Online Newsletter
July 2003

Our Featured WBE for the month of July is Brenda Thornton, President and CEO of SC3, manufacturer of Shaver’s Choice Skin Therapy Shaving System and The Skin Saver All-Purpose Skin Therapy. 

Q: Why did you go into business?
On December 6, 2001, a “chance” meeting with John Campbell, a local inventor from Starkville, MS, who was making a skin care product in his garage, led me into this business. I listened to his story about being the son of a sharecropper; the brother of “Little Milton,” Hall of Fame blues singer; how he had obtained 2 patents on the product he invented; and how he was putting together a package to send to Wal-Mart. This product was developed to prevent “Pseudofolliculitis Barbae.” I had never heard the word and couldn’t pronounce it, much less spell it. However, when John told me over 8,000,0000 African American men suffer from this condition commonly called “razor bumps,” I realized what a prevalent problem it was. I thought about how Bill Gates got his start in his garage, about how much money I had lost that year in the stock market, and decided to take a chance as an investor in John’s company, Shavers’ Choice Inc. However, it became apparent within the first month that John needed help in getting the product to market. At 50 years of age, he said that he had taken it as far as he could and asked me to do whatever it took to get his product to the people that needed it. On January 21, 2002, I formed SC3, LLC, to market the Shaver’s Choice products.

Q: What has been the worst time or biggest obstacle you have faced and overcome? 
Numerous people have told us that we picked the worst time in 20 years to introduce a new product. Our broker told us that he was certain that he could move 120,000 units to the 7500+ Beauty and Barber Supply houses throughout the country. Due to the sluggish economy, the hardest winter in decades, and war worries, these companies were not bringing on new products. Therefore, we changed our approach and began to market our concept to grocery chains, drug store chains and discount store chains. To date, Kroger, Ingle’s, and Piggly Wiggly Grocery Stores; Fred’s and Bonus Discount Stores; and Super D and Kerr Drug Stores have requested that their distributors bring our products in for their stores.

Q: What has been the biggest triumph? 
Our packaging. When I first invested in the product, the inventor was putting the product in a white jar with black writing. The jar had misspelled words and had no “shelf appeal.” When our broker told us that we had to change the packaging, I searched for a graphic that could be used as a background that would work for the packaging, as well as for print and TV. I found the look I wanted and with the help of our graphic artist, Rainey Scott, we now have a product that shows as well as any shaving product on the market. Our packaging has been submitted for an award by our box manufacturer, Rock-Tenn in Waxahatchie, Texas.

Q: What is the best advice you have ever received?
“Be prepared to take care of yourself.”  Neither of my parents graduated from college. As long as I can remember, it was very important to them that I obtain a degree and “get a good job.”   My Computer Science degree from Mississippi State University prepared me to enter the job market “making good money for a woman.” I was the only female programmer for several years, as women were still a rarity in the workforce in anything other than clerical or nursing professions. My background has enabled me to become the Chief Information Office and Executive Vice President of AmFed Companies, an insurance and financial services company. It also has saved me thousands of dollars by being able to create and maintain my own Web site,

Q:  Is there anyone who has inspired you and why?
Michael Van Velkinburgh is the Vice President of SC3 and my boyfriend. He has been an encourager from the start. He closed his business in order to coordinate sales for Shaver’s Choice. Whenever things aren’t moving fast enough and I let my attitude slip, he reminds me of all the accomplishments we have achieved.

Q: What is the best book you ever read and would recommend?
Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill was recommended to me by Billy Roberts, president of AmFed Companies when I became a partner in 2000. The main thing that I got out of this book is that you can’t accomplish anything unless you make an effort.

Q: What is your favorite quote?
“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.“  I don’t believe in “coincidence,” “chance” or “luck.” My meeting John was what I call a “God-wink.” We know that God put the two of us together and we will give God all the glory for our success.

Q: What are your goals now? Where do you see yourself going?
My goals are to obtain distribution for our products with as many grocery, drugstore and discount store chains throughout the country, then internationally. Secondly, I am searching for a grant to fund a study to find out why our product is eliminating the symptoms of the conditions eczema, seborrhea, psoriasis, and stops the itch of irritants such as poison ivy, mosquito bites, and sunburn. Third, I plan to obtain additional patents and seek FDA approval for our product, The Skin Saver. 

Q: How has your WBC certification helped you?

By allowing me to submit my proposals to the Supplier Diversity programs of the major corporations such as Wal-Mart, Kroger, and others.

Q: What do you want to be remembered for?

Helping others realize their dreams. The biggest compliment to me is when people tell me that they saw the article in the paper about me helping John and saved it in hopes that I could help them. In fact, one person has already contacted me, and I am in the process of helping him get his invention to market.

You can learn more about Brenda and SC3

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