Welcome to part three of our black business spotlight. This week we are highlighting The Empress Trap, a company that provides a wide range of handmade quality mink lashes, handbags, phone cases, and sunglasses that was started by Gabrielle Brown in 2019.
Brown is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism and double minoring in communications and sociology and is set to graduate in Spring 2021.
Brown has wanted to start a business since she was 16 years old, “I always wanted to do more than just work for other companies,” she said. When getting her makeup done, lashes were always her favorite finishing touch because she loves how they enhance an individual’s beauty so she knew, without a doubt, that they would be her first product. “In high school, I would spend $15-$30 on luxury lashes and being a college student, I wanted to sell high quality lashes for an affordable price. I noticed there weren’t many beauty supply stores near campus or anyone else at the time supplying lashes so when I wanted to buy a pair I’d always have to go back to Broward. This gave me the extra “push” to move forward and turn my dreams into reality,” said Brown.
With the goal of becoming a one stop shop, on July 10th The Empress Trap’s website went live along with a new handbag, phone case, and sunglasses collection.
Like all new business owners, Brown faced a number of challenges while starting and running her business. “It took me weeks to test out and find an affordable high quality vendor. I believe in having high quality products so I was very picky when deciding on one to go with,” she said.
Additionally, finances posed a threat because sometimes Brown would invest in a product that didn’t sell well, leaving her stuck with inventory that she could not profit off of. “Oftentimes, I reach out to my friends for their opinions on what I’d like to sell,” she continued. Brown also had to master the art of time management as she was balancing classes, work, executive board positions, and The Empress Trap.
In light of the events that took place in late May and early June, Brown refrained from posting business-related things because she “believed we had more important matters going on in the African American community”. However, she has since gone back to promoting her business and with an increase in support for black business she has been getting more sales.
Brown believes running a black business is important because we need representation in every industry, “We are meant to be much more than just building other companies that are already at the top. The Black Dollar is very important and we have remarkable economic power,” Brown stated.
She continued by explaining the economic effect Black people have, “While we make up only 14% of the population, we are responsible for $1.2 trillion in purchases annually. Imagine if we poured even a quarter of that into supporting our own entrepreneurs and communities. Pouring into black business allows them to give back and inspire young black girls and boys that they too can follow their dreams and create generational wealth.”
Brown advises hopeful entrepreneurs to never not sell a product because someone else may already sell it, “Remember there’s many different brands for every single thing you purchase at Walmart,” she said.
“To anyone debating on starting their own business, don’t be afraid, go for it! Research, create a budget, set attainable goals and deadlines for yourself regarding your business. Invest in building your brand, and if you have any questions feel free to reach out to me!”
Be sure to visit https://theempresstrap.com for all of your lashes, phone cases, handbags, and sunglasses. They offer both local pickup and worldwide shipping. Also, follow @theempresstrap on Instagram to stay up to date on the latest products and inventory drops!
This story was edited by Alyssa Lowe