The Many Shades of
If you ever look up either of the two-word phrases “new beginnings” or “fresh starts,” be prepared to see my face, smiling back at you. I believe that when we understand the meaning of second chances, we learn how to leverage them to help navigate the pitfalls in life. Hence, how I got labeled as an “entrepreneurial architect.” In actuality, it was the potholes in the road that actually helped me become the business strategist that most truly see me as today. Between you and me, truth be told: I’m really an enigma who loves to simply co-create. So, in short, it’s gonna be hard for me to sum up my crazy journey to success in this short bio. What I hope you gather is who I am, what I’m not and why I do what I do.
We all have a story, and while mine is unique to me, sadly, it’s not too many others. I grew up in a housing project on the East Coast. I was surrounded by social and economic struggles, financial hardship topped with racial challenges by both black and white America, as I am biracial: a 3rd generation Sicilian Italian, African American female. My classroom was the school of hard knocks, filled with crime and sexual exploitation met with physical abuse and drugs. When you’re a child trapped in a world like this, it makes it hard to see past tomorrow. But you either succumb to your situation or you begin to dream your way out of the hell surrounding you. So, needless to say, I had one hell of an imagination. I had BIG dreams of one day becoming a successful actress. Unfortunately, I was on the trajectory of becoming a statistic in our society. After turning 18, pregnant and living in a violent domestic relationship, I was clearly miles away from my Hollywood dream. One night, my life finally took one blow too many, and I was determined to change the course of my own narrative. This was where my love for “new beginnings” and “fresh starts” began.
How I Got Started
See, while – at the time – it felt like I was a victim, I finally made the choice to “live” so I could give my daughter a life completely different from what I had known. I quickly realized I was actually a survivor.
So, I packed up a few boxes and my daughter with only $900 to my name, headed west to pursue a life of bright lights, big dreams and Hollywood stars”
I landed some pretty cool film opportunities over the years, even without an agent, and I managed to earn my SAG card so that I could work union jobs. Roles, however, were few and far in-between. Being a single mother trying to make it in Hollywood
"I mean, let's face it….life wasn't a bed of roses. I had to come up with a plan B, C and D. There was no way we were going to make it. So, a new idea was birthed out of scarcity. "
The Entrepreneurial Architect
A brand is born
At 18, I was a fulltime mom who lacked guidance and education. But it didn’t matter; I had to use whatever tools I had at the time to get me to that next rung in life. For me, it was my natural charm and hustle that helped me forge my way through. I always had a passion for the entertainment world and wanted to be a major player. But I figured if I couldn’t make the cut in the audition, then I could sell my skills to gain work behind the scenes as a stylist or makeup artist. It was the easiest way to stay actively involved in the film industry, and the directors got a kick out of my approach – often landing me a job on one side of the camera or the other!
During this time, I was working a 9 -5, studying, competing in hair shows while raising my daughter…and YES! It was all very difficult. I still however, managed to find time to volunteer three nights a week at a youth correctional prison facility to help out troubled teenagers by offering free haircuts, and more importantly, someone to talk to.
This was an outlet for me to reflect on where I had come from and where I was trying to go in my life. I wasn’t even sure where my cosmetology license or acting was going to take me, but one thing was for sure—I always wanted to give back, no matter where my life’s journey would take me.
Acting had proved to be a successful venture for me. However, life was about to change, because the high cost of living – coupled with the desire to settle in a more family-friendly environment after having my second daughter – led to our relocation to Florida.
Cheers… to “new beginnings” and yet another “fresh start!”
Add to those two-word phrases the word “reinvention!!!”
It was during this time that I entered the world of fitness, which would shortly become my next arena of success. What first started out as a way to get fit and feel more confident soon developed into a career, which resulted in numerous modeling offers and the chance to compete on several national fitness stages. When I wasn’t competing, I was busy promoting my skills as a makeup artist. More often than not, you could find me competing and working at the same event – even with my two girls by my side. I also maintained a corporate 9 to 5 job to help support my family and fund my dreams. The networking and exposure at each fitness competition was invaluable, and while using my business acumen, I saw an opportunity to take my cosmetology skills and love of the stage even further. This is when I began to develop my own cosmetics line, Shades of Monet® cosmetics.
With my fan base growing, my cosmetics were now being featured in fitness, fashion, travel and lifestyle magazines. I was so excited because Shades of Monet® cosmetics had everything going for it: innovative formulas unlike anything else on the market, trendy palettes that worked both in the world of fitness and fashion and most importantly, the belief that my products would ultimately help women all over the world – all taking place before the rise and accessibility of social media.
Never Give Up
Life was PERFECT right?? Actually, not even close. I was now faced with a monumental challenge. A well-known retail giant wanted the rights to the name “Monet” for a cosmetics line of its own. I was devastated! My competitor had more money, more power and more influence than my small startup, and a legal battle at this stage in the game was daunting, to say the least. I had just left a six-figure corporate job to devote my life to developing Shades of Monet®, and now everything was coming to a standstill. Even my lawyer advised me to give up.
Sorry, but not sorry; that’s just not in my DNA. So, I refused to give up the rights to my name without a battle. Who cared if I didn’t have a college degree or never attended law school! What I did have was a lot of grit and resources after working at LexisNexis for years to fight on my own without legal council. So, after representing myself, in a four-year legal process against this Fortune 500 company, I finally won shortly after relocating to Atlanta, Georgia in 2008.
People would ask me all the time why would I spend over $100K in legal fees to fight for just a name. My response is always the same:
So, cheers! Another “new beginning,” “fresh start” and “reinvention.”
My journey was now leading me back into the corporate world, but this time, in the beauty industry as an educator for REDKEN, a L’Oreal brand. This 5 year, seasonal detour was even more interesting. You really have to read my book, Shear Destiny, to fully grasp this irony and the miracles that were unearthed throughout this road. But TRUST ME when I say, “Never judge a book by its cover.” I will share this, though: our move to Atlanta was involuntary. Like most people in our country in 2008, we were also grossly affected by the recession. Yes! We lost our dream home and my oldest full ride, college scholarship. As a family, we were over $500K in debt. Credit cards maxed out, behind in payments and barely able to pay our living expenses…Clearly, bankruptcy was inevitable. In short, it was a nightmare from which both my husband and I desperately tried to awaken.
"The name was shaped around the shades of my own life and I have seen how the name and products have empowered and inspired many women like myself. "
"I fought with all odds against me and with the help of a dear friend of mine that believed in my vision as much as I did
"in the end we delivered an amazing Opposition later gaining the legal rights to "Shades of Monet". Shades of Monet is about inspiration along with true faith."
The thing that you should know is that you have the legal right to dispute erroneous and outdated information that could be effecting your purchase buying power. Most wait the ten years for the statue of limitations to run out. Why wait? So I studied the law and got our lives back on track in less then 24 months.
A goal without a plan
is just a wish
Little did I know that this painful experience would only sharpen my skills, while adding tools to my tool box that would later go on to help me build a dream that was purposeful – one that would allow me to co-create with the masses. Not only on a business level, but also a personal one. All of which, in less than 5 years, I would go on to accomplish the following:
- Helping hundreds of business owners strategically launch or rebrand healthy businesses – starting from right where they were. Even on shoestring budgets. I can do it for you as well!
- Repairing my own personal and business credit, one negative infraction at a time. I show you how to level up your credit literacy so you can move forward and fund your own dreams!
- Built out and opened my own salon, ‘Monet & Company’ with $0.00 in build-out expenses ($10k in FREE labor) I love teaching entrepreneurs like yourself how to negotiate your dreams. Often times eliminating the thought of ever needing an investor after all.
- Self-published my first book, Shear Destiny: 50 ways to Map out your Career and Win – Principles shared that will help in every aspect of your life whether personal or business.
- Launched my first online course the “IT Factor” master class, where I help entrepreneurs take their ideas from concept to launch.
The greatest Reward
See, it really wasn’t until late 2018 and 2019 when it all came full circle. I decided to close my salon and the cosmetic arm of my brand. To some, the fight seemed pointless. This is when you know people don’t really understand the real value of “tangible” and “intangible” assets. Shades of Monet, as a brand, truly became the greatest intangible asset I could ever ask for. I talk about these types of assets in my course…
Yes, I can even show you how to turn your intangible assets into passive income producing opportunities.
I’m determined to help you become the entrepreneurial architects you were destined to become. I believe that everyone deserves a shot at financial freedom, and I plan on helping you get it so that you can actually live it!
Which is why and how the “_________________” was born! I look at this journey much like the BIG BANG theory. Yes, in many ways, I have clearly beaten the odds – time after time. Clearly, I’m no “statistic to society,” and I’ve learned that degrees don’t equate to success nor guarantee it.
But if you focus on the 4 key pillars that the _______________ offers, you’re sure to come out a winner!
As you can see, my beautiful friend, life is not always easy. Everyone has a story; some chapters are written from a dark place and others shine bright and birth new ideas and inspiration.
- Creative Business Strategies
- Credit & Financial Literacy
- Consumer & Business Finance
- Community Outreach 24/7
Regardless, take pause in your dreams, step back and do not be afraid to go in a different direction – even if your decisions are met with a fork in the road. To make a decision, and see it to the end, could inadvertently lead you to YOUR DESTINY and a life you always dreamt of as a kid!
Let’s map out your career & dreams together so that you too can win!
In short, these are the MANY shades of me (Monet) 😉