Everybody loves Tracee. Now, everyone also loves her thoughtfully curated haircare brand Pattern, a labor of love that Ellis Ross oversees from end-to-end. This may come as a surprise since she is already bonafide star in Hollywood—she’s also a part of a growing cohort of celebrity-driven brands that many may perceive as ones with famous faces lended to them just for the marketability of it all. But that’s not her story.
“I’m not a celebrity brand person,” Ellis Ross tell ESSENCE in a Zoom interview while in her car. She was running from one appointment to the next, likely related to one of her many duties she juggles. “I came into this as a consumer, and when I started Pattern, the celebrity brand thing was not even a trend.”
Although Ellis Ross officially started Pattern in 2019, she’d been laying the foundation for it over the course of a decade.
“I launched into being a founder and a CEO as a consumer who saw a big gap in the market,” she tells ESSENCE. “And it took me ten years to get the company off the ground. By the time I found my partners, even though I am the majority owner of the company, by the time I found my partners, I already had gotten a retail partner. I’d already pitched and convinced Ulta that we were the brand they needed. So, this is my baby, as opposed to a company that I put my name on.”
She shared that one of the things critically important to her at the ideation stage was formulating products that would be effective and actually delivered on their promise.
“I spent so much time in the trenches of my hair and in retail trying to find things that worked, even though they wrote on the bottle that it was supposed to be for my hair, but they weren’t,” she tells ESSENCE. “We even pushed our launch because I wasn’t happy with the leave-in conditioner.”
That’s not the case now, as the brand spans from shampoos, conditioners and masks to heat styling protectants and even a specially crafted blow dryer for textured hair types. Pattern has also expanded to being carried in retailers around the world including UK-based drug store chain Boots, Sephora and Amazon. And that last company in the list is one she’s partnered with to help support other committed business owners with their own growth journey.
Earlier this month, she was a distinguished speaker at the retail behemoth’s sellers conference Amazon Accelerate in Seattle. There, the ever-candid multi-hyphenate pulled the curtain back on her journey as a business owner and small business seller in Amazon’s store while also offering some sage advice.
“Just stay the course,” she offers the audience in her final remarks at the conference. “Remember there’s information in the no’s. Let yourself take disappointment and the hit, but don’t take it personally.”
She adds: “There are a lot of reasons people will give you that your idea is not a good one. But you only need one person to believe in you.”