It’s no secret that Boss Women Media is all about supporting Woman-Owned Black businesses throughout the entire year. We recently held our first Building Women for the Future tour where we hosted live pitch competitions in three major cities: Atlanta, D.C. and Dallas. Women from around the country gathered together to support and celebrate so many woman-owned Black businesses as we helped create opportunities for women to learn, lead and leverage tools from brands that are making impact within their communities.

We know that when it comes to creating a business and ensuring it is flourishing as women of color, it’s more critical than ever in today’s world that we support each other. This is because we are faced with particularly unique challenges that impact our ability to build long term wealth and entrepreneurial resources.

In honor of November being National Entrepreneurship Month, we’re highlighting our 5 Building Women for the Future pitch competition winners throughout the entire month. Be sure to support these Woman-Owned Black businesses just in time for the holiday season as we continue to do our part in helping solve the gaps for women around the US to be impacted with resources that work and help businesses grow.

This week’s highlight is the founder of Gemini Naturals.  Keep reading to find out more about her story and how she got started.

Lianne Dobson, Founder of Gemini Naturals

  1. Can you start by telling our readers a little bit about yourself and your background?

Hi everyone! I’m Lianne, self-proclaimed hair color addict and founder of hair color brand Gemini Naturals! I wear many hats but I’m most proud of being a military spouse, mom of 2, certified Physician Assistant and wannabe carpenter.

  1. When and what motivated you to start your business?

In 2017, I suffered a setback in my natural hair journey related to the excessive use of bleach and traditional hair dye. I felt more comfortable with wildly colored hair, so instead of ditching the dye completely, I began looking for a temporary color fix but the products in the marketplace at the time weren’t suited for my dark, textured hair. After doing some research and testing, I decided to create my own solution and launched a hair color brand with safe, non-toxic ingredients so that women could enjoy the freedom of self-expression associated with hair color but without the negative, long-lasting effects of traditional hair dye.

  1. When you first started your business, what were the 3 initial thoughts that pushed you forward to decide “yes this is what I want to do?”

Subconsciously, I had been thinking of business ideas for awhile but a lot of my ideas seemed too lofty and I didn’t have the capital to pursue them. When I discovered temporary hair color, it seemed like an idea that was a low barrier to entry and because I was already known on social media for changing my hair color, a hair color brand just made sense for me. I even told some blogger friends about the idea and they agreed that a hair color brand suited my personality. After doing about 9 months of research and testing, I launched my brand and tested out the market by doing pre-orders and things went amazingly well. That’s when I knew I had something that I would one day turn my side hustle into a full-fledged business.

  1. What is your business mission?

Our ultimate mission is to develop more safe, non-toxic products in the hair color space and have a presence in mass retail to increase the visual representation of black and brown women with textured hair in the hair color aisle. It’s important for us to be able to reach those that normally wouldn’t see themselves or their texture represented in this space.

  1. With so many businesses within your industry, what makes your business so different and what problem(s) would you say your business solves?

Gemini Naturals is unique in that we are a hair color brand that formulates color products specifically with the textured hair consumer in mind. Additionally, our products are free of common allergens and harmful chemicals. This brand was started to solve a problem for myself, so I’m proud to be able to create products for millions of women with the same textured hair concerns and desires to explore hair color without damaging their curls.

  1. What does your everyday “workday” look like?

My everyday workday starts with a little time to myself to grab some coffee, connect with God, and write out my schedule and goals for the day. Once the kids are up, I get them ready for school and “try” to get in a good workout. Afterwards, I’m checking and responding to emails, working on marketing plans, checking data and analytics for our paid ads, budgeting, calculating inventory or fulfilling orders. The amount of time I spend on each task varies from day to day but those are the main ones.

  1. Describe what you felt when you found out you were one of the Building Women for the Future pitch winners?

Shock and excitement! To be honest, I was just excited to be there and I told myself that even if I didn’t win, that I would take this opportunity to refine my pitch and continue to get better.

  1. What does winning the Building Women for the Future pitch competition mean for you and your business?

It gives me an opportunity to expand my reach. The pandemic and inflation have been difficult to navigate, and having that extra capital was something that I needed to keep moving forward. Winning also gives me the confidence to keep putting myself and my business out there. Just to see the reaction on women’s faces when I pitched was enough for me to realize that my dreams of serving women in this way are essential and that my products are valuable.

  1. What’s one thing many people may not know about your business?

As a military family, we pick up and move often… about every 2 years. So each time we move, I’m essentially having to start my business over.

  1. What advice would you give someone who is currently trying to navigate entrepreneurship?

Make a clear plan, dream big, and execute. I wasn’t a planner before I started my business and while things were going well, I also didn’t have any direction. I couldn’t track data or be intentional about how to grow. As a result, things were happening to me but not for me. So, I started writing down everything, reverse engineering my goals, and delegating when needed. I have so much more clarity now within my business and can speak about my business with more confidence.

  1. What’s one piece of business advice someone has told you that’s stuck with you?

This is not sexy advice by any means, but when it comes to borrowing money, use money from banks to fulfill inventory, use money from investors to test new ideas.

  1. Where can our followers connect with you/your business on social media?

You can connect with my brand at our website, and @gemininaturals on all social media platforms. You can follow my personal brand on Instagram @itsdonnalianne.

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