TRANSCRIPT: Lives At Stake, Jayla Roxx on ‘Shopping Trans For the Holidays’

Imara Jones: Onto the heart of our show. So excited for this show that’s light and good and positive to talk about everything that’s going on in this holiday season with trans businesses. First up is again, the one, the only, Jayla Roxx who is the founder of BatMe Cosmetics. A line that is affordable. That is vegan based, cruelty-free and gluten-free. It is the first cosmetics line owned by a black trans woman. In addition to having started Back Cosmetics, Jayla is also a media personality and is just so incredibly creative in so many ways. And so joining us tonight is Jayla. Jayla, thank you so much for joining us.

Jayla Roxx: Oh my God. First off, I have to say that your intro about me just made me feel so much cooler than I am. So, thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to get into the whole, you know… The holidays are one of my favorite, like, you know, times of the year especially throughout this whole like 2020 fiasco. So I’m so happy to be here.

Imara Jones: Well, there’s so many great things to talk about with you. And first of all, I don’t think that anyone could look at you and ever think that you’re not cool. Like you just… That’s just not your vibe.

Jayla Roxx: Okay K.

Imara Jones: That’s not your vibe.

Jayla Roxx: Thank you.

Imara Jones: So first before we kind of get into the heart of how you decided to do what you did because it is such a brave thing to do in starting a business in general. But of course, cosmetics is so competitive. So we’ll come to that in a minute. But my first question to you is, can you just talk a bit about the backdrop for why you did this. That is to say that, you know why cosmetics are so important? Of course, for women overall but specifically for black trans women. Why are cosmetics and the ability to be able to, you know, beautify ourselves or enhance our beauty through makeup is so important?

Jayla Roxx: So what BatMe represents is we represent a place and a safe haven I would say to express yourself. So, when I first started BatMe back in 2017, I was like this is a young kid. I was performing back in like the bars, doing drag and performing with all these great people. And then I realized like okay, I am spending a lot of money. It takes a lot of money to look chick, they always say. So, I was like okay, now I’m starting to evolve into this like personality, I’m starting to like figure out my brand, figure out my audience. And I was like, what way can I do more for my community besides, you know, outside of the bars and outside of you know, just performing. 

So I was like okay, I wanna provide a service that will be able to, you know help the girls out a little bit as I would say. So I started to sell, you know, lashes. It was originally called BatMe lashes and that’s where the name BatMe comes from. It’s ’cause when you feel all cute and you bat your eyelashes, that’s what… You know, it’s a little joke in there. So I kinda like the play on words. So I got an amazing response just in selling the lashes and just, you know, people were messaging me and just saying like, “you know what, your lashes changed “my whole makeup game or changed my whole mood “or you know, my performance.” And for me, like being young and didn’t realize that I was the one creating this, you know like you said, like the first I didn’t have a blueprint on where to follow. So I’m just shoveling and people were just following behind and I’m like, “girl, they’re just lashes.” But I didn’t realize the impact behind it. 

The expression, the confirmation of feeling good. ‘Cause if you feel good, you do good. And as long as I can keep it, you know and that’s why I keep it affordable as well as because like I don’t want you to break your back to feel good to look good. You know what I mean? So it has to be a revolving circle. So, I would say that the BatMe continues through expression.

Imara Jones: And how did you… So you started out by making eyelashes. And I think that a lot of times people when they decide to start a business can get paralyzed by the idea that you have to do everything all at once, perfect. And I’m just wondering if you can just give kind of like a quick chat of how you went from one thing to the next, because that’s all you did, right? So you started with eyelashes and then you moved to whatever the next thing is, you’re gonna tell us and you kept…

Jayla Roxx: Yeah.

Imara Jones: Learning and moving on. So can you just tell us how you went from eyelashes to growing your line?

Jayla Roxx: Yeah so, I went from- expanded in mid 2018. So I would say a year and a half after our launch. And in that year and a half, the only way I was able to grow is to fail and accept it, number one. I had a bit… I had a hard time accepting the failure. You know, I was so busy trying to emulate what we would call, you know, viral makeup people or you know, the brands that we know and love. And I’m trying to not come from an authentic place of what I know inspire wise. So I was copying them and didn’t realize that what’s meant for them is for them. And I’m not inventing the wheel with, you know, a new makeup brand, I’m just adding my own spoke to it. So once I learned that and accepted, like just do you, live authentically, you know, put what you feel out into the world and let that shine through. 

You don’t have to try so hard. So with the whole like, trying hard thing I was setting myself further back, I would say. And then I started to just like surrender and just kind of realize that you know, taking me God taking me Lord, take me or whoever shows up in the world for me, take me guardian angel and let this speak to the people that really truly want it and let this uplift the people that truly, you know feel like they say, you know, change their life. So the expansion came from, excuse my French just fucking doing it. You know what I mean? 

Like just jumping off the leap and just saying like, you know, I trust in what I really wanna do. If I really want this, I’m matching my intention with my purpose. So, that kind of was what the expansion was about. And I’m pretty glad that I did know. But back then last year, I was like, I have no idea. So you can only grow if you fail.

Imara Jones: Right. It’s that old saying, like before you learn how to fly, you gotta learn how to fall.

Jayla Roxx: Yeah exactly.

Imara Jones: So how did you… Like making cosmetics is not like, you know, it’s not like getting in your kitchen and cooking up something. Like there are all of these like…

Jayla Roxx: No, I burn cereal, you don’t want me to cook anything.

Imara Jones: You’re gonna burn me, like it’s not.. Like there as… I guess what my point is that there’s a science to it. So I’m wondering-

Jayla Roxx: Yeah.

Imara Jones: How you learned the… Because in order to figure out how you’re gonna make your products, ’cause your products are unique in all the ways that we described. You know, vegan base and no gluten, no testing on animals. You know, you have to learn how you make you know, lip liner and how you make eye shadow and how you make those things. And so I’m literally wondering how you learned, how you went about learning the things that you needed to learn to make your products. I mean, I know you don’t make every single one but you still have to know-

Jayla Roxx: Right.

Imara Jones: How they’re made, where it’s coming from. 

Jayla Roxx: Right, exactly. So, first things first, I would always say before you jump into anything, do your research. You know what I mean? So I’ve seen a lot of like, you know why aren’t makeup brands releasing this? You know what I mean? And I was just like, Oh okay, I see. People are allergic to this. People are allergic to that. And I live in LA, so everything has to be vegan. Everything from the milk to the tree everything has to be vegan. It has to be everything gluten-free. You know what I mean? 

So I had to kind of live up to those standards, number one. And also just like… I know this is kind of corny but when sometimes I get into this really big YouTube haul and I learn, like I’m really obsessed with those shows. Like how it’s made. You ever seen those shows?

Imara Jones: Yeah.

Jayla Roxx: You know, little weird things like that. So I end up buying those things and I’m like, how it’s made, okay great. So then I find my research and I was able to be blessed enough to find a manufacturing company that fits the things that I need as far as like providing gluten free services and vegan services and cruelty-free because there’s a lot of makeup brands out there but not many cater to people who have gluten free, you know, allergens and all those certain things. So that’s what sets me apart. It’s like, you know, really caring for the people that actually buy my stuff and not just trying to grab a dollar. So, I found a great manufacturer that was able to match my values, match my, you know, my needs. And we’re able to pull off BatMe Cosmetics and you know, happy that we’re able to make people smile.

Imara Jones: Well, we have a guest comment.

Jayla Roxx: Yes.

Imara Jones: Sylvia Anna Bliss who said that you’re turning it out. So…

Jayla Roxx: Yes, turn it out.

Imara Jones: So you’re turning it out. So, one questions I have for everyone like on the practical side you’ve given us really-

Jayla Roxx: Yeah.

Imara Jones: An insight about how you got started. So on the practical side, what are the best selling products that you have? And what’s the product that is your favorite that you think people should know about?

Jayla Roxx: Well, I’m so glad you asked. I’m ready for my moment. I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. I’ve been practiced my QVC little moments. So here it goes. So my best selling product I would have to say is the Box Of Donuts, eyeshadow palette. I just, re-released this thing. It’s 30 colors of full pigmented shimmers. And I got a little bit on the out right now, you can’t see. But this palette has been used on all of your favorite celebrities, all of the drag race girls love this palette. I’ve been able to… For season two and season three now be one of the featured makeup brands for Pose on FX. So, all of the fun Angelica Ross candy looks were featured by BatMe Cosmetics and the Box Of Donuts palette actually goes on sale on Monday. So make sure you guys go get it. This is the only box of donuts where you don’t gain any weight, okay. You just look good, everything looks good. And also to go with that are our top selling lashes which are called the Velvet Lashes, and those are like the show top lashes from everybody, from Salt N’ Pepa to RuPaul to… I can name drop all day long but they love the Velvet lashes. So if you wanna be a part of the winning theme, grab me some Velvet lashes and I got you.

Imara Jones: Amazing. Lashes and the palette. The palette sounds amazing.

Jayla Roxx: Yes, I have you one for the holidays. So I definitely will send you a Christmas… What do you call it? A holiday season greeting package. From yours truly.

Imara Jones: Oh, Thank you.

Jayla Roxx: So you can, you know, I got you.

Imara Jones: Thank you. And like I was wondering where like some of the eye palettes and shadows for Angel Foreign CO’s for India were coming from. Now I know. Now I know it’s BatMe.

Jayla Roxx: Yes. I’m giving you all the gems, all the secrets right here.

Imara Jones: So lastly, I’m wondering what advice would you give to people, trans people in particular, who have dreams to start their own businesses and who wanna take that step? What do you say?

Jayla Roxx: I say… I know a lot of people say, you know, don’t give up you know, just sit in your third, I say, show up. Show up. There’s been a time where I would always complain about like, you know, when you get into that disappointed state of yourself and you go, you know “How come this person got this? “And I have this amount of followers.” And X, Y, and Z. And all the things that don’t matter. And you can’t complain about getting wet if you don’t live near water. So you gotta show up. Show up authentically. Tower up without you know, any of the competition in your head and once you do that, what’s meant for you is for you. And if anybody else wants to do a makeup brand I’m not gonna withhold information because you wanna do it. ‘Cause there’s no competition. I want all of us to win. So, if you have any questions about like, when to start a brand, and you wanna do lipsticks and eye shadows too, you know, we all… There’s enough money to go around and let’s do it together. You know, that’s the only way we can rise.

Imara Jones: Yeah, and I also think that like, it’s also these things whenever we do something new, it’s much harder than we ever think and so when we get in it and it’s three times harder than we thought or five times harder than we thought, that’s just normal. That’s not a sign to give up, you know.

Jayla Roxx: Yeah, absolutely.

Imara Jones: It’s infinitely harder than we thought. Okay so, I wanted to end tonight. We’ve been getting lots of audience comments. So, on a period of accretion, Della Michelle says that the Malibu lash makes them feel all the feelings in caps. And that they are ready for the new palette to drop.

Jayla Roxx: Yes. Okay

Imara Jones: So, whatever you’re doing is working.

Jayla Roxx: Y’all making me feel like Kylie Jenner up in here. Yeah, I think like I have a really… Like a… I call it jokingly like a cool following. Like you know, if whenever I release, they are on it. So I appreciate it. And I always like… You know, it’s always good to know the customer. They know where it’s going to, and who’s going to, and you know, seeing a whole bunch of new names. So I have… I call them my BatMe besties. And that’s like my little community that I’ve built amongst this, you know, great customer, supplier relationship, if you will. So they’re on it. So I believe so.

Imara Jones: Well, thank you for joining us. Hopefully this has extended your BatMe besties tonight and you’re a circle of people that are connected to your brand and supporting your brand and to know about you. And I just wanna thank you so much for doing everything that you do and for keeping going as you said and just wish you so much more success on top of all the success that you’ve had. I really appreciate you coming on tonight.

Jayla Roxx: Thank you so much and everything right back to you, times 10. Thank you so much for doing this for all of us. And, you know, for even caring about me you know what I mean? ‘Cause sometimes we get to a point where, you know, there’s a lot of things going on and we always are just like, you know focus in our lanes, but just sharing the love and sharing the line and sharing, you know everybody’s success is what gives me the hope to keep going. So I really appreciate you for this. And you are officially inducted into the BatMe besties community. So welcome on in and thank you so much again and happy holidays.

Imara Jones: Happy holidays and when this is all over, I hope to see you live and in the flesh in LA. How about that?

Jayla Roxx: Yes, I like champagne now, so I got you.

Imara Jones: Same. That is Jayla Roxx, who is the founder and CEO of BatMe! Cosmetics. You’re watching Lives At Stake and we will be back in just a second.

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TransLash tells trans stories to save trans lives. As a trusted source for journalists, thought-leaders, movement activists, researchers, and those wanting to know about trans people, we produce narratives about and for the trans community—accurately and reliably. At a time when disinformation about trans people is being used to undermine democracy and human rights, TransLash Media serves as a beacon of hope through the voices that we share with the world.


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