be special and it just hit me that we spend billions on everything from cosmetics to hair. So, why not talk about the power we also have in this category as entrepreneurs? We can spend money but we can also make money and educate one another and provide quality products to each other and really help stimulate the economy and put that money back into our communities.
EBONY: I think major brands are slowing realizing they have to work hard to cater to us.
RB: Absolutely. As women of color we know our specific hair care needs. Why not create it and meet the needs of the people in our community, because we live and breathe it every day.
EBONY: What do you think is the biggest misconception about owning a business as a woman in general?
RB: I can only really speak for industries that I’m in touch with. But let’s take Tricia Lee’s business, Polish Bar Brooklyn, for example. I think the biggest misconception for her would be that she sits around all day getting manicures and pedicures. When in fact, she is doing everything from dealing with the technology side of her business to making sure everything is up and running. I’ve seen her tweet about being in Home Depot. She is kind of the “do it yourself” girl, and a lot of us have to be that when we're entrepreneurs. One time, one of my friends actually asked, “What are you doing, going to another curly girl event?” But events like that are actually work. So I think that people see the glamorous side to this and with today’s social media environment, of course they're seeing the highlights and the events that you’re going to. There is so much work and planning and late, sleepless nights that go into this.
EBONY: Everybody won’t be a business owner or a CEO of a company, but I think people can take away something of value from hearing about the journeys from these women. What do you hope people will take from this event?
RB: I would like for people to walk away with the fact that no matter what route you decide to take, whether its entrepreneurship or working for other companies, you know the importance of always trying to do their very best. Each woman who is on the panel, at some point worked for someone else and they were doing their very best in those roles. I worked at Burrell Communications Group doing PR and event marketing and I would hope that the people I reported to would say that maybe there was something special they saw in me back then. I want people to take away that women of color just have to be amazing. Whether it’s working for yourself or someone else, do the best that you can because you really never know whose watching.
EBONY: From your experience, why do you feel like this event is so important?
RB: Well I think it’s important for several reasons as a consumer we have so many choices as to which brands we can be loyal to and which brands we can trust. If you even think about the different categories represented on the panel: we have Lamik Beauty, which is cosmetics, Carols Daughter which is skin and hair, Polish Bar which is nails, and The Fly Cut, which is the Groupon for Black women. I think that as a consumer it’s important to know who’s behind a brand that you’re supporting, especially when you have so many options. I think it’s inspiring to know that the women behind these brands that are so popular today, are women who look just like you. I also think it’s very important for women like them to tell their stories. Going back to what we said before, people could think that Lisa Price woke up one day and all of a sudden, she’s in Sephora and teaming up with Jay-Z and all of these celebrity backers. A lot of people may not know that she started her business in a brownstone in Brooklyn. So I think it’s important for young women, even people who are seasoned, to know these stories.
EBONY: With all of your hard work, how do you relax?
RB: I’m pretty simple when I’m not working with my PR clients or blogging or attending some type of industry event. I like to keep it simple. I have great friends here in Brooklyn who are just like family; we hang out, shop or cook. One of my girlfriends just had a baby so we are planning on attending her 2-year-olds birthday party. Just really simple stuff. I have family outside of New York, so every couple months I have to get outside of New York, just to kind of change the scenery a little