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Black Owned Beauty Brand Receives $1.2 Million Investment

Herb’N Eden, an all-natural bath and beauty company, based in the Metro Atlanta area, has closed a $1.2M investment for business growth. Quinton and Terran Lewis founded Herb’N Eden in 2015 to bring natural skincare products to the forefront of the market.

Mercantile Venture Capital led the investment with participation from The Core Venture Studio.

This new funding will amplify their efforts, enabling them to efficiently meet the demands of their rapidly growing clientele without sacrificing what makes them so successful: their all-natural therapeutic products.

“Through our tremendous growth, we still maintained the same formula and process of making our products,” says Terran Lewis. “We know Black-owned businesses face challenges around funding and equitable partnerships. For us, it was important we remain the majority owners and stay faithful to the tried-and-true process our supporters count on us for.”

Before receiving this funding, Herb’N Eden received remarkable success through grassroots efforts such as in-house marketing, hiring local workers for their warehouse and store, and maintaining the direction of the product development. Investors were attracted by their ability to sustain growth beyond the pandemic year while remaining risk-averse and prioritizing customer communications.

“From $260,000 in 2020 to $2.6M closing out 2021, during the pandemic, is remarkable,” said co-founder and managing partner at The Core Venture Studio James Harris, one of the lead investors. “Their ability to scale their company while strengthening their relationship with their loyal customers drove Core’s decision to invest in the Herb’N Eden team.”

Quinton Lewis notes that the pandemic tested their resiliency. Rather than stop business when orders were backed up for months, they overly communicated updates to customers. As a result, they were able to see sustainable growth.

“It’s amazing to see what we could accomplish in such a short amount of time,” says Quinton. “In two to five years, we hope to continue to scale our business with the resources and connections made while also investing into the dreams of other Black entrepreneurs.”

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What Does It Cost to Run a Successful Beauty Business?

Salons, barbershops, and other beauty-based businesses can do well even in poor economic times. However, running a successful beauty business is dependent on several factors.

Apart from providing high-quality services, you need to ensure that you’re aware of all the financial requirements and have plans in place to take care of them.

Beauty Business

Essential Steps Before Starting Your Business

It’s impossible to overstate how much you’ll need a business plan before taking any steps in pursuit of your beauty business. A business plan allows you to clearly state the purpose of your business, your target clients, the budget, marketing plans, the company’s potential growth, and the standard operational costs.

Then, as you document these, you’ll dig into details that you likely wouldn’t have considered without the plan.

It would be best if you decided on the location of your potential business and the size of the salon or barbershop. That information will influence a few of the costs that we will discuss later and your options for financing.

The Set Costs of a Beauty Business

As you might have expected, you can’t just choose a location and start operating a beauty business. You’ll need to ensure that you’re adhering to the various regulations of your specific state. If you’re not sure what those are, contact the local Occupational and Professional Licensing Division. There are also costs associated with setting up your business or location and ensuring that any staff you hire remains compliant. Here are some figures to keep in mind:

  • Certification – This cost varies according to your location but can be confirmed with your local authorities.
  • License – A license for a beauty-based business can cost up to $12,000 if you don’t already have a cosmetology license. For a product-based business, there are costs associated with obtaining patents and ensuring that your product meets regulatory standards.
  • Insurance – It’s mandatory to ensure your store, but the cost can range from $450 – $2900 depending on the type of insurance you undertake.
  • Purchasing a location – If you plan on owning the site outright, this can cost from $40,000 to $250,000 for a place that is already a salon. Building something from scratch will likely be twice that figure.
  • Legal fees – Generally, these fees are $200 per hour, so the final cost will vary as your lawyer helps with regulatory matters.
  • The equipment – Unless the space you’ve chosen comes with salon equipment; you’ll need to get your own. Including styling chairs, hood dryers, coloring stations, and such, you can require as much as $27,000.
  • Inventory and Supplies – Depending on the type of beauty business, the startup supplies and inventory can be as little as $100 hundred for a service-based business to upwards of $20,000 for a product-based. If you offer a variety of products or expect a large client base, you can expect that your supply costs will be closer to the upper end of this range.
  • A website – Studies show that most consumers find their next purchase online, so it’s a good idea to have a website set up. A website can be free if you know how to do it but can cost up to $10,000.
  • Possible renovations – If your space is not up to scratch, you may need as much as $32,000 to fix any issues.
  • Signs and marketing – These can cost you up to $7,000 depending on your skill level and how you want to market your Black-owned beauty business specifically.
  • A computer system – Having a designated system and effective point-of-sale program can cost up to $5,000 to set up.
  • Start-up cash – Experts recommend having at least $500 on hand for the start of your first business day.

The Recurring Costs of A Beauty Business

Once you’ve started your beauty business, the ongoing costs will be another consideration for you. The ongoing cost is the money you’ll need to spend on a scheduled basis to keep your business running. Here are some of the general expenses.

  • Rent, lease, or mortgage – These costs can vary based on the location and size of your building but aim for up to $4,000 per month.
  • Utilities – These can range from $600 – $4,000.
  • Employee wages – Wages can be a large portion of your monthly expenses, so research what’s typical in the industry.
  • Marketing – Continuous marketing helps grow your client base, including $30 for a simple campaign in your budget and $4,000 for more complex ones.
  • Credit card processing fees – The exact number will vary, but each transaction can cost 1.5% and 3% depending on the provider.
  • Taxes – The figure will vary, but payroll or self-employment taxes can be as much as 7.6% of your sales.
  • Cleaning costs – Many businesses use cleaning services to ensure the hygiene of their surroundings, which can cost up to $200 per month.
  • Insurance payments – This is applicable if you’ve negotiated a monthly fee.
  • Repairs and maintenance – The upkeep of your business is essential, so budget $500 monthly for that.
  • Emergency funds – If the unexpected occurs, an emergency fund of about $500 per month can help.
  • Legal fees – Again, the actual costs can vary based on the legal services you need throughout the year.

Other Important Considerations

As you can see, there are several costs associated with starting and running a successful beauty business. First, it will be imperative to secure financing, so you’ll know where you have a source for your start-up costs. Some people seek help from friends or associates, while others get access to a business loan. Whichever you choose, you must consider your loan repayment in the costs of running the business.

Bear in mind that the first year or two can be challenging for a new business, so repaying a large loan during this time can be difficult, depending on your business model.

While there’s a demand for Black-owned beauty businesses, you can’t only count on that fact to run your business successfully. The key will always be carefully managing your finances while meeting the needs of your clientele. It’s essential to have a plan before taking steps to start your own beauty business. A support structure can also make a difference in the first few years, so make sure you have a good team behind you that can offer advice and help when necessary.

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This Black Owned Nail Salon on Wheels Finds Success During a Pandemic

Philly entrepreneur Keesha Brown launched her mini nail salon inside an old bus in February, just as the pandemic descended on the region.

The golden bronze bus allows her to travel to her clients. It also lets her cater to just one person or one small group at a time.

Black Owned Nail Salon

“When the COVID happened is when everything changed,” Brown, 36, told Billy Penn. “It actually boosted my business.”

The pandemic, social media, and support for Black-owned businesses stemming from recent protests have been like a holy trinity for success for Brown’s newest endeavor, which she christened Last Minute Nails.

Brown, who runs seven businesses in total, has a cosmetology degree. She “always wanted to be a nail technician,” she said, but had trouble finding a job in traditional shops.

So this year, she purchased an old CCT bus for about $7,500 and transformed it into a stylish mini spa. For about $3,000 in renovations, Brown painted the walls a magenta pink and added floral wallpaper, a black chandelier, velour navy blue salon chairs, and dark wood-look floors.

With every other traditional nail salon shuttered following Gov. Tom Wolf’s closure of non-life sustaining businesses, people turned to Last Minute Nails.

“We were the only nail salon listed as open,” Brown said.

That won’t be the case soon. City officials announced last week that personal services — salons, barbers, and spas — can reopen come Friday.

But it’s not just the monopoly on the nail hustle right now that’s got business booming.

While working on a client in Philly’s West Oak Lane neighborhood, Brown’s bus caught one neighbor’s eye. That neighbor snapped pics and shared the images on Facebook.

“This sister has a mobile nail salon and I just thought that was so cool!” Facebook user Simone Collucci wrote. Her post went viral. It’s been shared more than 12k times — and gave Brown her next biz boost.

“I literally had over 800 calls coming in regarding my services,” Brown said. That was in one day. The next day, she got 1,000 calls, and now her bookings are double what they were at launch.

Hiding her Black ownership because of past experience

Last Minute Nails proudly lists itself as a Black-owned business on Instagram. But Brown, a serial entrepreneur, said she hid it at first.

“I didn’t want people to know that it was a Black-owned business because of the non-support that we get from being Black owned,” Brown said. “When I would go to certain clients, I would say, ‘No, I don’t own the business. I’m just an employee.’”

The increased support following George Floyd protests, Brown said, is not what she usually receives as a Black woman business owner — and she has plenty of experience.

Her other companies include a staffing agency and job training program, both on pause while Last Minute Nails gets off the ground, and an ice cream and Belgian waffle shop called Late Night Munch & Crunch in Marcus Hook, Pa.

black owned nail salon

Brown recalled a time when one of her staffing agency clients, a doctor’s office where she’d placed three long-term employees, found out she owned the business.

“And all of a sudden, that took a downward spiral,” Brown said of the doctor’s office. “From that, it went to [him] not answering my calls, [him] not answering my text messages. So that made me feel like…I wasn’t good enough being a Black owned business.”

On the Last Minute Nails bus, Brown specializes in dip powder false nails because they’re quicker than acrylic application — and her entire business model is based on speed and convenience.

That jibes perfectly with the reopening guidance for the industry provided by the city this week. Brown said she uses hand sanitizer, sanitizes clients’ hands before and after their appointment, disinfects the pedicure bowl with bleach after each client and wears a mask…most of the time.

She caught a little flak for not wearing a mask in the viral Facebook photos.”That was just one of the customers that I felt comfortable enough not to wear a mask at that time,” she explained.

Ultimately, Brown believes she manifested her successful nail shop.

“Last year, I kept saying, I want to be rich,” Brown said. “Now I feel like, I’m not going to ever have to worry about my income anymore because all I do is answer the phone and say, ‘Hey, I can take you right now.’ And literally I can make money all day, every day.”


Source: Billy Penn


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BlackTravelBox Offers Beauty Products for The Traveler on the Go

According to Orion Brown, Black travelers have few, if any places they can go to find personal care products that work specifically for their hair and skincare needs.
That is why she created Black Travel Box. Her goal is to give women of color a brand they can trust for all their travel personal care needs.
“I started Black Travel Box because there aren’t any brands serving the 5 million strong (and growing) population of Black millennial travelers”, she said.
Orion is creating a brand dedicated to serving this consumer (and its extensions) with products that take the guess work and stress out of traveling with products best suited for an ethnically diverse community.
We caught up with her to find out more about her inspiration and how her entrepreneurial journey is going so far.
the black travel box
Orion Brown

What inspired you to create Black Travel Box?

After traveling to my 15th country, I found myself with less product than I needed and nowhere to purchase something suited to my hair and skin care needs – I thought to myself that I really can’t be the only one struggling when I travel. And after talking to other travelers like me, I discovered I wasn’t.

the black travel box

How did you decide what specific items to offer and ingredients to make them with?

I started with the basics – products that are in every hotel, travel aisle, and gym that still manage to consistently not consider the needs of travelers and folks on the go outside of what’s considered ‘normal’ hair and skin.
Often products like shampoo and conditioner, while not popular with most travelers, are especially problematic for richly textured hair.
While watery lotions made with waxes and fillers leave darker skin tones dry with an ashy residue. So our product line started with that – and of course lip balm because we’re not trying to have crusty lips out here. It’s a staple we can all get behind.
the black travel box

If you could wake up tomorrow as an expert in any business skill, what would it be? Why?

I’d be an expert in content creation – its so important for us to tell our story and engage with our communities in ways that enrich their travel and on the go beauty experience.
The creativity that I see in the marketplace today is astounding, and I am in total awe of brands that create multifaceted conversations with their communities with such clarity of voice and perspective.

What has been the most rewarding and the most challenging part of your entrepreneurial journey thus far?

The most rewarding part has been receiving notes via email, text, and LinkedIn with words of encouragement from within the Black travel community and beyond.
Our customers are passionate brand advocates and as we learn and grow brand awareness, the response has truly been humbling.
The most challenging part has been keeping focused on the strategy and tactics that we’ve laid out from the outset and not get distracted with shiny objects and short term opportunities.

What types of brands and businesses are you interested in partnering with?

BTB is all about serving people on the go – retail, hospitality, beauty, travel, even fitness partners would be a great fit for our long term vision.

Where do you see your business in 5 years?

We endeavor to be the Away meets Glossier for our community serving up relevant content, building community, and creating a best in class inclusive line of products made for an on the go lifestyle.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

Trust your gut, pray, and take the leap. Whatever form that may come in. Whether you side hustle or full time, with dedication and focus you can create the business and legacy that you want.

– Tony O. Lawson

She Overcame a Health Scare and Launched a Successful Cosmetics Business

BeautyMarked & Co is a Philadelphia based business that offers quality vegan and cruelty free cosmetics and accessories. Founder, Nana Frimpong originally started doing makeup professionally in 2013 while she was in pharmacy school.  Even while she worked as a full time pharmacist, she continued to do makeup on the side.

She recently developed a neuromuscular disease that comes with debilitating symptoms that render her unable to work as a pharmacist nor as a make up artist.

Despite this life changing event, Nana was compelled to make the most of her situation. In March of 2019, she started an e-commerce business selling her own brand of cosmetics and beauty accessories. “In a way, my sickness ended up being a blessing in disguise because it gave birth to what is now BeautyMarked & Co.” she says.

Intrigued, we decided to learn more about Nana and her entrepreneurial journey and goals.

CEO and Founder, Nana Frimpong

How did you decide what products to offer?

As a makeup lover, I definitely wanted to start out with cosmetic products that would cater to everyone, from the busy working mom who doesn’t have time for a full face of makeup to the makeup artist trying to build a cost effective kit. So I started with lipsticks/glosses and mascara – two makeup essentials most women don’t go without.


Not everyone has the time or skill to wear false lashes so I really wanted to bring a mascara to the market that brings the most out of your natural lashes but doesn’t break the bank.

I also was fed up with the notion that black women could not wear certain (bright) lip colors because of their skin tone.

So, I shied away from the traditional brown nudes and came out with bright, dark, and bold colored lipsticks that anyone can wear regardless of their skin tone.


All of my lipsticks can be worn alone or mixed to create unique shades that suit each individual and their preferences. In addition, for those that may not be interested in makeup, I wanted to offer additional beauty products that celebrate my Ghanaian culture. So, I decided to sell Ntoma (also known as Ankara) satin lined bonnets and headwraps.

Every aspect of the brand, from the logo to the product names are completely African inspired. Lipsticks are named after African cities, lip glosses are named after African desert regions, while the bonnets/headwraps are named after the Ghanaian women in my family and common female names of my Ashanti tribe.

What do you like most about owning a business? What do you like least?

The most rewarding aspect of owning a business is definitely working for myself. It’s a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, trial and error but it’s definitely worth it knowing I’m working towards building my own brand. The downside is the time it takes away from my personal life.

For now, I handle all aspects of my business including product development, customer service, social media marketing, etc. and that can be very time consuming.


Where do you see your business in 5 years?

I would eventually like to focus solely on cosmetics. I hope to develop a full line of cosmetic products and to make BeautyMarked & Co. a world renowned brand.

What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

My first piece of advice to those thinking about starting a business is to start now, with what you have, no matter how small it may be.

There’s never a “right” time to start and you’ll never be prepared enough until you actually take a leap of faith and start. Entrepreneurship is a learning curve; mistakes, failure, trial and error are apart of the process and crucial to learning and ultimately becoming successful.

I would also advise aspiring entrepreneurs to get rid of any negativity, both from yourself and those around you. Fear and doubt are the enemies of success. Entrepreneurship is all about taking risks; the greater the risk the greater the reward.


Sponsored by BeautyMarked & Co.


Black Owned Bonnet Brands That Aren’t Charging $98

According to NiteCap Founder Sarah Marantz, she came up with the idea for a satin bonnet “after much consideration, conceptualization, brainstorming, and borderline obsessive research.”

black owned satin bonnet brands
NiteCap Founder Sarah Marantz

Fortunately, for Black women everywhere, someone else had the bright idea of creating appropriate sleepwear to keep their hairdos intact. Black Owned satin bonnet brands have existed for ages. Here are a few of our faves for Black girls who considered hair bonnets when sleeping on their hands wasn’t enough…

Black Owned Bonnet Brands

Regal Ivy

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Beautiful Curly Me


ID Noble


Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Purrty Dimples

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Peace Crown’d

Beauty Marked & Co

Natural Hair Shop

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Eboni Curls

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Glow by Daye

FlorBella Boutique

Goodnight Hair Bonnets

Grace Eleyae

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Isoken Enofe

Black Owned Satin Bonnet

Loza Tam

Special thanks to Kami (@frobunni) for helping us compile this list! It takes a village!

-Tony O. Lawson 

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Black Owned Makeup and Cosmetics Brands You Should Know

Black consumers account for a disproportionate amount of product sales in a number of consumer goods categories. One of these categories is Beauty. Almost 86% of the $63.5 million spent on “Ethnic Hair and Beauty Aids” is attributed to Black consumers.

Source: Nielsen Homescan 2017

I’m sure you would agree that Black owned beauty brands should be getting these coins. Here are a few you can support. As usual, let us know which others you think should be on the list!

Black Owned Makeup Brands

Laws of Nature Cosmetics

black owned makeup

GloGirl Cosmetics


The Candy Lady

Einnaf Cosmetics


The Lip Bar

Lamik Beauty

Gold Label Cosmetics


Beauty Bakerie

Juvia’s Place

Black Owned Makeup Brands

127 East Cosmetics

Mented Cosmetics

Black Owned Makeup Brands


Tony O. Lawson

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Black Owned Nail Salons You Should Know

I was scrolling through our Instagram page @shoppeblack and saw a video of a Black woman being attacked at an Asian nail salon in Brooklyn. Someone filmed employees of a nail salon attacking a customer with a broom and throwing liquid at her while she tries to fight them off.

The video which has since gone viral has led to multiple arrests, public outrage, and protests calling for the salon to shut down.

I’m going to file this incident under “Another reason to Support Black Owned Businesses.” In this case, Black owned nail salons.

While I know that there were training and entrepreneurship programs set up in the US for Asian immigrants, particularly Vietnamese women who still dominate ownership in the eight billion dollar nail industry, I still question why there are so few Black owned salons and/or why we choose not to go to them if we know about them.

That said, in response to some of your comments about us needing and wanting Black-owned nail salons to patronize, we’ve compiled a list around the US and internationally. (#BlackBusinessesInTheDiasporaMatterToo).

I’m sure we left out a few, so feel free to add another Black owned nail salons that do good work in the comments. And note, we’re not just talking about just any Black owned nail salons, but those that are clean, aesthetically nice, where they do good work and where customer service matters.

Black Owned Nail Salons

Marché Rue Dix (Brooklyn)

Free Edge Beauty Studio (Brooklyn)

Free Edge Beauty Studio

Dera Ebele’s Nail Boutique (Franklin Square, NY)

Dera Ebele’s Nail Boutique

SHIC by Soketah’s (Brooklyn, NY)

Palms Nail Bar (Arlington, TX)

Shine Nails (Chicago, IL)

A Polished Work Nail Spa Lounge (Chicago, IL)

A Polished Work Nail Spa Lounge

Beautiful Sisters Nail Spa (Chicago, IL)

Beautiful Sisters Nail Spa

Simply Panache Nail Bar and Pedi Spa (Hampton, VA)

Nails by Tiara (Atlanta, GA)

Poochiez Pawz Nail Studio (Atlanta, GA)

Poochiez Pawz

Divine Designz (Jacksonville, NC)

Alicia B Nail Bar (Columbia, SC)

Artisan Nail Studio (Charlotte, NC)

Studio 7 The Salon and Spa (Baltimore, MD)

Cre8tions Nail Spa (District Heights, MD)

Scrub Nail Boutique (Baltimore, MD)

Ms.Glitter Nail Lounge and Spa (Oakland, CA)

Ms.Glitter Nail Lounge and Spa

Powder Beauty Co (Los Angeles, CA)

Powder Beauty Co

Blessed By Beedy Nails (New Orleans, LA)

Z Luxury (West Hartford, CT)

Cher-Mère (Ontario, Canada)

Colour Riot Nails (London, UK)

Colour riot

Class Act Nails (Marietta, GA)

Nails by Keda (Cleveland, OH)

The Nail Tailor (San Pedro, CA)

Nola Organic Spa (New Orleans, LA)

Klassy Koats (Houston, TX)

Klassy Koats

-Tony O. Lawson

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Black Owned Skincare Brands You Should Know

A few years ago, Dove released a skincare ad that quickly received backlash for being racist and offensive. They have since pulled the ad but not in time to stop calls for a boycott of their products.

Since SHOPPE BLACK is all about highlighting Black businesses, we created a list of Black owned skincare brands that would love to have your business.

Black Owned Skincare Brands

Josephine’s Creme

Naked Bar Soap Co

black owned skincare

Pooka Pure & Simple

Temple Zen

black owned skincare

Cream & Coco Skincare

black owned skincare


Kyra’s Shea Medleys

Butter Me Up Goods

Ayele & Co.

black owned skincare

Best Life Organics

Nyah Beauty

M by LW

Sixela Skincare

Sogona Sacko

ReLiv Organics

Shea Radiance

Urembo Asili

Angie Watts

black owned skincare


black owned skincare



black owned skincare

Jacq’s Organics

Chanvere Naturals


Brosily Bath and Body

Oyin Handmade

black owned skincare

Self Keep Co.

Scotch Porter


black owned skincare

Nature Boy

Solo Noir

Herb’N Eden

Tony O. Lawson

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Sister Scientist: Helping Entrepreneurs Create & Develop Beauty Brands

Most Black entrepreneurs in the Beauty industry are involved in the retail part of the supply chain.

Because it’s important that we also manufacture and sell wholesale, I wanted to speak with Erica Douglas, aka Sister Scientist.

Not only is Erica a cosmetic chemist, but she is also the co-founder of mSEED Group, a team of specialists that offer services that are vital to the successful launch and strategic growth of brands in the beauty, cosmetics, and personal care space.

SB: I’m pretty sure that most scientists aren’t entrepreneurs. What inspired you to turn your interest in science and chemistry into a business?

ED: The inspiration came from recognizing a need. Over the last 5 – 10 years, there has been an unprecedented number of new businesses and brands entering the beauty and personal grooming space.

Although the number of brands have exponentially grown, the number of manufacturers servicing these brands has not. Specifically, manufacturers with the ability to provide full-service options to budding entrepreneurs that are just getting started or growing rapidly.

New brands require specialized expertise and professional support even when it comes to office operations for example Hosted Telephony. My team and I have the experience, knowledge and network to help these ideas come to life.

I became an entrepreneur to support other entrepreneurs. I try to help entrepreneurs succeed, just like accountants try to take care of businesses financial affairs in order to help them focus their energy on what they are passionate about. In fact, LA’s best certified public accountants are well respected for their track record with numerous businesses including black and women entrepreneurs who are driving the growth in the beauty category.

SB: Most Black businesses in the beauty industry focus on the retail phase of the supply chain. What made you decide to focus offer manufacturing services?

ED: The landscape of the beauty industry is changing rapidly and I believe that the future of innovation in this space more so lies in the fate of the entrepreneur.

I have encountered so many people with great ideas who didn’t have the right resources or access to get started.

This especially applies to minority and women entrepreneurs. People would come to me for help and all I could do was point them in the right direction, which often wasn’t enough.

A number of companies don’t want to work with the “small guy” because their infrastructure is built to support large volume orders.

It dawned on me that if I wanted there to be a change in how beauty startups were serviced, then I had to create the change.

SB: One of the services you offer is Private Label manufacturing. Can you explain what private label means?

ED: Private label manufacturing is when a retailing brand outsources the product development and production of their brand’s products to a third-party manufacturer as a paid service.

Brands come to us (mSEED group) with an idea and with their input, we develop it, design it, bottle it, and then sell it to them as a finished product with their branding, that they then sell into a retailer or direct-to-consumer.

SB: What industry relationships have you built that would benefit an entrepreneur that chooses to use your consulting service for retail placement?

ED: Between my team and I, we have served in roles on all sides of the beauty business. Along the way, we have had the opportunity to work for or rub elbows with some very successful, powerful, and influential people in the beauty space.

We maintain solid relationships with brokers, distributors, category buyers, suppliers, etc. They often refer some of their clients to us because we have experience building brands in mass retail and know what it takes for a brand to succeed at the shelf.

When a client under the mSEED umbrella is looking to take things to the next level we don’t just make the introductions to decision-makers in the industry, but we make sure the client is prepared and polished so that she has all the right answers before anybody even asks.

SB: On your YouTube channel you have a Fact or Crap segment. What are some of the most popular beliefs about natural hair and hair products that aren’t necessarily true?

ED: There are so many! The myth that irritates me the most is about silicones…silicones have gotten a bad rep in the natural hair community, but when used properly in formulations, silicones can be one of the most effective lines of defense for breakage, moisture retention, and heat damage.

SB: What is the biggest challenges you face as an entrepreneur?

ED: I have so many challenges day-to-day, but most of those challenges fall under one category which is balancing and managing growth.

This is why I’m up at all hours of the night…for 10 hours out of the day I am reacting to time-sensitive matters of the day, and for the other 10 hours, I am trying to find ways to implement smart and efficient solutions that ensure scalability.

The other 4 hours of the day are usually a blur or I have blacked out. 😉

SB: What is the most fulfilling part of what you do?

ED: I love helping people fulfill their dreams and live in their passion. Seeing the look on somebody’s face when they see their vision come to life for the first time and get that first sale is priceless. I will never get tired of seeing that look.

SB: What advice do you have for entrepreneurs that want to start a beauty or personal care brand?

ED: The space is very saturated right now, so if you’re going to come with it, you need to have a compelling story and brand identity that entices consumer loyalty and products that live up to their claims. Also, building the proper foundation is key.

Just don’t wait too late to get serious. It’s better to fail fast and pivot, otherwise you can stay on the wrong path for a long time.

SB: Where do you see your business in 5 years?

ED: I want mSEED group to be a valuable part of a thriving ecosystem of minority and women-owned businesses. mSEED group is a beauty entrepreneur’s one-stop-shop to success and we would like to see that grow into a supportive community of entrepreneurs celebrating one another’s successes.


-Tony O. Lawson

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