The goal of Huntington Village’s new boutique Chez Lãa Reine is to cater to the Queen in you;
“I’ve been working with my mother since I was born,” said Helms-Jeune, who is an esthetician and the COO of Vera Moore Cosmetics. “It was official after I graduated from Howard around 1999.”
Helms-Jeune joked that she was her mother’s second-born because the business was born first, but she loves seeing the passion her mother pours into the business.
“I look up to the things my mother has done, said Helms-Jeune. “We have customers that say my grandmother uses your product and I remember when I was 12 and I saw it in the medicine cabinet. That’s generational, which is great. She inspires me a lot.”
Moore echoed these sentiments and says that her daughter has the makings of a great business owner. “I love my daughter tremendously she’s very talented,” said Moore. “I love working with her because I see the potential of a fabulous entrepreneur going forward.”
With support from her family and husband Billy Helms, who was also an esthetician and cosmetologist, Moore started her makeup and beauty brand in 1979. She was able to integrate Green Acres Mall the following year and her products have been featured in several major magazines, shows and movies including “The Cosby Show,” The Wall Street Journal, “Saturday Night Love” and more.
“I had no idea I was going to be an entrepreneur, my background was all theater,” said Moore. “But, I knew I always had to have a plan because we were very poor.”
Moore was raised by her mother, who was a domestic worker, and father, who was a porter, along with six siblings. Despite hardship, preparedness, resiliency and dignity seemed to be engrained in her DNA as her parents made the best of their situation. Moore said these entrepreneurial characteristics were second nature, and made her what she is today.
“All my inspiration comes mainly from my mom,” said Moore. “I didn’t get ‘Yes I Can’ from Obama, I always knew I could. My mother always encouraged me no matter what. That’s why I integrated Green Acres Mall.”
Moore said she always tries to instill the same encouragement and tenacity in her daughter, and believes it has worked thus far.
“I enjoy working with my mother,” said Helms-Jeune. “Sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but the goal is always the same, which is to make the customers happy.”
“I love their relationship because I’m really big on family and legacy,” said Taylor-Gooden, who met Moore and Helms-Jeune through mutual friends and decided to partner with them in August of this year. “Me, Consuella and Vera mesh together in a world where they always say women don’t get along. That’s not true.”
Helms-Jeune plans on passing down the same lessons as her mother to the next generation, which is her two-year-old son Bradley.
“I want him to do whatever he wants to do just like my mother would always say to me,” said Helms-Jeune. “Would be great if he decides to go into the family business, but whatever he decides to do he’ll be great.”
Their advice to others out there trying to make things work in their family business is to be receptive, stay focused and be honest with your customers.
“It’s a mindset to know that you are more than enough,” said Moore “Don’t look to the right nor the left and keep your eyes on the prize.”
“Family business has its ups and downs, but if you pay attention you can learn,” said Helms-Jeune. “From my mother, I learn something every day. She teaches me to be honest with customers and they respect that and through that you’ll build a loyal customer base.”
Vera Moore Cosmetics are available at Chez Lãa Reine and you can schedule a spa treatment with Helms-Jeune by appointment only.