Shureice Kornegay of Fleeky Friday: “Do not imitate- innovate!”

Do not imitate- innovate! Create products that no other brand has. When we launched our multi-chrome gels and eye glosses, we were the very first to do so. We began to attract new customers due to our unique products and it truly set us apart, and took our brand to the next level. As part of […]

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Do not imitate- innovate! Create products that no other brand has. When we launched our multi-chrome gels and eye glosses, we were the very first to do so. We began to attract new customers due to our unique products and it truly set us apart, and took our brand to the next level.

As part of my series about the “How To Take Your Company From Good To Great, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shureice Kornegay, visionary founder of Fleeky Friday, an award winning beauty brand with loyal customers from over 32 countries and counting. Fleeky Friday’s products were voted among the best of 2020 by Byrdie Beauty. Shureice is also a globally published visual artist that was called „The Ultimate Glam“ by ELLE Magazine. She’s been featured by the Huffington Post, Thrive Global and graced the cover of Retro Lovely Magazine.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your backstory™ and how you got started?

My business began as an answer to a question that a friend asked me. We were having a conversation about our favorite beauty brands, and she asked me, why I never considered making products. Something about the way she asked me really made me think. Once those wheels started turning, they never really stopped. I began doing the research, testing and creating products, and finally my brand was born. We were the first brand to launch Multi-chrome gels and glosses that I formulated myself. Our glosses won „Best Shimmer of 2020“ and were perched next to legendary beauty brands like Mac and Gucci. It’s been such a wonderful journey from launch to where we are now.

Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?

Time management was the thing that gave me the challenge of my life. Starting a business is like a shock to the system. It’s a serious commitment. However, once I mastered time management, my life and my brand were transformed forever. Giving up is something that crosses my mind from time to time. I always try to remember my vision for my life, and being a person who gave up, will never fit into that vision.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or takeaways you learned from that?

Before I needed automation I didn’t invest in a label printer, and would handwrite addresses. This is great when you have 6 orders to ship. By the time I ordered a label printer it was too late. One week I had 200+ orders and had to write out hundreds of addresses because the printer I purchased was stuck in transit. I thought I was saving money- when I was really just losing valuable time. I learned that what works great when you are small, can become a liability as you grow.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

My company has launched viral products that are original to our brand. Our crystal liners and holographic multi chrome eyeshadows are the first of their kind. We won top 15 gloss of 2020 from Byrdie Beauty, a trusted, global beauty authority. I feel that we are truly making our mark on the industry with our unique, innovative products.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not burn out?

Automate. If there is anything that can be done by software or an app, do it. Link all your pages so that your posts go to all of your social media accounts. It’s better than managing all accounts individually. Hire temporary or permanent help when business picks up. Work smarter, not harder.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

My daughter has been my biggest inspiration. Her support and encouragement have gotten me through some very hard days. She has also designed an eyeshadow that a woman wore on her wedding day!

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. The title of this series is how to take your company from good to great. Let’s start with defining our terms. How would you define a good company, what does that look like? How would you define a great company, what does that look like?

Great companies are recognized outside of their sphere of influence.Their primary customer comes from all over the world. They often attain international press, and they are often considered notable. They often win awards due to being among the best at what they do. They have excellent customer service. Great companies innovate and lead. Their brand and products are unique. They offer many products that their competitors do not. Great companies are more likely to create trends than to follow them.

Good Companies are locally recognized. Their primary customer is within their sphere of influence. They do not often attain international press, or win awards for their products. Good Companies typically offer similar products to most of their competitors. They are more likely to follow trends than to create them.

Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to lead a company from Good to Great? Please share a story or an example for each.

  1. Do not imitate- innovate! Create products that no other brand has. When we launched our multi-chrome gels and eye glosses, we were the very first to do so. We began to attract new customers due to our unique products and it truly set us apart, and took our brand to the next level.
  2. Learn the difference between a follower and a supporter. I’m proud to say that my brand hit over 10K in monthly sales long before we ever hit 10K followers. This was always my goal, to build a brand and not just a following. Having a small group of dedicated, engaged, and loyal supporters is far more important than having a large group of people that like to merely follow you.
  3. Create a community around your brand to create affinity. Brand affinity is the highest level of loyalty you can achieve. I took the time to build my community first to create this affinity. I started my community „Glam Mafia“ as a beauty and support collective. We amassed over 13K members. Those members have even served as advisors on my products and services. Thanks to the amazing women in my community, a purchase from my brand is less transactional, and more of a community experience.
  4. Communicate Communicate Communicate. Be sure to over communicate with your customers, especially if you are experiencing delays. Send updates and timeframes. By the time a customer reaches out to you first, it’s too late. Always anticipate their needs and questions, and answer before they ask.
  5. Work on your business- and not just in your business. Don’t get too bogged down with your day to day operations that you forget your overall brand vision. Always continue to polish your overall brand’s look and feel, your customer’s experience, and the community surrounding your brand.

Extensive research suggests that purpose driven businesses are more successful in many areas. Can you help articulate for our readers a few reasons why a business should consider becoming a purpose driven business, or consider having a social impact angle?

Purpose driven businesses are better for our society as a whole. Having a purpose will separate you from your competitors and help you build a strong community around your brand. Brand affinity is the highest level of connection with your customers. Purpose driven businesses are more likely to achieve this than a brand that is only after profit.

What would you advise to a business leader who initially went through years of successive growth, but has now reached a standstill. From your experience do you have any general advice about how to boost growth and restart their engines?

I recommend launching a new, innovative product to renew interest in your brand. Nothing creates renewed interest in a brand more than something new and exciting. To create something that stands out, ask yourself: what problem do your customers have that you can solve?

I also recommend sales on popular products, running ads to attract new customers to your brand, or starting a blog or newsletter. Hire an SEO expert to get your brand pages more views. Post more eye catching content. If you have content that performs great, repost it to attract more customers.

There is always a way to get your customers to see your brand with fresh new eyes!

Generating new business, increasing your profits, or at least maintaining your financial stability can be challenging during good times, even more so during turbulent times. Can you share some of the strategies you use to keep forging ahead and not lose growth traction during a difficult economy?

In your experience, which aspect of running a company tends to be most underestimated? Can you explain or give an example?

The day to day, and the ups and downs. It’s not always going to be a great month, or a bad one. Tons of businesses make it seem like once you get to a certain level it gets easy. The truth is that you should always be pushing like its launch day. Your work ethic and consistency are the only constant factor for your business.

As you know, conversion means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies a business should use to increase conversion rates?

Engage as much as you can. Utilize video, chatbots that answer questions, or provide a way to contact someone who can. On your web pages and sites us e video that showcases your products. Consumers love video. Sharing reviews and showing recent purchases are also known to increase conversion.

Starting a shoppable newsletter or mailing list will also drive sales and traffic.

Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that a business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?

Stop merely building a business and build a community instead. Engage and inspire your customers. Celebrate and share their successes and creations with your products. Cheer them on whenever you can. Check in with them to make sure they are satisfied their purchases. A purchase from you should never feel like a mere transaction, it should feel like they are becoming a part of something amazing!

Great customer service and great customer experience are essential to build a beloved brand and essential to be successful in general. In your experience what are a few of the most important things a business leader should know in order to create a Wow! Customer Experience?

Ensure that a customer’s interaction with your brand is more than a purchase. Make sure it’s an experience that they will crave for years to come. Solidify your branding, offer pre- and post purchase support, and send out communications letting them know about any issues or delays. Always respond to customers.

What are your thoughts about how a company should be engaged on Social Media? For example, the advisory firm EisnerAmper conducted 6 yearly surveys of United States corporate boards, and directors reported that one of their most pressing concerns was reputational risk as a result of social media. Do you share this concern? We’d love to hear your thoughts about this.

Most of the reputational damage I’ve seen occur is due to ads being seen as racist or insensitive. Some large corporations are notorious for not hiring enough POC who can advise them against making marketing mistakes before they happen. My advice is to make sure that your marketing team is as diverse as your target consumer base. Communicate with your customers. Also consider running focus groups on your ad campaigns before they launch. Crucial feedback can help you create better ads.

What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?

The most common mistakes I see are brands that do not have a vision or consistent processes in place. Promote your brand for months before you launch. When you run ads, always send them to your site instead of your social profile to capture them on your mailing list. Research your target demographic so that your ads are more successful. Ensure that your brand has a unique yet consistent message, look and feel before you launch.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would start a love movement. My movement would ensure that we all received enough real love and learned how to truly love and express ourselves. Love is the opposite fear. Love and fear can not co-exist. Where there is one, there is not enough of the other.

How can our readers further follow you online?

Fleeky Friday:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!

Thank you so much for having me!

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