To be a woman who makes “Pretty” moves you must first understand the gift you hold within and next understand how to utilize it.
Tona Michelle – entrepreneur, creative director, and published fashion/wardrobe stylist.
Tona has a combination of more than 20 years in the fashion and beauty industries. She began her beauty career as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant in 2000. During her time as a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant, she quickly learned the ropes and within months she’d recruited numerous Consultants and earned her first Red Jacket for top sales and recruiting. After several years as a Mary Kay Consultant, Tona decided to attend beauty school to gain more training as a Professional Make-up Artist. In 2007, she graduated with a license in Make-up Artistry from Bennett Career Institute, where she received training from industry greats Sam Fine, Valente Frazier, and Derrick Rutledge.
In 2008, Tona took on a job as a Make-up Artist for the independent film “Misunderstandings”. Her work was well received by the producers, later making her the Key Make-up Artist for the film. She would then go on to work on another independent film “God’s Truce”, a music video “Break Your Waistline” and her first magazine cover for “I am Modern” magazine. She has also freelanced writing for online and print magazines DC Fashion News, Élan Extreme Magazine, and Demand Studios. She also had several columns for Examiner online.
In 2009, Tona decided to utilize her skills in sales, customer service, fashion, and beauty to launch her first online boutique DC Consignment Boutique. Later in 2010, she launched her cosmetics and skincare brand Tona Michelle’ Cosmetics. Since launching her most recent career as a style consultant/wardrobe stylist, she has become the go-to person to help professional men & women create their signature looks and style. She has appeared on local/national television giving tips and advice on the trends in beauty and fashion as well as makeovers. You can also see her work on the cover and inside national and international fashion magazines.
In 2022 October Moon Branding was birthed to fill in a gap for women-owned fashion, beauty, lux retail, and lifestyle business owners who want to have big business branding and marketing but on a smaller budget. Along with my design partner, Dawn Fowlkes, and other creatives, we provide unique creative big brand branding and marketing at affordable rates.
My advice to my fellow boss babes is to never give up on your dreams. It may not happen on your time but it will happen. If you want your dreams to become more than you’d ever imagined, you’ll have to do the hard work now so that you can enjoy success later. Don’t make the same mistakes I’ve made by thinking that I didn’t have to pay someone in order to successfully start, run and grow a business. Do yourself and your credit score a favor and INVEST in having the pros do what you aren’t good at doing.
Outside of entrepreneurship and business, Who is Tona Michelle in five words?
A creator, ambitious, empath, giver, and seeker.
What inspired your start in the Branding Industry?
During my years of entrepreneurship, I’ve met a lot of other women-owned entrepreneurs who have high hopes of achieving their dreams but are missing the key ingredient which is proper branding. From the beginning of my journey of entrepreneurship, I knew I wanted to look like the big brands despite being small so I emulated them. Doing this drew customers to my brands. I wanted to provide the knowledge I’ve gained over the years in branding/marketing to help others level up in their businesses in order to reach their entrepreneurial goals.
You have excelled in several different industries over the years, how have your multiple roles prepared you for where you are now in business?
I think it’s very important to be able to do multiple tasks in your business so that you know what’s happening at all times. Oprah, with all her money, still oversees everything with her businesses. It’s especially important when you’re a small business starting out and not having the resources to hire. I still to this day help out in other areas when I need to because I want things to be the way I want them.
Tell us about your company’s October Moon Branding.
October Moon Branding is a premier Washington, DC-based digital creative branding agency helping women-owned fashion, beauty, and luxury retailer brands grow and scale their businesses pushing their creative boundaries creating stunning content and brand strategies that result in exceptional outcomes.
Can you share your 2022 journey with us?
After closing my last online clothing boutique in 2019, I decided I was done with pursuing any type of business venture as things didn’t quite work out with the last ones. However, after feeling stagnant in life I took a college course and quickly realized I was done with pursuing that angle and that I only did so out of boredom. Soon after it was put in my heart to start the branding business. I’d actually planned to start it in 2021. I purchased a domain name, and created a cheesy logo but put it on the shelf as I wasn’t really ready to start a business again. In 2022 GOD spoke to me that I needed to do this and so I did and I’ve gotten great responses so far. I still lose patience and sometimes want to throw in the towel but those were the same thoughts that halted me before.
How did your business excel, what major moves are you proud of?
My business has excelled at the rate as a new business should. I’m actually most proud of all of the experiences thus far. The clients have truly entrusted me and my team with their “babies”. This is a huge compliment to what we’re doing. In this industry with so much competition, you really have to know your stuff. I’m constantly learning as I’m a firm believer in investing in myself and my businesses.
What is next for you in 2023?
For 2023 it’s about growth and continuing to build a solid foundation bringing on individuals who share my vision and want to contribute to its growth.
What is your definition of a Pretty Woman Who Hustles?
My definition of a Pretty Women Who Hustle is that she is selfless. She understands that she’ll receive a lot more in return when she helps others and that she isn’t losing anything by sharing her knowledge with those who seek it. In addition, she knows that it’s okay to take a step back and pivot if that one thing isn’t working out. As long as you have the ability to function, it’s never too late to pursue your dreams and dream new ones.
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Join us daily as we feature 22 Women Making Major Moves in 2022, Read Part 6 of The Special Edition issue here: