With the rise of more and more black women breaking away from traditional 9-5s to become their own bosses, the CEO is getting a revamp as the SHEeo. CEOs are forging their own paths, blazing their own trails, and turning their passion into a profit. Curious to know how she does it? In the Meet The SHEeo series, we talk to melanated mavens leveling up and glowing up, all while redefining what it means to be a boss.
As an avid vacationer, Jo Neishia Johnson loved shopping her favorite stores for swimsuits and vacation wear. But when many of the stores began to only sell their products online, she found the quality and the aesthetic no longer appealed to her tastes or her budget. She launched Beulah Swim as a solution to a growing need for high-quality swimwear, resort wear and fashion options at low to mid-prices for the confident woman who is ready to slay her vacation. Beulah Swim has been a featured vendor in large-scale events such as ESSENCE Festival and continues to expand its product offering for the fearless and fly traveler.
In this week's feature, meet Jo Neishia Johnson of Beulah Swim.
Courtesy of Jo Neisha Johnson
Title: CEO of Beulah Swim
Location: Jacksonville, Florida
Year Founded: 2016
# of Employee(s): 1
30-Second Pitch: "Iconic moments aren't created, they're curated; and many people, from those with very little social media presence, to influencers and celebrities, strive to capture 'Instagrammable' content. Studies show, 40% of millennials prioritize their travel based on their ability to capture great pictures; and commonly, fashionable millennials pre-plan curated looks, inspired by pre-determined destinations they will visit. Beulah Swim is an emerging brand that offers exclusive swimwear and statement fashion for the fearless and confident woman who is ready to slay her vacation!"
What inspired you to start your brand?
My style preference has always been more than Forever 21, but a lot less than Gucci; BCBG was always my first stop to shop. After a lot of these well-known labels started to phase out their brick and mortar locations, I was forced to do more online shopping. In looking, I was so uninspired by a lot of the fashion that I found available in most online boutiques. In my opinion, I felt that the quality of the products was not what I wanted or the offerings lacked originality. If I did like something, I could find that specific look in multiple boutiques, and that was a turn-off as well. I did find some more custom brands, and then the dilemma became, I didn't want to pay upwards of $300 for more exclusive, designer looks offered by smaller brands.
Because I love to vacation near water, and because I saw a need for high-quality, low to mid-price swimwear, resort wear and fashion options in the smaller brand sector, I moved forward with Beulah Swim.
What was your “a-ha!” moment that brought your idea into reality?
Statistics revealed that Black millennial women spend more than any other demographic on travel and they have one of the highest purchasing powers in retail. Again, when I discovered that there was a need for selective, high-quality, mid-priced poolside and fashion looks, I knew that Beulah Swim would be successful.
Who is your ideal customer?
Women between the ages of 25 and 44. They are likely educated professionals who live in metro areas with a decent discretionary income. Our customer is social, a consistent online shopper and a "cultural traveler". She averages three trips a year and spends about $2,078 on each vacation.
What makes your business different?
What differentiates Beulah Swim from other online boutiques is service, selection (product offerings), and sustainability (quality).
What obstacles did you have to overcome while launching and growing your brand? How were you able to overcome them?
Two major obstacles that I constantly face while growing my brand are effective social media engagement and consistently meeting my sales goal. Initially, I did not want to serve as the face of Beulah Swim. So, I would hire models and photographers once a month to shoot content. However, I have realized that the resources I was spending on photoshoots would give a greater ROI if I spent it on inventory. So, going forward, I will be my own muse and I am expanding our product line beyond swimwear and resort wear. This way, I can shoot content more frequently and invest more in products to sell.
Also, IG analytics showed that I always have a lot of clicks to the website, but the sales did not reflect the activity. Several people have told me that my price point is too high for them, which I'm okay with. I do understand that everyone is not my target customer, but I also understand that people may also question the quality of my pieces, being that Beulah Swim is an online boutique. To remedy this issue, I have signed up to vend at numerous pop-up shops in different cities so potential customers can see and feel the quality of my piece and this has proven successful. The most common compliment I receive at pop-up shops is always in reference to the quality of my collection.
What was the defining moment in your entrepreneurial journey?
Vending in New Orleans during ESSENCE Festival weekend this year has been the most defining moment in my entrepreneurial journey thus far. I have wanted to give up on so many occasions but the love and support Beulah Swim received was overwhelming and I was reassured that there was a space, a need for us.
Where do you see your company in 5-10 years?
Beulah Swim will be the preferred brand for fearless and confident women who are looking for fly pieces to vacation in. By then, we would have expanded our product line to include countless travel-based products.
Where have you seen the biggest return on investment?
My biggest ROI has been vending. I get to introduce my label to and connect with potential customers, as well as gain new customers.
Do you have a mentor? If so, who?
I have two mentors. One of my mentors owns a Human Resources consulting firm; she is one of the most resourceful people I've ever met. I also recently connected with a more seasoned boutique owner who has offered to mentor me.
Biggest lesson you’ve learned in business?
Be grateful for loss; grow from it and appreciate that it wasn't a greater loss. Also, whenever you have the greatest feeling of opposition to attending a networking event or training workshop that you had planned to attend, push through and go! Without fail, that's when I've always benefited the most from connections.
Anything else you would like for people to know, or take away from your entrepreneurial story?
Never, ever give up. It's okay to take a break or even alter your course, but never give up!
For more Beulah Swim, follow them on social media @beulahswim.
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.
Ciara is opening up about what ultimately led to her realizing the relationship with her ex Future no longer served her and that it was time for a change.
In an episode aptly titled "Ciara: Don't Let Him Waste Your Time," the "How We Roll" artist recently pulled up to Alex Cooper's Call Her Daddy podcast for an extensive interview where she spoke about discerning red flags, choosing yourself, how she knew her husband was her one, and when to say when it toxic relationships.
Ciara was an open book as she broached the topic of the rapper Future, recounting to the host when she knew it was time to leave her relationship. "It's almost like your tastebuds change. You gotta also sometimes look in the mirror and reflect on yourself, like what are things that I could be doing differently in my life? I'm looking for a change but what does that mean?"
The 37-year-old multi-hyphenate had a relationship with Future, who is also the father of their son together, Future Zahir, and they started dating in 2012. The pair seemed to be a match in ATL rap and R&B heaven but despite becoming engaged in 2013, the relationship came to an end a few months after Ciara gave birth to their child in 2014.
Back then, sources believed the split was due to Future's alleged infidelity. Now, Ciara is suggesting that calling off her engagement nine years ago was more about coming to terms with hard truths about herself.
The mother of three admitted that becoming a mom when she did woke her up. "When you have a child, it's very important to me, it's no time to play around," Ciara shared. "I am now responsible for another life, so what am I doing, how am I thinking that through?"
Her biggest life pursuit is joy. "I want joy. I want to make sure my cup is full." Realizing that her relationship at the time didn't bring her was a wake-up call she couldn't ignore. She recalled of that time in her life, "When you're tired, you're tired and don't nobody want to be tired all the time."
If you're drained more than energized by the things closest to you, like your relationships, Ciara is a reminder that it's time to reevaluate. "Those are things that come to my mind when I process, when I was making a pivotal moment in my life," Ciara continued.
The "Level Up" vocalist would eventually find the joy she sought in another love, through the answered prayer that is her husband, Russell Wilson. After a whirlwind romance, Ciara and Russell tied the knot in July 2016 and have been devoted and in love ever since.
In addition to her son Future Zahir, 9, the couple have since expanded their family to welcome two more kids, a daughter named Sienna, 6, and a son named Win, 3. This year, the couple took to Instagram to announce the big news that they were expecting their third child together.
"You look at me like that again, we make another kid... You my heart I'm your rib," Ciara cheekily captioned the pregnancy announcement post on Instagram.
In the same podcast episode, Ciara told Alex how she knew her now-husband Russell was her one. After time spent soul-searching, she said knew Russell was the one from the very start. "My mind is as vivid as it can be," she said of her power of manifestation.
"When I saw my husband, I've never seen anything like that." Everything that she had asked God for and prayed for on her healing journey was standing right in front of her in the NFL star. "It was crazy," she said.
Cheers to Ciara for learning her worth and refusing to sacrifice her joy!
Ciara: Don't Let Him Waste Your Time | Call Her Daddy video podcast Alex Cooper
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Featured image by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Strength Of A Woman Festival & Summit