By Ryan Velez
Some may be surprised or even scoff at the idea of leaving the high-powered (and often high-paid) legal world to take a chance at opening their own business, especially in a field such as beauty that doesn’t necessarily carry the same prestige. However, one Harlem woman has managed not only to survive but thrive, doing just that. Her story, reported by Black Enterprise, proves that whether you are on top looking for a change or struggling looking to make it, entrepreneurship is a viable and fulfilling choice.
Desiree Verdejo had been practicing law for seven years before deciding to make the leap to entrepreneurship. In 2015, she opened Vivrant Beauty in her native Harlem, offering an expansive selection of skincare, haircare, and cosmetic products. Women of all skin tones, nationalities, and hair textures are targeted by her own business.
As is the case for many successful entrepreneurs who start it as a new career, beauty was already a passion for Verdejo. “I’m a self-professed beauty junkie so exploring products was already a past-time when I began curating the products for Vivrant Beauty’s shelves. My major interest in beauty recently has been in the amazing opportunities that indie brands, Black founders and women have created for themselves in that arena. I was drawn to this world of beauty entrepreneurs that are still defining the space,” she says.
On top of its products, Vivrant also offers services like makeup application and eyelash extensions. Notably, though it offers products for all women, it especially focuses on people of color, not just as customers, but as suppliers as well.
“One huge way that we stand apart is that we cater to women of color, ensuring that we have products for all hair types and skin tones. We also are committed to making sure that many of the products on our shelves are person of color owned,” says Verdejo. “We compete with unique curation that says that we understand what’s new and effective in the beauty space- be it the green beauty space, the natural hair space, etc. We also have the unique advantage of really understanding our customer and being able to cater to her in a way that has not been impressively done in the past.”
At the moment, Verdejo’s main goal for the business is to continue to build brand awareness. Top sellers for Vivrant Beauty include natural hair products by Briogeo, vegan liquid to matte lip pens by Gold Label Cosmetics, and skincare products by Youth to the People.