We had the good fortune of connecting with Jeri Guyette and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jeri, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
When I first conceptualized my brand, I knew that I wanted Vintage Vixen Cosmetics LLC to not only be a cosmetic company that offered bold and exciting colors but also be beneficial for maturing skin. It was imperative that it was representative of women who loved wearing cosmetics and who were experiencing the problems associated with ageing skin yet still wanted to keep being their authentic, fun, unique selves. It was also important that I utilized women in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and “Finer” as my Brand Ambassadors and in my ad campaigns. This was so that my customers could see someone that was relatable and feel inclusive in the beauty industry.
Next, I wanted to create formulas and source manufacturers who would be able to help me bring my concept to fruition. I wanted to incorporate the key botanical ingredients that I knew would address the fine lines and wrinkling that were caused by the loss of collagen due to estrogen depletion. My brand had to be cruelty-free, paraben free and to the fullest extent possible, Vegan friendly. Once these factors were mapped out, the business registration, legal structure, business plan, branding, marketing strategy and execution all had to be constructed so that I could be prepared to launch.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Vintage Vixen Cosmetics™ LLC is a luxury cosmetics company offering high quality, bold, vibrant colors for the “Alpha” in you. Our brand is ProGenerative™ in formulation to help boost collagen production, maintain moisture levels, provide antioxidant protection against free radicals, and offer defense against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
What sets us apart from other brands is that we are especially created for women in their 40’s, 50’s 60’s and “Finer”. We understand the changes that occur to the body and the skin during menopause and ageing so we strive to address those needs. We include women 35-39 as well because sometimes menopause can occur early naturally or due to surgical intervention. Estrogen depletion, which is prevalent at that time, not only causes excessive dryness of skin but also lowers collagen levels. This, in turn, leads to increased fine lines, wrinkles, and sagging. While we cannot replace the skin’s elasticity as we age, we can continue to build collagen and replenish hydration.
What are you most proud of or excited about?
I am very proud of our creamy matte and satin lipsticks which contain avocado, coconut and castor oils, Shea butter, and Vitamin E to nourish the delicate lip areas. They are named after famous Hollywood stars from by-gone era. The ten classic colors of “The Vixen Collection” are available in va-va-voom reds (The Monroe, The Josephine, and The West), flirty pinks (The Hepburn, The Loren, and The Zsa-Zsa), risque’ merlots (The Eartha and The Holiday) and naughty nudes (The Dandridge and The Horne). “The Soundstage Collection”, inspired by Technicolor, are named after the director’s direction of “Lights!” (Canary yellow), “Camera!” (Caribbean blue), “Action!” (Apple green), “Close-up” (Tangerine orange), and “Cinematic” (Midnight black.) We further pamper the skin with “The Vintage Collection”, our 24K Gold Hydrolyzed Collagen eye and lip masks infused with hyaluronic acid which holds a thousand times its weight in water to keep mature skin plump and supple, reduce undereye puffiness and lighten discoloration.
I’m excited about our newly launched SS2021 eyeshadow collection, “The Little Black Purse Palette”. These fifteen colors are named after Hollywood awards to complement our lipsticks and contain palm oil to seal in moisture, soften wrinkles and provide a velvety smooth application. This is all you’ll need to pack in your overnight bag or travel suitcase since our eyeshadows can be used as a blush, highlighter, and eyeliner.
How did you get to where you are today, businesswise?
Well, we are only two years old, so we are still in the infancy stage. After legally structuring my business and launching our products, I had to implement and execute a marketing plan. Since developing and creating products was my strong point, I had to quickly learn about the various forms of marketing and become intentional in my advertisement strategies. I utilized all social media platforms, Facebook and Instagram ads, radio, and magazine interviews, and speaking engagements to give our brand exposure. I also ensured that we booked Pop-up events to engage with our target audience and allow our customers to sample our products. Getting up close and personal with them sparked some engaging interactions, interesting conversations, and offered us great customer feedback. This was important to me to see how our products were meeting our expectations as well as addressing our customers’ pain points. Currently, I am looking forward to establishing a stronger targeting campaign to include consistent email marketing, increased social media awareness and implementation of an affiliate program to grow our UGC. (User Generated Content.) So far, of the “Know”, “Like” and “Trust” factors, I think we as an Indie company are making positive strides in the right direction. We still have a lot of growth ahead of us, but we are up for the challenge.
Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges?
Lol! That question always makes me laugh. I don’t think any entrepreneur would say their business journey was paved with gold. In my opinion, if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. So, challenges are to be expected. Setbacks happen. You have good days, and you have bad days. What matters most are the persistent days. And once you have the entrepreneurial spirit, that translates into every day. I expect “No’s”, but I don’t Accept “No’s”. Do I have frustrated days? Yes. Depressed days? Goodness Yes! This isn’t for the faint of heart. Especially starting so late in the game as I did. And, unfortunately, no one likes to talk to you about the struggle, the sleepless nights, etc. So, you only see their Glow-up which gives the illusion that their success came easily and happened overnight. The days when I reach a targeted goal, or hear positive reviews or comments, reignites my passion and helps me to overcome my challenges. They give me additional fuel to keep pursuing my dream. I love seeing the look on our “Finer” customers’ faces when they discover that our brand is all about, and for them. I love receiving emails and DMs about them finding the courage to start their own businesses, travel, learn something new, or begin their second and third chapter life transformations. Sometimes I think to myself, “Wow! All of this empowerment from a beauty brand!” And I have this overwhelming joy when I pick up my own brand of cosmetics knowing that it’s mine. It’s so tangible. There’s something special about watching your idea come to life from a thought process, to paper, to reality.
What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way?
I’ve learned to trust my instincts and to be the primary advocate for my passion. Not everyone in your circle will be in your corner and so there will be many times that you just have to show up for yourself and for your business. I’ve found that, when you journey on the path to being a business owner, people close to you will not always support your dreams while perfect strangers will cheer you on from afar. And that’s perfectly ok. Don’t take it to heart. Just keep showing up for yourself. Someone else’s dreams may be hinging on the steps you take to pursue yours. Get comfortable either opening doors to your success or creating them.
I also learned that I needed to regroup from the frenzied start-up mode and change how I was managing my time. It’s true that entrepreneurs will work 80 hours a week for themselves to avoid working 40 hours a week for someone else, but a shrewd businessperson knows that if you become burned out, your business will suffer just as equally. So, I had to learn the art of self-care.
I’ve included seventeen additional “Winner’s Tips” in my collaborative e-book, “The Glambitious Guide to Entrepreneurship”. It’s available for download on our website. https://www.vintagevixencosmetics.com/digital-download-diamonds-ebooks-collection/the-glambitious-guide-to-being-an-entrepreneur
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I’d like them to know that Vintage Vixen Cosmetics™ LLC has arrived to take this generation of women over 40 to the next level. We’re here to disrupt and be seen. The era of the Alpha Vixen is all about Pro-Ageing and embracing “The Gift of Longevity”. We want them to revel in ageing fearlessly, unapologetically, and boldly… and look Glam doing it!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well, since I’m not a native of Atlanta, there are still so many places that I’d love to explore personally. But I’d take them to the Atlanta Botanical Garden (The topiary designs are Amazing! And I especially love the Earth Goddess.), The High Museum of Art (I’m an art fanatic!), and The Georgia Aquarium (I love that place! I could stay there for hours.). We’d also dine at Sweet Georgia’s Juke Joint, Ray’s on the River, get our musical vibe on at St. James Live!, and have an overview of the city and nightcaps at the SkyLounge Atlanta.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m grateful for the loving support of my family and friends who have continued to encourage me along my entrepreneurial journey. Special shoutout to my father, Bill Simmons (my #1 cheerleader and contributor of financial and emotional support) my children, Gina-Marie and Arin Guyette (for their brilliance, graphic design concepts, serving on my Focus Group Board and always supporting my endeavors), my mom, Frances Brown, (for letting me indulge in my individuality) my Diva “Alpha Vixen” aunties, Margie Washington and Nancy Bing (who practically kept my business afloat during the quarantine by purchasing every product we sold), my sister from another mister, Adrienne Stearns-Price (for encouraging me and listening to my product ideas) and last but not least, My Private Joy, (for being here from concept to finish and beyond unconditionally.)
Joey Bandoo Arin Guyette Jeri Guyette