Rome wasn't built in a day, and a successful brand won't come to fruition overnight. Just ask Tracee Ellis Ross, who has spent the last decade meticulously crafting her entrepreneurial footprint in an industry that is projected to be worth $2 billion in the next four years.
Entertainers like Issa Rae, B. Simone, and Amanda Seales prove that multi-hyphenate hustling isn't a trend, issa lifestyle and Tracee recently sat down with Entrepreneur and let us in on the secret to her entrepreneurial sauce: patience. Tracee explained that the birth of her business came after transitioning from relaxed-to-natural and being left with little-to-too-many options when it came to her hair care regimen:
"I literally started buying everything, to the point that my mother was like, 'Listen here, little girl, your hair products alone are going to break the bank. You need to get either a really good job or a really rich husband if this is going to keep happening.'"
Tracee explained that while her mother's advice had piqued her interest in entrepreneurship, she was still unsure of where to start. Luckily, having been raised by the Queen of Motown herself, the Black-ish actress had already picked up a few lessons on the art of being a boss:
"I don't know that I even knew the word or what it meant. But I feel like my childhood trained me to be a producer and a CEO. My mom is not a woman who sat somewhere and people did things. She is an extremely professional woman who has a sense of agency in her own life and a real work ethic — along with making dinner and waking us up for school and being glamorous, gorgeous, joyful, fun. So it just gave me that example."
Even after Tracee decided to take the leap and begin developing her haircare brand, she did so with virtually "no road map", proving that it's not just about what you know… it's about how bad you want it.
The actress said that after (unsuccessfully) working to launch her brand with not one, but two, major beauty brands, she refused to be discouraged and eventually stumbled upon a fashion collaboration with JCPenny that would ultimately fund the first stages of her business:
"I was like, 'Hold on, everybody. Hold on, team. Hold on!' First of all, how much money can I get and how can that fund the hair company? And then, there were so many extremely important opportunities for growth and to learn how I, my brand, whatever you want to call it, translates monetarily, what works, what goes into articulating my taste, point of view, vision into an actual thing."
With her newfound expertise, the dream that Tracee had envisioned 10 years ago had finally become a reality which should be a reminder to us all that sometimes, patience will take you places that hustling can't.
"I started trying the samples and the team congealed. And I was like, 'Oh my God; this dream is becoming a real thing.' And you could tell that we were trying to fly a plane that we were still building. But we were up in the air."
Featured image by Instagram/@traceeellisross.