Monique Bivens, Owner of Brazilian Babes LLC.

Monique Bivens, Owner of Brazilian Babes LLC.

Although some African Americans have seen success in the beauty industry, there still remains a major gap when it comes to ownership. Harlem-bred entrepreneur Monique Bivens is looking to change that through her business Brazilian Babes; a beauty boutique that she opened in her hometown. I recently stopped by Brazilian Babes to chat with Monique about entrepreneurship in the realm of beauty. Check out some of the career advice that she provided below!

On what inspired her to get involved in the beauty industry:

“I actually wanted to be a media personality but when I was 20-years-old I applied for Sephora and everyone was saying that getting involved in the beauty industry would be perfect for me. I was a cashier at Sephora and ended up working there for 5 years and that was my beginning. That experience pushed me to learn more about skincare. I got so familiar with ingredients, products, and skin types. That’s where everything started.”

On obstacles that she ran into while launching Brazilian Babes:

“There’s so many things that you don’t realize that you’re going to run into when you’re beginning a business because you’re thinking about all of the surface thing, but not all of the things that’s underneath. I came to a neighborhood where there were women who didn’t know much about certain beauty services. Harlem is changing and there are so many different cultures and races. One obstacle that I ran into was judgement. Some people were like ‘I don’t know if I want a black girl waxing me.’ There’s so much going on with society period right now with color and race and I never thought that it would affect a business like this. I deal with it every single day.”

On African American ownership in the beauty industry:

“Confidence and consistency is key. I feel like black women are so creative and we have so many things that we can do. You have to find that one thing that is the best for you and you keep moving forward with that no matter if it starts off slow. I believe in the law of attraction. If you believe it other people will believe it. You have to move forward and not change your mind. Be confident in what you are offering. You can’t be worried about what other people are thinking about it. Confidence and consistency can make a lot more black women successful.”

Advice for aspiring entrepreneurs:

“I would tell them to keep the law of attraction in mind and speak things into existence. I would also tell them to evaluate the service that they are bringing and identify what makes them different. Marketing is huge; it can make or break a business. You want to make sure that you have creative ideas to market yourself properly. For someone who is opening a new business they have to make sure that it is attractive and they have to really be into whatever they’re doing so that after they’ve attracted people, they can keep people.”

On what’s on the horizon for Brazilian Babes:

“We will provide more skincare services. I want this to be the place that you trust. I want this to be the go-to place for beauty and skincare knowledge. I want to focus on skincare, discoloration microdermabrasion, and body treatment. I want Brazilian Babes to be a beauty haven. I want to keep it glamorous and small. I will continue to be hands-on with my business.”

Written by Brandee

Brandee Sanders is a Harlem-bred writer and editor. Her work has been well received in the media. She's been featured on, The Root, NewsOne and countless other outlets. Brandee is the founder of a Harlem-based blog called Meet Me Uptown. In 2014, she launched Brunch With Brandee a one-stop...
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