Meet Vickie Joseph, founder of women’s clothing, Nu.I. by Vickie, and the co-founder of V Kosmetik International, a makeup company that caters to clients with skin tones and conditions that are underrepresented in the beauty industry.
In addition to these companies, she is also the co-founder of Groupe 3737, a non-profit business incubator launched in 2012. She started the company to provide assistance to blacks and other minority groups. In the last decade, the firm has provided coaching and support to more than 1,000 black business owners.
“We need to fight to have our own space and our own voices,” Vickie told Canada Broadcasting Corporation. “When I talk to a buyer, I tell them, ‘If you get me on the shelves of the stores, then you have to get other women, other Black-owned businesses, as well.'”
One of Groupe 3737 mentees is Nolie Imprévert, who credits Vickie for opening doors and demystifying business administration for her and other female entrepreneurs. Imprévert is behind the web series, Les Rendez-vous de Nolie.
“Sometimes, women at work will stick to themselves to have some kind of notoriety, but she’s there to elevate other women, in such a humble, human way and with so much kindness,” Imprévert said about Vickie. “She puts all her positive energy into you and makes you believe in yourself.”
Vickie says her mission is to improve the business knowledge of people of color, who remain sidelined by industry gatekeepers.
“If we don’t have the capital power, we are not part of the conversation,” she said. “The more powerful we become … the less they’re going to be able to steal and appropriate our culture.”
The journey towards becoming an entrepreneur and also helping potential entrepreneurs started when she became pregnant with her first child. At the time, she was working as a sales executive and when she told her boss about it, she was told her services were no longer needed.
“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,'” Joseph told CBC. “We’re no longer going to need you.”
While crying sorrows away, she was persuaded by her husband, Frantz Saintellemy, to launch her original clothing line. “It’s either you stay there and you cry your life away, or you take that obstacle and you turn it into an opportunity,” she recalled her husband saying.
Today, she runs her Nu.I. by Vickie clothing line, and makeup company V Kosmetik International, while impacting lives and inspiring the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.