Photo credit: Tommy Chung
Rochelle Alikay Graham-Campbell is a thriving entrepreneur, natural hair, beauty & lifestyle YouTube influencer, philanthropist, wife, and mother. Earning YouTube’s prestigious Silver Play Button Award, there’s no question why Rochelle’s “BlackOnyx77” channel continues to be a go-to source for beauty and fashion inspiration on the top-rated video-sharing platform. With over 104k+ subscribers and 15 million views, Rochelle’s dedication to hair that grows and skin that glows continues to be deeply rooted in the simple educational approach that can be traced back to her humble beginning on YouTube in 2008 that gave her an opportunity to explore groundbreaking techniques as one of the first natural hair YouTube Pioneers.
While learning about her own hair, Rochelle used style and hair care videos shot in her bathroom to empower women on their natural hair care journey. Within her first year, her following grew tremendously with a high response to her charismatic personality, from sharing her “Big Chop” to her unique hairstyles. After going natural, Rochelle noticed a void in the beauty industry for hair products made with “real” natural ingredients. With the support of her husband and soon to be business partner, Demond Campbell, Rochelle converted her kitchen into her first laboratory. Armed with determination and $100 initial investment from her savings; the then 22-year-old officially launched Alikay Naturals™-a luxury natural hair, skin and body care line in late 2008. Rochelle went on to obtain her Bachelor’s Degree in Business Marketing at the University of South Florida in 2011. In that same year, Rochelle created and coined the LOC Method™, an innovative hair care routine to protect and maintain healthy hair care.
The business mogul uses her brands across multiple industries (Alikay Naturals, Mogul University™, Rochelle Alikay and BlackOnyx77™) as platforms to inspire and motivate women to look beyond their circumstances to achieve their dreams. When she is not traveling the globe educating women on healthy hair, beauty and entrepreneurship; Rochelle gives back through hosting various charitable community events. In January 2016, she unveiled The Alikay Cares Foundation™ to provide resources to under served communities. As the co-founder of the R.I.S.E Women Empowerment Tour™; she promotes, highlights and empowers other successful business women.
Rochelle has received numerous awards including Gulf Shore Business Magazine’s “40 under 40” for business excellence and the Face Award for reflecting positive values that embrace ethnic and racial diversity with all-inclusive actions which serve as an inspiration to others. Rochelle and her brand have been featured in leading media outlets such as New York Times, Forbes, Essence Magazine, Black Enterprise, Inside Edition; as well as a beauty expert on major TV networks.
Who is Rochelle Graham Campbell and what was your motivation for starting your brand?
I am a dynamic and innovative entrepreneur and pioneer in the beauty industry. I am a mom and wife. I am an overall amazing and dope woman. My motivation for starting my brand Alikay Naturals was wanting to create what I wished existed, which were quality products for natural hair that did not contain chemicals. I wanted to use natural ingredients that would be able to moisturize kinky thick hair like mine. Amazingly, Alikay Naturals has been able to achieve all of that.
How did you discover your purpose?
I discovered my purpose by just going where God was leading me. By doing the things that felt good to me, that I enjoyed, and that was helpful to others.
What motivates you to keep going?
When I was building my brand, I was challenged with building the right team, scaling with a lean business model, and all of the challenges that come with bootstrapping a business. However, I remembered my greater purpose and mission. My husband, mom, kids, and my team were my support system and encouraged me to keep going. I kept in mind that what I am doing is bigger than me.
Tell me about a woman that has impacted your life.
My mom is my hero. She is my inspiration. She is my role model. She has not only taught me and shown me how to be a strong and independent woman, but she also taught me how to be resilient. She taught me not to hold back from following my dreams.
What advice do you have for women who are looking to follow in your footsteps?
Be inspired, but do not copy. Make sure that you do not give up too early. In my experience, I have had some people, who may not have followed me in the beginning, start to compare themselves to where I am now. They felt as if they were not good enough. That is simply not the case. Keep going. Everyone does not have the same journey. In any industry that you are in, think of something new that you can bring to the table. Be creative and think outside of the box.
What are your favorite books, podcasts, and resources?
- How I Built This podcast
- The 50th Law by Robert Green and 50 Cent mixes life and business lessons in street life with real-life examples
- Eat that Frog by Brian Tracy helps with overcoming procrastination and getting more done
- Success Through Stillness by Russell Simmons discusses learning how to meditate when you have a career and business
- Asana app for project management
Tell us about some of your accomplishments so far, and which one are you most proud of?
In 2015, I was awarded the 40 Under 40 award, the Silver Play Award from YouTube in 2016, and The FACE Award in Small Business by Gulfshore Business Magazine in 2017. Some of my other accomplishments are being able to give back to my community through philanthropic efforts or just by being able to donate my time. One of my greatest achievements was being coined as an “African American Beauty Pioneer” by Essence Magazine.