Hip-Hop Preneurs

A new breed of hungry hip-hop artist are using hit records as a stepping-stone from the recording studio to the boardroom

where signatures are required and money is being spent and it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on.” At one point, Campbell says, a co-worker embezzled $600,000 from one of his businesses. “If I learned one thing, it’s that you never totally trust any one person, no matter how well you think you know them.”

Attempting to climb back up from bankruptcy, Campbell is now focusing on his produc
tion company and expects to turn a modest six-figure profit this year.

TAKING A DIFFERENT SPIN
Deidra Roper has been a staple of the hip-hop industry for well over the past decade. Better known by the moniker “Spindarella,” Roper is the disk jockey for the Grammy Award-winning group Salt N’ Pepa, arguably the most popular and longest-lasting female rap group ever to hit the airwaves. And after a dozen years in the industry, Roper is working to complete her first solo album, Spindarella’s Ball.

But she wanted more. So in January, the East New York native started her own business. The She Things Salon/Day Spa opened its doors in early January in Laurelton, Queens. The two-story enterprise covers 3,200 sq. ft. and employs 18 staffers Among the services the spa offers are hair care, manicures, pedicures, facials, massages and aromatherapy. The spa also sells Ascend, Roper’s new skin care line. The products range in price from $10 to $30 for cleansers, toners, day creams and body gels, and accounted for nearly $25,000 in sales in She-Things’ debut year.

Roper says when deciding what type of business to start, she realized it was important not to key in on anything faddish. “The one sure thing in life is that women are always going to want their hair and nails done. That’s not a trend,” Roper says. “I’ve been on the road for so many years with the girls, I already knew about hair, nails and what it took to take care of my body and makeup. And I know a lot of women who work very hard every day but aren’t introduced to things like aromatherapy, pedicures, facials, wraps or full body massages.”

The spa packages run from $129 for “The Eden,” which includes a halfhour facial, massage and pedicure, to “The Retreat,” which also includes deep tissue aromatherapy, a manicure, champagne and flowers for $236. According to Desiree Roper, manager of She-Things (and Deidra’s sister), the salon services about 70-75 clients a day. About 40% come in for hair care, while another 35% come in for the assorted spa services. The rest is made up of walk-in customers purchasing retail items like the skin care line.

“Starting her own business was something I’d been pushing Deidra to do for years,” says big sister Desiree. “The music business isn’t something you can count on every day. But a business, if it’s run right, is something she can pass down to her children.”

With start-up costs of approximately $180,000, Desiree is projecting first-year revenues of $300,000 by year-end. With the addition of a wet room and additional spa features, projections

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