The saying, “making profit from your passions,” couldn’t be truer for model and entrepreneur Danielle Edmond. As business owners emerge from within their living rooms, offices, and struggles—it’s safe to say that stories such as Danielle’s are just the motivation we need to jumpstart our dreams.
Founder of Stay Golden Cosmetics, Danielle “Danz” Edmond has already reached great success for her company from which she bootstrapped and launched two years ago. Today, she receives about 500 orders a day, while amassing $1.4 million in revenue from sales without any major press features, retailers, or investors.
In this interview with BAUCE, Danielle discusses how her modeling career prepared her for life as a beauty entrepreneur. She also shares how her intentional daily routine has set her for e-commerce success.
One of the best things about Stay Golden Cosmetics is that it is inclusive from skin tone to age. As a black model, what is the biggest struggle you’ve had with the beauty industry throughout your career, and how your experience within this industry catapult the idea for your business?
Danielle: I first started modeling in 2009 when I was 19. At the time, the shows that paid well hardly had hair stylists and make-up artists that could properly cater to black models. The stylist rarely looked like me and they didn’t have the knowledge to style our hair in the manner in which the fashion designer wanted it. The makeup artist at these shows would struggle as well. They wouldn’t have foundation ranges wide enough to properly match our skin tones much less our undertones. Years later, stepping into a Sephora would always seem like a semi-hit or miss. Shade ranges for myself would always be a touch off until Fenty Beauty released their line.
Being inclusive was the foundation for our brand. We started with shades that would look amazing on all skin tones. I didn’t want to have anyone feeling left out.
It’s very impressive that with no major press features, retailers, and investors—Stay Golden Cosmetics has made over $1 million in sales. What is the biggest lesson learned from this success story?
Danielle: Thank you! A lot of it stemmed from understanding our community. We had to figure out where they hung out online and what grabs their attention. We had to be constantly evolving because what worked previously wouldn’t work as well currently. It became a matter of constantly learning and offering the best customer service.
Within life, we take on different passions that in turn, could be the starting board for careers we love. You went on to do so by establishing Danz Distributors, LLC. Do you feel it is important to monopolize your strengths in order to get the most out of life from them?
It’s important to know what your strengths are and then honing them. I feel the same way about weakness. From there, you can work towards your success. The moment we try to control our strengths and even weaknesses it limits us to what we can achieve. Because I’m constantly learning, my strengths and weaknesses shift quite often. If I tried practicing control of that, I don’t think we would have evolved in the capacity that we did.
Being in the modeling industry can come with connections that could, in turn, benefit your other businesses in the long run. How has this experience shown you the importance and benefits that stem from networking within any environment you are in?
Danielle: Networking for me has never been easy but I’ve always practiced being nice to every single person I meet. I found myself connecting with like-minded people. I tend to observe more than speak in casual settings, but I always end up connecting with someone who’s doing great things. This usually starts with very casual conversions rather than pushing the ‘let’s network’ agenda.
In a lot of cases, when I have exhausted my own research, I turn to my network of newly formed friends and they’ve always led with tips and ideas to inform my solutions.
What is the hardest aspect about being black in the beauty industry, and what are some tips or tricks that you wished you would’ve known going in?
Danielle: The hardest thing is not having access and insider or industry knowledge. While I spent a lot of time teaching myself, getting aid from mentors and advisors, the knowledge is different within race.
For example, there are grants in place for women like me that I didn’t know about until recently. I didn’t even think that I qualified. I was so proud when we hit 7 figures last year but I did not realize how inspiring that would be to others, or that people would be interested in learning about our journey of building the brand.
Your recent release, the Island Girl Collection, is inspired by Carribean culture from music to attitude. Do you feel that it is important to immerse your personal identity, values, and traditions within your brand?
Danielle: I definitely do. From day one my roots played an integral part in my business and it started with customer care. In our culture, we are taught early to be very well mannered and respectful. This is shown in our standard of care with our customers. I went to the Queen’s School in Jamaica, and we had to be quite ‘queen-like’. This poured over into the business even with the names of some of our products like “Regal” and “King”.
Our brand at its core pushes to be different. I have never seen a cosmetic brand take on the persona of a West Indian. We would love to represent the diaspora globally. We can show the world why the West Indies is so fun, beautiful, and vibrant.
Often, people with many talents and trades feel like they have to pick just one to be successful in the business world. Do you believe that is true? If not, what swayed you to make the most of all your skills?
Danielle: I never liked the term “Jack of all trades, ruler of none.” I always felt like only someone who failed at juggling would say that. I believe different people can achieve differently. I am working on multiple businesses because I want to have multiple streams of income. And I yearn to utilize my skill set. I believe I was blessed with many talents. It wouldn’t be smart of me to cast any to the side. I want to do everything. It’s exciting for me to have different types of businesses because they all contribute to me learning and I love learning.
Within the age of social media, it can seem like business ownership is more like a perfect series of big wins, rather than a non-linear series of small ones in the midst of chaos. What is the hardest part about business ownership for you, and why do you feel as though the “perfect journey” to ownership is what’s commonly portrayed today?
Danielle: The hardest part would be figuring out how to evolve with the quickly changing social media atmosphere. I’ve personally never seen so many entrepreneurs ever; everyone wants to be a boss. Everyone has something to prove or show. People show their wins because it could be their way of saying “finally, victory” after going through a series of headaches to get to where they are. It could be their own way of showing off their trophy when they only put their wins online. They may want to prove to the world that they are truly entrepreneurs. It may attract the praise they feel they need to keep going. A large part of the entrepreneurial lifestyle side of Social Media these days looks like people needing a lot of approval. It makes me wonder what would happen if they post their win, and no one praises them.
There’s a saying that goes “do nothing without intention.” In pursuing the task of being your own boss, it seems as if you have to be intentional in everything you do. How has your intentional daily routine set you up for success?
Danielle: It has played possibly the most important role in what we’ve been able to achieve. I start my mornings with devotions and end my days with reading. I say my affirmations and create my agenda. I feel accomplished when I don’t miss a beat of my routine. Even if my day starts to go ‘off’; because it started well, I don’t drift off into the deep end. In the beginning, I would have moments where I would freak out if a shipment got stuck in customs. Now I know how to calmly deal with it. Having a routine allows me to have intentional days.
What is one lesson modeling taught you about going after the things you believe in, that you won’t forget?
Danielle: Life is too short and a modeling career is shorter. Modeling gave me the confidence to do everything I never thought I’d be able to do and own things that I believed only ‘rich’ people could afford.