Camille Bell
Founder

Biography

Competing in IEI’s Innovative Idea Competition gave me the opportunity to perfect my pitch, improve my public speaking skills, and most importantly, network. Being prepared is part of what helped me win the Global Initiative Award!

School: School of Media and Communication
Major: Public Relations
Minor: General Business
Company: Pound Cake

We asked Camille a few questions to learn more about her background and company. Below are her answers.

What is your hometown?

Downingtown, Pa.

What are your hobbies?

Baking and makeup artistry

What is your favorite food?

Cake, of course! Either vanilla cake or lemon pound cake.

What business stage is your company?

We’re still in the early stages. We have identified a manufacturer who can produce a quality prototype. The struggle has been in obtaining funding to get to that next level of final production in order to start distribution. My team and I have been planning our Indiegogo campaign to launch May 15th.

Pound Cake Cosmetics

What inspired you to start your own company?

I remember seeing the quote, “Follow your dreams, or you’ll work for someone who did.” That has always resonated with me. I’ve always had a passion for cosmetics, but also for being the boss. I remember graduating in 2015, fueled with so much energy and inspiration. I knew I did not want to just work at a desk for the bulk of my career. I knew I was destined to be a game-changer and make my mark in this world. My advisor for Temple Student Government in my senior year, Dr. Christopher Carey, informed me about Blackstone LaunchPad, and the rest was history.

Where did you see an opening in the beauty and cosmetic industry that had not been fulfilled?

I saw a lack of true representation and true products for people of color.

A lot of people think “representation” means to show a couple of images of people on a website or advertisements, and think they’re representing that demographic. That’s not what representation means. Representation is truly understanding a group of people—what they like, don’t like, etc. Cosmetic companies are not always reaching every demographic, nor are they always representative of all features. How can I feel represented if I’m not seeing a correct representation of people like me? The answer is, I cannot.

Secondly, cosmetic companies do not consider the ways in which products are created. People with darker skin naturally have darker lip tones. Pound Cake’s goal is to create products that show up on a customer’s skin (regardless of skin tone) the same way the product is presented in the tube.

How would you describe your personal entrepreneurial journey?

The entrepreneurial journey is difficult and rewarding at the same time. Some days you feel fueled, energized, and unstoppable. The very next day, you can feel defeated with worthless ideas. Do not ever compare your Chapter 1 to someone’s Chapter 20. When you stay in your lane, there is only you, your vision, and the end goal. If you continue to be persistent, confident, and adaptive, you will be successful!

What has been your greatest challenge?

My biggest challenge has been obtaining funding. Forbes recently published an article that stated Black women have received only 0.2% investment funding in the last five years. Not everyone is ready for a change in cosmetics, and being in a city that is heavily consumed by tech start-ups has been difficult in my line of work. Even though Pound Cake touches on racism and colorism in the world in which we live, unfortunately, those issues are not important to everyone.

How has Temple’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute (IEI) helped you through your entrepreneurial process?

The Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute has allowed me to expand my knowledge on good entrepreneurship, and has given me the opportunity to network with respected business strategists in the Philadelphia area. I was excited to be asked to speak at this year’s League for Entrepreneurial Women’s Conference. I also plan on applying for the Be Your Own Boss Bowl competition this year. IEI has been helpful with providing mentors, one-on-one sessions, and programs that showcase past winners to ensure a successful submission.

Have you competed in Temple’s business competitions? If so, what has been your greatest learning experience?

I competed in the 2015 Innovative Idea Competition and won the Global Initiative Award! The competition process is very rewarding, regardless if my team had won or lost. Each experience gives me the opportunity to perfect my pitch, improve my public speaking skills, and most importantly network. You never know who is in the crowd at any of these pitch competitions.

Who is your mentor/idol and why?

My mentor is Dr. Christine Marty-Ochola, who is the president at the Sub-Saharan African Chamber of Commerce. I met her at a Blackstone LaunchPad event back in 2015, and since then we have fostered a great relationship. If I need advice perfecting the pitch deck for Pound Cake, my business plan, or even just seek answers to my general questions as a young entrepreneur, I reach out to Christine for great feedback.

What advice would you give to budding entrepreneurs?

You need to be your biggest fan. Not everyone will be rooting for you, encouraging you, and motivating you. Surround yourself with positive and influential people. Constantly ask questions, and do not be afraid to speak up or follow up. I was always told growing up that the hungry wolf gets the meat!

What’s next for you and your business?
I plan to attend Atlanta’s World Natural Hair Trade Show in April to increase awareness for Pound Cake and our Indiegogo campaign launching May 15. To stay updated with our pre-launch, please sign up with your email at poundcakecosmetics.com!

There will also be a #PoundCake Series that continuously features people of color and their views on the cosmetic industry. We filmed the first series of videos this past weekend, and I’m so excited to share on Pound Cake’s social media found here: http://bit.ly/2dSOuU7 ; http://bit.ly/2hQFvqG!