All Articles Tagged "entrepreneur"

She’s The Boss Season 2, Ep. 4: Charlene Dance, Global Marketing Director At Strength Of Nature

October 26th, 2015 - By jade
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Meet Charlene Dance, Global Marketing Director at Strength of Nature, LLC.
After creating DreamKids, Beautiful Textures and re-launching multiple brands under the Strength of Nature portfolio, Charlene made it a point to support Black women beyond their beauty needs as SON Global's Marketing Director. No stranger to taking risks and epitomizing the ideal of a Black Girl who Rocks,
Find out why, She's The Boss.

How Do you Turn Social Media Into a Career? “She’s The Boss” Season 2 Episode 1 – Karen Civil, Founder & CEO of Always Civil Enterprises

October 5th, 2015 - By jade
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Meet Karen Civil, Social Media Maven, and Founder of Always Civil Enterprise. After crafting social media campaigns for artists and brands, including Lil' Wayne and Beats by Dre, this entertainment powerhouse leveraged her connections and name to create a strong lifestyle brand that is slowly becoming a household name. Find out why She's The Boss.

Do you have any questions for Karen? Let us know in the comment section below. We will be doing a live Twitterchat with Karen on 10/6 @ 1pm PST/4pm EST.

More information on Karen Civil.

Always Civil Enterprise

Want more She's The Boss?

Angela Benton, Founder & CEO of NewME Accelerator

AJ Johnson, Celebrity Fitness Trainer & Founder of the AJ Zone

Season 2 Promo 

Season 1 Episodes 


Is There Enough Positive Representation Of Black Women In The Media? | She’s The Boss Is Back!

October 2nd, 2015 - By jade
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Yesterday, we posed a serious question on our Facebook page asking, "Do you feel like there is enough positive representation of Black women in the media?" Of course, most of you said no, pointing to the need for more spotlight on the achievements in our community and we want you to know we have a solution. We're bringing back She's the Boss!

She’s the Boss captures the business savvy, style and spirit of America’s most successful Black businesswomen. Created specifically to cater to the unique environment of online television viewing, the series features intimate one-on-one interviews with four of the most influential and inspiring women in the United States. She’s the Boss offers practical advice and inspiration to the largely female demographic among MadameNoire fans. Sponsored by African Pride, this season we will be highlighting amazing entrepreneurs such as Karen Civil, AJ Johnson, Angela Benton, and Charlene Dance.

For the month of October, tune in every Monday at 9am to hear their stories.

Click here to watch the amazing women who were featured in Season 1.

For more of our BOSS movement, don't forget to enter our Be The Boss contest for a chance to be featured in a docu-series as well as win a makeover courtesy of African Pride.

“Be The Boss” Contest Entry: Eboyne’ Jackson

September 24th, 2015 - By jade
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A woman of many talents, Eboyne’ Jackson is a mogul in the making with an arsenal of talent as a brand strategist, lifestyle journalist, and creative visionary. As CEO/brand strategist for her boutique PR firm, Divine Influence PR, Eboyne’ found her niche in the beauty/entertainment industry, and has worked with many viable brands such as Echelon Hair, Lyfe Jennings, Jazmine Sullivan, Victoria Monet, Bethany “Queen B.” Bell, and Rodney Jon, scoring credible media placements for her clients in top outlets such as The REAL, Essence Magazine, Lucky Magazine, Fox, Arise TV, Ebony Magazine, and the Source. From producing shows during New York Fashion Week, to rubbing elbows with some of the industry’s elite such as Beyonce’, Rihanna, Kimora Lee Simmons, Vera Wang, Tracey Reese, Beat Face Honey, and Sam Fine, Eboyne’ Jackson is a woman on the move.

Check out her video entry above and for more info on how you can nominate a woman you know to “Be the Boss” and win a makeover courtesy of African Pride, click here.

Contest Entry: Khadijah Neumann

Contest Entry: Ashley Woods

Contest Entry: Tracey Woods 

Contest Entry: Angel Toney 

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 

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