Owning a business was not part of the career track Andrea Polk initially envisioned for herself. “As a child, the word ‘entrepreneur’ was never a term that was part of my vocabulary,” Polk explains. “I was never taught how to own a business, but rather how to be a great employee.” But after years growing other people’s brands in corporate America, Polk says she decided to invest her sales and marketing background in her own vision — a skin care business targeting men. Her first foray didn’t work out, but she persisted to launch Solo Noir, an organic grooming line for men of color.
Polk calls her last day working a 9-5 “life changing.” She elaborates, “I remember leaving work that day in a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts of uncertainty and fear. As I was sitting in my car, I turned on the radio and heard Mary Mary[‘s] ‘Go Get It’. At that moment, I knew it was time to go after my true blessing and calling.” She adds, “Two hours later, I was setting up Solo Noir at a pop-up location and have been working purposefully and happily ever since.”
We asked Polk what kept her going in spite of initial setback, and what keeps her moving forward.
MadameNoire: What inspired you to start Solo Noir?
Andrea Polk: Solo Noir was inspired by the lack of representation in the male grooming market. The ethnic grooming market is underserved and major market companies do not feel that ethnic grooming is a profitable market. My vision started in college when I was given the task of creating a mock business plan… While doing research for my project I realized that I had a passion for the male grooming industry.