How the founder of byREDD Beauty left a six-figure job to launch a skincare empire

Published: 23-May-2024

DaKira Taylor, founder of byREDD Beauty, left a lucrative career to build a thriving skincare empire, sharing her entrepreneurial wisdom through wholesale success

How the founder of byREDD Beauty left a six-figure job to launch a skincare empire

In many ways, 27-year-old DaKira Taylor, who also goes by the name Redd, had already succeeded. After graduating in computer science, she built a six-figure career in technology consulting. But something was missing. She felt spiritually called to leave her family in Texas to start anew as an entrepreneur in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which she would soon discover was the birthplace of Black Wall Street.

Three years later, DaKira has a profitable skincare empire across multiple Shopify sites. With two of her companies, byREDD Beauty and byREDD Wholesale, she provides both direct-to-consumer and private label products through popular offerings such as Turmeric Rose Body Bars and Lavender Coconut Facial Toners. What began in her Tulsa apartment has since expanded to an 800-square-foot warehouse, where she ships her products to customers around the world, many of whom follow her on social media. With her waist-length red braids and shaded coffin nails, she films videos in which she teaches basic skincare techniques and explains the usefulness of each ingredient.

DaKira shares what she has learned along the way and her hopes for a bright future in Tulsa.

How the founder of byREDD Beauty left a six-figure job to launch a skincare empire

On the continuation of a family line

“When I started with wigs, hairdressing was always in my blood. My father, before he died, was a great hairdresser – his name was known all over Dallas. And my mother, although not a professional hairdresser, had had her beautician’s licence for years. So hairdressing played a very important role in my life. I started doing my own hair when I was in high school. At university, other people would ask me to do their hair. I had a little side business at university, but I didn’t consider it as such at the time. So beauty has always been, quite literally, part of my DNA."

On extending its wig range to include beauty products

“I started in the summer of 2018. My first company was actually called Wigs by Redd. I sold units of wigs and custom colours all over the world. Once I moved to Tulsa in December 2019, I decided to add beauty products and cosmetics like false eyelashes and lip gloss. That’s when it became byRedd Beauty, at the start of the pandemic. Then I started formulating my own skincare products. And now, that’s what byRedd Beauty encompasses.

In 2021, my crazy lady decided to go into wholesale too. People would ask me, “Do you wholesale these products?" So I decided to sell the same products I was selling, but in larger quantities."

How the founder of byREDD Beauty left a six-figure job to launch a skincare empire

On the importance of brand positioning

“When I tried to start my first business, I had no idea what I was doing. I invested in a business coach. He was someone I knew personally, but he had had several businesses and he helped people start businesses much like I do now. He helped me understand brand positioning and things like that. Four years later, I thought, “Wow, I’ve been learning this stuff for almost half a decade now."

Today, I try to teach women – and some men too – to understand the fundamentals of a long-term business and to take it out of its start-up phase. You need to understand your brand. Yes, it’s good to have a nice logo and colours. But what does it really mean? How is your brand perceived by strangers on the Internet who have never seen you before? How are you going to stand out from the big brands like Target and Walmart?

Make sure you’ve got the basics down before opting for cute packaging and the like. That can always change. It’s how you distinguish yourself within the industry that will ensure the longevity of your brand.”

The challenges of entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurship sounds very prestigious, but it’s not. Even if someone’s making a million dollars a day, there’s still a lot to work on in the background to make sure they can maintain that kind of business all the time.

Everyday life is a real rollercoaster for me, especially since I quit my job. This is real life. It’s just a different kind of life. People don’t understand that you really have to be cut out for this kind of world. Not everyone is cut out to be a business owner. Not everyone is cut out to be a chef, rapper or teacher. You are truly called to this kind of life. Having a business and trying to make a lot of money sounds great, but if you’re not prepared to go through more bad days than good ones in the beginning, you won’t make it. You won’t make it. But when the good days come, they’re really good.”

How the founder of byREDD Beauty left a six-figure job to launch a skincare empire

Working smarter, not harder, in private labelling

“Even though I’m still mainly a one-woman show, my experience at school and in my job has really taught me the value of processes and automation. As far as private labels for the wholesale trade are concerned, I’ve made sure that a whole system has been set up so that shipments are made automatically. It’s going to help me and be very useful when it comes to training someone.

I’m all for working smarter, not harder. Some people just want to be the face of something, and that’s normal. Not everyone will have the will to do all the work. So let me do the heavy lifting for you, teaching you all the basics, or making the products and labelling them for you. And all you have to do is apply the teachings I’ve just given you. You don’t have to worry about trying to formulate anything, see if it works, or worry about trying to design something.

When you think about it, Kylie Jenner and Rihanna aren’t in their kitchen or warehouse making products. They use private labels. So why not start with the same mindset as these grown-ups? There are smarter ways of doing things. I just try to help people in the best possible way. And if it saves them time, I have no problem with it."

On the energy and impact of working near Black Wall Street

“Tulsa is a lot smaller than people think. But it’s also a very empowering thing. If you know one person, you know everyone in that group. I met a lot of people in different sectors, mainly artists and people like that. Their love for their city and Black Wall Street is simply different.

When I’m in the neighbourhood – because Black Wall Street is downtown – there’s a change in energy as you get closer to downtown or north Tulsa. I know a tattoo artist whose business is on Black Wall Street. I can feel how important her art is to her, especially because her store is on Black Wall Street.

I’ve spoken to people whose grandparents lived in those days. I can see from the people here how important it is. And if they’re able to try and keep the legacy alive 101 years later for the people who weren’t there, then I feel like they’re passing it on to me.

I’m happy to be here. Even though it’s not like it used to be, of course, people are still trying to keep that vision of Black Wall Street alive. I’m happy to be here to witness it. And, I hope, to be part of it too. Because I’m here for a reason.

I’m trying to reach out to more women’s business groups and enter pitch competitions. I’m really trying to get more involved and be more connected. As all my businesses are online, I can live anywhere. It’s not like I need to be here physically, but I’d be limiting myself if I didn’t try to create a local network."

How the founder of byREDD Beauty left a six-figure job to launch a skincare empire

Giving priority to self-care when it’s too much for oneself

“I’m tired. I’m tired every day. Taking care of yourself is not at all the same thing for me. I watch a lot of television. I love television. I’m probably one of the youngest people to still have cable. Sitting on my sofa relaxes me a lot. In my apartment, I have a room reserved for work. Anything outside this door is not for work.

Sometimes I go out and spend time with my sisters, because I have family here now. We can go to the park or to a restaurant, not to mention work. I’ve been working on it for a year. I’m resting. Because if I keep on working non-stop, I’ll burn out. I know what extreme exhaustion feels like. I try to give myself time to recover, whatever that may be."

Planning for the next decade

“The work I’m doing now will help me prepare for my 30th or 35th birthday. I don’t really try to set time limits on my goals, but within 30 years, I’d really like to buy a piece of land here in Tulsa, or on the outskirts of Tulsa, where I could build my personal home and a workspace.

At 35, it would be great to oversee everything with byRedd Beauty and byRedd Wholesale and have a passive, permanent course for Redd University at that time. I’m just trying to do things now so that I can stop working as the years go by."

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