In 2015, we saw Zim Ugochukwu expand the Travel Noire digital platform into a brand that offers curated travel experiences. This year will see Issa Rae expand her media imprint into the podcasting world with “Fruit." and every time we catch a new episode of Real Housewives of Atlanta, we see Kandi Burruss and her castmates launching a new product or service to build their empires beyond their hour slot on Sunday night.
These girl bosses are expanding their businesses and brands, but taking that leap is no easy feat. When you're an entrepreneur ready to take your business to the next level, how do you know when it's time to expand? How do you know when you are ready?
Venetta Carraway, founder of Ritzy Glitzy Girlz Club, says it all comes down to demand. The entrepreneur, who has thrown parties for the daughters of celebrities such as Chris Rock and Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro, started her business from a mobile on-the-go glam spa for tweens. Her original concept offered a unique pampering salon offering spa treatments, like ice cream facials in the comfort of her client's own homes, but as word spread of her exceptional kid parties, she expanded it to a storefront operation. “I knew that it was time to expand when we couldn't keep up with the high demand of our on-the-go parties. After doing some research, I noticed that there weren't any mobile spas for kids or physical locations of the sorts in my area. That's when I realized that the market was wide open," Venetta says.
For Fracassi Lashes, founder Falicia "Fracassi" Garries, it was all a matter of being aware of what consumers were missing.
After recognizing a need in the market for luscious lashes, she launched her business out of her remodeled garage in 2009, and with the help of family opened her first storefront that same year. When a year later the lines were out the door and people were driving for miles to get the Fracassi touch, she decided to open another store, and has since grew the brand to three boutiques and a makeup line. “I started this brand by being in tune with the market. I saw that there was a need for a place that does eyelashes. There wasn't a place that was clean, sanitary, had sterilization processes and a professional who understood eye lashes and knew how to make them look natural," Falicia says.
With years of experience with growing and expanding a brand, we chatted with the two entrepreneurs to get some tips on how to go from an idea to building an empire.
Do your research before reaching in your pockets.
Venetta: "I did tons of online research on how to operate a store, salon, spa and party business. I researched anything that I could think of that would possibly benefit my endeavor. I purchased equipment little by little; storing it all in my home until I had pretty much everything I needed to open. After that I looked for a building that would work for us in price and location. Once I secured that, I was ready to go."
Stack up and then staff up.
Falicia: "I had to turn my business into a seven days a week operation and hire staffing. Then I had to hire a manager. My advice is to make sure you have perfected one store first. That store should be able to run completely smoothly without you being there, because once you start to expand your focus will be on the new store. You have to clone yourself, which is hard to do. You have to find someone who cares as much as you, someone who is honest just like you, someone who is observant and can be meticulous in detail."
Listen to your clients.
Falicia: "Sometimes you can learn a lot by listening to your clients. People started asking us if we offer body waxing or this type of waxing, and at the time we were just focusing on the facial waxing. It took for us to listen to our clients to start offering those services."
Venetta: "We want to continue to expand the brand into so many avenues of the business. Our spa products were not for sale and our customers kept asking to purchase them, so we decided to create our own line of bath and body products for are clients."
Have a team of experts in your corner.
Falicia: "Have a team that helps with checks and balances. I have a small board with whom I consult with about what I want to do when it comes to expanding services or products. They offer their suggestions like if something might not be profitable or not. The board should be experienced in business, marketing and industries related to your brand."
Build a financial safety net.
Venetta: "Make sure you have money on side. Unforeseen situations happen to the best of us, so have a savings to offset expenses that are unexpected. It's always best to be on the safe side so that you can bounce back and recover."
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Originally published January 4, 2017
Brittney Oliver is a marketing communications professional from Greater Nashville. Over the past three years, Brittney has built her platform Lemons 2 Lemonade to help Millennials turn life's obstacles around. Her platform is known for its networking mixers, which has brought over 300 NYC young professionals, entrepreneurs, and creatives together to turn life's lemons into lemonade. Brittney is a contributing writer for Fast Company and ESSENCE, among other media outlets.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
There’s nothing quite as humbling as navigating adulthood with no instruction manual. Since the turn of the decade, it seems like everything in our society that could go wrong has, inevitably, gone wrong. From the global pandemic, our crippling student debt problem, the loneliness crisis, layoffs, global warming, recession, and not to mention figuring out what to eat for dinner every night. This constant state of uncertainty has many of us wondering, when are the grown-ups coming to fix all of this?
But the catch is, we are the new grown-ups.
As if it happened without our permission, we became the new adults. We are the members of society who are paying taxes, having children, getting married, and keeping our communities afloat, one iced latte at a time. Still, there’s something about doing all these grown-up duties that feel unnaturally grown-up. Enter the #teenagegirlinher20s.
If there’s one hashtag to give you the state of the next cohort of adults, it’s this one. Of the videos that have garnered over 3.9M views, you’ll find a collection of users who are overwhelmed by life’s pressing existential responsibilities, clung to nostalgia, and reminiscent of the days when their mom and dad took care of their insurance plans.
no like i cant explain to her why i had to buy multiple tank air dupes from aritzia #teenagegirlinher20s #fyp
The concept of being a 20-something or 30-something teenager is linked to the sentiment of not feeling “grown up enough” to do grown-up things while feeling underprepared and even nihilistic about whether that preparation even matters.
It’s our generation’s version of when we ask our grandmothers how old they are and they simply reply with, “I still feel 45,” all while being every bit of 76 years old. In this, we share a warped concept of time while clinging to a desire for infantilization.
Granted, the pandemic did a number on our concept of time. Many of us who started the pandemic in our early or mid-20s missed out on three fundamental years of socialization, career development, and personal milestones that traditionally help to mark our growth.
Our time to figure out and plan our next steps through fumbling yet active participation was put on pause indefinitely and then resumed provisionally. This in turn has left many of us hanging in the balance of uncertainty as we try to make sense of the disconnect between our minds and bodies in this missing gap of time.
Because we’re all still figuring out what the ramifications of being locked away and frozen in time by a global pandemic will have on us as a society, there really is no “right” way of making up for lost time. Feeling unprepared for any new chapter of life is a natural rite of passage, pandemic or not. However, it’s important to not stay stuck in the last age or period of life that made sense to us because self-growth is the truest evidence of personal progress.
So whether you’re leaning on your inner child, teenager, or 20-something for guidance as you fill the gap between your real age and pandemic age, know that it’s okay to grieve the person you thought you would be and the milestones you thought you’d hit before you ever knew what a pandemic was. If there’s anything that the pandemic taught us, it’s that we have the power to reimagine a better world and life for ourselves. And if we tap into our inner teenager as a compass, we can piece together our next chapter with a fresh outlook.
Sure, we’ve lost a couple of years, but there are still some really amazing ones ahead.
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