We had the good fortune of connecting with Shameka Ethridge and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shameka, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I’ve always had a sort of entrepreneurial mind that has led me to try many things: I’ve written a book; created a giving foundation and now a beauty brand. All of my projects shared one theme- purpose. My purpose for writing my book, Love the Bully was driven by my (now 12 year old) son being bullied his entire life and one particular situation taking me to the pinnacle of my frustration. The purpose for creating the giving foundation was birthed from my understanding of not having what you need but working so hard to provide for yourself and family but needing a little extra help to secure “getting over the hump”. I absolutely love giving to people less fortunate, it allows me to truly live and thrive in my purpose. And now, Runway allows me to marry my love of beauty with the functional need of clean beauty products that work to create premium products with black and brown beauties as the target audience. Doing this really well allows us to create opportunity for other diverse women as well as give a percentage of our sales back to underprivileged communities.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Runway Hair, a diverse woman-owned company is an all-natural, prestige hair and beauty brand that carefully sources and selects premium ingredients to care for and nourish the body from the inside out. All of their hair, beard and skin care products are hand-whipped, in small batches to ensure product purity and consistency. Runway is not only a curator of amazing products but also believes in creating with purpose which includes creating opportunity for black and brown women; creating a space where investment in diverse leaders is simply in the day to day and giving back a % of sales to underprivileged and underserved communities is just a part of business. We are most proud of our resilience during these unique times we are currently living in. We’ve won and lost but haven’t stopped focusing on our short and long-term goals. Strategy and planning sessions have been key to our success as well as finding experts that will work contract-style while we are building our brand. This allows us to spend money in the right places while focusing on things that we’re good at. Our brand is built out of kindness, transparency and love. We make each product as if it were being used by us..all the time. Even when we become a large brand, this differentiator will be firm in our model.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ohhhhh, when she comes, we’d take a tour of restaurants. I’m an extreme lover of food that makes my palate happy and can generally taste every seasoning that a location has placed into its food…it’s a gift…I seriously have hyper senses. 🙂 We’d go to a few places: Pappadeuxs (they aren’t in her city and it’s just a staple) Kitchen & Kocktails- food looks so good but I haven’t been able to get reservation yet! Roots Chicken by Chef Derry…no explanation needed Whistlebritches…that Cole slaw. 🙂
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Oh so many people have helped me get to this place. In my career, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some stellar talent. My boss and mentor, Scott Gianoni; my peers and now forever friends- Christie Banks, Jessica Ekong, Carmen Williams, Jenni Short, Calina Presley, Kiara Evans, Tiffany Chen, Delanecia Criss, Cayla Gerton, Val Harris, Kim Williams, Sheniqwa Scott….I could truly go on and on. These people have made a deep and lasting impact on my career and there’s not a sufficient amount of money that could ever repay them. When I wanted to stop, they kept me going; gave me the encouragement I needed with the balance of a tough message..I’m forever grateful. There’s currently a circle of Black-women entrepreneurs that inspire me daily that I get to share a motivation and drive with as well- LaKeisha Wallace-Owens, Cassandra Pierson, Lauren D. Houston, Rodesia Scott, Marcus Perryman, Becky Trejo-Upshaw, Nikki Hill-Reece, Mita King, Brianne Sargent, Laquana, Tena , and Calina Presley. Owning a business is hard and they make it look divinely easy. Their friendship and drive keeps me moving forward.
Facebook: The Runway Beauty Products and Services
Marcus Perryman @marcusphotog Rodrick Conner