Jennifer Harper has been making a name for herself in the beauty industry for a number of years but has been gaining popularity quickly after being on the hit CBC show, Dragons Den. Cheekbone Beauty is helping Indigenous youth see themselves in a beauty brand.
Having founded Cheekbone Beauty four and a half years ago, she has tirelessly worked a full-time high- level sales job in Toronto, Ontario while living in Niagara . It was important to her to raise her children with her husband in the place she grew up.
Throughout her life, Jenn struggled to accept her Indigenous roots as she lived with her Caucasian mother. She was estranged from her Indigenous family for much of her child and adult life. After learning about her grandmother’s experience in residential schools, she understood how her family was affected by generational trauma. This drove her to understand and overcome her own struggle with alcoholism. She reunited with her family including her brother B. J., and began to learn about and explore her Indigenous family history and culture.
During the development of Cheekbone Beauty, Jenn researched the current makeup landscape as well as charities that are helping close the educational funding gap that exists between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students. After in depth research, the Cheekbone team found the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society (FNCFCS) and the connection between their mission and Jenn’s family experience was serendipitous.
Cheekbone Beauty continues to support the FNCFCS today by donating 10% of the profits to Shannen’s Dream. During Cheekbone’s infancy, Jenn endured a heavy personal loss with the suicide of her brother B.J. This loss, though difficult, has remained a driving force behind the desire to see Cheekbone Beauty succeed with its mission, to empower Indigenous youth.
In addition to Cheekbone’s mission, she strives to educate as many Canadians as possible about the Residential School System and the effects it has had on my family and friends through decades of generational trauma. She speaks regularly to university, college and high school students about social entrepreneurship, empathy and the history of her First Nations family. She has also been invited to speak to various entrepreneur groups, women in business associations, Apple Canada and First Nations organizations.