How Vickie Joseph found her purpose in entrepreneurship after her employer wanted blond and blue-eyed employees

Dollita Okine May 25, 2023
In 2019, Vickie Joseph was given the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Montreal Chamber of Commerce Photo Credit: Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation

Haitian-born Canadian resident, Vickie Joseph, is the Founder and CEO of the exclusive women’s clothing brand, Nu.I (New Eye), which is taking Canada and the world by storm.

In an interview with CBC, Joseph revealed that she was sacked from her sales executive job in the early 2000s after she told her boss she was pregnant. “They were like, ‘you’re going to be too stressed having a child, and we’re looking more for women that are blond with blue eyes. We’re no longer going to need you,’” she said.

Joseph expressed that the comment took her by surprise, since she had come across a few problems concerning racial discrimination. She recounted that after soothing her pain with a tub of ice cream, she listened to her husband’s advice and did some research into launching her own clothing line, which she has never regretted since.

Today, apart from owning one of the leading clothing brands in Canada, the entrepreneur is also the co-founder of V Kosmetik International – a makeup business that supplies clients with underrepresented skin conditions and tones.

Joseph and her husband also co-founded Groupe 3737, a nonprofit business the couple established for their neighborhood in 2012.  It is now one of the largest private business incubators in Quebec that brings together a community of more than 50 companies and gives support to more than 300 business owners, according to the Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation.

Nolie Imprévert, one of the first people mentored by Groupe 3737, described Joseph as her role model and added that she is opening doors and deciphering business administration for her and other female business owners; referring to her as a “woman of action,” and “a woman of her word.”

Joseph acted as a voice of reasoning for Imprévert before she launched her web series, which focuses on the work and additions of professionals of color. She also taught her how to write a convincing business plan and conduct market research.

As part of her initiative to help young women succeed in their businesses, Joseph founded Fempreneurs, to motivate and help women launch their businesses. She has donated thousands of dollars to support education and mental health among young women.

Vickie Joseph has participated in Fashion Weeks in Montreal, Ottawa, and Boston, and dressed prominent people in those areas, according to Orizon.

She is a 2016 member of the Excellence Quebec cohort and sits on several boards of directors like TNM, Montreal Business Fund Advisory Committee, and CCMM.

According to Entretiens Jacques Cartier, she received the Philanthropy Tribute Award at the Gala Dynastie, and was a godmother of the 34th Festival Vues d’Afrique in 2018.

In 2019, she was given the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Montreal Chamber of Commerce and has also been listed as one of the best fashion designers for the Black Canadian Awards.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: June 11, 2023


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