Entrepreneurs Conference: Fashion Icon Beverly Johnson on Branding And Reality TV

Beverly Johnson is highly regarded as the premier African-American supermodel. She was the first black woman to appear on the magazine covers of Vogue and Elle. She was named one of the 20th Century’s most influential people in fashion by the New York Times. Johnson is parlaying her famous name into a line of products and also a reality TV series appearing on OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network), Beverly’s Full House. Johnson will be on hand to talk about the show during the session “Building Your Brand Through Reality TV” at the 2012 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo (BEEC2012) in Chicago (May 23-26).

Throughout here career Johnson has understood the power of branding. In 1978, Harper’s Bazaar asked what she wanted out of her modeling career, she replied “to be a brand.”  She honed in on this marketing concept long before celebrities were considered viable brands. The right opportunity came along with the Beverly Johnson Signature Eyewear Line which was in Sears stores nationally. The next brand was The Beverly Johnson Hair Collection, which included wigs, hair extensions and other hair products for Amekor Industries. And now there is The Beverly Johnson Lifestyle Brand, a multicultural beauty line of hair care products and drawstring ponytails available at Target stores. Johnson also offers skincare, bath, and body products that are available via her website www.beverlyjohnson.com.

Johnson points to how she had always been the girl on the box, but now she owns the box and what’s in it. “I had the opportunity for the last 14 years of being the face and name of Amekor Industries. I decided it was time for me to create by own destiny. So, I made the leap of faith and decided to create, manufacture, and distribute my own line of products and to own the box my face was on,” she says, coming to the realization that there was a hole in the market for a hair and skincare line for women of color owned by a woman of color.

It was Johnson who pitched a reality TV show concept to longtime friend and branding dynamo mogul Oprah Winfrey. Beverly’s Full House explores the complex relationship between Johnson and her plus-size model daughter, Anansa Sims Patterson, her son-in-law, and her granddaughter as they all live under the one roof. “It’s a constructive show about mother and daughter relationships. I knew that if I wanted my daughter to talk to a therapist or a life coach she would have said ‘no, you may need it but I don’t.’ But she is a big fan of reality TV,” she says.

Furthermore, the television series documents Johnson’s journey in building her new company, Beverly Johnson Enterprises. At age 60 the ‘modelprenuer’ has courageously made the shift from endorsing a beauty brand to owning her self-titled beauty brand. “The series also highlights and shows women that it is never too late to empower yourself to achieve whatever goals and dreams you have inside of you,” says Johnson. “That is how Beverly’s Full House came to be.”

At the Entrepreneurs Conference, not only will Johnson provide tips on how to calculate the risks vs. the benefits of reality TV exposure, she will share some insights on building a personal and professional brand including:

Value Proposition: What do you stand for?

Differentiation: What makes you stand out?

Marketability: What makes you salable?

Johnson is among the accomplished entrepreneurs who will share their success secrets at the 2012 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Conference + Expo hosted by Nationwide, May 23-26, at the Hilton Chicago Hotel in Chicago, IL. Search and follow the hashtag #BEEC2012 on Twitter for the latest updates on conference speakers and sessions. Expect innovative sessions, high-powered speakers, and an early peek at the products, trends, and services you’ll need to stay ahead of the curve. To register and find out more, visit www.blackenterprise.com/ec/