MPN Profiles Onyx
The Entrepreneurial and Financial
Women of Color
Thomas Brooks: Tell us about your company and how you got
Onyx Woman Magazine's Ola R. Jackson: Onyx Woman is a
career, entrepreneurial and financial magazine exclusively for
African-American women. The mission of Onyx Woman is to help
African-American women on their adventures up the corporate ladder and on
their journey through entrepreneurship and on to financial
self-sufficiency. Our goal is to provide women with information that will
empower them financially, politically, and spiritually. Onyx Woman offers
a no-nonsense magazine where women of color can now read about
professionals, as well as aspiring and successful business-owners just
like themselves. Onyx Woman is the absolute MUST for the black woman
contemplating, already operating, or possibly losing ground in the
business world. We also created a sell-out business and financial
conference for women that will be held in Philadelphia in April 2002.
|I got started because I saw Black women being
left out of the growth and development of our society. I first
started Onyx Woman as a newsletter. It became so well accepted
that we were able to expand into a magazine. Women constantly
wrote me thanking me for providing them with a no-nonsense
What were some of the hurdles you faced in launching your business?
Jackson: Like most minority owned business, capital was a
challenge for us. I had to find ways to keep my expenses down and still maintain quality
service and a product that exceeded the
expectations of both clients and readers. I started out home based and only used freelancers and
Another hurdle is dealing with racists who really do not want to do
business with you. I have dealt with that by going over the person's head,
or being assertive enough to demand a good reason for not getting the
work. In other words, we must hold people accountable.
MPN: How successful have you been, and what has been the key
to your success?
Jackson: I have been in business for 11 years. I have reached
goals that I have never expected. My key to success is plenty of prayer,
determination, and the ability to build relationships. At the end of the
day that is what it is all about.
MPN: What are your target markets?
Jackson: We target African-American women readers, but we
also target corporations interested in reaching a minority audience.
MPN: How do you serve your target markets better than other
businesses of your type?
Jackson: We try to do what they do not do. We avoid certain
issues and have a more narrow focus. For example, you
won't find articles on "How to get a man" or "how to keep a man"
in our magazine. If a Black woman wants to read about finances from a Black
woman's perspective, then we have the magazine for her.
We also have a different channel of distribution. In addition to newsstand
sales, we go directly to women's organizations, professional groups and
MPN: What general lessons have you learned that can be
applied to businesses in any product category?
Jackson: Know your product, stay abreast of your industry and
the industry leaders, and hone your skills. Also build relationships with
people in the business and those who offer complementary services.
MPN: How can the MPN user community contact your company?
Jackson: I can be reached at (412) 731-5159, or by e-mail at
www.onyxwoman.com. I am also available for public speaking.
I love sharing my message with women from all economic backgrounds.
Thomas Brooks is the Vice-President of
Marketing and Senior Webzine Editor for Minority Professional Network,
LLC. Follow this link for