All Articles Tagged "entrepreneur"

Valley Girl Hair Collection Changes The Hair Industry With Patent-Pending Back Closure

August 21st, 2015 - By Rochelle Burnley
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ErickaRochelle_headshotIf you’re anything like most women today, you are looking for an easy way to maintain your tresses. Typically, hair extensions are the easiest way to protect your hair, but how many hair extension companies offer the versatility us women truly yearn for? We are usually limited in the styling that can be done with our extensions and even the textures that they offer. Enter Ericka Rochelle, founder of Valley Girl Hair Collection. Ericka started Valley Girl Hair Collection with hopes of filling the void of quality hair in her hometown of Southfield, Michigan and has since provided women nationwide with quality, luxury hair extensions that can’t be found elsewhere. Ericka spoke with MadameNoire about Valley Girl Hair Collection (VGHC) and their rapid success in the industry through their unique texture blends and versatile styling abilities.

MadameNoire: What inspired you to start VGHC?

Ericka Rochelle: Originally, I didn’t know anything about hair when I first came into this. I did start with a business partner who did hair for 16 years. She was supposed to be more of the brains behind the hair, but then we broke up, so I went off on my own. Initially, I started because I’m a business woman I see an opportunity in making money in the hair world. This is a billion dollar business so I was like, “I want a piece of this pie.” I knew that I have very strong selling skills, I have great customer service skills and with a strong business mind I knew that I could do this. Through researching manufactures, trying hair for over a year, we found the perfect manufacture that fit us the best, that will work with us through everything and that’s how it came about.

MadameNoire: Who is the VG woman?

VGHC promo with models

VGHC promo with models

Ericka Rochelle: It’s every woman. I think when we first came out it started to sound like we weregoing toward that suburban girl, that valley girl, that California girl, but now it’s everybody. So whether you come from the east side or the west side, or you’re coming from Detroit or you stay in the suburbs of Michigan, everybody can wear Valley Girl. The name makes people very excited. They want to be a Valley Girl. They want to be what everybody thinks is this California surfboard girl or something like that. One of my customer’s favorite line to say when leaving the store is “Now I’m a Valley Girl.”

MadameNoire: In what ways is VGHC improving the application method of hair extensions?

Ericka Rochelle: We are the inventors of the back closure piece, which is a patent-pending piece. We invented that piece because we wanted to think outside of the box. I do not want to stay in the realm of whatever my manufacturer offers that’s all that I can sell. I tell them what I want. I’m a person who, if I have a sew-in, and I want to put a ponytail in my head then that’s just what I want to do; but every time you get a sew-in and you put it up in a ponytail, you’ll see tracks on the side and you have to maneuver around this ponytail to get it right because if not it’s going to look tacky. So the invention of the back closure piece came from that. We wanted to invent a piece that you could just take a brush and you could comb the hair straight up as if it was your own hair and it was that seamless ponytail.

We’re always thinking about the next wave of hair. I invent five different curls every single year. I bring out five new curls that I actually invent myself. Right now we have a curl out called Barbie Wave. The Barbie Wave curl is a curl that is a curl and a crinkle together. Putting those two beautiful textures together it made this wave and it looks amazing and it’s selling like crazy right now. I don’t even have the stock for it, it selling so crazy.

MadameNoire: How does VGHC improve/accommodate its consumer’s lifestyle?

Ericka Rochelle: I sell twelve different types of hair, so that’s one thing that’s good because most hair companies that are out right now they may sell one, or two, or three; I sell twelve. That in itself will accommodate. One thing I definitely think that Valley Girl Hair offers is a variety of hair, whether it be the region where the hair comes from or that I have eight different curls right here in my showroom in Detroit.

In Detroit, everybody either sells body wave, straight, deep wave, and maybe a loose wave, but I have eight different curls that you can pick from when you walk into my door. That accommodates everybody too because now you have a lot of choices. If you’re that workout lady and you sweat a lot and you’re like “I want this certain type of curl,” I probably have that certain type of curl right in the store. It doesn’t have to be ordered or anything. It’s right there for you.

MadameNoire: You recently made a deal with Wal-Mart, what can we expect from that?

Ericka Rochelle: Wal-Mart has gotten into hair. What caught their eye was that I was definitely thinking outside of the box. I wear frontals myself and every time I would wear the 30 second glue, if I went swimming or was on vacation, my frontal was definitely coming up. I wanted to create glue that I could go swimming in and it won’t come up. Wal-Mart picked it up because they want to make Wal-Mart a one-stop shop. They actually want to make a beauty supply within Wal-Mart. I can go to Wal-Mart, I can go shopping, grocery shopping, get my beauty supplies; I can go get my hair. That’s their goal. So, I think putting it in Wal-Mart was making it reachable to every single client. No matter where you are.

MadameNoire: What sets VGHC apart from other hair vendors?

Ericka Rochelle: Being innovative and thinking outside of the box is what’s going to keep Valley Girl going because like I said, I don’t stick with the norm, I’m always thinking outside of the box. Where they’re just selling the same old body waves, I’m thinking of the new wave of hair. Another thing that I think that everybody knows about Valley Girl is that I invest in a lot of education to educate stylists. I think of different closures, seminar classes that I can have for stylists. Giving back is something that a lot of companies don’t do. I have so many different relationships with stylists this year, where I know a lot of companies here don’t have a lot of relationships with different stylists.

Our showroom alone is a little bit different. A hair showroom, that’s not really heard of. A lot of people are trying to do storefronts and things like that. I made my showroom look more like an LA buying/fashion showroom. Just thinking outside of the box is what’s going to keep us going. Don’t stay inside the realm.

Life & Career Takeaways Mom Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Self-Made Women

June 4th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.

Jessica Alba, via Instagram


Let’s be honest, it’s not walk in the park to be a mother — let alone one about her business. In addition to navigating the realm of being self-employed, you also have to worry about your household, child demands and other tasks that come along with being a mother. I love my family and what I do. That doesn’t mean it’s not tiresome from time to time.

Forbes magazine recently published a list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women that highlights some of the most successful women in the game. Even though they operate in different industries, that doesn’t stop them from working hard to pave their own way. I don’t know about you, but I love reading about successful mommy entrepreneurs who are making strides in their industry. It’s empowering and encourages me to pursue my endeavors as a work-from-home mother.

In thinking about mommy entrepreneurs, here are some takeaways we can apply to our work/life hustle.

Have dreams of expansion and acquisition. Yes there will always be competition, but that doesn’t mean they can’t become an employee of your company. Billionaire Diane Hendricks is the second richest self-made woman — and also a mother of seven — who made the decision to buy one of her biggest competitors. Even if you don’t yet have the money to make such a pricey investment, there’s nothing wrong with having dreams to expand your brand.

Side ventures pay off. No worries if you have to work your business idea on the side. You never know how it will grow. Johnelle Hunt is a widowed, mother of two who created a trucking company with her late husband. Raking in $6.2 billion in sales, this venture was once a side business that grew over time.

Dare to step out of your comfort zone. There’s a good chance your “big break” might not come in the current industry you’re in. Tons of people have seen success in the least expected places. While Jessica Alba technically didn’t make it on the list, she did grace the cover of the Forbes issue because her empire, The Honest Company, is now valued at $1 billion. An actress who made a name dancing in that movie Honey, who would’ve thought her greatest success would come from providing sustainable household and baby products? Through research and years of hard work, she continues to position herself as a growing expert in her industry.

Address a general need. Even if you aren’t able to reinvent the wheel, that doesn’t keep you from addressing a general need. Sara Blakely is a self-made billionaire who helped introduce the world to the phenomenon knows as Spanx. The shapewear has helped give women confidence and continues to expand in products, now offering intimates and yoga apparel.

Look for multiple streams of income. It’s great you’re working to create a lucrative business, but what are other ways you can bring in additional income? BET co-founder Sheila Johnson is a great example of someone who casts her net wide when it comes to investments. She owns resorts, has minority stakes in professional sports teams and is branching into the entertainment industry (helping to finance the film The Butler).

Use your life a source of inspiration. What can anyone say about Beyoncé? She is a force in the music industry who continues to evolve with time. Much of her success has come from her own life experiences that have helped her be a relatable figure to so many. Look for areas in your life that will help you better address the needs of your target market — and make you a go-to resource.

main image: Instagram

Can You Boast About Your Hustle When Others Are Paying Your Bills?

May 26th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Woman freeloader asking/borrowing money from a guy/man


I’m all for pursuing your passion and taking the journey down the entrepreneurial road. I don’t want to sound like a politician, but small businesses do help make America what it is.

When it comes to the self-employed life, there’s no established playbook that will guarantee success (please forward me a copy should you have one). There are part-time entrepreneurs who rely on a traditional 9-to-5 gig to fund their endeavors, folks who take the leap of faith by quitting their job and others who collaborate on joint ventures. So long as you have a plan in mind with an end goal, keep on trucking.

That however does not mean you should expect others to pay your bills.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times when financial hardship is a reality. In fact, this is one of the reasons why many millennials are moving back in with their parents and even looking to them to help pay monthly expenses. Whether you graduated not too long ago or can’t seem to find a job after some time on your own, there are tons of reasons why loved ones spring into action and offer support.

This however is not one of those examples.

It has come to my attention — through the family grapevine of course — that one or two relatives have requested an offering plate be passed in their name. Both are able-bodied individuals who could find employment to supplement their income, but instead want to rely solely on the financial donations of the family until their separate ventures turn a profit. Did I mention that one of the them is married and has four kids?

Say what now?

As a self-employed person myself, I get that certain ventures require more start up money than others. It would be great to think of an idea and have Oprah’s bank account to fund it, but that’s not a reality for most of us. What I don’t get is why these two are giving every excuse in the book not to work. Come to think of it, one of them lives in a property owned by his mother and never had to pay a dime in rent. Even if you had to do something part-time due to the amount of hours needed to get things going, you have to learn to take care of you and yours on your own.

I guess one of them used his “spidey sense” not to call my house as my father-in-law recently told us he was hit up for money. Perhaps this wonderful cousin of mine realized asking a young married couple with a toddler and baby on the way wasn’t a good idea, especially when you consider the wife (that would be me) has been trying to navigate the demands of being an entrepreneur for several years, and has taken employment when necessary to pay bills.

Am I really that wrong to think a grown adult shouldn’t ask around the family to pay for his own bills on a monthly basis? I’m all for volunteering and charitable efforts, but not in the case of someone choosing not to work. Sometimes you have to roll up your sleeves and do what’s necessary in the meantime. Then again, there are some people who feel it’s okay to hit up family because they earn more. I beg to differ and think like the folks at Capital One: What’s in your wallet?

I guess it boils down to how you look at things.

10 Questions To Ask Before Plunging Into Self-Employment

January 12th, 2015 - By Taylor Gordon
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Are you thinking about transitioning into full-time self-employment?

Even though it comes with many long-term perks like freedom and flexibility, being a full-time business owner does come with a lot of challenges.

Each challenge you can overcome with some bootstrapping and good planning, but you should still take them into account before quitting your day job. Read on for questions to ask yourself before you go headfirst into self-employment.

Interested In Entrepreneurship? 9 Top Franchises To Consider

November 19th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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When it comes to being your own boss, there are tons of entrepreneurial avenues to consider. One option you have that has proven to be successful is a franchise owner. Yes it does require start up money and a ton of work, but if you commit and focus on your gameplan, it can prove to be very fruitful. If this happens to be something you want to consider, here are some of the top franchises to buy.

h/t Entrepreneur 

The Young Boss: Grooming a Kidpreneur

November 16th, 2014 - By Rich
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 photo courtesy of instagram/eandcpopcorn

There are 28 million small businesses in the US and 543,000 new ones started each month. That number represents a lot of hopes, dreams, and creativity. Having an entrepreneurial mindset can help your little one in many ways. Grooming a kidpreneur can help with problem solving, teamwork, boosting creativity, and even start the path for good money saving techniques. Even if they don’t become entrepreneurs as adults, it’s still a great skill set to have. If you want to help groom your little kidprenuer you can start with these steps.

Step 1

Support creative time. Offer painting, clay sets, bead sets, instruments or anything else that is fun and creative and then wait to see what they may be interested in the most. If your daughter likes making bracelets then help her start a bracelet business. If your son likes making clay figures then he can make them and you can sell them at work or at a flea market together.

Step 2

Once you talk to them about their business and if they seem interested then show them how important it is to write their ideas down. Together you can make a to do list of materials needed and even a goal date for having things finished.

Step 3

After you have the materials needed to help them start their entrepreneurial project, then sit with them and show them how to do a simple business plan. It will need to include the name of their company, a logo they can draw, the purpose of the company, what they will sell, who they will sell to, and how they will market the product.

Step 4

Tell them that one really important factor in building a successful business is having good relationships. Tell them that if they are nice to the kids in their class and play fair and treat people with respect then when it’s time to sell their products those kids may want to buy and those kids might not only buy once but maybe multiple times.

Step 5

Talk to them about how a small business might do well at times and sometimes might not sell anything. It’s important that they learn to view failure as just a part of the bigger picture. If they learn that it’s not a negative thing but something to learn from early in life then that may stick with them into adulthood.

Step 6

Now that they know what they like for the moment and have a business and marketing plan, now they need business cards. You can use colored construction paper and cut out even squares. Have them draw there logo, the name of their company and a fake phone number on the card or maybe even your email address that you set up just for their new venture. They can get in the habit of handing these cards out to classmates and their parents at school events. If your kidpreneur is a little older you can purchase blank business cards from staples, design them on the computer, and print them out.

Want Your Business To Be Successful? 10 Entrepreneurial Habits You Need To Break

November 5th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Entrepreneurs are faced with a series of challenges–along with the weight of their business venture on their shoulders. This is just one of the reasons why running your own company isn’t for everyone. While there is no full-proof way to guarantee success for your business, there are certain things entrepreneurs probably shouldn’t do.

Related Read 9 Interesting Facts About Women Entrepreneurs 

Go Ahead Boss Lady! 9 Interesting Facts About Women Entrepreneurs

November 4th, 2014 - By Tanvier Peart
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Have you been thinking about starting your own business? You should! Female business owners are popping up around the world–particularly in the United States. Starting a business can be nerve-wracking which is why many don’t turn their dreams into a reality. Yes, there will be certain setbacks ladies face, but that shouldn’t deter you from pursuing your goals. Here are some uplifting facts about women entrepreneurs.

Boss Life! 12 Ways to Stop Playing Small and Rock Your Success

November 3rd, 2014 - By Rich
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Lesson: How to Rock Your Success Your Way!

We see you. You have a vision for your life. There is something big that you want to do. Something huge you came to say. Some kind of magic you were born to make.

We know you. We are you.

There’s just one tiny problem. Actually it’s not a problem because it’s easy fixable. Let’s call it a challenge.

If I was a teacher grading your paper, I might write that you are not living up to your potential. Why not? Many reasons, but the excuses stop here. While I’ve been on book tour with “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love” I have had so many Noire women tell me that they want to live their dreams.

My visionary sisters, this one is just for you. It’s time to manifest what you want and reinvent your own life.

How to Step Into Your Business Bombshell Best!

1. Have your own magnitude of greatness.

In our celebrity driven culture, it can be a challenge to keep your eyes on your own “paper.” Beyonce Knowles and Oprah Winfrey are impacting the world in huge ways, but their ways don’t have to be yours. It can be daunting to compare your life to celebrities and super stars. So many of us have FOMO and what I call, “Death by LOL,” because social media is showing us only other people’s show off moments. Be focused on your self. You are the only one you’re competing with.

2. Visualization.

If you cannot clearly see it, chances are slim that you can be it. Have a clear vision for what you want to do and who you want to be. Cultivate this vision. Literally close your eyes, get quiet, and see yourself in the job, running the business, releasing the unhealthy weight, or whatever your big dream is for you. Visualization is used to train both astronauts and athletes because our bodies can not tell the difference between you imagining something an you living it. Visualization sets your mind in motion to figure of the “how.”

3. Write it down.

You’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times. Those who have written goals tend to be more successful. Write down exactly the life you want to live. This is not a blueprint written in stone, however. You still have to be flexible and open to the fact that All That Is may be dreaming a much bigger dream for you then you have for yourself. Writing down your goals also helps you get clear on whether opportunities that come your way are a yay or a nay.

4. Start small with what you have.

Sure, you want your jewelry line or new branding company to be a million dollar venture – and it can be. Don’t waste valuable time trying to find investors, greenlighters, or cheerleader before you move forward. You should definitely open yourself up to having support, but don’t wait to begin. The Universe rewards movement. Start where you are. What can you do today with what you already have?

5. Release perfection.

Perfect is the enemy of good. Many of us have analysis paralysis. If you wait for your big vision, website, business cards or whatever to be absolutely perfect before you begin, you’ll never start. Perfection does not exist. The very idea of perfection keeps us small and puny. You are perfect in your imperfections. Begin.

6. Don’t wait until you’re not afraid.

So you have a big idea, dream, or goal. Wonderful for you. It is a gift to know your purpose and feel a calling. That’s the good news. The bad news is that you’re terrified. It is scary and downright frightening to put yourself out there. It’s all good. You are human. This is natural. Do not wait until you are not scared anymore to move forward. Feel the fear, acknowledge it, and rise into your shine. Fear just means that you are human. Courage is built in tiny actions.

7. Use your envy as an indicator.

All of us have experienced the little green monster. That envy is something else, isn’t it? The voice that says with an eye roll, “look at her!” The shine you see in anyone else is only because you have light within you too. Let go of comparing yourself or hating on someone else’s magic. Put the energy instead into you doing you. Use your envy instead as a valuable indicator of your own wants needs and desires. Then, genuinely send love to the other person and pray for their success. Say, yes, “look at her!” with a proud smile. Rising tides lift all boats.

8. Examine your yeses and your nos.

Yes and no are such small words — but they dictate so much of our lives. You want to be the kind of woman who says yes when she means yes and no when she means no. This is true personal power. Saying yes when you don’t mean it is detrimental people pleasing. You are worthy of having your needs met — so spot it! Say yes, to big, bright opportunities. Say yes to your self-care. Say yes to yourself. Say no and have clear boundaries.

9. If you can’t find the right opportunity, create it.

Sure, it helps if you have money or know people. However, you can start from scratch at any moment. There is a powerful movement of women entrepreneurs sweeping our country. The conglomerates are still doing their thing but small business owners are rocking it. IF you can’t find a job, figure out a way to create one. My mom sold Avon when I was a baby. My cousin in Guyana makes meals in her kitchen then rides from business to business on her bike selling healthy breakfasts and lunches. You have the power. You are the mistress of your destiny.

10. Your comfort zone will not move you forward.

Becoming the mistress of your own domain will require you to step outside of your comfort zone. If your vision required comfort you would have already done it. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Step beyond what feels easy and comfortable. Partner with people who are strong where you are weak. If your goal requires you to get on stages and you have stage fright, get some coaching. If the players in your industry are all in Cali and you live in Detroit, meet with them virtually. I know a power publicist who was running things in NYC from her garage in Atlanta for years and none of her high profile clients knew the difference.

11. Forget the haters.

Haters are an irrelevant myth, like the bogeyman. Yeah, they exist but they have nothing to do with you. Eyes on your own lane. Don’t waste time wondering who is throwing darts from the sidelines. If you know who your haters are you are spending too much time thinking about losers who have no bearing on your success. If the hater is a boss or higher up don’t sweat it. Be clear on your vision, make your paper trail tight, manage your own brand within the company and online, and you will be a’ight!

12. Don’t expect non-visionaries to get your vision.

Some people won’t get your vision. That’s okay. They are not the ones who have to live your life. You don’t need to convince anyone of your greatness. Just be it, do it, live it. They will have no other choice but to lead, follow or get out of the way.


You have been given a mission. That mission is to become your extraordinary self. There is no one else who can do it but you. The mission will self-destruct unless you stop playing small.

Release the excuses and GO for it! Stop worrying about what other people think of you.Stop  waiting for the right time. Stop waiting period.

Do it.

Catch up on Abiola’s Love Class

Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams is the author of “The Sacred Bombshell Handbook of Self-Love,” winner of the African American Literary Award for best self-help book. She gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, self-esteem and creating the lives we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to Ebony and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Abiola is also the creator of the African Goddess Affirmation Cards. Tweet @abiolaTV.


Brand You: Get Unplugged And Lose The Distractions

September 3rd, 2014 - By Rich
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Are you feeling super distracted? Maybe getting unplugged for a day is what you need to get unblocked.

As we get ready to usher in fall, I am ready to unplug for one day and regain my sanity. Do you feel like your kids, partner, boss and bestie always need a response from you right away? Are you addicted to social media and can’t start your day without checking the celebrity blogs, sending a text, tweet and posting a cute message on Facebook?

Many of us are distracted by life. The moment I power off and breathe, opportunities start to appear. Yes. The ideas start to flow about a project, the conversation becomes enjoyable with a client, and a connection is discovered because I was actually listening and present. I am guilty of cramming, multi-tasking and trying to get it done before my kids come home from school and therefore, blocking a blessing.

According to Mashable, since 2006, the amount of time that the average person spent on social-networking sites has more than doubled, from 2.7 hours to 6.9 hours per month. More people are using social media, as well. While only 24 percent of Americans had a single social media profile in 2008, 56 percent of Americans do now.

So now that the kids are back in school, today is a great day to reclaim your beautiful and bodacious brand and simply unplug. Join me in unplugging for a few minutes, an hour, a whole day, or whatever you can spare to unblock. It doesn’t matter how long – 5 minutes, 30, 60, or 24 hours. Just do it.

Karen Taylor Bass’ Tips to Unplug:

1. Take the pledge. Take a moment to stay in gratitude and say thank you for the blessings each morning before you make or answer the phone.

2. Tune out. Your best ideas flow when you simply stay in the moment and allow self to flow and not get distracted.

3.  Go for a walk. Enjoy all that life has to offer and really stay in the moment.

4. Listen. We spend so much time talking that we forget to listen.

5. Breathe. Inhale, exhale, and relax.


Karen Taylor Bass is a best-selling author, PR Expert and understands that life only gets better when you press RESET. Follow her @thebrandnewmom