All Articles Tagged "entrepreneurs"

Do Type A, Ambitious #GirlBosses Really Have A Choice In Who We Date?

June 30th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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There is this perception that men are intimidated by successful women. The more prosperous she is, her likelihood of meeting a man suitable for her and her needs decreases. But several aspects of this belief have been challenged. I recently came across a quote by life coach Demetria Lucas D’Oyley in a piece for The Root where she states, “The truth about partnering is that the more educated you are, which increases your likelihood of success, the more likely you also are to have a spouse. Don’t believe the hype. There are many men in the dating marketplace who see themselves as a will-be Barack Obama, and they are looking for a could-be Michelle Obama type who can alternately support and even lead as they go through this thing called life.”

I’d hardly call it “hype,” but this prompted me to look at my own dating life and I can’t help but believe the assumptions to be correct. I’m often left wondering where are all of these “will-be Barack Obama” types she speaks of are because they certainly don’t exist in my world. From my own experiences, I’ve found that men who I would deem suitable for me in terms of professional status tend to be the most emotionally unavailable. They’re not ready for a commitment, they are still trying to heal from a previous relationship, or their accomplishments have afforded them a pool of options, which lead them to just have fun with a woman — in some cases, women — without feeling it necessary to commit to just one at the present time. On the flip side, some of the men I have come into contact with who are emotionally available tend to have very little to bring to the table. Now, I’m not one of those women who has a laundry list of things I want from a man. As an entrepreneur and someone who’s building a brand, there are a plethora of things I can provide for myself. However, I’m not looking for just a boyfriend, I’m looking for a partner. A partnership where we support each other in achieving our goals. Why is that so hard to come by these days?

There’s also this notion that men think they have to have it all the way together in order for them to be able to make a commitment to someone. By all the way together I’m talking about finances, professional advancements, and more. The things we’re all working to make happen in our lives. I get it. And while that is commendable and plausible, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to build with someone who’s supportive of you in the meantime. On the contrary for women, there’s a stigma that becomes attached to us when we choose to be independent and build ourselves up before settling down. We’re told that we put our careers over everything, told that we’re intimidating, and sometimes, even accused of being emasculating.

So do we dance around with the more suitable man who’s not ready for a commitment, but who also happens to be fun and thrilling? Or do we settle (and I mean really settle) for the man who doesn’t have much to bring to the table, who doesn’t really have a lot going on in his life in terms of personal development, but is caring and ready to be committed? Do us ambitious women, the stilettos-to-the-pavement type who worked hard for our success and want to have someone to share it with, even have a choice in who we date? Have the pickings become so slim to the point where we find ourselves in a catch-22 dating jig between settling or chasing?

As a successful and single professional, what have your dating experiences been like? Have you been pleasantly surprised by the men you’ve encountered, or disappointed time and time again?  

Diddy Launches Charter School In Harlem…Coming Fall 2016

March 28th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Photo © Matt Baron/BEImages

Photo © Matt Baron/BEImages

Just when you’re wondering what Sean “Diddy” Combs is working on lately, he reveals his new venture, and it’s one of the best.

The Bad Boy Records CEO has founded a charter school in his native neighborhood of Harlem, New York, according to The Associated Press. Diddy says that creating the school is a “dream come true.”

The Capital Preparatory Harlem Charter School will open in the fall and will be overseen by Dr. Steve Perry, the founder of Capital Prep Magnet School in Hartford, Connecticut.

Florida-based educator Danita Jones has been hired as the principal of Capital Prep Harlem.


Steve Perry took to Twitter to reveal more details about the project.

I’m pleased to announce that @iamdiddy & I are opening a school in Harlem. We’ve been working together for the past 6 years & it’s here.

— Dr. Steve Perry (@DrStevePerry) March 28, 2016

Perry continued in another post: “I’ve been blown away by how committed @iamdiddy has been to the cause of education & honored that he chose to work w the Capital Prep team.”

Perry also revealed that speaker and television personality Iyanla Vanzant played “a huge role” in the school’s opening.

According to the website:

Capital Prep Harlem is a free, public charter school located in the Harlem neighborhood in New York City providing grades 6–12 with a year-round, college preparatory education that develops lifelong learners, leaders, and agents of social change. Capital Prep Harlem will open for the 2016–17 school year with 160 students enrolled in the 6th and 7th grades.

The school is looking for students (starting with 6th and 7th grades) as well as teachers. Perry is encouraging those interested to visit the school website now. The deadline is April 1.

Giving Them A Voice: Teen Author Alexandra Egi Taps Into What’s Going On With Today’s Youth

March 2nd, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Author Alexandra Egi

Author Alexandra Egi

Preteens and teens have long faced unique challenges. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially, their worlds are changing quickly and often daily. The difference between today’s adolescents and those of past generations is that everything is on display publically now, which only adds to the pressure to be perfect. But underneath thefilters and behind the selfies, many young people struggle with some serious issues: unhealthy relationships, family challenges, bullying, body image, and more.

Who better to truly examine these issues than someone who is in the midst of it? At 17-years-old, Alexandra Egi, a high school student, entrepreneur, and writer, witnesses these struggles daily and began to notice, especially in today’s world where perfection is the goal, there’s a certain stigma surrounding the real-life challenges that so many young people face. To lift the curtain and offer a little message of hope to her peers, she penned her entertaining debut novel, The Lives We Lead, which examines the seemingly perfect lives of four teenagers and their individual challenges.

“I hope to give voiceless teens a voice. There is a lot of stigma and exclusion in the teen community and I think it needs to be addressed. It’s time to dive into the issues that others ignore – I hope I can offer a different, and helpful, view.”

We chatted with Alexandra about her inspirations, writing about real-life and her plans for the future.

Mommynoire: What was your inspiration for The Lives We Lead?

Alexandra Egi: I was inspired to write about issues that are common place in society, especially among teens. I hoped my story would resonated with the readers the way that other writers’ work resonates with me. I wanted to raise awareness about things like eating disorders and bullying. My wish is to inspire, encourage and empower.

There are so many real-life challenges that so many young people face. As a teen yourself, what were the challenges in writing a book about the angst that teens go through in your first novel?

I struggled in making my story seem realistic. There are a number of things that took place in the book that I personally have never experienced, so trying to make sure it sounded genuine, doing research, asking my mom for input and playing around with things in my head were important.

The pressure to be perfect–or at least appear perfect–is at an all-time high. How do you deal with that pressure?

I have gotten into the habit of accepting things as they come, trying to accept what I cannot change and, trying to be true to myself. As well I try to remind myself that a lot of what we see, or what the media is trying to sell us isn’t real.

Was the book based on people you know and real-life situations that you’ve seen?

To an extent. A childhood friend of mine had an eating disorder. I was bullied and, my brother was a basketball recruit. However, for the most part, it was just me exploring different situations and making things up.

Were you concerned about their reaction to the book?

I was very concerned about my friend when she was dealing with the disease.Thankfully, she has made full recovery and, she supports me in getting the message across to other sufferers who may feel alone, or do not know how to get help.

What did you learn about yourself through this book-writing process?

I learned how truly flawed I am and, I began to embrace it. I came realize how the myth of perfection affects my day to day life.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

I love Rick Riordan, Jenny Han, Kimberly McCreight, Sarah Dessen, Katie McGarry, the list could go on and on.

You also designed the book cover. Tell us a bit about that?

I believe the eyes are the windows to the soul, so I made sure to exclude the characters’ eyes, because if you could see them, you might be able to see the secrets that laid beneath them. Zoey is sitting on a lost and found box, as all the characters are lost at the beginning of the book, but found by the end. Ashley is whispering in Jenni’s ear behind Zoey’s back to show the strain between Zoey and Ashley. Jenni is covering Zoey’s eyes as she doesn’t want Zoey to see her misdeeds. Madi is trying to pull Zoey away and open her eyes to what’s really going on.

Are you at work on another book? What can you share about it?

I’m taking a break, trying to finish out my senior year. I promise, there’s more to come.

Alexandra Egi is seventeen years old and a senior in high school. She is President and Founder of Impact Writers Hub, which is an online writing program that aims to make a difference using words. In addition to her responsibilities as a student and entrepreneur, Egi enjoys art, basketball, music, and spending time with her loving and supportive family. As a writer, Egi has been published twice in Canadian anthologies. The Lives We Lead is her first novel.

Learn more about Egi and her work by visiting, and connect on Facebook and Twitter.

 can be purchased from Amazon,, and at bookstores upon request.

For Mompreneurs: Pamela J. Green’s 7 Steps To Kick-Starting An Improved Business…And You

February 10th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Source: Corbis

Source: Corbis

Perhaps more than in any other time in history, your name is your brand, according to business and branding expert Pamela J. Green.

“I think most of us get this concept – we live in a celebrity-obsessed society, so we understand how a person’s name can also be their brand,” she says. “Social media also reinforces this idea. Our names are usually one of an infinite chorus of brands. People can see who liked a New York Times article, who criticized a political position and who recently became engaged to whom. Most people today meet our name/brand before actually – or ever – meeting us in person.”

While many may see this as cold and impersonal, Green says this could be an opportunity to more objectively improve who we are – whether on a personal or business basis.

If you’re a mompreneur, thinking about starting your own business or want to take charge of your career path and life, Green, author of the new book “Think Like a Brand,” offers these seven super steps to improving your brand.

• Begin by writing your mission. What drives you? To know this is to help you determine what success means in your life. Football hall of famer Michael Strahan, for example, knew that he didn’t want to disappoint his parents. Whatever drives you, Green says, a clear mission achieving it will act as a discernable path on a reliable map.
• Identify your organization’s brand, needs and priorities. This is for those who want to better bond their own name/brand to another brand/organization. What’s the connection? If your company’s brand is about making healthy tasty treats, and you are developing a personal brand centered on music and art therapy, there could be a mission disconnect. Or, you simply haven’t found the sensible way to make the underlying connection.
• Conduct your brand research. Determine the future skills needed for what you want to do, and research the industry and businesses in the industry that have success in your ideal future. For the more personal branding perspective, ask yourself, “What are the long-term habits I need to adopt in order to be the person I want to be five years from now?” That could be learning a new language or adopting a new diet.
• Create your brand template. If your brand were a can on a shelf, would it be dented, disheveled and would the label be torn? If you ignore, reject or skip this step, Green says, then you’ve volunteered to live the life you have instead of the life you want.
• Grow strategic visibility. In a room or a business meeting, would you describe yourself as a church mouse or a brave eagle? Even if your brand emphasizes a sort of low-key class and subtlety that already features an enviable client who’s who list, you don’t want your image to be diminished.
• Identify your brand adjacencies. While building your brand today, do not dismiss what it could be a decade down the line. You likely have unidentified talents. Or, your brand/business may be utilized in a way you haven’t yet considered.
• Scale your brand. EVERY brand needs to remain relevant to remain sustainable. To be sustainable, your brand needs to be scalable. Your ability to deliver consistent performance at a high level is what leads to brand sustainability. Assess who will help you be accountable for the achievement of your goals and the continued sustainability of your brand. On a personal level, that person may be a personal trainer; business-wise, it could be a promising employee.

About Pamela J. Green

Pamela J. Green is a business executive, leadership consultant, keynote speaker and published author with more than 25 years of business leadership experience. As the former VP/Chief Membership Officer for the Society for Human Resource Management, the world’s largest association for HR professionals, she was responsible for membership revenue and strategies to engage and retain more than 260,000 business professionals. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR), an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) and holds a bachelor’s degree in business and human resources, and a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) from Franklin University in Columbus, Ohio. Since launching her consultancy in 2012, and now as president and CEO of The HR Coaching Institute, she has been serving as a leadership consultant to global corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations.

Date Night Reinvented: Tips From Valeisha Butterfield Jones

January 26th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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Valeisha Butterfield Jones is definitely a force to be reckoned with. From working with Russell Simmons as the director of the Hip Hop Summit Network to working with the Obama administration as the Deputy Director of Public Affairs for international trade, she’s had a vast range of professional experiences that  have shaped her. She is also one of the founders of WEEN (Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network), the owner of The Butterfield Group Consulting Form, and now an author. But she realizes that having it all means putting her family first. She shared her tips on what keeps her marriage flowing and healthy.

How long have you been married and how old is your son?
Valeisha: I’ve been married to my husband, Dahntay Jones, for a little over four years and our son, DJ, is now three-years-old.

Have you found that it’s hard to spend a lot of quality time together now that you have a child?
Valeisha: Yes, it can be very challenging to spend quality time with your husband, especially with a young child. From the moment I became pregnant and gave birth, my life changed and I had to continue to make my marriage a priority. When DJ was just a few months old, I realized that all of my time was split between caring for him and work. The day I stopped to realize that my priorities were off, I immediately changed. While being a mom and a businesswoman is important, you must keep the spice in your marriage. We now have mandatory date nights once a week. Not only do I call my mother-in-law or hire a sitter, I make sure it’s an overnight situation!! We can stay out as late as we like and we can even sleep in the next day.

What does your date night typically consist of?
Valeisha: Our date nights are usually very casual. Because of the nature of our careers (he’s a professional athlete and I am an author currently on a national book tour), we have very little downtime. So, our date nights normally consist of jeans, sneakers, a good movie, dinner and a nice bottle of wine.

Can you give me three at home date night ideas and how would you plan/prepare for each one?

1. Dim the house with candles burning and soft music playing, dinner already prepared and a massage table set-up and on display in the living room. You can give each other massages and set the mood. If you’re intimidated by giving him a massage, you can hire a massage therapist to come into the home and do the work for you.
2. Turn your backyard into a sanctuary. Get a nice blanket, a good bottle of wine, your favorite movie (my favorite is the 1970 film Love Story) playing on your iPad and a candle. Make it an outdoors moment.
3. Draw a nice warm bath, burn your favorite candles, play your favorite playlist and read to each other. Reading to each other excerpts from your favorite book can be very, very romantic. Slow dancing is nice too.

Is there anything specific that you would do like cook his favorite meal or have it be a theme that he likes or have something there that is sentimental to the two of you?
Valeisha: The most important component of an at-home date-night is to put in the effort. If you’re not a great cook, hire someone or get some of your friends to come over and help (and leave before he gets home).

Do you think it’s important to try and stay fit and sexy during a marriage? And how can someone do that?
Valeisha: Not only do you look better when you workout, you feel better. Staying or in some cases getting fit in your marriage is definitely important. It increases your energy and shows your spouse that you not only care about him/her, but you care about yourself. If mom is healthy, it sets the tone for the entire family.

What are the pros and cons of being married to an NBA player?
Valeisha: Being an NBA player is an occupation and not the definition of who he is as a man. When we were dating, we made sure to establish that upfront. Too often, we buy into our occupations as being a part of our lifestyle, when we shouldn’t. Occupations come and go, but our true character remains. A friend of mine, Dr. Alex Ellis, told me recently “You can’t be a success on the road and a failure at home.” That really stuck with me. Of course, I enjoy going to the games, traveling and meeting new people, but it’s also a very time-consuming occupation. Having a two-year old, it can be challenging to relocate so often and travel so much, but it comes with the territory.

What’s the best marriage advice anyone has given you?
Valeisha: The best advice I ever received is “the days are long, but the years are short.” I interpreted that to mean that we shouldn’t sweat the small stuff and to not define the happiness of your marriage by small disagreements. When you marry someone, you become family and it’s important to keep that in perspective.

Branding Tips For 2016: The Kimora Lee Simmons Way

December 31st, 2015 - By Karen Taylor Bass
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Moms, what will you do differently in 2016 with your personal brand and career? Are you ready to get uncomfortable by channeling your ultimate authenticity? Have you had enough of the same results each year and ready to start believing in your magic? I know I am.

Enter Kimora Lee Simmons, the hardest working mom in Hollywood. KLS is 40, a mom of four, newly married, a savvy entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, producer, top model, television personality and–most importantly–the ultimate #resetter as it relates to rebranding and challenging herself to push the envelope.

kls1images courtesy of

So, what is branding, anyway? Simply defined – branding is a consistent experience you (enter name), give off each time you interface with a person or client. Just think of yourself as a delish order of fries from McDonalds, it simply never lets you down no matter what. Can you say the same for your brand?

Just last year Simmons, our favorite brand mom, announced that she was ready for a new challenge and was going to shape-shift her brand by launching KLS Kimora Lee Simmons, a collection of clean, tailored and taut designer ready-to-wear (prices range from $500 to $2,400) that reflects a new phase of her life. “When people look at this they say, ‘Oh, this is Kimora when she was 12 or 13 at Chanel,’” she told WWD, referring to her teenage modeling days, when she was famously plucked from Missouri and put on the Paris runways. “I didn’t have on makeup when I was at Givenchy and Saint Laurent. I worked with the greatest people in the business and this is more back to that person.” Word.


Life is always changing – if we listen to self, commit to dreaming big and tapping into our inner power we can rebrand, redesign and press reset for the next phase of our life. 2016, here we come!

Let’s learn a few rebranding tips from KLS for 2016:

  1. Be authentically you! Enough said.
  2. Embrace change. Manage the ups and downs of your lifestyle (divorce, career, stress, family) with class.
  3. Upgrade your style for 2016. Define your signature look and work it like a rock star.
  4. Diversify your business portfolio. Create an international marketing/pr plan for your business/brand and go for it. Think huge and don’t be afraid to put your face on the product.
  5. Empower the next generation of entrepreneurs. It’s important to groom our children — teach them everything and make certain they understand the business.
  6. Claim it fiscally! It’s not how you start; it’s what you do with the knowledge you have. Start to make changes towards a better life financially.
  7. Make love to your thoughts. Each word, sentence and prose you utter will impact your outlook; make them strong, sexy, and righteous.

Karen Taylor Bass, The PR Expert and Brand Mom, provides entrepreneurs, corporations and mompreneurs with essential branding, marketing and public relations coaching. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom.

Entrepreneur PreMadonna: LHHATL And Family, Part 2

December 17th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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by Nadine Graham

On Monday, we started our chat with Entrepreneur PreMadonna, best know as the woman who launched the Waist Gang Society, as she offers tons of wisdom, fun and learning from her journey. Check out Part 1 here and read along as we dive into balancing work and family, finding love and Love & Hip Hop Atlanta.

MN: How hectic is your daily schedule? And how are your two boys dealing with it?

PreMadonna: I’m super busy from day to day. My sons are fine. They’ll be the wealthiest men in the world with a mama like me. They like it. It’s cool to them. So as long as they like it, I love it.

I make time for everything that needs to be made time for but I’m also showing them substance. A lot of young men don’t understand that. When we do what we do, they can see ‘Okay, I’ve seen my mom and my stepdad work hard, so that’s what I need to do.’ I think your kids should see the grind. I don’t think you should hold them all day. I don’t think you should take them to the park every single day. You make the time so that when they can go with you they appreciate it more. They appreciate life and everything about life. They can appreciate value and you putting substance in their minds. Like, ‘okay I can’t go to the park today, but when I can go to the park, I’m going to utilize everything! I’m going to get on the monkey bars. The slide. Because I know mama is not going to be here until next week again.’

MN: How do you maintain? Judging from Instagram, it seems like you cook everyday, even with everything you have going on.

PreMadonna: If I can’t find a babysitter, I’m putting them in the car with me. And I have to cook the way I do, because my kids have to eat. You can’t just feed them McDonald’s and Burger King all day. You have to give them their flavors so that they know how food is supposed to taste and they won’t just eat from anybody.

MN: So with Love and Hip Hop Atlanta… They threw you directly into the fire for your first show. How are you dealing with reality TV?

PreMadonna: It’s cool. It’s cool. I did exactly what I was supposed to do and what everyone else should be doing, which is: recognizing the platform and utilizing it. I’m going there to rap, I showed you what I do. Go ahead and broadcast your business… But I think people get confused when I say that because people literally broadcast their business. No, I mean broadcast your business like my waist trainers. Not how me and my husband sleep at night. It’s just a platform.

Whatever level you on mentally I feel that’s how you deal with it.

MN: I’d like to go back to your business. Can you describe your toughest experience while you were on the come-up?

PreMadonna: I remember being hospitalized for dehydration and exhaustion. I was working by myself and I’m not the type of person… When I was doing it before, I had to learn early on that, you know, you do so many things and no one can do it how you want it or up to your standards. I didn’t have the patience to deal with anybody doing something wrong. I had packages that needed to be shipped. I was shipping to Paris, Italy and Rome from my apartment.

I even had my kids helping me at times until they got ready to go to sleep so they knew how to work. And what’s so hard about your children putting a label on a package? So I was packaging a thousand orders, then dropping my kids off to school, and I was going to college at the time so I would be headed to school after that. I had a lot to do. I didn’t sleep much, but I don’t miss those days. I’m sleeping now.

MN: You’re to be married in a few months too, is that right?

PreMadonna: Yup. Waiting on the dress. That’s the most important part you know! [laughs]

MN: How’d you find love while building a business? Your life sounds like it was pretty full already.

PreMadonna: The thing about me and my fiance is that we started off as friends. We never stopped being friends. We’re friends more than we’re lovers actually and I think that’s what’s most important, next to everything else. Because when you’re friends, you can talk about anything. Love is a deep emotional state and sometimes people in love can’t see the benefit for the greater good that their relationship needs. So we never stop being friends. We joke, we laugh and truth be told when we were friends before, I didn’t even like him when I met him. He didn’t like me either. His first words to me were: ‘You so wild. You need to calm down.’ The side that you guys see in me now, this more mature side, he played a big part in me becoming this.

MN: So he didn’t like you and you…

PreMadonna: I didn’t like anything about him. We were two different people. I remember saying that I couldn’t stand his ass. Then one day I called him and we were just talking and I was asking him for advice about my guy friends and everything. We were just talking and talking and I don’t know where the switch came but we just clicked. We were only friends for maybe three months before then, but we were like best friends.

We were on the phone all the time and he would just listen to me and my crazy ideas. It’s really hard to find a man that’s not only going to listen to you, but support you. You have to understand that coming into a relationship as an independent woman is very, very hard. It’s hard to find a man as equally yoked as you mentally. And I’m not talking about financially speaking, you can find a man with more money than you, but they have to be mentally there with you.

MN: Talk about what it means to find a man who isn’t intimidated by your goals. When you two met, you were already raising two sons on your own, working on your music and building onto your business.

PreMadonna: It’s like if you have a car and you have a key, but the key is not the right fit for the car, then the car won’t go. You guys have to click. If you have ambition, you have to find someone else with ambition also. It’s not going to work otherwise. You’re going to drain him or he’s going to drain you. Because if he doesn’t have any ambition then you’re moving too fast for him. Or if you don’t have any ambition then he’s moving too fast for you. Everything has to be mutual.

Someone with ambition is not sane to the average person, so people will really think that there is something wrong with your ass walking around the house saying, ‘I’m going to make this! I’m going to be 500 million dollars richer one day!’ He’ll look at you like ‘What?’ It just wouldn’t work. And it would bring you down.

Check out PreMadonna’s Waist Gang Society products here and spot her on VH1’s Love and Hip Hop on Mondays at 8 pm EST.

Entrepreneur PreMadonna: Her Waist Gang Society

December 16th, 2015 - By MommyNoire Editor
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by Nadine Graham

PreMadonna found her niche without really even looking for it. The 20-something-year-old Miami native sort of fell into the waist training industry back in 2008 after the birth of her second son. The successful entrepreneur turned her door-to-door business into a booming multi-million dollar company, garnering the cosigns of everyone from the Kardashian sisters to Amber Rose.

These days the head of the Waist Gang Society is also trying to kick off her rap career while starring in the latest installment of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta with her new fiance Buck, a major player behind-the-scenes in the city’s music industry. Clearly, waist trainers aren’t her only hustle. Although there have been many who’ve tried to duplicate her product, PreMadonna is already on to the next thing having found love, a prosperous business and a way into the hip-hop circle. Here, MommyNoire speaks with the young mother about what it means to be a busy business woman all the while holding it down at home.

MommyNoire: What got you into the business of selling waist trainers?

PreMadonna: I had two sons and after I had the second one my stomach was really big. I just didn’t like how I looked so I decided to come up with some products and I just figured it out.

MN: How did you start selling them to other women?

PreMadonna: At first, in Miami, I would just go to the doctors’ offices or walk around. I would stand outside of businesses and solicit. It was like a nine to five. I did it all the time.

MN: But for it to blow up the way it has…

PreMadonna: When I was walking around doing it, it was different. It wasn’t the internet, people had to see a physical presence. I was this lady walking around with waist trainers, outside of clubs or where ever else I knew that women were going to be.

It took three to four months from that point until Instagram came out. Instagram was new and I didn’t even have an iPhone. If you remember when Instagram first came out you couldn’t get it unless you had an iPhone. I had an Android so I wasn’t familiar with it. It was a little Metro PCS phone. I decided that I had to get an iPhone because I knew that there were celebrities and all of that on Instagram.

Once I got the iPhone I didn’t even know how to work it but that’s how I started. On Instagram. My first post was something like ‘Ask me how to lose 3 inches from your waist.’

MN: So you ended up relaunching the company then?

PreMadonna: I founded my company in 2009 but I revamped it in 2012.

MN: How did you know there was even a market for something like these waist trainers in this day and age?

PreMadonna: I had my son in 2008 and I had gotten tired of people asking me what I used or where I got it from without making myself some money. That’s how I came up with it. Because I would get harassed. So it was like, ‘Instead of me just telling you, why don’t I sell it to you?’ And it worked.

At first, two sales a day was good for me. I could pay some bills with that. I figured if I could sell five trainers in a week, I would be fine. It started to grow faster once I got on Instagram. Even in MySpace days, I was doing it then as well. It was just something I was doing it wasn’t a career goal at first. But once I saw the results and that it was really working I said ‘okay I have to take this seriously.’

MN: Now it seems like they’re everywhere though. Even at kiosks in the mall.

PreMadonna: Mine aren’t the same as theirs. We have independent resellers but mine are different from others in the market because we use different products and of course there are certain trade secrets that are undisclosed. If you get their waist trainers and then look at mine, there’s a difference in the “ingredients.”

MN: One of the criticisms is that they aren’t safe. They aren’t good for your back. So on…

PreMadonna: Well… How do I look? I’m sitting here, I’m not coiled over. I’m walking correctly. Actually, back in the day I used to have scoliosis so for people that say ‘it’s not good for you,’ that’s a lie, because it cleared out my scoliosis. It corrects your posture. As women we don’t stand straight up, we might slouch a little. Even as you get older, you know as you age, you might get that hunchback effect, but this waist trainer corrects it. It’s like standing in heels all day without having heels on. Its a medical garment. It doesn’t hurt.

MN: You have creams too, right?

PreMadonna: We have a slimming cream that when you wear it… Like, one is the lipo cream. You rub this one on and it helps you perspire more so you can lose that waist.

MN: Do you remember the struggle of trying to get your business off the ground? Seems like you’re far past that now.

PreMadonna: It took a long time. It did, but it doesn’t seem like it. When you’re doing something you love, the time really just went by, at first it was just like, ‘Okay, I need to pay some bills’ and then once I started to love what I was doing, of course time started to fly by. I love to make women feel good about themselves. I love making men feel like ‘oh my gosh, she’s tricking me with this.’ I made it cool to wear a girdle because if you remember, there was a time when women were embarrassed to even say they wore a girdle.

Read Part 2 of this interview tomorrow!

Check out PreMadonna’s Waist Gang Society products here and spot her on VH1’s Love and Hip Hop on Mondays at 8 pm EST.

Building Your Brand: Your Words Matter

October 22nd, 2015 - By Karen Taylor Bass
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You are stupid! That statement can defeat the strongest person and yet many people hear that about themselves from others daily. Stop accepting and receiving weak words. Words matter. The words we utter to ourselves and receive from others is crucial to take ones personal brand from defeat to triumph.

Start branding yourself with love, power, grace, gratitude, blessings, sanity, health and moxie. Forget about the negativity – you don’t need to incorporate those words – trust me – someone else will attempt to bring you down. Feel me?

As a woman, mother, wife, friend, sister and PR Coach – I try my best to use “action” words to empower all to do their best and believe they can do the impossible. Ask yourself, who is your cheerleader? Who feeds you supercharged words while allowing you to feel authentic and vulnerable? For most of us, we can’t find anyone to cheer us on, and that’s why we must start being our own number one cheerleader each day and moment.

Firstly, start using a new set of powerful vocabulary words. Secondly, repeat several times during the day a new mantra: I am powerful, blessed, uniquely authentic and believe that my big break is right around the corner. I receive God’s grace.

Finally, take a moment and pledge to shower yourself with unconditional love no matter what. Words and a positive attitude can change your outlook, thoughts and provide the breakthrough in life. Before you get out of bed each morning, tell yourself how grateful you are to be given another chance to live.

Assignment: Words matter. Take a moment and select four words each week to incorporate into your personal branding arsenal. Here are a few motivating words to get you started – beautiful, gifted, loved, divinely unique and imperfect. Say it, believe it, shout it, write it and practice each day. Words matter and you have the power to start a new vocabulary list celebrating brand you.

Karen Taylor Bass, The PR Expert and Brand Mom provide entrepreneurs, corporations, and mompreneurs with essential branding, marketing, and public relations coaching. Follow Karen @thebrandnewmom on Twitter.

Exclusive Interview: HGTV Host Egypt Sherrod On Her Career Path, Part 1

September 17th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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As the host of HGTV’s hit show “Property Virgins” for the past five years, with a new show “Flipping Virgins” on deck, it’s an understatement to say Egypt Sherrod knows her way around buying a home. She not only comes from a family of real estate brokers, she’s been an agent herself for years as the founder of the national real estate concierge company, The Egypt Sherrod Real Estate Group, where she’s helped hundreds of families achieve the dream of owning their own home.

Appealing to all property enthusiasts – from first home owners to long term investors – Egypt educates and mentors clients and viewers alike on their investments with genuine care and expertise.

Not your Momma’s realtor, Egypt is also an award-winning broadcast talent, known as the former host of NY’s Power 105.1 morning show and a range of other popular stations around the country, including V103. Giving her an edge that makes her stand apart from others in the industry, Egypt has mass appeal.

With all that she does, Egypt still found the time to sit and chat with Mommynoire about her life, career and future. We think you’ll be inspired, too.

Mommynoire: Tell us how you got your start in real estate.

I’ll try to make a long story short. I come from a family of real estate brokers, and so you can imagine thanksgiving dinners. When I was young I wanted to do something entirely different so I went into radio, which kinda explains my career path. But as I got older and wiser, I realized you have to do smarter things with that money and I grew up knowing that real estate was the foundation of wealth. When I was in my very early 20’s, with my savings, I got an investment property and flipped it. I was successful in doing that and I did it again, and again. A big part of what was going out the window was commissions I had to pay to real estate agents, so I decided to get my real estate license.

What happened next?

My intention was to sell and market my own properties after I flipped them, but I got bit by the real estate bug. I loved it and what was going to be just a side-hustle turned into a passion of mine, and it’s been both real estate and radio in tandem for many years, right in Newark, New Jersey.

And how did you get to Georgia where you now live and where “Property Virgins” tapes?

Truly, it was a holistic move. I’d been in New York City for a while, over 13 years. When I made the decision, I had already been thinking about it for a year but I was then pregnant and my Aha! moment when I was stuck in traffic, sitting in the same spot at the Lincoln Tunnel. And I said, once my baby is born, what if I need to get to my baby and I can’t? I love new York, but it was not conducive to work-life balance and I wanted a better quality of life. I was ready to start a new chapter in my life where I could have some level of balance. I got a offer to work at a radio station in Atlanta, so I went to the HGTV executives and they jumped for joy at the idea because they wanted to shoot elsewhere as well, and Atlanta was such a hot an popping place for real estate.

Sounds like it was meant to be…

Yes, in my first year here I got situated with my real estate business in Georgia, I was shooting the “Property Virgins,” and working on the radio all at the same time. We’re very happy here, but funny enough I find myself in New York two or three times a month.

Selling homes is hard, is selling homes on TV harder?

Ummm, no. (laughs) I jumped at the opportunity and felt like it was a gift from God to finally have a platform that shows all the different sides of me. People knew me from the radio, some people knew me as a real estate agent. So here was an opportunity to put my broadcasting experience together with my real estate experience to help empower people to become homeowners. Everything seems harder when people don’t know how to do it, but once they understand the process, it’s simplified.

Check in tomorrow for Part 2 of this interview where Egypt talks about being a mompreneur, managing her own household, and her tips from home buying as a parent.