In a time where hair is being glorified in all its states, Charlene Dance is taking her position as Global Marketing Director of Strength of Nature to new heights. Managing a total of 14 brands under the Strength of Nature name (including African Pride Shea Butter Miracle, a proud sponsor of BrownGirlsLove Power Day), her goal isn’t to just merely promote and sell products, but to create and provide women of color with hair products that speak to their personal style preferences. We spoke to the hardworking boss about her role, the diversity of the beauty industry and the keys to making it in marketing.
Name: Charlene Dance
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Personal Style in three words: Professional, Versatile, Sophisticated
Favorite Designer(s): For just everyday/weekend wear, I really like Rag & Bone. I love Tadashi Shoji for eveningwear, he’s one of my favorite designers, and then professionally I love Elie Tahari.
Must Have Accessories: One of the things I don’t leave the house without, and don’t take off is my wedding ring. I’m a sunglasses girl too, so I always have my sunglasses! I have a pair of Roberto Cavalli’s right now that I like. I had a pair of Tom Ford’s that I wore over the summer, that I usually wear on weekends and then I have a pair of very simple Kate Spade sunglasses that I wear on the professional side.
Read more about this powerful businesswoman below.
What is your role at Strength of Nature as the Global Marketing Director, and what is important to you in that role?
I develop and manage the entire marketing division of Strength of Nature, particularly for consumers. I am over all fourteen brands in terms of that, so I create the strategy, manage the execution and also provide management over all of our vendor partners that help us do the jobs we do. That is really important to me because marketing is what really sets the culture and creates the messaging, and it is really important to me that this consumer knows we get her. I am also on the team for product development, which is absolutely important for me because I am charged with making sure what we bring to market is what she is looking for. I know that it is critical that we are very consumer centric, and that we stay focused on the consumer.
Tell us a little bit about the recent acquisition of the brand that Strength of Nature has acquired. Why was that acquisition important for Strength of Nature?
It is incredibly important for us because we truly are the largest privately owned and minority owned manufacturer. We hold the most brands that target women with coily to curly hair and we’re really proud of that. It’s really done strategically because we recognize that women are not monolithic and it is important to have many different brands that speak to them characteristically, meets their needs in terms of styling and provides them with options; we create options. Everything from you being a natural girl, to relaxing, to weaving, wearing braids and coloring, we want to have brands that allow you to celebrate your style choice. It is important that we keep these brands alive and we keep options alive for women of color. We are very passionate about making sure that we are not single-minded on what we want to offer the consumer.
Can you give us three pieces of advice for those who want to pursue marketing as a profession?
- People that want to get into marketing need to be willing to intern. A study came out that shows that internship is so low right now. No one wants to intern, everyone wants to just start and be paid. Beauty and marketing is so broad, unless you experience and play in the space you’re really not sure on where you want to practice. That can’t be something you do on someone else’s dime in order to figure that out,. I think internship is critical.
- Social media is your best friend in order to understand what direction you may want to go in. There are so many wonderful women out there doing incredible things right now that if you watch what they’re doing, watch their steps and watch their growth, you can figure out who you should network with, follow, and look to for what I call “social mentoring.” People are really teaching you in this space and showing you how to build your business. These are the people that you should pay attention to.
- My last tip would be once your door is open, and you do get into the business I think it is important to be an overachiever. It is important to keep in mind that once your foot is in the door there are so many people that want to be there, you have to show up and strive to give your best everyday, and go beyond what’s asked of you. Your goal should always be to steadily exceed the goal that’s set for you.
What’s in your handbag right now?
I’m traveling today, and my bag is super heavy. Since it’s cold now, one of the things I travel with is a beautiful cashmere throw that is very light, it was given to me as a gift by a great friend. I take it with me on the plane so I can keep warm. I have a pair of socks that I keep with me, and they are super warm. They’re actually from Bath & Body Works and they have the oil moisturizer to keep your feet moist. Kimberly Walker (@kimmygotsoul) actually put me on to this lip balm, EOS, and I keep that with me too.
Charlene is the epitome of handwork and POWER! We were honored to have African Pride Shea Butter Miracle, as a proud sponsor of BrownGirlsLove Power Day.