the lab when I’m trying to make up colors. I’m also a licensed aesthetician and a make-up artist. I’m so all the way around at the same time. I believe you have to start with a vision, something that you have talent and a purpose for.
EBONY: I think we all feel like that our dreams are too big at times. But it’s true you have to begin with a vision.
KL: Who are you waiting for to show up? That’s not where real founders come from. Founders seek, find, and define what it is. Being comfortable with making definitions is really important. You can’t sit around waiting for someone. We have to get to a place where we realize that what we have as individuals is one of a kind. What you have is one of a kind and what you have is only something that you can bring to the marketplace and to the world that no one else can get credit for.
EBONY: When you mentor young women of color, what is the biggest detriment you find they face in terms of being their greatest?
KL: Distractions! There are distractions throwing you off your course. If you could get off your distractions, every moment of your day becomes focused. When I mentor, I’m always identifying the distractions so we can get into a good place and really move forward.
EBONY: It’s good to hear that fresh take. We look at women like you and think you didn’t have any problems on the way to success and it’s just this straight line to living your dream.
KL: I actually had to write out one of my girls’ schedule for her, because to her she couldn’t accomplish anything. She has a baby and other things going on, like most women in the world. I wrote her schedule and we figured out that she did have 40 hours to give to work and plus had a day off. We had to go through the whole thing. We are always looking at the things we don’t have, the resources we don’t have, instead of looking at what we do have. The only reason I can speak to you about distraction is because I’ve been distracted before. I can speak on that because I deal with it every day. Stay focused and everything else will follow. Your best days are ahead of you.
EBONY: I hope you continue to share that message with women who want to be great and achieve excellence.
KL: It’s about owning your greatness. Everybody is not called to be an entrepreneur; everybody is not called to be a journalist. Whatever your greatness is, you need to own it. Everybody is an entrepreneur in spirit of owning his or her greatness.
EBONY: What would you like to see happen in the beauty industry in regards to African-American women in the future?
KL: I want to see more businesses do business with Black women. I don’t want it to be so taboo that someone would do business with a Black-owned company in the beauty industry. I just went in Nordstrom and there was not one Black-owned cosmetic line there.
I was in Atlanta and the market is very Black. And I know a lot of times when you’re in Idaho, you might not find a lot of Black lines, because there aren’t many Black people. I understand that and I get the geography. But to be in Atlanta, Georgia, where there are a lot of Black people, and to not have one line that was Black owned didn’t sit well with me.
I want to see Black-owned or Black-directed companies doing business with these major retailers across the country, because there are department stores that are not doing it. It has to be done and I want to be a part of it.