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11 Black Female Entrepreneurs You Need To Follow

The road to being self-made is not without sacrifice.

Workin' Girl

National Entrepreneur's Day is a fairly recent national holiday that came into prominence in 2010 when our forever POTUS Barack Obama proclaimed it as such. Since then, the official day has fallen on every third Tuesday of November, meaning this year, November 17 is the moment we raise our glasses in a toast to all of the self-made entrepreneurs out there who have made a bustling empire virtually out of nothing. We see you, sis! Between the endless hours of hard work and the blood, sweat and tears that goes into growing a vision into its fullest potential, the road to being self-made is not one without sacrifice.

Furthermore, as Black women, entrepreneurship holds even more of a special place in our hearts as we strive to become our ancestors' wildest dreams by stepping into our true power. And as the fast-growing group of entrepreneurs in our nation, becoming our own bosses gives us the tools to write our own paychecks in a world that tells us our worth is 63 percent of what non-Hispanic white men are paid. In that way, entrepreneurship has acted as a vessel for Black women to take control of their career and financial destinies while living lives that they love.

To commemorate this National Entrepreneur's Day, here are 11 of our favorite entrepreneurs elevating their hustle and making money moves in 2020 and beyond that you need to follow ASAP.

Monique Rodriguez

Courtesy of Monique Rodriguez

Founder and CEO of Mielle Organics, Monique Rodriguez is a millionaire mogul through and through. The SHEeo went from being an RN and preparing her hair coveted hair products at home to having her products line the shelves of over 100K stores worldwide -- and we live! She credited her self-made journey to millions to a vision planted in her heart and mind from God.

In an xoNecole exclusive, she shared that her entrepreneurial endeavors took root well before she knew it was possible for her efforts to bear fruit. And this year, she sought to create a similar legacy with the creation of More Than a Strand. She told xoNecole in regards to her story:

"I want people to look at me [and] I want them to see themselves in me. And to see that, listen, this was a girl who was just from the Southside of Chicago that had a dream and she was able to accomplish her dream. She had a lot of faith and little experience, but look what she was able to accomplish."

Follow Monique on Instagram @exquisitemo.

Watchen Nyanue

Courtesy of Watchen Nyanue

Founder and CEO of I Choose the Ladder, Watchen Nyanue is doing her best to provide Black women in corporate spaces with the tools to "climb the ladder" of success the way that they want to achieve it. The Liberian-born entrepreneur saw a void in the opportunities and rooms Black women were allowed access to and sought to change it with the creation of her career consulting company as well as her career summit, The Climb. It's clear elevating Black women is her mission. She revealed to xoNecole:

"I love us for real. If you get us in a position to win, we're always going to make sure that we all win."

Follow I Choose the Ladder on Instagram @ichoosetheladder.

Melissa Butler

Courtesy of The Lip Bar

The Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler has come a long way since facing rejection from the critically-acclaimed ABC series Shark Tank. The self-proclaimed "rebel with a cause" dared to be different and dared to be great by turning her "no" into the only "yes" that mattered: her own. She fought for her brand of cocktail-inspired bold vegan lipsticks to become what it is today, a bonafide beauty empire that now includes foundation and a recently-launched concealer. In conversation with xoNecole earlier this year, Melissa shared how the customer stays at the forefront of her mind as a leader:

"I'm understanding that in time, things change, the customer's needs change. My job as the leader of the organization is to make sure that I'm always serving the customer."

From startup to household name, Melissa is definitely an entrepreneur to follow.

For more of Melissa, follow her on Instagram @melissarbutler.

The Brown Bohemians

Courtesy of The Brown Bohemians

The Brown Bohemians are culture curators and co-founders Vanessa Coore Vernon and Morgan Ashley who together spearhead the mission to being the change they wish to see in their community with The Bohemian Brands. The two, who started as best friends before evolving into business partners, created their brand to emphasize the color that is often washed out of the bohemian space. In addition to self-care, intersectionality is a huge focus of the duo and painting a lifestyle brand representative of the fully-realized self-expression of Black and brown bohemians. This year, the entrepreneurs dropped their latest project, a 200+-page coffee table book, Brown Bohemians: Honoring the Light and Magic of Our Creative Community.

When discussing their intention of infusing their Black and queer identities into their brand, Morgan Ashley shared with xoNecole:

"Identifying as a woman, a Black woman, and a queer Black woman is extremely important to me. I would like to say that I put a ton of attention behind it and always want to put it on the forefront, but it just happens organically because those are things that I'm so proud to be. It just comes across in everything that I do. Blackness and conversation around race and ethnicity are in everything."

To follow Vanessa, follow her @thebazaarbohemian and to follow Morgan, follow her @oaklantathebohemian.

Jamisa McIvor-Bennett

Courtesy of Jamisa McIvor-Bennett

Jamisa McIvor-Bennett is a testament to the financial freedom that can be waiting for you on the other side of generational wealth and an impressive multi-million-dollar real estate portfolio. The now-26-year-old was 19 working in a supermarket when her grandmother changed her life by giving her a quitclaim deed transfer to her house for a total of $400. That property would lay the groundwork for the portfolio of 21 properties and counting she owns under her belt. The real estate guru spoke to xoNecole earlier this year about her path and dropped gems on how others could follow suit:

"Right now, my portfolio total is $3.2 million, cash flow is a little under $50,000 a month."

Let's just say, we'll have what she's having.

For more of Jamisa, follow her on Instagram @rosebudsinvestment.

Alex Elle

Courtesy of Alex Elle

Alex Elle is a true testament of the abundance that await you when you stand firmly in your truth and allow transparency to reign supreme. The former blogger has worn many hats and had many businesses, but known of them stuck quite like words have. The healer has used her gift with the pen to touch others and become a leader in the self-love movement. Since amassing hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram, Alex has also lent her gifts to writing, authoring books like Love in my Language and the recent After the Rain.

In a recent conversation with xoNecole, she revealed how doing the (inner) work led her to her best life:

"When it comes to my process: self-choosing has been like a prayer; it's been a meditation and a mantra. Being able to hold myself accountable when I get it right and when I get it wrong has really been the greatest lesson in writing for me. The turning point was knowing I wanted something different in my life and knowing that I could access it, I just had to show up and do the work, even if it was scary and daunting. And it still is sometimes."

Follow Alex on Instagram @alex_elle.

Mariee' Revere

Instagram/@parmoonx

We all live for moments when well-deserved brands or creators get the credit that they are due. At xoNecole, we love ourselves some dope skincare, so of course MoonxCosmetics came on our radar. The black woman-owned vegan skincare brand is founded by entrepreneur Mariee' Revere and had the ultimate viral moment earlier this year when they made $1.8 million in sales in 9 minutes.

Though the company has been a thing for three years, they truly started to see the fruits of their labor this year after 20,000+ orders catapulted them into seeing Ms in sales in a matter of minutes. Next up, we're sure we'll see the beauty entrepreneur's brand lining the shelves of our favorite retail stores. Keep glowing and growing Queen!

For more of Mariee', follow her on Instagram @parmoonx.

Jasmine Jordan

Courtesy of Jasmine Jordan

Jasmine Jordan's father might be a legend, but the mogul-in-the-making is establishing a legacy all her own through her pioneering work with the Jordan brand. Although some people might feel that she has a leg up in life because of her famous dad, Jasmine has worked hard for her opportunities and her subsequent wins. In conversation with xoNecole earlier this year, she noted:

"Do I reap the benefits of it being his daughter? Absolutely. But I have no right to claim those things, and I never do because those are his accomplishments. I'm his daughter and I'm still going to make a name and do whatever I need to do so people can see me for me."
"If I can have my work ethic, my accomplishments, and my success on projects outshine the fact that I'm my father's child, then my job is done."

For more of Jasmine, follow her on @mickijae.

Tika Sumpter & Thai Randolph

Courtesy of SugaBerry

The ladies behind SugaBerry are Tika Sumpter and Thai Randolph. With the modern-day mom-focused brand is a major pivot in Tika's career who has shifted from acting to pour into entrepreneurship. Alongside Thai, the co-founders are inviting moms of color to indulge through their website, social media platforms, and podcast. In a conversation with xoNecole, Tika stated:

"There are a million websites on motherhood, and we were barely there."

Thai shouted out the significance of SugaBerry's presence in this space by adding:

"Historically, Black women have not been depicted as vessels deserving of care. We've seen in a caretaker's context. The idea that there should be indulgent self-care afforded us...that is a foreign concept to so many people."

Follow Sugaberry on Instagram @thesugaberries.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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