No matter what you are selling, make a person know you appreciate them shopping with you.
Charmin has mastered the art of perseverance through her life’s journey. She has been a true pioneer in the beauty industry for over 25 years. She opened the first Beauty Store similar to Ulta in the ’80s when she saw the need for a cosmetic line for women of color. She secured a live spot on QVC with her invention of a Lip powder and sold out. Charmin then opened a successful beauty salon.
Becoming a pioneer in the beauty industry has been her dream for as long as she can remember. Charmin recognized the need to address the lack of products and skincare when it came to women of color.
When she began wearing braids she noticed there was nothing cute or simple to hold her long braids. A ribbon was the only solution however they did not hold the hair secure and always managed to slip out. While washing her car the ribbon slid out and the only thing she had to hold her braids was her coil car cell phone cord. With a wrap and a twist, Rocyalox was born. The only healthy hair accessory for all hair types.
Although her journey through dialysis, a successful kidney transplant, from a living donor, a rare T cell Lymphoma that left her with neuropathy she continues to fight. She brought the Crown Act Law to her Congressman determined to make sure it gets signed into law in Illinois.
Where did the idea for Rocyalox come from?
I began wearing braids and needed something to hold them out of my face that was easy to get in and out without pulling and damaging my hair. I could not find one thing to hold my hair other than a rubber band or something similar. It became quite obvious the people making those items had no clue the damage or pain they caused as you put them in your hair. I reluctantly wore a ribbon until……
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I am up at 4:30 reviewing my list for the day. I make it productive when I cross off the line items as i complete them. If I fail to complete something it goes on my list for the next day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
You either have a need or see where a need can be solved and your mind begins to formulate a plan. Now your mind goes into solving this mode! How am I getting over the bolder around the bolder or finding something to lift the bolder with? Sometimes you must make something to lift the bolder. A true entrepreneur will solve their way through. Blood, Sweat and many tears but it will happen.
What’s one trend that excites you?
African American Natural Hair. When you are taught you have kinky hair you never really pay any attention to it. Then when you discover you do not have kinky hair but tight curly hair the excitement is full-on.
Just to think a law had to be created to allow a race of people to wear their very own hair that grows from their very own scalp. I get excited because people do not understand why African Americans have TIGHT CURLS! Hair serves a purpose. Our hair had to have tight curls to keep the sun to protect our scalps from the hot sun in Africa.
Products like Rocyalox were non-existant because your hair had to be straight. The Natural hair movement has sisters and Black men creating and looking for products to style and use in their hair.
America has seen an Afro Puff, they never knew the pain our babies endured putting a rubber band in and then having to CUT it out. Rocyalox is the First and only WRAP N TWIST design to address this issue. This movement has created great minds to solve this problem.
The Power, Pain, and Profits within the Crown Act Law should also have retailers super excited.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Preparing my day the night before and getting up really early.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Paste big memos on the wall that say stay focused on ________and I would write my goal on the line. We tend to be all over the place as creative people and we won’t finish the race if we keep running in a new race.
Keep your dreams in front of you at all times.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Partnering with diverse people allows you to get a great perspective on not only where your growth is headed but how to stay ahead.
The only thing I know about suntan lotion is it makes you brown. How to put it on, when to put it on, how much, I am clueless and would not think to put it on my shelf if I owned a Beach Hut storefront. This does not make me racist. I just didn’t know there was a need. That is exactly how I feel when I walk into a store and don’t see ROCYALOX. I know the buyers never had a choice. We are thrilled to introduce them to Rocyalox, the diverse hair accessory for ALL hair types INCLUSIVE of your African American girl with curls.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Extend the olive branch of love and pray daily! I would recommend people try and understand what an entrepreneur really is. We do not have a clue how to get what we are striving so hard to get and it is never our intention to hurt someone’s feelings. We come to the table with big balls because we get stepped on a lot. Some of these corporations are so huge we must start at the top. This is only because the layers are so thick the only way through is the top. We just need to get to the right person.
Please know many of us have eaten our 10th peanut butter sandwich. Jelly is a luxury! We are just trying to make it as Friday rolls around and you pick up a check we are going home to peanut butter and jelly because we made it to Friday.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Working with people who are strong in areas I am weak in.
The Library is probably the greatest free resource the world has. I advise anyone having a desire to start your entrepreneurial journey, begin in your library. I would like to give a big shout out to Charmaine at the Chicago Library on Race and Central! The atmosphere and support are over the top!
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I don’t believe in the word FAILURE. I believe the correct word is REPOSITIONING. When you are building anything without directions you don’t fail you may change directions, reposition yourself. If you visualize repositioning you will see yourself out of it.
I had to reposition myself several times. I don’t focus on it because God is the ultimate glorifier! I can use SHE Did That and HARO as examples. I wrote letters trying to get on programs to talk about how ROCYALOX is a game-changer in the industry and no hits. I sit down to watch SHE DID THAT on NETFLIX and BOOM there we are. Two days later I get a response from HARO and sit back and say THANK YOU, God. I wanted Rocyalox to be a part of HISTORY during Black History and we are! Prayer works.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Men’s socks should always be a light color from tan, light brown or white at the bottom because the dark color holds odor-causing bacteria and that is why men have stinky feet.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The docuseries SHE DID THAT by Renea Bluitt is out and on Netflix. This is an excellent series on the struggle of African American women entrepreneurs. I was watching and saw our product ROCYALOX in the movie being worn by 2 sisters talking about their line of clothing so I had to gift my family and friends with the movie. ROCYALOX is now a part of history! The tears of joy continue to flow.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Fiverr, GURU and Checago coffee app any time I need something done that I can not do.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Conversations with God Two Centuries of Prayers By African Americans by James Melvin Washington Ph. D.
Understanding why diversity and unity are so important for the growth of any business. This book is an up-close and real look at how the African American community survived. I want people to understand we are humans who contributed to America.
There is an ethnic strip mall in every city, not one has closed as we listen to the rise and fall of major stores. The simple reason is these store owners stay focused on exactly what the customer they serve WANTS. If every major chain worked with a diverse person to understand how to service the clientele going into their stores the stores would still be thriving.
What is your favorite quote?
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made then feel” MAYA ANGELOU
- Diversity is a game-changer you will win every time you embrace it.
- No Matter what you are selling, make a person know you appreciate them shopping with you.
- Becoming an entrepreneur is having the Spirit of David, you know you can conquer anything even if you only have a slingshot. The perfect timing is when it all falls into place.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.