This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
[Boom] First question: Money. Influence. Power. Opportunity. How important is it for you to remind others that nothing happens overnight?
[Jesseca Duparte]: Very important. In this era, social media has a lot of people thinking great ideas. You have to stay consistent and keep going. Nothing happens overnight.
So many within the urban community believe that money can solve all our problems. Was achieving your first million everything you thought it was going to be?
For me… achieving my first million was not about achieving the amount. It was more so knowing anything could be done. I can say this in a confident way. Money does not equal happiness. Money is only the gateway to opportunity. We have to keep the right mindset throughout the journey.
Describe what motivated you to make your first donation and create Kaleidoscope Kares?
Funny story — my momma tells this story all the time. When I was in kindergarten, they would give us two cookies for snack and every day I came home with one cookie wrapped up in a napkin whether it may have been crumbled up or whole…to give to my sister. So giving has always been something in me. I let God move me in the direction he is supposed to lead me because I know being on this earth with all these blessings that he’s given me are not supposed to just stay with me.
While others use social media solely to promote their business, you often give money away. What inspired that?
I feel like it’s my responsibility. I also have a little bit of selflessness in it because when I give or help people it makes me feel good. I get satisfaction out of it. It’s a selfless slash selfish act. Just visualize if you had your hand in front of you closed because you’re trying to hold on to everything that you have, you also have it closed where you can’t receive. But if you always have your hand open to be able to give, you also can receive. As much as I’ve given, I’ve received hundredfold of that easily. I am always open to give.
Unikorn Collection. You’ve mentioned that your new haircare line resembles individuals like yourself who like to change up their looks. How often do you change up your preferred hairstyle?
Ooo… it depends on the week or what my week looks like. I have actually had days where I changed my hair three times in a day and/or weeks where I changed my hair no times. It just depends on how I’m feeling. I don’t like to feel held down and committed to one particular thing. We are in a world where you can be whoever you want, do whatever you want, look however you want. So whatever color hair I want, if I slap a color wig on I can, if I want to wear my beautiful natural tresses I can, if I want to rock a fro I can. I like change.
Covid-19 turned the world upside down. Describe the current landscape of the beauty industry that Unikorn Collection is entering and why now is the perfect time to release a new project?
Honestly, Covid-19 did turn the world upside down, but it helped open eyes to uncover where there was a lack. I found that a lot of brown-skinned and dark-skinned women are getting opportunities for more visibility on their brands so if no other time…NOW is the time to definitely put out any project and for us…that was the Unikorn Collection which is all for being oneself and being true to oneself. Outside of that, whoever wants to come out with anything now is the time. Three months ago was a good time. We have all eyes on us. People are paying attention to a lot of stuff that we are doing. They are willing to purchase, repurchase, and looking to help out in any way possible.
After what the world just endured with the COVID-19 pandemic. How important is rebuilding our communities?
I think it’s very important for us to rebuild our community. I also think the lessons that we learned during Covid we should not take for guaranteed. Whether it’s being thankful for the things you have, whether it’s numerous businesses that had to learn how to pivot, whether it’s looking at things differently, whether it’s opening the eyes of those who did not know we still have Racism that is still here. I think that we need to be mindful of the lesson we were taught because I don’t think anything happens by mistake. Everything happens for a reason. So for whatever reason, this did happen, we need to pay attention to every lesson we were supposed to learn in it.
Is entrepreneurship something we need to be discussing more within our community?
I definitely think entrepreneurship is something we need to discuss more within our community because of the lack of ownership in things. It is great for us to have equity, especially in assets that will give us residual income, open different doors, and provide for others where they can in turn provide for the community also. I think entrepreneurship a long time ago was shunned upon because people thought it meant that it was an isolated path of tasks that they were doing. However, in the world that we live in today’s day and age, entrepreneurship is rising and thriving so much that a lot of people now have their eyes on it. I’m not saying that it is for everybody, but it a discussion to have for those that have been closed-minded so that they are educated on it.
You strengthened WiFi accessibility within your New Orleans community. Share your accessibility growing up and the importance of internet access within the urban communities?
When I was growing up, I don’t remember the internet. We watched Tv. We played video games, we rode bikes outside and drew with chalk on the ground. Nowadays because everything is based around the internet and thrives on the internet, I believe it is very internet for children to have access to it. Especially virtually learning, it has continued to be available for over a year now. Imagine you have virtual learning, but you don’t have access to the damn internet to learn! Now you have failed out of school due to an unfortunate financial circumstance? That’s unfair. And I that to me will take us eons of years back…we are too far to let that happen.
Mental health has become an extremely important topic in today’s business. I’d like to ask you, as a multi-millionaire, what are some various outlets you use you would like to share with others to help with maintaining positive mental health?
I believe in therapy. People should be okay with taking a break from people. We are in a hustle and bustle era that people don’t take breaks. It can be something that you do on Tuesday, but you are so overwhelmed that you’re about to have a mental break..that “thing” might just have to wait. Sometimes you have to step away from everything. I also think it’s great to evaluate your circle, the people around you, how they affect you, and be okay with letting people go that don’t mean you any good. Stay in faith, stay in the word, and lean on God.
What are your plans for the continued expansion of your staff?
My plans for the continued expansion of my staff are as the company grows we will hire. My plans for the company are to grow it where we can keep giving job opportunities to those in need. I think 2020 was a year of lessons, 2021 is a year of putting things in place, and 2022 is a year of execution for us. I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have in store.
As a successful businesswoman, describe how it feels to be able to create opportunities for your community?
It’s very fulfilling and inspiring. It’s actually one of the rewards. A lot of people think it’s the money, but like I said before the money is just a gateway for opportunities.
The best advice you’d provide women on the grind right now?
NEVER GIVE UP. No matter what’s your circumstance never give up. Never throw in the towel. Sometimes you have to pivot, sometimes you have to change direction… NEVER GIVE UP! AND! Never let people talk you out of your dreams just because they weren’t able to accomplish theirs. I can say this in every language in the world. That’s all I can say. Everyone has their highs, lows, good days, and bad days, BUT never give up. That bad day can either by a bad day or a bad week, it all depends on what you let it be.
Your proudest moment?
My proudest moment was when I did my Judy Dropping Knowledge Tour and over 5,000 people gave their lives to God. Between the cities, I got the opportunity to teach over 17,000 people. In most of the cities, we went to, we were in churches and that was real intentional. At the end of my lessons, it was almost like an alter call, so it was over 5,000 individuals that gave their lives to the lord and that was a HUGE accomplishment. Imagine having an opportunity to do something for God and instead of doing one by one, I was able to do it in a massive way. That’s my greatest accomplishment.