We talked to Beatrice Dixon, founder of the popular female hygiene company The Honey Pot, about starting her own business and what it really means to be a Black business owner.
What was it like getting your business off the ground?
It was no joke! I started my business in my kitchen back in 2012. I spent two years doing research and development by handing out samples of my wash to women who came into Whole Foods where I worked at the time. I got so much amazing feedback from the people I shared samples with. This business has been a labor of love in that I have poured my entire world and energy and being into the business. It’s 24/7. I eat, drink, and sleep Honey Pot.
Can you share some characteristics you look for in your employees or business partners? What work qualities do you promote in your business?
I am all about loyalty, tenacity, good character, reliability, and authenticity. I surround myself with individuals with integrity and passion and who believe in what we’re doing and are here to make a change in the world around us. We promote fairness, honesty, and creativity — it’s all about thinking outside the box as we are an unconventional brand and team!
What are the specific responsibilities or expectations that you have felt as a Blackbusiness owner and how do you manage/reconcile them?
As for responsibilities – I do know that it’s harder for people and especially women of color to be treated with respect and taken seriously in the business world, so I’ve always felt a responsibility to kick ass and make my company a household name so that future black female entrepreneurs can have better access to capital and opportunity. As for whether these expectations are fair — no, they are not, but you cannot spend life picking apart what is fair and what is not. You just have to go the distance and outperform any and all expectations so that you begin to dismantle those expectations for future generations.
Do you feel there’s a pressure to create something that caters specifically to the Black community? What advice do you have for Black business owners when it comes to market consideration?
Our products are made with top-notch ingredients and the best formulas possible. We use sustainable packaging and provide consumers with healthy, clean, and effective products. As for being inclusive, our products aren’t specifically for any race — they are for humans with vaginas. We want all humans with vaginas to feel good about using Honey Pot.
Does it feel like the Black community isn’t considered as part of a mainstream market group? What advice do you have for someone looking to start a business that feels like they have to choose between one or the other?
The Black community isn’t considered mainstream which makes no sense. We are still seen as a niche group when we are just as mainstream as any other American. You don’t have to choose between one or the other — you can make products for humans. The more we get away from artificial labels of race, the better off we will be!
What are some business myths you believed prior to your current work that was dispelled once you started working in your business?
That you had to have tons of money to launch a business. I didn’t have very much money at all and was able to launch Honey Pot. Also, you don’t have to have it all figured out before launching. Just get started and let the rest assemble as you go.
How has the most recent push of the Black Lives Matter movement changed yourbusiness? What are your feelings on this new push and appreciation for Black business?
We have received tons of attention from consumers who otherwise wouldn’t have known we were Black-owned. We’ve garnered a lot of media attention and have reached new demographics which has been amazing. BLM just elevated a conversation that should have been happening centuries ago.