Vera Moore: Breaking Barriers while Building A Brand

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Vera Moore (friend, mentor and strategic partner), who went from soap opera star to makeup guru, is one of the most influential figures (before Iman or Black Opal and others) to pioneer the ethnic cosmetics industry. She became one of the first African-American soap actress when she played Linda Metcalf on NBC’s Another World  for 12 years. In her days as an actress the makeup industry had not yet woken up to women of color, so she sought to fill that void with cosmetics that would enhance and complement the darker skin tone without making it look ashy, gray or chalky. And so inspired to meet the challenge, in 1979 Vera Moore Cosmetics was launched. In her interview with Arise Entertainment 360’s Lola Ogunnaike and Shannon Lanier on Wednesday June 4th, she shared the dream and the struggles she encountered while successfully entering the highly competitive cosmetics industry. Like many other entrepreneurs this silent but deadly business woman that I’ve come to adore, was faced with the task of competing with the giants on a limited budget and limited distribution. But Vera stayed the course and worked smarter instead of harder.

During “conversations with Vera” as her daughter Consuela affectionately calls her discussions, Vera shares her experiences during her journey to success as a black actress and female business owner. This she does as a way to motivate the young entrepreneurs that she mentors.  Stories about her experiences integrating the Green Acres Mall as the first black business and tenant in the mall’s then 50 year history. The reception may not have been the best, and even though it took her 3 years to get a foot in, and when finally in was placed in the food court, she did not complain but instead paid her dues to the industry and forced people to take notice. Today she is still trailblazing, as women of all ethnic background and skin tones are wearing her products. She single handedly brokered a deal which placed the Vera Moore Cosmetics and skincare line internationally in Duane Reade and Wallgreens stores across the nation. She is currently in over 50 stores and locations and will be celebrating with her 50 Plus Event on June 19th, at the Duane Reade LOOKboutique at Rockefeller Center from 1-8 p.m.  Be sure to register to join the celebration.

In “conversations with Vera,” here are the entrepreneurial lesson’s I have learnt…

  • Stay laser focused - if you are passionate, determined and you keep the dream in front of you anything is possible
  • If there is no risk there is no reward – keep the faith and you will persevere
  • Know your target audience – their likes and dislikes
  • Build the brand first and the success will follow
  • Give value by educating your audience
  • Network, network, network
  • Turn challenges into opportunity by being innovative
  • Maximize every opportunity and develop the ability to be flexible
  • Develop and nurture strategic alliances who will in turn become your ambassadors

I hope this inspires you to take that step and start that side hustle you’ve been wanting to start. Take the leap of faith and start sharing that killer gift or skill that you have been wanting to turn into a business.

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