Photo credit: B. Flynn Photography

Raven Roberts started a company the women of Chicago can rave about. iRavee Beauty Bar is a service and product based company that is about to change the face of the hair and eyelash industry this fall. With the launch of her new programs, Roberts tells us how being from Chicago prepared her for the business world as a woman entrepreneur.

Being a businesswoman from Chicago, what obstacles did you overcome?
I love Chicago but it’s very difficult with the amount of violence that is happening in our city. As an African-American, I have had to overcome fear daily but as an African-American woman, I would say the underestimation because of my gender.

What are you studying in school? How hard is it balancing a full-time job, a business and being a full-time student?
I am studying esthetics. The balancing of my time between working full-time, attending college, and operating a business has its challenges. But who ever said success would be easy or convenient?

How long have you been into entrepreneurship?
I have been into entrepreneurship all my life. My grandfather owned and operated several businesses where my mother was employed when I was younger. I learned a lot from him during this time period, as he taught me the principles of entrepreneurship at an early age.

How did you come up with the name iRavee and what does your company sell?
The name iRavee is a collaboration of thoughts, ideas and a projection of myself, my personality and my perspective of what I believe style and beauty are. The IRavee Beauty Bar provides makeup and eyelash extension services as well as retail products such as mink strip eyelashes and virgin hair.

Being a new entrepreneur, what advice can you give to other women looking to start their own business?
My advice to young women would be to understand the products and the market that you are looking to break into. Understand that it will not be easy starting out because of the uphill battle that you will face. Don’t listen to the skeptics or take no for an answer; stay focused and stay the course because perseverance is key.

Being from Chicago, how do you plan on making a difference as a young, Black, woman entrepreneur?
Coming from Chicago, which is also known as the “City of Big Shoulders” due to Carl Sandburg, the hard-working spirit has always been instilled in me. My approach is to spread a positive message to others both younger and older than myself. I know that through hard work and helping others with achieving their dreams that it can slowly turn a negative into a positive in the Chicago scene.

iRavee carries mink eyelashes also. What makes your product different from so many other eyelash companies?
The iRavee brand of mink eyelashes is constructed of a higher quality of materials made to last longer thus upholding the integrity of its shape, fullness, and luster at a price point that’s more reasonable than our competitors.

As a businesswoman, what entrepreneurs do you gain inspiration from?
Well, I am definitely inspired by a variety of entrepreneurs for various reasons. However, at the top of my list would be none other than Oprah Winfrey herself. Gabrielle “CoCo” Bonheur, the founder of the Chanel brand, is another female entrepreneur that I admire. Both of these women have not only stood the test of time but they have overcome obstacles that would have pushed others to quit.

King Davis

God first and everything follows. Entrepreneur, business and brand manager. Holds a bachelor's in Business Management and a master's in Sports Marketing & Management. Currently set to take negotiation & finance courses at Harvard Business School this fall. Responsible for the branding and marketing of various individual brands and businesses. || [email protected]