Published on April 3rd, 2012 | by thevyne0
Entrepreneur Spotlight: Brunch with Beverly Johnson
On a balmy morning in NYC, the worlds of fashion, celebrity, and business came together for breakfast and an intimate conversation with one of the world’s most recognizable supermodel and history making cover girl, Beverly Johnson. At 59 years old (yes, 59!) Beverly Johnson is busier than most 30-somethings with the launch of a new line of hair and skin care products and the premiere of her television show ‘Beverly’s Full House.’ Here’s what Beverly shared with me and the rest of the room:
On Being a Brand
More than 30 years ago, in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar magazine, Beverly declared she wanted to be a brand. “I knew the modeling career would be short,” she says. “I knew I had to have a plan B, C, D, and F.” With this foresight and wisdom and after numerous – often historic – photo shoots, magazine covers, and runway shows, Beverly set out to make a name for herself beyond the world of fashion. She launched a collection of eyewear for Sears Optical and soon followed with a line of wigs and hair extensions that included her signature ponytail we all know and love. The success of her wigs and hair extensions is enviable. She says that business grew from $6 million to $40 million in just 4 years. “I branded myself in the community… I wanted to be able to go into a black beauty supply store and buy my product,” says Beverly.
For Beverly, entrepreneurship is about having a dream, having a purpose, and having faith. “I always wanted to be in business for myself. It’s now or never”, she says. “Every morning I wake up, I wake up with a purpose. Not just to make a dollar but to also make a difference.” Specifically speaking about her latest line of hair and skin care products Beverly says,“It’s something I have always dreamt about. I took a leap of faith and after I did all of the right people started falling in line for me.”
On Her New Product Line
Beverly’s latest business endeavor is a brand new line of hair and skin care products sold at Target and on her site, beverlyjohnson.com. “There’s a hole in the market,” she says. “There are wonderful products for hair and skin that we don’t get.” She is personally and actively involved in the product development process ensuring that everything from the bottle to the product inside is made and manufactured in the U.S. and that the product names reflect her world of fashion and business. Names like ‘Photo Finish,’ ‘Top Model,’ and ‘Work It’ are all by Beverly. “There’s no compromise in my line of products,” she says.
On her OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network series, ‘Beverly’s Full House’
Among those who have followed in Beverly’s footsteps of creating a set of successful eponymous brands is Beverly’s dear friend, Oprah Winfrey. The two met long before Oprah was Oprah when Beverly got a call about a reporter from Baltimore who wanted follow her for a story about ‘A day in the life of a Supermodel.’ The reporter was Oprah Winfrey and they remained friends. Beverly appeared on ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ many times over the years and can now be seen on OWN starring in ‘Beverly’s Full House’ – a docu-series about life with her daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter all under one roof. Beverly spoke openly and caringly about her daughter Anansa, who is a plus size model. The show is a real, heartfelt exploration of their mother-daughter relationship which has been strained over the years. Now with Anansa’s husband and baby daughter in the house, Beverly takes on all of the ups and downs of trying to make it all work. The show premiered this past Saturday, so be sure to check your local listings and tune in!
Wisdom from Beverly Johnson
“When you’re in action and when you’re in faith there is no fear”
“95% of everything is just showing up”
“If you’re not going forward, you’re going backward. Stay in motion”
“When I arrive at a fashion show and there are no black girls I leave. We are not a trend.”
Tell us: did you watch the premiere of ‘Beverly’s Full House’? What did you think?