The founder of a Black beauty company struggled for about two years to find a job that paid more than $15 an hour before she ultimately raked in about $5,000 a month on her own terms.
Alessica Pryor, of South Georgia, said she applied for about 20 jobs but still wasn’t able to secure any in her field of study after graduating from Fort Valley State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology May 2016.
It wasn’t until she found out she was pregnant that she decided to turn a childhood dream of owning her own business into a reality.
She founded the Legend for Skin Care beauty company April 2019 and named it after her 9-month-old son, Legend.
She said he was at the forefront of her thoughts in crafting a plan for the company.
“When I started on my business, I wrote all of this down. I said I’m going to make $5,000 in three months,” Pryor said. “I did it in one month.”
Her starting point was making $11 an hour as a Target cashier in late January 2018.
A customer walked up to her and asked if the store carried charcoal powder.
It didn’t, and after searching the websites of competing stores, Pryor learned no major retailer nearby did, she said.
So the woman who doodled business plans on her grandparents’ stored files as an 8-year-old decided that’s what her first company would offer — exactly what her Target customer wanted, organic charcoal powder.
“That’s how it started right there,” Pryor said.
About 15 months later, she formed the limited liability company offering everything from charcoal teeth whitening kits to all natural body scrubs and mud masks.
It has since generated almost $12,000 in revenue in three months.
“We did over $1,000 in sales in one week,” Pryor said.
She ran her business out of one room in her mother’s three-bedroom house in Fitzgerald, Ga., which is about 180 miles south of Atlanta.
She said she hopes she’ll be able to move into her own apartment when she starts Fort Valley State University’ master’s program in clinical mental health counseling.
Until then, she said she’ll keep making her mom’s house work.
Pryor was driving between the home and her college when Atlanta Black Star caught up with her Monday to get her advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.
“Just go hard, man,” she said. “You really have to eat, sleep, dream and drink this.”
More than a chance encounter at Target, Pryor decided to launch a beauty company because she figured beauty would never go out of style.
“Everybody wants to be beautiful,” she said.
Pryor wanted to be successful, so she juggled temporary jobs until she was ready to launch her company.
“The most I’ve ever made was $15 an hour,” she said.
When Pryor found out she was pregnant, she knew she had to try something different. She researched ways to get wholesale products and studied how to use charcoal powder for teeth whitening. She researched marketing tips, drop-shipping options and how to legally establish a company.
“I go to YouTube every night, and just sit there,” she said.
She also listened to interviews from the man she was dating, a fellow business owner.
David Wong K, owner of the skincare product company Pure Tropix, was bringing in six figures, Pryor said.
“I saw him work. He was working outside his house. He would fill orders, be online working,” she said. “In my mind, I’m like I can do this.”
She just has to work differently because she’s also balancing being a full-time mom.
Pryor said she takes her son with her when she’s mailing packages for her business or researching new marketing strategies.
“I have to really carefully plan stuff,” she said.
Her day works around her son’s schedule.
She goes to bed most nights by 1 a.m. and wakes up most mornings by 8 a.m., she said.
In between, she breastfeeds her son, changes him and when he’s sleeping, sends messages to social media influencers to feature her products on their pages.
“Sometimes I just have to let him cry,” Pryor said. “I’m like, I’ve got to get these orders out.”
Ultimately, all her work is for her baby.
“I want the business to be handed down to him because we don’t really get to hand down businesses,” she said.
Pryor spent so much time working minimum-wage jobs, following orders and bouncing from job to job that she doesn’t want her son to have to go through that.
She works hard “so that he won’t have to be struggling working for someone else,” the mom said.
He’ll have his own company too — hers.