Roderick Foster, cofounder of Velvet Noir, is ultimate example of doing it for the culture. The hustle that he put behind his men’s grooming brand is a story for the ages.
In a recent Shop ESSENCE Live, he shared his brand journey with viewers, and it was both a heartbreaking, and heartwarming story.
After being fired from his corporate gig a year ago, Foster had to reassess what he wanted to do professionally. With Velvet Noir already in the works as a “side project,” he made the decision to develop it into a full-fledged brand. Foster said he was on a mission to “help every Black man become the best version of themself.”
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But after he fell behind on his payments (he was putting all of his money back into the brand), his car was repossessed. Foster was not feeling like the best version of himself but he was determined to get his products into Black men’s hands.
“For three weeks I walked a mile and a half to the post office dropping off packages to make sure my product got out,” he tells ESSENCE. “Because I knew it was going to blow [up].”
It took Foster another three weeks to get the money to get this car back. And as he put it, “I ain’t look back since.”
It’s the ultimate story of Black small-business owners persevering in spite of the astronomical challenges placed in front of them on the way to greatness. It’s the answer when people question anyone’s resolution to shop mostly Black-owned businesses and keep their coins in the community.
“If you’re on your mission right now, don’t stop,” he says, choking back tears. “Put it in your heart. Put the work in. And you will get out of it what you put into it. We’re on our way to becoming a staple and I’m grateful.”