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Start Right Here Podcast
36 minutes | Jun 3, 2022
EPISODE REMIX: Ron Robinson How A Hero Ingredient and Focusing on Consumer Needs Helped Him Build a Beauty Brand
This week, we are back in the crates with a rebroadcast of my chat with Ron Robinson, CEO, and Co-Founder of BeautyStat Cosmetics. This is a must-listen for anyone contemplating beauty entrepreneurship, product development, or becoming a cosmetic chemist. Ron tackles the critical mindset for each. He also chats about pivoting BeautyStat from an influencer agency to a successful skincare brand. The original show notes for the episode are below: Ron Robinson's mother wanted all of her sons to be doctors. Ron, who is now the Founder and CEO of BeautyStat Cosmetics, went as far as attending medical school before deciding it wasn't for him. Instead, putting his background in chemistry to work, he landed a job at Clinique, and one of the first products he helped to formulate was their Turnaround products. From there, he moved to mass brand Revlon and later Avon. Each job brought him closer to understanding the consumer. During the early days of social media, Ron saw a gap in the market. So he created the first iteration of BeautyStat, a beauty community where he and a team of experts gave insider information about products and trends. But the stability of Vitamin C was a constant question he was asked about as an expert. So he and a former colleague decided to work on a side project where they set out to stabilize this sought-after ingredient, and BeautyStat Cosmetics was born. Ron explains how his hero product, Universal C Skin Refiner, has become the darling of not only editors, racking up numerous awards, as well as consumers. How in just one year, the line has expanded both the products it offers and the outlets through which it is available. And how Covid-19 and the beauty industry's response have impacted his business. Ron explains that his position as a cosmetic chemist has made him view the clean beauty movement differently. It is important for him to support BIPOC women in beauty and what types of individuals make the best entrepreneurs. And Don't forget to check out our newsletter: The Last Word from Start Right Here
40 minutes | May 27, 2022
EPISODE REMIX: Dixie Lincoln-Nichols: Why She's A Disruptor in the Beauty, Wellness & Self-Care Space
With all that is going on in the world, we all need a bit of self-care. And in order to practice it myself, I wanted to bring you a rebroadcast of my chat with Dixie Lincoln-Nichols, Founder of the Inside Outer Beauty Market. In this episode, Dixie shares her career evolution from her aspirations to become a medical doctor to a science teacher to now a beauty and wellness entrepreneur. Stay tuned to the end for four new tips that will help you shop for toxicant-free products. (Original show notes below)-------------------------------------------- Dixie Lincoln-Nichols learned about natural beauty ingredients at about five-years-old from her grandmother in Trinidad. But accessing that knowledge came much late, following a brief career as a biology teacher. After a diagnosis of uterine fibroids and an encounter with an insensitive doctor, Dixie started exploring ways to heal herself naturally. She saw an opportunity to bring toxicant-free beauty, wellness, and home products to a multicultural audience. She launched Inside Outer Beauty Market a brick-and-mortar store which contains products that have been carefully curated by her and her team. She explains that the marketing of clean beauty has created a perception that it is for an affluent white customer, but points out that the ingredients in many of the products are the same ones her grandmother used. And expresses concerns about the ingredients in beauty products marketed to Black women in particular. Dixie gives us insight into how she sources and tests products and how she uses her background as an educator to teach her customers about toxicant-free beauty and wellness. We discuss how the mind/body connection factors into beauty and wellness and how she uses her training as a Qi Gong instructor as part of a holistic approach to beauty and wellness. ------------------------------- Don't forget to check out our newsletter: The Last Word
33 minutes | May 19, 2022
Abigail Opiah: Cultivating Conversations and E-Commerce Solutions Around Black Women's Hair
When Abigail Opiah and her sister, Antonia, co-founders of UN_Ruly, launched an exhibit and short film called You Can Touch My Hair, in 2013, the intent was a commentary on how Black women had been "othered" in the workplace. But to some it was controversial. In fact, on the second day of the public exhibit, some Black women came to protest. Abigail's goal was simply to move the conversation about textured hair forward. The duo has been incorporating innovative ways to do just that on their media platform and other projects since. like the award-winning Pretty Shouldn't Hurt, done in partnership with L'Oréal. While she always saw entrepreneurship in her future, Abigail believes that ending up as a beauty entrepreneur is serendipity. She started her career at a South Florida real estate firm in a role that mixed project management, public relations, marketing, and other skillsets. When she moved to New York, she landed a job at a boutique public relations firm that focused on entertainment and lifestyle clients. She continued in those areas when she started her own company. But the Opiah sisters have been working together off-and-on since they were young babysitters. When Antonia floated the idea to Abigail, a platform was birthed. Three years later, they saw a need for in-home styling services, launching the e-commerce platform, Yeluchi in 90 days with only two stylists in New York City. The business expanded to include several cities (currently, NY, Los Angeles, and the DMV). Abigail shares how Covid-19 impacted their business and the steps the company took to support their hairstylists. She oversees their e-commerce business, and media relations and is spearheading their latest effort, selling braiding hair. She explains how this expansion is a natural outgrowth of their mobile business and that clients will be able to purchase pre-bundled packs based on the style they choose. Abigail also explains how she and her sister work together, dividing responsibility. And why a business coach was helpful in the duo's ability to separate their business and personal relationships. Find out all of this and more in the latest episode. And check out our newsletter, The Last Word.
35 minutes | May 12, 2022
Jamella Bailey: How Hair Loss Transformed Her Into a Passionate Beauty Entrepreneur
The children of Trinidadian immigrants growing up in Montreal, Jamella Bailey, President, and Founder of Crüe Cosmetics, dreaded the hair maintenance process. It led her to spend many years hiding her hair under braids and protective styles. But her quest for a Beyoncé-like lace front cost her more than the expensive price tag for the wig. The stylist she visited glued the wig directly to her hairline, with traumatic results in hair loss, scalp irritation, and traction alopecia. Jamella couldn't use most of the products she found in her pharmacy without additional irritation. This life-changing experience led her to research natural ingredients and start blending products in her kitchen, and she used friends and family as testers. She knew that she had found the right formula for her first product, a Growth Serum, when her testers started buying the product and asking for more. As a result, Crüe officially launched in 2016 with four hand-made formulas housed in amber glass jars. Jamella initially thought her target audience would be other Black Canadian women with hair damage but quickly found that those issues attracted a much wider audience than she ever imagined. She shares the challenges Black beauty founders face in being pigeonholed in specific categories. Jamella has honed her craft along the way, taking photochemistry courses to become a better formulator and recently being a certified trichologist. She also shares why she must consider regulatory rules if she expands her business beyond Canada. However, in the meantime, she is expanding the Crüe Cosmetics line in the coming months to add shampoos and conditioners to complement her existing treatment line. And she plans to expand beyond her e-commerce model to include salons that can retail her products and use them in treatments. And Jamella has plans to put her trichology certification to good use in the future. Follow Crüe Cosmetics on Instagram and Facebook.
31 minutes | Apr 28, 2022
Briggitta Hardin: Building a Brand at the Intersection of Beauty, Wellness, and CBD
Briggitta Hardin, the Co-founder of NFZD, a whole plant beauty brand, always knew entrepreneurship would be in her future but never thought that beauty would be part of the equation. Growing up in a rough section of Chicago, Briggitta couldn't go outside to play, so she devoured books instead. Her thirst for knowledge led her to attend Howard University, and when she found herself squeamish around blood, she evolved her career aspirations from plastic surgery to public relations. However, graduating as a new mother led her on another path, AV equipment sales at a hotel. While on vacation in Los Angeles, Briggitta and her fiancé discovered the benefits of CBD. Briggitta wanted d to share it with her community, particularly Black women. After the first line she developed failed to live up to her expectations, Briggitta went back to the drawing board, spending two years learning about other plant-based ingredients that worked well with CBD and how to create efficacious formulas. Finally, the pair, along with her cousin, Britton Hardin, launched the brand in 2020. However, feedback from her early consumers led to a packaging rebrand, resulting in the brand being recognized at LMCC last year. In addition to the Illuminate + Hydrate Facial Oil, the brand's hero product, the other standout includes their Wellness Blends, powders that include adaptogens, mushrooms, and superfoods that can be incorporated into smoothies and other beverages to aid in energy, sleep, and focus. Briggitta shares the challenges that some with running a CBD brand and her commitment to making it work because she always remembers her 'why.' Follow NFZD Beauty on Instagram Shop NFZD Beauty face and body collections on their website In-person at Etain Health.
65 minutes | Apr 22, 2022
Rahama Wright: Building a Social Impact Beauty Business and Redefining Success
Rahama Wright, CEO of Shea Yeleen, volunteering for the Peace Corp was a no-brainer, it was how her parents met. But it was during her time volunteering for a health clinic in West Africa that she had a desire to create an ecosystem that provided economic support for women. And she saw shea butter as a vehicle for her end goal. Eventually, that led to the launch of Shea Yellen, through which she partners with 14 different women's cooperatives in Ghana. While other companies work on a buy one give one model, or tout their fair trade status, Rahama is on a mission to make sure that her work has a real social impact. Her Ghanian partners benefit from the business--making five times the local minimum wage. And she's invited the growers to see the finished products in Whole Foods too. Rahama shares the challenges she faced getting her products into Whole Foods and how she was able to expand the brand's footprint as a result. And the other retail avenues she created before the pandemic included MGM hotels and retail space at the airport. Covid-19 presented many obstacles for Shea Yeleen, Rahama shares them as well as some new opportunities that came her way, including being approached by Macy's. But Rahama is not solely focused on her brand but defines real success by equipping other beauty entrepreneurs with the tools to find success too, she has partnered with her local government as well as some partners (to be named soon) on a new venture. She also shares how she became the youngest Black woman to serve on a Presidential Advisory Council on doing business in Africa. And she shares five great tips for anyone interested in creating a social impact business of their own. Follow Shea Yeleen on IG, Facebook Twitter Shop for Shea Yeleen: Whole Food Markets Macys.com SheaYeleen.com Check out The Last Word Newsletter from Start Right Here!
40 minutes | Apr 14, 2022
Amanda Flores: From Beauty Editorial to Brands—Never Underestimate the Importance of Storytellers
This week, I am excited to bring you my chat with Amanda Flores, the Editorial Director of Prose, a customized haircare company. Amanda has loved beauty since she began playing around in her mother's Mary Kay stash when her mom sold the brand. But it would be years before she considered a career in the industry, and for her, writing was the key. Amanda wanted to be Judy Blume and pen novels (who knows, she still may fulfill that dream). But while studying journalism and French in college, she landed an internship at Redbook and saw the possibility of combining two things that she loved. So following graduation, she did a reverse commute to work at the weekly Women's World and later worked in a combined fashion/beauty department at Family Circle. Amanda called on her network for a few of her early career moves, ranging from connections she made during her internship or those she nurtured since college. But it was her move to LATINA as beauty director that gave her a different kind of joy, having begun reading the magazine before she was in the industry. While the position was fulfilling, Amanda was interested in expanding beyond print magazines into digital. So she opened up a whole new category of career possibilities by joining L'Oréal as the Site Director of Makeup.com (and launching Skincare.com). While there were many technical skills she had to learn, Amanda stressed that her editorial ability was her strength. And she believes anyone with editorial chops can be an asset to a brand and that majoring in journalism is still important. After working at the largest beauty company in the world, Amanda was ready for a new challenge, joining Prose while it was still a startup and using her storytelling skills in new ways. Hear all of this and more in this episode of Start Right Here! And check out our newsletter, The Last Word.
47 minutes | Apr 8, 2022
Taliah Waajid: Her Mane Moves from Textured Hair Stylist to Brand Owner and Creator of the World Natural Hair Show
In the latest episode, I chat with natural hair pioneer Taliah Waajid, who talks about her career journey in the world of textured tresses that inspired her to create the World Natural Hair Show in the late 1990s. Taliah shares how her first braiding in a salon taught her that the customer's hair health has to be the priority, even if it means turning down a style request. When she first moved there, the perception of natural hair differed between New York City and Atlanta. She shares how "Poetic Justice" helped turn the tide. And how working at a big salon in Atlanta drove home the importance of retailing products as a revenue stream and why she created her first three products. Her lines include Uncle Jimmy's (her men's line), her children's line, Black Earth (her original collection), Curls, Waves, Naturals, Protective Styles, Green Apple, and Aloe. (While she also has a scalp care collection in the works.)Taliah explains the steps she took to get her products in local beauty supply stores, find distributors and eventually land her products in big box stores like Walmart and Target. She shares why running a salon and a brand didn't work for her. But what you will want to hear is why and how she came to start The World Natural Hair Show, now in its 23rd year. After not mounting the show for two years, she is excited to return. Hear how she built the show from its humble beginnings to the point where there were 30,000 attendees over the two-day event with more than 300 vendors. And why it was vital for her to include competitors in the mix. (Correction: The Show is on 4/23 and 4/24!!) To get tickets go to the worldnaturalhairshow.org Follow Taliah Waajid on Instagram and Facebook. Check out The Last Word Newsletter here!
53 minutes | Apr 1, 2022
Patricia Reynoso: Cultivating a Beauty Career Through a Strong Network, Adaptable Skills and Using Culture and Authenticity as Superpowers!!
This week we're back with new episodes. We're coming out the gate strong with my chat with Patricia Reynoso, Executive Director, Cultural Relevancy Engagement—North America, at The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. Patricia has been an editor, author, publicist, editor-in-chief, copy director, essay writer, and more throughout her career. In this episode, she walks us through the career she never knew existed as a child but reflected her lifelong love of beauty and her culture. She shares how her early career was nurtured by many women at Fairchild Publications, from her start at Children's Business to WWD and W. And how relationships formed there have served her throughout her career. Patricia shares what she learned about covering beauty at a luxury magazine and a huge service publication.How she co-authored a book while her twins were toddlers, and why she took her first foray into the side of beauty with a public relations position at Lancôme. And the dream job that called her back to editorial. Patricia explains how authenticity and culture were present throughout her career. They are what I call her superpower, setting her apart and have factored into the position she holds today. Check out some of Patricia's writing: https://www.elle.com/beauty/a28640193/hair-pelo-malo/ Read her essay included in: AOC: The Fearless Rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
38 minutes | Mar 25, 2022
EPISODE REMIX: Dr. Edward E. Dickerson: Wrinkle Relaxers, Fillers & Understanding the Cultural and Clinical Needs of BIPOC Patients
We're digging the crates to bring another episode rebroadcast. This week we're featuring Dr. Edward E. Dickerson IV, a double board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon (originally ep 37). Did you know that there are only about 25 Black specialists like Dr. Dickerson? He shares his education and medical training at two HBCUs, West Virginia State College and Morehouse School of Medicine. And his surgical training while rising through Lt. Col. in the United States Army. Then, Dr. Dickerson breaks down some key facts about aesthetic procedures. Everything from how the Fitzpatrick scale factors into outcomes to the differences between wrinkle relaxers and fillers. Plus why some hair removal procedures can be tricky. Check out this information and more in this rebroadcast!
45 minutes | Mar 18, 2022
EPISODE REMIX: Jazmin Alvarez: Why She's Committed to Curating an Inclusive
This month, we're back in the crates, offering remixes of some of our old episodes. This episode features Jazmin Alvarez, founder of the clean beauty & wellness site Pretty Well Beauty (initially. interviewed. in episode 3!) Since I chatted with Jazmin last, a few things have happened: The website redesign and brand refresh She's added seven new lines 50% of the brands on the site are from BIPOC creators She's co-founding a leadership academy for emerging beauty entrepreneurs (with access to funding). She is the recipient of a Reimagine Main Street grant Note: EleVen is Venus Williams' line, not Serena's. The original show notes are below: With $300 and two suitcases, she came to New York City with her eye on being a model agent. From there, Alvarez transitioned to casting and photo production before leaping entrepreneurship. Jazmin Alvarez talks to host Corynne L. Corbett about her winding path to becoming a beauty entrepreneur. After graduating from college, she came to NYC with two suitcases and $300, determined to be a model agent. Her first opportunity came from Ford Model Management on the men's board, and she turned it down in favor of an internship at another agency. When that opportunity didn't pan out as hoped, Alvarez went back to Ford and asked if they would consider her for the men's board again. I actually turned that job down and went to One model management for an unpaid internship that I thought would turn into a full-time position. They had Naomi Campbell at the time. So, you know, they were like the hot new boutique agency of the moment. So after about two or three months, it did not turn into a full-time position. So I ended up going back to Ford and asking them about the job they had previously offered me was still available, and they hired me, and it ended up being one of the most fun experiences of my life. This is just one example of how Alvarez took on the challenges in front of her without fear. She shares how she transitioned to casting and later photo production. She points out how her time at Art + Commerce set a standard of excellence that she still refers to today. And what it was like to produce ads for Rolex, cast NY Fashion Week shows, and cast the models for the social campaign for the Fenty Beauty digital launch. She shares how her interest in clean beauty was strictly personal at first. And how Pretty Well Beauty went from an Instagram account to an e-commerce business showcasing a carefully curated collection of beauty and wellness brands that she spends a minimum of 4 weeks and a maximum of a year vetting. She and Corbett discuss why clean beauty should not be strictly reserved for white women (aka the Goop effect) and how Black and Brown women have created clean products for eons. You know, when we hear people from Goop or any of these other companies raving about Ashwangandha and Turmeric all these herbs and stuff that are in these skin care products that have been around for centuries, as if they're talking about as if they just discovered it. It feels a little bit like cultural appropriation. And I think it's an extremely inappropriate and disrespectful because you're you are taking something from people who you are not acknowledging in any way. She shares some clean beauty and wellness products that have her attention right now. They include Ilera Apothecary, Element Apothecary, and Taza Ayurvedic. And Alvarez also reveals how she plans to expand the Pretty Well Beauty footprint in the future. I look at the ingredients first and everything that's in it. If there's nothing in there that's toxic or unsafe, then I request samples of the products. So they'll send me the products. And I need at least four weeks to be able to use everything, because that's usually how long it takes for you to start to see results. I'll use the products for a minimum of four weeks. [I will take it to the next step] If I like the products, if I feel like they are beneficial and they're effective and I'm not experiencing any sort of reactions that are negative or if they are just they if they just feel good. I pay attention to like all the details of what my experience is, not only from a consumer point of view, but also as a beauty buyer. Guest Bio: Jazmin Alvarez is the founder and chief curator of Pretty Well Beauty, an Afro-Latina-owned clean beauty and wellness website launched in 2019. Alvarez, a 14 year veteran of the fashion and beauty industry, is an alum of Calvin Klein Condé Nast. In 2017, she led the production and casting for the digital launch of Fenty Beauty, having experienced first-hand the direct relationship between the products that you put on your skin-your body's largest organ- and your vital organs. Alvarez curates a diverse product offering that adheres to the strictest standards of clean and sustainable practice. Diversity is at the heart of Pretty Well Beauty's mission which seeks to reclaim wellness and clean beauty to be accessible and approachable Alvarez'sunique curation prioritizes a product selection that addresses a wide variety of needs, fits various price points and highlights the founders from a variety of backgrounds.
39 minutes | Mar 11, 2022
EPISODE REMIX: Eunice Cofie-Obeng Focusing on Skin of Color—From Creating Products to Training Aestheticians
We dug in the crates again to give you another fantastic episode. First, I wanted to rebroadcast my chat with Eunice Cofie-Obeng, Founder and Chief Cosmetic Chemist of Nuekie, a skincare company, because products created for melanin-rich skin are increasingly popular. But Eunice has been working on her products for more than a decade (the first time I met her was in 2009). And since we last chatted, Eunice introduced a number of new products and was chosen as a 2021 Glossier grantee. But the other thing that is crucial in Eunice's work is her dedication to training aestheticians about skin of color through her Skin of Color Academy. Our discussion about funding for Black founders is still relevant, as are her thoughts about collaborating with other Black beauty founders during the pandemic. And we have a bonus added: Towards the end of the episode, we got five new tips from Eunice to find an aesthetician who knows how to work with skin of color. One good resource: the Black Estheticians and Skin Therapists Association.
48 minutes | Mar 4, 2022
EPISODE REMIX: Kim Roxie: Taking the Leap From Brick and Mortar to E-Commerce and New Platforms With Crazy Faith
This is a rebroadcast of my interview with Kim Roxie, founder of Lamik Beauty, early in the pandemic. Since we've chatted, Kim has won 10 pitch competitions. Ulta.com is selling the Lamik Revelation Brow Duo, Clear Brow Gel, Mascara, and Powder Brow Duo Brush. And Kim has embraced live shopping by regularly appearing on Talk Shop Live and has just begun her own show Kickin It With Kim! At her heart, Kim calls herself a cheerleader, and through this channel, she is doing just that. As you listen to Kim's interview, from over a year ago, and see how crazy has played into her progress. Here are the show notes from our first broadcast: Kim Roxie spent hours studying the piano, but although she didn't make music her career, she has called on that discipline in her work as a beauty entrepreneur. Kim founded Lamik Beauty, a clean beauty brand for women of color, and opened her first store in Houston, TX, shortly after graduating from college. "It must have been destiny that landed me in this role. I think that's a great thought. Do you think the discipline of being a pianist has helped you to apply to be an entrepreneur? Yeah. I think the same type of attitude and skillset. You have the same type of discipline and mindset because when you play an instrument and anybody listening knows if you ever played an instrument or either, you know, your voice, it might be, but you practice all the time. When I played the piano growing up, I mean, I practiced every day for a certain amount of time. There's a huge amount of discipline and work that you've put into a piece just to play it for recital or just to play it, you know? And so not getting tired of doing the same thing over and over just to get better. I think, is a discipline that I'm definitely using an entrepreneur. With the odds stacked against her, Kim relied on her ability to connect with women, her belief in a new category of beauty, and her faith to succeed. I had someone say to me, Kim, you just got crazy faith. And I said, okay, that's what it is. I remember being in my senior year and we had to have our senior project. And if you didn't pass the senior project, they would hold you for another semester. And I remember being in my senior project and finishing up and then saying to my professors now I hope this was a great project. I did. I said, but if you need any convincing, let me let you know. I've already taken a lease out on a space in the mall in Houston. And I have this company that I want to launch in two months. And I was like, so if the project isn't worth passing, just from what I did, can you at least look at my future goals and pass me because of that? When I opened up my store, I had no money left in the bank. I had figured out my budget, but I didn't understand budgets back then and financial models. So I only had the money saved up that it would take me to open up the store. I didn't have any money for next month's rent or for inventory. I didn't have that money when I opened up, that was it my bank account with zero. So when I opened up my store, nobody came in when I opened up the gate, I'm in a mall and nobody came in and I was like, that was like the first 30 minutes. I was like, Oh, so people don't just walking in when you say open. Okay. And so I went down to the food court to go get customers. And that's how I built my clientele was walking down to the food court, walking a person, talking to the woman all the way to my store and started in the business. But then her dream expanded and decided that reaching more women required her to change her business model from brick and mortar to e-commerce, incorporate technology, and learn a new way of business. So she decided to close her store. I wrote a letter to my customer base and I agonized over that letter, just being able to explain, but I was so convinced. I was so convinced that this was the right thing to do. Because I felt this huge calling the same calling I felt to open up that store, the same calling. I felt to do it at a time where it wasn't even popular. Like I felt that same calling towards who are more tech and doing the things that way. So I've actually just taken our customers from our store on the ride, with us and I've explained to them and when things have taken longer, you know, I told them I'm going almost like back to school in a way where some people would go to like business school. Find out how Kim has incorporated tech into her new business model and more when you listen to the entire episode.
39 minutes | Feb 24, 2022
EPISODE REMIX: Ni'Kita Wilson: The Building Blocks of a Beauty + STEM Career
As we prepare the next round of interviews for Season 2 we are going to rebroadcast some of our favorite episodes. These are our Episode Remixes. First up: Ni'Kita Wilson, a cosmetic chemist, and product development expert who also has experience in contract manufacturer. This interview originally ran as episode 15, but we updated the format to match this season. Since we spoke in 2020, Ni'Kita has a gotten new role: Vice President of Product Development at OUAI. The celebrity haircare line from Jen Atkins (recently purchased by P&G). But her advice is timeless. Learn how she went from wanting to be a doctor to ending up with a first job in forensic sciences for the state. Discover how she stumbled onto the beauty industry and what the roles she has taken on thus far have taught her. It's important to note that Ni'Kita didn't know that there was such a thing as cosmetic chemistry or product development and she managed to build a career in beauty after discovering it. Don't let a lack of an internship stop you from trying. Ni'Kita proves that it can be done!! Follow Ni'Kita on Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
37 minutes | Feb 18, 2022
BONUS EPISODE: 35 Tips for Breaking into and Succeeding in Corporate and STEM Roles, Pivoting Your Career, Following Your Passion and Making it as a Beauty Entrepreneur!!
In this bonus episode, I share some of the fantastic tips shared by my guests that can help the beauty career curious, those who want to make a pivot into the industry or within it, and some critical insights for those pursuing entrepreneurship. Keren Davey, a Senior Brand Manager, Luxe and Clinical Skincare at Sephora, shares tips on breaking into the business, even if you haven't had an internship. Jolorie Williams, the General Manager at Revlon, oversees Creme of Nature provides tips on navigating the corporate beauty environment. Trae Bodge, a savvy shopping expert with rots in beauty, shares advice on making a career pivot (she has done several). Ginger King of Grace Kingdom Beauty enlightens us on roles in beauty STEM--cosmetic chemistry, product development, and contract manufacturing. For entrepreneurs, Kim van Dang, a former beauty director, and current serial entrepreneur, most recently launched Van Dang Fragrances, explains why you should follow your passion. Chrissy Cabrera, the founder of Naturally London, advised us to go deep in a category instead of wide. Ginger King of Grace Kingdom Beauty shares the timeline you should keep in mind for creating a product line. Kimberly Smith, the founder of Marjani Beauty and The Brown Beauty Experience, shares a word on pricing and the intangible skills needed to succeed. And Meghan Young Gamble of Get Level Consulting advises us with critical tips to get your product on retail shelves. These tips are helpful no matter where you are in your career or business development.
63 minutes | Feb 11, 2022
Rochelle Graham-Campbell, Finding Her Winning Formula: Authenticity, Community, and Staying Close to Her Roots
This week, we feature Rochelle Graham-Campbell, the C.E.O. of Alikay Naturals. Rochelle is an entrepreneurial dynamo who puts her heart into everything she does. And she gives us lessons on building a business strategically. As a young newlywed, Rochelle was paying her way through school and working three jobs: a C.N.A., a waitress at Olive Garden, and delivering daily newspapers with her husband, Demond. Then, she started doing YouTube videos as a form of creative expression, escaping all the pressure she put on herself to graduate early. The channel she created, Black Onyx, was where she could talk about her natural hair. In 2010, she was one of the original six natural bloggers and the only one that continues today. Through that channel, her haircare brand Alikay Naturals was born. Although Rochelle isn't a chemist, she learned a lot watching her Grandmother, aka Yaya, in her native Jamaica, who was an expert in plant medicine. As a result, she was the first one people called when they had an ailment. Years later, Rochelle looked to natural ingredients to solve her hair problems and those who were part of her community. Rochelle formulated the brand's first 70 products in the first three years. That's no small feat. The line now has close to 90 SKUs. Rochelle shares how attending a pitch competition with her last dollars became a catalyst for Alikay to get on retail shelves. She didn't win but left with a connection that led to her presenting to Target. They were sold and wanted the brand in 300 doors. However, Rochelle and Demond decided to ask for 1/3 fewer stores to prove themselves. Preparing to go on retail shelves was costly, but the two also agreed to manufacture their products themselves and started Black Onyx World. And in 2022, Alikay Naturals launched in 1800 Walgreens stores. She's also founded HER by Alikay Naturals, a feminine care line because she saw a dearth in the marketplace. But Rochelle is an entrepreneur who likes sharing her secrets to success, so she's creating opportunities for others to learn. Through her courses and her book "90 Days to C.E.O.". As a serial entrepreneur, wife, and mother, Rochelle shares why the Alikay Cares Foundation and philanthropy are essential business elements. Finally, Rochelle shares some tips on launching a business in an already overcrowded category. Hear about this and so much more in this episode!
37 minutes | Feb 3, 2022
St. Clair Detrick-Jules: The Importance of Chronicling Our Hair and Heritage
This episode features photojournalist and author St. Clair Detrick-Jules. She joins the podcast to discuss making her book "My Beautiful Black Hair" and why it was vital for her to chronicle the hair and heritage of those with textured hair. Around the time St. Clair was concluding her studies at Brown University, she learned that her four-year-old sister, Khloe, was being bullied about her textured hair. Khloe, who lives in France, didn't have a lot of examples of beautiful Black women with textured hair in her environment, so St. Clair initially conceived it as a love letter for her little sister. But, as she began the project, it morphed into something much bigger. St. Clair saw this as an opportunity to continue the social justice documentary filmmaking at Brown through new medium photography because texture hair itself is a social justice issue. 'For nearly three years, St. Clair photographed and interviewed 101 women about their natural hair. She started in her hometown, Washington, DC, and moved to other East Coast cities and made it to the West Coast. She started photographing friends and acquaintances and then recruited others through her network. As a result, most of the women photographed are not professional models but exude beauty and confidence in their skin and hair. The book contains sections that include names such as "The Big Chop" but also "Liberation," "White Spaces" and "Mothers and Daughters." All of the women featured pen notes of encouragement to Khloe too. One of the reasons that the project was important to St. Clair is that as a biracial woman, she realized that her textured hair is her connection to her heritage and history. She came to the realization in high school and more fully in college but wanted to give her young sister that foundation earlier. Tune in to the episode to learn more about St. Clair's journey to creating this love letter for her sister, getting it published, and most of all Khloe's reaction. Plus, learn what she's thinking about doing next. Check out the My Beautiful Black Hair site to find out where you can get the book. Follow St. Clair at @stclairdetrickjules and @mybeautifulblackhair on IG, @MBBHbook on Twitter.
73 minutes | Jan 27, 2022
Sam Fine: How to Have a Legendary Career as a Black Makeup Artist! (And Why It's Harder Today)
For this show, I had the privilege of chatting with my friend and legendary makeup artist Sam Fine about his career journey. He's worked with Iman, Vanessa L. Williams, Patti LaBelle, Queen Latifah, and Cynthia Erivo, to name a few. So, folks, get out your pad and pencils or note app, Sam is about to take you to school. We chatted about his early aspirations to become an illustrator initially brought him to New York City from his native Chicago and later sent him back home. But while working part-time as a floater for Naomi Sims Cosmetics allowed him to move back to the Big Apple. Among the many things that Sam shares are what working behind the counter for Sims in Herald Square taught him and the importance of finding good mentors. He found two amazing people that nurtured his career. One of them was Fran Cooper, whom he assisted on many shoots until he was ready to go out on his own. Sam shares how he led a double life--working behind the counter and working with celebrities and shoots until something had to give. Sam also shares how he became the first Black makeup artist with a spokesperson deal with Revlon working with Veronica Webb. Later he worked on CoverGirl campaigns with Niki Taylor (who is not Black), and later with Tyra Banks and Queen Latifah. He also talks about the importance of asking for what you want. Whether in his case, it was a book deal, a preferred payment arrangement, or to work with a specific brand such as Fashion Fair. And the importance of the many covers he did for Essence. Sam explains why he decided to move to Los Angeles, Oakland, and eventually back to New York City. Why being in the union is essential, and what's it like to come back to Fashion Fair as its Global Ambassador under its new ownership. He shares what it is like to come to prominence in a time before Instagram and why it is harder for a makeup artist to replicate what he's done in the age of social media. And he shares his thoughts on the inequity that Black creatives face in recognition and opportunities. After his bestselling book and DVD, Sam shares what he'd like to do next. Then, tune in to hear the whole story.
46 minutes | Jan 20, 2022
Miko Branch: Scaling the Miss Jessie's Brand and Leading With Love
This week, the Start Right Here podcast welcomes a groundbreaking beauty entrepreneur, Miko Branch, CEO of the haircare brand Miss Jessie's, salon owner, and author of Miss Jessie's Creating a Successful Business From Scratch—Naturally. Miko, alongside her late sister, Titi Branch, built a multi-million dollar brand that is sold in outlets like Target and Wal-Mart, has more than 40 SKUs, and was at the forefront of creating products that accentuated the beauty of curly and coily hair. Miko shares the path she and her sister took to get there. How their father taught them to be fearless and what their first entrepreneurial venture, a cleaning service, taught them about running a business. But the two took a circuitous route into beauty. Miko first studied fashion at FIT before declaring her desire to become a hairstylist. Titi worked as a field producer at ABC before joining her sister in the industry as her agent. You'll hear how that led from doing hair in their home to a two-chair salon on Bond Street in Brooklyn. And the lesson they learned about expanding too soon. Finally, Miko explains the steps she and her sister took to recover from a bad business decision and the circumstances that led to her embracing her natural curls—which became their unique focus. Miko tells us what they learned from their paternal grandmother, Miss Jessie., and how they factored into creating their first product. Then, she'll explain how the demand for Curly Pudding necessitated getting their products on the retail shelf. You'll learn how they made and shipped their products from home to a manufacturer and owning a warehouse. And why it is crucial to hire the right people. Miko shares how love has fueled the brand's success. And although her sister is no longer on this earthly plane, Titi's impact is still felt in every aspect of Miss Jessie's. Miko's story is as much about love and legacy as it is about success.
58 minutes | Jan 13, 2022
Chrissy Cabrera— Feet First: Building a Beauty Brand by Exploiting a Niche
Chrissy Cabrera, the founder of Naturally London, never dreamed about becoming a beauty entrepreneur. But a rough first pregnancy, where she suffered from swollen feet and an aversion to ingredients in many foot care products, prompted her to make her own. Still, she didn't think about selling the products until the friends she gifted started asking where they could purchase her products. Along the way, she evolved her hand-crafted line of products and became a certified aromatherapist. Chrissy shares how she transitioned through several careers, from working in the military to the federal government and running a fashion consulting business and blog. And why she held down two jobs for most of her adult life. How her conversations with God prompted her to step out of faith as she built her business. And what having her brand featured on "Good Morning America" taught her. Plus, why every entrepreneur should have a business best friend! Learn these things and so much more on this episode of the show!
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