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Business connects ‘girlfriends’ from all walks of life

Miami-based entrepreneur hopes to get her products on shelves across U.S.

Ashley Montgomery | 9/5/2013, 9 a.m.
The Hey Girlfriend team – (left) Ashley of A Sassy Woman, (center) Debra of Cocoa Curls and (right) Hey Girlfriend founder Shilesa Chandler.

Now-a-days, Black women have adopted a bad rep. Known to other races as being “angry” and “hard-to-deal-with” over the years because of their own personal battles. One South Florida woman has made it her mission to strengthen the bond shared among “girlfriends” worldwide and reverse this reputation.

Shilesa Chandler, CEO of ‘Hey Girlfriend’ established in 2010 has its own line of key chains and t-shirts to cosmetic bags and purses that just endorses positive energy and friendships among women. Thanks to her mom, Chandler got the idea to start this brand. She would always hear her and her girlfriends greet each other with a cheerful “Hey Girlfriend”! So she got the idea to put it on a shirt and wear it. “Then other items came to mind, all still focused on women, such as the purse hangers, cosmetic bags, shot glasses, compact mirrors and shirts with different sayings on them. Then I thought, what a great way to bring women together, and it just all took off from there”, said Chandler.

Last Saturday, Hey Girlfriend hosted a health seminar. The “Look Good, Feel Good, Be Fabulous”:Health, Wellness and Beauty Seminar alongside the Beautiful Brown Girls Brunch Club. This educational and fun event provided an enjoyable environment to network, shop from vendors and listen to empowering speeches from local female entrepreneurs.

“We had a range of topics discussed from beauty and health care to nutrition and fitness from local business women and entrepreneurs”, said Cheif Girlfriend.

Among the vendors that participated in the seminar was Barbara Jacques of Jacq’s Organics. Jacques known around town for her cool haircut and all natural skincare line. Jacques has been featured on the Local 10 news as well being acknowledged on South Florida’s Top 40 under 40 Black Leaders of Today and Tomorrow by the Miami Herald.

No risk. No reward.

As a growing business, it’s imperative to get your name out in the market as much as possible. Chandler recently submitted her company into Wal-Mart’s campaign, ‘Get on the Shelf’ contest. The worlds leading retail store sought out to find individuals and businesses that would like for them to offer their products to their customers. The multi-stage contest included opportunities for the public to make their voice heard through online voting and will feature finalist in an original web series. Chandler pushed for her company to receive the most votes by using social media to reach out to her ‘girlfriends’ across the nation. Whether Hey Girlfriend wins or not, all contestants got free visibility by perhaps millions and who knows where that may lead her and the business.

Voting for the Audition Round ended Monday, September 2nd, at 11:59 pm EDT and products selected as finalist will participate in the web series portion of the contest during the fall. Winners will go on to sell their products on Walmart.com.