Beauty Expert on Making the Leap From Corporate America to Entrepreneurship

Beauty Expert on Making the Leap From Corporate America to Entrepreneurship

For 14 years, Melissa Hibbert was a marketing and branding powerhouse. She started her career in brand licensing for the prestigious Beanstalk Group. She later moved on to product marketing, working for one of the greatest athletes in the world, Michael Jordan. Then she worked her way into marketing stints at BET Networks and the Los Angeles Times. But in the midst of climbing the corporate ladder to success something just didn’t feel right.

“My AHA moment was more of a “shift.” At first I thought I wasn’t being challenged enough at work. I was seeking more and more creativity, but couldn’t put my finger on why I was so un-happy.  I was miserable, stressed, often crying after work. I knew in my heart, I was not living in my truth.”

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Black Enterprise caught up with Hibbert to find out how she bid farewell to corporate America to start the second chapter of her life as the Founder of SHEEQ cosmetics and TV host of Behind the Glam.

Describe the your transition from Corporate to the Beauty Industry?

I took somewhat of a sabbatical and retreated to my parents’ home in Portland, OR where I figured it all out and got some clarity and support from the people I love.  I put together a strategy and a one-year plan on how I was going to make the transition.  Before I left, my parents handed me an envelope with $5,000 in cash and told me to follow my heart.

I went back to Los Angeles and immediately put things in motion.  I made sacrifices like downsizing from my luxury convertible car to a more affordable vehicle. I stopped shopping and eating out at my favorite restaurants.  I took some Makeup courses and master classes to brush up on my skills and invested in a professional makeup kit with the best products.  I organized my first photo-shoot to establish my portfolio, developed my own website with those images, ordered business cards and launched my business in Beauty.

I studied, researched and evaluated the industry, from big brands to independent brands and everything in between.  I attended trade shows and expo’s to familiarize myself with the various manufacturers and once I found the one I loved, I moved quickly to plan my product offering.

What is the inspiration behind your SHEEQ cosmetics?

My inspiration for behind SHEEQ Cosmetics stemmed from the idea that if I am going to be in the beauty business, I want to own as many areas in beauty as possible, including a makeup line.  It is a part of the bigger plan for what I call my “beauty empire”.  SHEEQ, which stands for “she’s exquisite”, is an aspirational brand for a discerning woman who knows what she wants and isn’t afraid express herself with bold colors and makeup choices.

How did you fund  SHEEQ cosmetics?

I funded the company by cashing out some funds from my 401K, as well as an angel investor.  I also received investments from my parents Rupert & Deloris and amazing brother Rupert Dallas Jr.

How did your online TV show “Behind the Glam” come about?”

I’m always looking to watch shows that speak to me and inspire me creatively as well as professionally.  As a Makeup Artist in the industry, I noticed there are so many amazing professionals in business who are at the top of their game and when I spend time with them on set or otherwise, I am often fascinated by their story and journey in the industry.  So the thought came to me, that if I am curious and inspired, I know others are too. We all have story, and if given the platform or opportunity, most are willing to share their story.  That’s what gave birth to Behind The Glam, a show that profiles the business savvy, soul and spirit of some of the most creative and talented professionals in Beauty and Fashion.

Can you tell us about a day in the life of producing your show?

A day in the life of planning and shooting the show is quite amazing, challenging, hectic and fun.  It really requires a ton of hard work.  We have an amazing production team with One Fusion Films, headed by master Director of Photography, Reggie Brumfield.  As for me, I am very hands-on in the entire production – booking the talent around their busy schedule is no easy feat.  In addition, I secure all the venues and put together the programming.

On the day of filming, I am very hands-on, I help set-up equipment, I prep talent, most times I do makeup on both talent & models and once that is done, I sit down, poised, in front of the cameras to host the show.  Everything that happened up to that point is behind me, I am in the moment, having a fabulous conversation with my peers and I am in awe of each of their stories every time.  Once we are wrapped, we break down equipment, load up and head straight in to editing.  My partner Reggie Brumfield and I tag team on editing the videos (I taught myself to edit on Final Cut Pro X), which is one the best software for editing.  We spend days editing and then ship it off to New York to Kollide TV’s headquarters to air.  You see, this entire project is self-funded, so that more hands-on I am in the process, the less we spend out of pocket.  We know it won’t be that way always, because we do plan include investors and advertisers going forward, but season one of the show what totally on us to deliver, and we did.

What advice or tips would you give a woman stuck at a crossroads in her career and looking to make a transition?

Listen to the beautiful heart God gave you.  The heart does not lie! We know instinctively when something feels good or not. We know when we are in a situation and/or career that no longer serves us– you feel it in heart, your body tells you it’s no happy, your eyes tell you, it’s all always telling you.  Once you listen to your heart, you must honor what that message is telling you.

In addition to hosting a beauty event at the upcoming Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference in Atlanta, Melissa has an amazing line up of beauty and business events. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.