La'Niece Okwara is wielding a good business, the ‘Liquid Gold’ Way!
There is no doubt about it, we are treading on harsh times of civil displacement and economic inconclusiveness.
According to an article published in Forbes, during the fourth quarter of 2015, the stock market slowed, and venture capital deals dropped by about 11.5 billion.
Though the dwindling numbers are a little perplexing, no worries. The universe is in agreement, and there is still hope for the determined entrepreneur vying for longevity.
Take 39-year-old, La’Niece Okwara, for instance. She catapulted her small business, Liquid Gold Hair Products, making the venture accessible across the globe in less than six years.
La'Niece invented a hair compound in 2011. She trademarked the brand and placed it on the market.
"Years before developing the Liquid Gold Hair Products, it was an idea. At the time, I had a 'bad relaxer.' I ended up with a bald spot because of the relaxer, and I decided to find a way to get this hair to grow back,” said La'Niece.
“I started mixing things together. I looked online and did some research about sulfur, and different things that can make hair grow. I started making the formula up, and it worked. I shared it with my mom, and it worked with her hair. I shared it with my sister-in-law, coworkers, everybody.”
The emerging mogul learned through relatives and peers that her products were critical, so it was definitely time to began manufacturing.
“I spoke it over with my husband, and he said that it was a good idea too. He assisted with buying the merchandise.
I came home from Social Services and he [my husband] had already brought some bottles, so I had no more excuses. It was time to bottle it. This product, the Liquid Gold, sulfur-based, hair-growth oil, was the very first bottle that I created,” she said.
Instead of obtaining an immediate storefront, La’Neice turned her home into a gigantic workstation.
“One of my bedrooms is the 'Liquid Gold' room,” she joked.
Once La'Niece knew that the organic product was beneficial, her business skyrocketed.
The ‘momtrepreneur' indicated that she was a full-time Social Worker at the Department of Social Service in Charlotte, NC.
I was working at the agency, and rushing home trying to make products. Eventually, it became too much, and I couldn’t run it [the business] from the house. I needed somebody that I could hire. I hired somebody, and got an office [in 2012] so they could package the products from the office. Before that, it was my husband, and at that time, my son. He [my son] was literally two-years-old, doing packaging."
Stepping out on faith to manage her business round-the-clock was easier than she thought.
"At the very beginning of 2014 [January], I got my calendar from work. I wrote on the calendar that in November, which is my birthday month, it was going to be 'Liquid Gold.’ I vowed that I would no-longer work for anyone else full-time, and it would just be me. As blessings would have it, when November arrived, everything worked out that year, and I was able to do that. I turned in my letter of resignation, and it’s been on ever since.”
Calibrating the term, “We started from the bottom and now we’re here,” La’Niece curated about 30 different products for various hair textures. Whether its a mutinous beard for men, hair balm for receding edges, or deep conditioning smoothies with a tinge of fragrance, she generates everything from scratch.
La’Niece said that her journey into entrepreneurship is bittersweet. She even stated that it took her about a year to prepare, before leaving her previous occupation; however, she wrote the vision first. When it was time to step out on faith for her own quests, guidance and timing, were all key elements.
“Prior to the Liquid Gold Hair Products company, my husband and I have had other businesses, so I’ve had some experience in that. My parents, they are entrepreneurs. As they were working their full-time jobs, they always had something on the side that they were doing. Whether it was my dad and his carpentry, or my mom and her restaurant, they all had something that was going on. Even my brother, here, in Charlotte, there was entrepreneurship. I had folks that I could talk to, and really have some conversations with them about business.
It’s very, very, important to have the right people in your corner— And if you don’t have the right people in your corner, there are resources out there where you can speak with the right folks. There are Facebook groups that are geared towards business, and business development groups that individuals can join. They can get the right information from the right people, so that when you do jump, you will be ready.
At some point, you got to jump. You don’t want to be in a mental paralysis, where you’re thinking about it for so long, but then you never do anything.
La’Niece prayed and had numerous conversations with God as she worked. She conquered any nagging uneasiness so that her brand could snowball.
Even though I know the products work, I still love getting testimonies from customers. It keeps me going, knowing that my customers are happy; knowing that the products are working for them. I get excited just knowing that people are opening the packages, and seeing my products— It’s a great feeling.
I went natural last year, so I had all of my relaxed ends cut. Right now, I’m using a protective style. My natural hair was dry and not doing what it needed to do. One of the reasons that I went natural is that I wanted to be able to create products for natural women as well. I could make products that would work for natural hair, but I really wanted my hair to be natural so I would know exactly how those products would affect individuals that are natural.
La'Niece is rightfully meticulous about her brand, which is another reason she's so successful.
Creatively speaking, the #girlboss just keeps on, keepin on, while managing her business full-time.
"I would encourage anyone that is listening, or will listen to this in the future, if you have a dream, write it down. When I started this company in 2011, I had no idea that it would grow to where it is now. I've shipped to everywhere, but Antarctica. I had no idea that it would grow. I knew that it would be big, and I had prayed on it. I had no idea that it was going to reach the level that it's reached now."
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