What prompted you to start Carol’s Daughter?
I was making these products in my kitchen for myself. It was my mom who suggested I try selling them at a flea market at a church in Clinton Hill [in Brooklyn]. At the time, it was something like $25 to rent a table.
You eventually decided to take Carol’s Daughter from your side hustle to your full-time gig. Was that scary?
I wasn’t scared. I was working in television and was pregnant with my first son. I’d work Monday to Thursday, and devote nights and Friday to Sunday to Carol’s Daughter. I knew once I had my son there wouldn’t be a way to make all three work. Even if I could get a babysitter, I’d be spending all the money I made to have that babysitter with my son on nights and weekends. I felt confident in giving [Carol’s Daughter] a shot—that it could contribute to our household or, at the very least, not take away from it. And I knew, worst case scenario, I could always go back to work.
In 2014, Carol’s Daughter was sold to L’Oréal. What was that moment of selling like?
For me, it was amazing because there was so much work that went into being in the position to sell. Sometimes people think of selling a company like they do real estate—like things must be going badly to have to sell. It’s actually the opposite. We had to show the company was doing well and a success. This is a company that I started at my kitchen table with $100, for it to culminate in being sold to the biggest beauty company—I was proud.
What’s a big lesson you’ve learned as a leader?
Because I didn’t come from a corporate or even beauty background, when my company became more corporate and we had things like a CFO and a CEO, my way of operating was to be transparent. I worked alongside people—there was no “I’m the boss” attitude. Unfortunately, because of how I did some things and because of some of the people I had working for me, I learned that didn’t work. I need to be comfortable sitting at the head of the table—figuratively, but also sometimes literally. At the end of the day, I realized I know this company better than anyone else, and I am running this ship, and I need to make that clear—even if my voice could be a little shaky.
What advice would you give to budding female entrepreneurs?
You have to trust your gut— specifically as an entrepreneur because you’ll always be in spaces and places you don’t necessarily feel comfortable.
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