Monique Jackson and Kita Williams are not like most women who appear on VH1’s popular reality TV programming. They didn’t get famous because of romantic affiliations with celebrities and they don’t throw drinks and fists. They’re about business from a professional standpoint. The PR and marketing divas behind the machine that is NFL star Terrell Owens boast over 10 years of branding experience for clients ranging from Ludacris to Bruce Willis, and expanded their expertise to television when they successfully pitched The T.O. Show. But it doesn’t stop there.
After receiving a flood of emails from young women and girls about various topics ranging from dating to hair, Jackson and Williams launched Define Your Pretty, a multi-service company that offers beauty and hair products, as well as mentorship to women around the country. Their mission is to show that there are positive Black women on reality TV and that it’s important to be a entrepreneur about substance. BlackEnterprise.com caught up with the busy duo to talk about the power of ownership, the motivation behind expanding their brand and why they feel there’s a lack of positivity on reality TV.
What exactly is the goal of the Define Your Pretty brand?
Williams: Define Your Pretty was something that was our child. We felt like it was our responsibility to show girls that you can be smart, talented and creative. It doesn’t matter whether you have the latest Louboutin shoes, or the latest Hermes bag—that’s not valuable. Monique and I want girls to know that we’re a business brand. We have a long resume of credible talents and smarts that got us to where we are today because of education and dedication. We want girls to know they know what it takes to be a CEO, an entrepreneur or even to be a person that’s on the right track ’cause of their own hard work, not because of who they’re married to, dating or sleeping with.
How did the beauty products work into the brand messaging?
Williams: Define Your Pretty is a movement and it’s the message that motivates these girls. We figure once you work on the inside, how do you work on the outside? Because, you can be a beautiful person on the outside but your own traits on the inside are all messed up because you don’t value yourself and because you value the aesthetics like so and so is on the cover of Cosmo. Monique and I decided to be our own brand. If we’re experts in creating financial revenue for our clients, why wouldn’t we do it for ourselves? So from Define Your Pretty, Monique and I had to define ourselves because we want to be pretty, successful business women so the brand now breeds beauty products because we decided to create the No. 1 thing that we, as African American women consume—that’s beauty cream and hair products.
How hard was it for you to get the line off the ground?
Williams: We spent almost a year trying to get this deal rolling because it’s harder for African American businesswomen to get into the hair business because the Asians have it on lock in all areas. I’m tired of us buying hair from people that don’t look like us. We’re launching our own hair care line, where it’s 100% virgin, it’s straight, wavy, curly and kinky. And it’s affordable to our girls. We wanted something that’s affordable so if you live in Alabama or if you live in Kentucky, you can afford our hair and it’s the same hair that we were putting on here so that is key. And then with that part of our purchases go to support the Define Your Pretty Camp.
What is the Define Your Pretty Camp all about?
Jackson: The camp is a place for girls who are dealing with issues. We joined forces with the United Negro College Fund. Education and financial literacy and all of that are important but you can’t move forward in any area of your life if you don’t feel good about yourself. So when we joined forces with them, we called it Define Your Pretty. We’re talking to girls about self-empowerment issues, image, just the day-to-day things that we go through as women in order to make our lives better—the tools we need and the characteristics that we need. Our camp right now is a day camp and our plan is eventually to do a weekend overnight-like type of camp situation.