that you were having trouble finding people to support it.
Jayla: We have return customers, I call them my BatMe! Besties. They want to make sure that they have feedback and feedback is super important, especially as a leader. I take that very, very seriously. Some people will be like, “It’s constructive criticism.” I like to call it corrective instead of constructive because it’s already built. I like to just add more adjustments. I like to treat it as such and I’m very grateful.
Tess: Oh my God. That was perfect. I love that. You know, you’re building loyalty, but you’re not doing it to build loyalty. You’re doing it because you care and want to and appreciate that.
Jayla: So many people have been trying to take from me because, “I’m an influencer, let me model your brand.” But people who really want to support it, will do so in support of black trans women, black trans entrepreneurs, trans entrepreneurs in general and small brands. People will do that just because. I think that if I do everything genuine, everything else that will follow will be genuine as well.
Tess: So, you have a lot going on right now, clearly, but with the revamp, what are you looking most forward to?
Jayla: I’m looking forward to providing more quality for the people. I think the first time around I was learning as I go and I still am, which makes it exciting for me. Every day, I like to have a challenge. That’s what’s going to push me to be better for other people, allow me to be available, allow me to be present. I’m looking forward to providing more of a personalized standard.
Tess: Again, it comes back to you building community and being accessible.
Jayla: That’s it. I know that’s so car salesman to say, “You’re my number one customer,” but it’s so true. You know, without them, like there would be no BatMe! brand. With the revamp, there will also be more of a community forum where people can review products and rate their products and show what they’ve done.
Tess: I think that’s important. I think so many brands, if they weren’t as personal and focused on community as you are, the consumers would go “I can find another eyeliner brand.”
Jayla: Exactly, exactly.
Tess: This is a question that I want to put in the article, but it’s also a personal question for me. When I was searching for gender-neutral brands, so many just use women and it’s the kind of a thing where it’s not inclusive. So, how can brands in their branding be more inclusive?
Jayla: Just having that folk in the room for said things will help open that inclusivity before we pick up the cameras, before we start booking our talent. We know then. I want to make sure that I am on top of my rhetoric, my language, my availability, my inclusivity, and able to provide that for other people. So I think, you know, have those people in the room, give people those opportunities to do so and we’ll see more of it in the future, hopefully.
Tess: How can we create a safe space in the industry for people to say, “Okay, I’m safe enough to come out and say I’m trans and that I’m a badass and that I am a beauty owner and you need to fucking buy from me?”
Jayla: With my approach, it’s not my tip of the hat, if you will. My tip of the hat is my work ethic, my resume, the things that I’m able to offer, my genuine spirit, my crazy ass personality, all of those things sell it for itself. Then I just happen to be trans. When you say, “Oh, she’s this trans model,” that’s more physical rather than the model that fed half of Africa who just happens to be trans. I want to lead with the flow of, this is what I’ve done for community, for myself, and lead with that. That’s why BatMe! is such quality — because I’m fucking quality.
Tess: Yeah, you are girl.
Jayla: I happen to be the first blah, blah, blah. That doesn’t matter to me. Immortalize me in my spirit and the things that I will leave behind in this world, besides fucking lipstick. It’s my words and my encouragement that will keep other people to do what I want to do.
Tess: Coming back to your quality, that is so important. So many brands just churn stuff out and so I want to showcase brands that are dedicated to quality.
Jayla: Most of the inventory I have in storage and stuff like that – I even have some of it in my house because it over spills and I’m like, “Okay, how can I get rid of these palettes?” Then I thought, okay, why is it not selling? Is it that I’m not promoting it enough? Is it not the right colors? I encourage people to tell me what they think about it and I don’t get offended. So I’m like, ”Okay, you didn’t like it, that’s fine. We’ll get something else’.’ I think that’s part of the quality; just understanding what works and what doesn’t work and just being honest with it.
Tess: That kind of falls back into your corrective criticism.
Jayla: Yeah, corrective criticism influences the quality.
Tess: I like to say “I’m never going to be a master of anything, ever.” You’re always going to learn. There’s always something new to learn. I mean, every second something new comes out that you can learn.
Jayla: I like to say, “The most interesting people are always the most interested.” That’s a gem to take with you. They are actually signaling me in now.
Tess: I want to thank you so much, once again. I’m always learning and wanting to learn more about the LGBTQ community. This has been so enlightening for me.
Jayla: Oh, you’re welcome so much. You’re a breath of fresh air. Thank you so much, Tess and we’ll talk soon.