Lawyer Turned Entrepreneur Opens Beauty Boutique for Women of All Skin Tones


Harlem-native Desiree Verdejo, spent seven years practicing law before she decided to take the leap from public finance attorney to beauty boss and founder of Vivrant Beauty, a go-to beauty destination, located in Harlem, for women of all shades, nationalities, and hair textures. “We are catering to a clientele that has never felt catered to and we are highlighting amazingly formulated and packaged brands that are not always on the shelves of well-known beauty retailers,” said Verdejo. “The breadth of our product selection and the amazing brands that we highlight—features a vast selection of indie brands, women-owned brands, and black-owned brands—this is what makes us a unique place to shop.”

The successful transition of Verdejo, from lawyer to beauty entrepreneur has undoubtedly been helped by her passion for skincare at a young age and love for caring for her natural, kinky hair. Black Enterprise caught up with the Verdejo to learn more about her career transition and lessons learned in business. Tell us about the moment that inspired you to launch Vivrant Beauty.      

Desiree Verdejo: I had a few years of a-ha moments. “Before I accepted that I needed to open the store, it was just an idea that I dreamt about and wished someone would open. I realized that I was happier thinking of great ideas surrounding the boutique than I was when planning how to advance the career that I was in. That’s when I realized it was something that I had to pursue.”

Can you offer a few tips on navigating a career transition successfully or how to break into a career with no experience?
I would say talk to as many people as you can, save, plan, and then leap. Definitely take the leap. Be incredibly well researched and passionate about the subject matter. I talked to hair stylists, makeup artists, and YouTube junkies all day. People would know right away if I didn’t know the business and have an enthusiasm for beauty.

I also think it’s important to build and maintain great relationships. There are so many differences between being a beauty entrepreneur and a lawyer, such as event planning, social media, and merchandising. I am humble enough to admit what I don’t know and to ask for input from my peers when necessary.

Describe the most difficult thing you’ve faced in your career.
One of the greatest difficulties is one that I probably see as a blessing now. After practicing law for nearly five years with a prestigious NYC law firm, I was laid off. That was a huge blow to my ego and to my security. Of course, being removed from such a comfortable environment made me think about what I really wanted from life and what I really needed to be happy. I found another job in law immediately (NYC rent is high!) but I also started writing my business plan then.

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