Starting a business is easy—being an entrepreneur isn’t and one show is showing us what it’s really like to build the next million-dollar company.
This past summer SheaMoisture, The Roku Channel, MACRO Television Studios and The New Voices Foundation debuted “The Next Black Millionaires,” a docuseries that captures the gritty journey of three passionate entrepreneurs aiming to mold their companies into household names.
The docuseries takes an intimate look at the journeys of Dorian Morris, founder of Undefined Beauty, LaToya Stirrup, founder of KAZMALEJE and Neil Hudson, founder of Scotch Boyz. They all sat down with ESSENCE to share their experience on the show, advice for emerging entrepreneurs and what it takes to the next Black millionaire.
Most small business owners I’ve spoken with describe themselves as being most comfortable working behind the scenes. What is it like stepping in front of the camera for the filming of the show?
The SheaMoisture Next Black Millionaires docuseries and program in general has been instrumental in getting visibility for Scotch Boyz. I’ve always said that getting on a shelf at a major retailer, like a Target, is harder than getting into Harvard and the NBA combined, but with this program and docuseries the growth of our company has been accelerated by at least a decade. To be honest I’m a bit camera shy but no one can tell the Scotch Boyz story better than me and my co-founders. The persons who are going through all the challenges of building the business. The docuseries afforded me the opp to do just that and what better platform than this.
Being in the SheaMoisture Next Black Millionaires docuseries has been a game-changing experience for us. The program has equipped us with the capital, tools, and resources needed to accelerate our business while the docuseries brought us a new level of visibility. We have been given the space to share our authentic stories without the need for competition. I was excited to get in front of the camera and provide a behind-the-scenes look into our lives as founders. Social media has made entrepreneurship look really sexy with flashy cars, trips around the world, and lots of money being made “overnight.” But with the docuseries, you get a glimpse of the actual work that goes into building brands…the sacrifices, the highs, the lows, the decisions, and everything in between.
That is correct. I typically don’t like being a part of the spotlight, but stepping in front of the camera for the SheaMoisture Next Black Millionaires docuseries has been a catalyst for visibility and brand awareness around Undefined. I was able to lean into authenticity and give my supporters, both new and existing, a look into my real struggles and obstacles I have overcome in building Undefined and trying to spark systemic change across the industry.
What were some of the biggest lessons learned coming out of the experience?
I’ve learned that one of the most valuable aspects of Scotch Boyz is that we are a team. Myself alongside my co-founders have our areas of expertise that we lean into and share a collective hand in driving the success of the business.
A key learning that we all took away from this process is the power and importance of focus. As founders of budding brands, we are constantly trying to solve different problems, develop new innovations to meet the demand of our customers and buyers, etc. This can be very distracting and can lead us down paths that take us away from our core reason for being. This is where focus comes in, because it will help to keep our eyes on our true north instead of chasing the “shiny” things (aka distractions) that inevitably pop up.
The biggest learning that I’ve taken from this experience has been to focus on building a team keeping in mind the principle that “iron sharpens iron.” Just because I “can” do all the things doesn’t me that I “should,” and so building out a team that I can trust and that share similar values and worth ethic as me has been paramount to my success.
What’s some advice you’d offer to emerging Black business owners?
I want my fellow Jamaican, Caribbean and Black members to know that it is important to give back and support others how they would like to be supported in order to build a strong support system and bring wealth to the Black community. As a Black-founded business with humble beginnings, SheaMoisture has allowed Scotch Boyz to expand in ways I didn’t think were even imaginable. I also encourage them to be assertive, be kind, know your non-negotiables and follow your instinct. Your instinct is your own internal artificial intelligence machine that’s guiding you to make the right choice. It’s challenging as a founder and doubly challenging as a minority founder so I’d also recommend that you look for initiatives like The Next Black Millionaires program to help you for the challenges ahead.
Growing a business is challenging so it’s important to have a support system to help you through the challenging times but do the work and always believe in yourself and then add tax.
There is power in building your community to help you as you venture into new opportunities. SheaMoisture is a part of my community and I am excited to see where this takes me and Kazmaleje. So that is the first thing that I would say to Black business owners. I would also note that it is key that Black inventors protect and have ownership of their intellectual property to ensure they’re maximizing their profitability, and protecting the work that they have spent so much time on. We as a community have so many amazing ideas that could and do benefit society. Please be sure to protect your intellectual property so you can get your flowers!
Don’t be afraid to bet on yourself. You may be sitting on an idea or have something you want to contribute to the world. Whatever it is, take a chance because this idea was given to you for a reason.
No matter how hard the journey might become and the obstacles you might face, being purpose-driven can serve as a guiding light. In this, I mean that knowing your why and sticking to it. For Undefined, our why is focused on democratizing beauty through elevating clean, conscious, inclusive plant magic. Inclusivity is extremely important to me and we incorporate diverse illustrations on packaging because representation matters and seeing is believing is becoming. Conscious Capitalism is also extremely important to me because you can do good and do well at the same time. It’s important to remember that you can make a big impact in the community through business strategies/decisions.
All episodes of “The Next Black Millionaires,” are now available to stream on The Roku Channel through Roku devices or TVs, online at TheRokuChannel.com, iOS and Android devices, Amazon Fire TVs, and select Samsung TVs.