Here is my first installment of my Mind Your Own Business (MYOB) series of 2013!
As most of you know, I am passionate about the business of beauty and about celebrating enterprising women of colour and last year I showcased several women of colour who were making waves in the beauty industry both here in the UK and overseas. Women who have created their own products, who have established their own PR and marketing agencies, who hold senior positions in leading global beauty companies and who are pioneering the latest online ventures!
I am kicking of the 2013 series by introducing publicist, marketing specialist and Pro Blogger Renae Bluitt, who hails from NYC!
Renae is the founder of Crush Media, a boutique PR and marketing agency that specialises in meeting the needs her multi-cultural clientele. Beauty is her passion and she honed her professional skills working with brands such as ESSENCE Magazine, Pantene and the Cover Girl Queen Collection before venturing out to establish her own operation.
Her work brought her into contact with a myriad of outstanding female entrepreneurs who served as a source of constant inspiration and in 2009 she launched her blog In Her Shoes which is a ‘one stop blog for all women who are determined to be the captain of their own ships’. <<<<< I LOVE THIS!!! I have been following Renae's blog for while now - I thoroughly enjoy reading about the Fly Female Entrepreneurs that are regularly featured.
In October of last year, Renae tweeted about what sounded like the most AWESOME event for a ‘beauty business-ophile’ like myself! It was called the “Beauties and the Brains behind the Brands”.
The event would bring together leading women of colour ‘beautypreneurs’ to share their insight and experiences on how to break into and succeed within the beauty industry.
I was SO excited that I tweeted Renae right away!
Although I couldn’t make it to New York to be at the event in person, I made a mental note to share it with you, my readers as soon as the material was available…
…and here it is! As per my tweet, I did get in contact with Renae and she has graciously allowed me to publish this video.
The turn out for the event was spectacular and the line-up of speakers was a cut above the rest! The speakers were: Lisa Price, founder of Carol’s Daughter (whom I have written about here and here)….
Lisa Price, Founder and President – Carol’s Daughter. Image source:inhershoesblog.com
…Kim Roxie founder of ‘eco-chic’ cosmetic brand LAMIK Beauty, Tricia Lee founder of the Polish Bar of Brooklyn, Ginger Johnson and Sara Liz Pickett, the creators of non-toxic nail lacquer brand, Ginger + Liz and Tia Williams, former beauty editor at Essence.com, author of the award winning blog of Shake Your Beauty and founder of The Fly Cut – a ‘Groupon-esque’, daily deals site dedicated to African-American and ethnic hair salons.
(L-R) Sara Liz Pickett, Ginger Johnson, Kim Roxie, Renae Bluitt, Lisa Price, Tricia Lee, Tia Williams
One of the key objectives of my MYOB series is to tap into the knowledge base and the expertise of the women that are featured and Renae was kind enough to answer a few questions about entrepreneurship, the beauty industry and the woman of colour!
BPL: What inspired you to create and produce the “Beauties & Brains” event?
RB: I wanted women to get to know the brilliance and stories behind some of their favorite beauty brands. As women of color, we spend extraordinary amounts of money on beauty products. It’s important for us to know that we have both buying power AND entrepreneurial power.
BPL: What were the challenges that you faced in hosting the event and how did you overcome these?
RB: The biggest challenge I faced was the arrival of Hurricane Sandy just days before my event. There was no way I could move forward with hosting “Beauties & Brains” when so many people in the New York City area were impacted by the storm’s wrath. I was concerned that women who had already purchased tickets would be inconvenienced and I was uncertain that my “dream team” of panelists would still be available. All of my panelists were on board with the date change and we had a packed house. In fact, tickets sold out and the list had to be closed a week before the event. Everything worked out (as it always does) so the evening was quite amazing!
BPL: Beauty products for Black women that have been created by Black women have grown exponentially in the US over the past few years. How has this impacted the mainstream industry?
RB: The rapidly rising number of black ‘beautypreneurs’ has forced the mainstream to take notice. Brands that may have had a “one size fits all” approach are now developing products and campaigns with women of color in mind. They’re also forced to have women who reflect their target audience managing these brands, which creates even more opportunities for us in the beauty industry.
BPL: What advice would you give to aspiring Black British entrepreneurs who want to start a business in the beauty industry?
RB: Never underestimate the importance of market research. So many beauty brands are vying for the same audience with the same offerings. Think about your brand’s point of difference. Does your product line meet the needs that other brands don’t? Is it solving a beauty problem that your competitors haven’t addressed? Innovation is key.
I am so pleased that the event was the success that it was! Congratulations Renae!