Welcome to “The Hustle” where we profile African-American women who are turning their passion into a little something on the side, and turning that little something into a big business. Know someone who should be in “The Hustle”? Email email@example.com.
The saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” had to have been created with someone like Brandy Guidry in mind.
By day, Brandy is a chemical engineer and the engineering productivity leader for the drilling and surface business at GE Oil & Gas. By night, she mixes up potions and lotions for 4 Generations, the beauty company that specializes in handmade products she launched earlier this year.
For the past few years, Brandy has co-led the Women and Technology committee for the Houston’s Women’s Network and has held various roles within the Houston African American Forum. She also volunteers at a local STEM program and helps to recruit and retain women engineers in her spare time.
Given all that’s on her plate, I recently chatted with Brandy to get the details on how she found the time to launch 4 Generations and what advice she has for other women who are looking to start a side hustle.
Madame Noire (MN): How would you describe 4 Generations to someone who was hearing about this business for the first time?
Brandy Guidry (BG): 4 Generations is a company that provides quality beauty and bath products, gifts and treats to people to enhance their natural beauty and pamper themselves. Our beauty and bath products are handmade with ingredients to nourish and improve your skin, while including a satisfying aromatherapy experience. Upon request, we customize products for our customers
MN: When did you launch 4 Generations? What is the meaning behind the name?
BG: 4 Generations launched in 2012 as the parent company for Gloarious Gifts, which I started in 2009. The company’s name pays homage to the strong line of female businesswomen in my family. I am the fourth generation businesswoman from a proud legacy of women who inspired me.
MN: Did you think your body care company would be a lucrative side hustle?
BG: I felt it would. I put a lot of hard work into the development of my products. People want quality products that are worth the money. Stress relief is also key to the aromatherapy part of our products and we all need to pamper ourselves.
MN: Approximately how much extra income do you generate from this business each year?
BG: We are still within our first year of operation working on a very limited basis, selling at events. Our estimated earnings for 2013 are approximately $4,000. However, our goal is to double that amount next year.
MN: How did you get 4 Generations started while working such a demanding job full-time?
BG: Sacrifice, dedication, determination, passion and support from family and friends.
I made a conscious decision to wait to start the company [until] after I relocated to Texas. I have worked a lot of long nights and early mornings. I treat this like any other job. That means I won’t always be able to attend social activities or travel. But I am following my passion and living a fulfilling life. You make time for what you want.
MN: About how much money did you need to launch this business?
BG: I started the business with less than $300. That includes the money to file my DBA. I have greatly increased that budget and have set aside my own money to fund the business.
MN: What tips do you have for women who are looking to juggle a career and a side gig?
BG: Whatever you decide to do, make sure it is something you are passionate about and would do for free. Most businesses don’t make a profit within the first few years, and women need to be prepared for that. Know your market and tailor your product/service and prices for that market. Arrange your schedule to focus on your business at different days and times of the week.
Focus on what your skill set is and hire or barter with people to do everything else. Enlist the help and support of your friends and family. Reach out to other women in similar lines of business or in the same position as you, working full-time with a part-time business. You can share experiences, support, and even partner for business activities and events. Most of all pray and know there will be roadblocks and naysayers. Remember, if it were easy, everyone would do it.
MN: Would you ever want to leave your career and pursue your body care business full-time?
BG: Yes, it is something I think about daily. I would love to do this and my nonprofit, STEMulating the Future. I would need to significantly increase my profits and enlist some investors. My current advisor has me on an aggressive plan to replace my full-time income within the next two to three years.
MN: What was the biggest obstacle you faced while trying to get 4 Generations off the ground?
BG: Time. Most of the people I know that have a part-time business buy completed products or solely offer services. I make my beauty and bath products. It has been a great learning experience to effectively and efficiently buy, create, and sell our products in a timely manner. It hasn’t been worry-free, but I am proud of the progress and improvements I have made to our products and business along the way.
MN: Who/What inspires you?
BG: All of the women in my family inspire me, especially my great-grandmother, Gladys Brown. She didn’t follow the path her father, an attorney, wanted for her by going to college. She married the man she loved who died when he was 28 and she was 25. As a widow and mother of two, she decided she was going to start her own business. By the age of 30 she owned and operated a café and later owned a cabstand and gas station (all operating at the same time) in Louisiana. Needless to say, seeing any great accomplishment, despite how many trials a person has faced, inspires me to do my best and push through the tough times.
MN: What’s next for 4 Generations?
BG: Regional distribution of products, new product lines, cosmetics, and continued success!
For more info about 4 Generations visit them online at www.4-generations.net.