Ep. 4: The recipe for Manufacturing: Packaging, Capital and a Solid Plan, SoJohna Bell, CEO of Ryze Manufacturing & Logistics

49m | Sep 17, 2023

In this episode, Megan Young Gamble interviews SoJohna Bell, CEO of RYZE Manufacturing, an experienced entrepreneur in the beauty industry. They discuss the importance of funding investment, product development stages, and proper testing for your products.  SoJohna shares her personal experiences, including overcoming a negative work environment, healing from grief, alongside  her journey of starting her own business, facing challenges in finding like-minded vendors and chemists, and the need for credibility. She emphasizes the significance of having a comprehensive business plan, marketing strategies, and seeking non-equity campaigns and grants. Expounding on the significance of black-owned hair products, helpful resources for business planning, SoJohna offers advice on product development, emphasizing the importance of precise formulas, vendor information, and encouraging entrepreneurs to be true to themselves, make plans for the future, and seek support.

WARNING: In this episode, this is sensitive topic conversation around workplace sexual harassment/assault. Viewer and listener discretion advised.

HOST-Megan Young Gamble Links:

POWERHOUSE-SoJohna Bell Links:



  • The Rise of Black-Owned Beauty Industry: "The woman who started the black beauty industry was Annie Malone. She was a chemist, and started with her own hair care products. And this made a parade that we participated in every year, didn't know that the way that came to be was that she had this building. She had her own manufacturing company. She was producing products. She was selling. I mean, she could 1000 of women on, you know, creating opportunities for them, empowering them, and taking them at that time, it was only washer women jobs and maids. And now she gave them an opportunity to create their own financial future." — SoJohna Bell 00:07:10
  • The Importance of Self-Healing: "If you feel like you can still be in that environment, and it not be something that's gonna weigh on you daily. It's not gonna impact your work because for me, it would. It consumed me. So I knew that in order for me to heal, I had to get out of there."— SoJohna Bell 00:13:0800:14:57
  • Walking Away from Corporate: "I mean, and it's a lot. I mean, I I remember earlier just in my entrepreneurial journey and people would ask, how did you walk away from and what was the deciding factor? And I would always leave that out. You know, I'm just getting to the point that I'm like, you know what? I have to tell my full story for people to really kind of grasp why I did what I did, you know, and would you ever go back? No.— SoJohna Bell 00:16:10
  • Vertical Integration in the Beauty Industry: So one word when I was kinda going through this that just resonated with me was vertical integration. And at the time, I was like, What's vertical integration? What's that? You know, but then I was understanding that this is how the Asians ran their supply business."— SoJohna Bell 00:24:32
  • Building a Business: "If the journey takes longer, but you get to really put in place what your goal and your mission and your vision is, then take it take it longer."— SoJohna Bell 00:28:3000:30:00
  • Overcoming Fear and Learning as You Go: "Do it scared. You'll learn as you go. You'll learn from your mistakes. You won't make that mistake again."— SoJohna Bell 00:44:12

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