It’s unexpectedly warm this Friday afternoon, and I’m feeling a little rushed as I juggle my day job and YHM. A feeling most entrepreneurs can agree on. It’s lunchtime, but I’m pacing back-and-forth in my office, eager to find a quiet space for my much-anticipated call with Raye Boyce—the stunning entrepreneur behind the international beauty brand, ITSMYRAYERAYE.
I don’t mention the word “brand” lightly. Raye has journeyed a long way from posting beauty deals on Tumblr and uploading makeup tutorial videos on YouTube. She transcended her passion from a social media reach and brought her “A” game to the consumer marketplace.
Her reigning YouTube channel, ITSMYRAYERAYE has received massive attention from magazines such as Elle and Cosmopolitan. She is no longer highlighted for her trendsetting looks alone but instead tapped on the shoulder to share her expertise in the beauty industry. While all this attention comes with the territory of having over 1.7 M YouTube subscribers, Raye admits she never envisioned being worthy of such admiration.
“It’s a feeling of accomplishment. It’s cool to see that I started from the ground-up and now I’m compared to pros in the industry.”
Her résumé is stacked with a number of collaborations, recognition, and partnerships yet she remains genuine throughout her success. Raye’s recent partnership with BH Cosmetics features a luminous eye and cheek collection. It launched last November and has already sold out multiple times. Raye shared via social media that she worked on everything from the colors to the collection’s design.
This partnership was a testament to her entrepreneurial creativity as well as her loyalty to her audience. She pours her heart into everything she does. She is on a continuous grind to spoil and educate her “bays bays” with the latest—and most affordable—beauty products. She did just that when her collection with BH Cosmetics dropped.
In our last interview, Raye said that she puts “everything in the hands of God” from her successful collaborations to the stress of the business. In a video where she discussed her battle with depression and anxiety, she gave praise to God and her family. It’s an empowering video. The beauty and fashion world on YouTube can be superficial, but Raye gets personal and expresses her vulnerabilities in such a relatable way.
“It’s a bit nerve-wracking. I don’t want anyone judging me. My supporters go through the same things, so I share that I go through the same things too; there is hope. I can live out my dreams and not be a victim of anxiety.”
Raye constantly reaches out to her “bays bays” encouraging them to ask her questions, express themselves, and so much more. She is committed to connecting with them far beyond the screens and they empower her in return.
“A woman messaged me [on Facebook] about the hardship she was going through. She was in the army and had suicidal thoughts, but watching my videos helped her escape. When I upload, it’s just makeup and it’s not making a breakthrough in life, but for some people, it’s a break and it gives them hope.”
It’s safe to say Raye is more than a vlogger. I’m positive she has become a virtual “counselor” for a number of people. It’s not just about makeup anymore. There is a lot at stake as she continues to venture into the consumer marketplace. She has to be decisive about the content she publishes and every project she takes on.
In 2015 she collaborated with ColourPop on a lip collection, which was a huge deal for her. “I got to see my selling power. I didn’t think anyone would care about it, but it was a big accomplishment for me to collaborate with ColourPop. [One day] I want to have my own makeup line.”
Her journey on YouTube is over five years old—that’s a lot of videos. Each year we get to experience a new side of Raye and new projects. While beauty tips and trends are all in her field, Raye has broken into fashion editorials over the years—posting more about her fashion sense. She explains that it wasn’t a marketing tactic her team cooked up, but more of a natural transition.
“I’ve always been experimental. I didn’t think that anyone would care, but [people around me] encouraged me to do more.”
It’s refreshing to watch Raye’s personality shine throughout her platforms. She’s funny, dorky, chic, and smart. Her team, sociaLebs has propelled her career by helping her navigate the ever-changing influencer world while still being true to her humble beginnings.
“My management sociaLebs helps with everything. They helped me grow. It’s really cool because we all get along.”
Raye’s mission is constant—brag about affordable products, have fun, and be honest. While there is a number of companies sending her PR boxes, she doesn’t just let anyone influence her and her audience.
“I turn to my friends for new lessons and tips. About a year ago a friend told me ‘you don’t use transition color.’ They told me to try it and ever since then I’ve used it.”
This season Raye is all about bringing old-school trends to the forefront. “The trends I’m loving right now are coming back. Lip-gloss is coming back!” She is just as fanatic about makeup as she is with products that keep her skin looking and feeling healthy. “I’m obsessed with facemasks—I have so many detox and clay masks.”
This rising beauty mogul is not putting too much pressure on herself, but her next venture already has a blueprint. Before starting her YouTube channel, Raye enjoyed working behind-the-scenes and hopes to do so again by working with new talents.
“It would be really cool to invest and give [others] the resources they need to succeed.”
As I begin to wish Raye the very best of what’s to come, she raves about YHM’s continued support for her. No worries Raye, we’re rooting for you every step of the way.
By Yegide Matthews | Photos by Juan Veloz