|Ramona Griggie Founder of Express Smile Atlanta
By Erickka Sy Savané
|Ramona Griggie & Son
“I started using my son, my husband and anyone else who came to the
house as guinea pigs to practice the one-hour treatments,” says Ramona.
“And it worked.”
Not only did her son get to have a beautiful set of
pearly whites for his graduation day, but word spread, and people were
standing in line for her teeth whitening services. Knowing that it was
time to shift from her house to a legit working space, Ramona found a $300 per month rental and got going.
“It was a cute little setup where people would come
and pay $100-$200 for a one-hour procedure,” explains Ramona. All was
going well until she fell one day and suffered a concussion. With time
off to think, she realized that she didn’t like being away from her
family for such long hours.
“I’m really a housewife with a side hustle,
work-from-home, work-from-my-phone kind of person,” says Ramona.
she noticed that people liked buying the $35 do-it-yourself kits.
So during the time it took for her to heal, Ramona closed the shop and began researching how to take her business
online. She learned to build a simple website from scratch, at a cost
of $20, got a free business telephone line and prepared for a January
Knowing that marketing would play a key role in the
success of her business, Ramona chose Instagram as her promotional
platform of choice. From there, she called in a favor from local celeb
‘JuJu,’ aka rapper Cam’ron’s girlfriend, and convinced her to post a
picture with a kit, along with a simple ad that Ramona put together.
She paid instagram $150.00 to run the promotion for 4 hours. What
happened next was life-changing. Within a few hours, $8,000 came in and
her Instagram following shot from about 500 to 10,000 followers.
“My local post office didn’t know what to do with all
these orders, and neither did we,” recalls Ramona, of how she and her
husband/business partner had to handle the unexpected load. “Our main goal was to make sure that people didn’t
have to wait for their orders.” It was around this time that Ramona
realized that a significant number of African Americans don’t have
dental insurance, but they could afford a $35 do-it-yourself teeth whitening kit.
Sensing that she had struck marketing gold, and knowing that the goal
was always to reinvest, Ramona continued to study Instagram and made a
list of other celebrities that she wanted to work with. Soon after, she
paid $1,000 for her second sponsored post and made close to $50,000 in
And thanks to even more star power- Amber Rose, The Kardashians, Kevin Hart and plenty more- she’d made one million dollars in her first 60 days! With so much celebrity backing, one has to wonder if Express Smile Atlanta Teeth Whitening really works or if it’s just the latest insta-gimmick? To answer, Ramona says,
“First and foremost, the
product works. We have very few returns, people buy multiple kits at one
time, and we get tons and tons of reorders. And sure, the celebrity
backing helps because people look at their teeth and they want to use
the same product that celebs use to keep them white.”
Thanks to the overwhelming success of her online business, Ramona has
since opened a flagship boutique in College Park, Atlanta where celebs
like Blac Chyna, college students and even bridal parties can come and get one-hour treatments from certified technicians.
If there’s any piece of advice that Ramona would
offer to other budding entrepreneurs it would be,
“Hustle, drive, keep it
simple, research, do your do-diligence and know that it’s attainable. Also think about a product that people need and make
it affordable. I was clear from the beginning that I wanted everyone to
be able to afford to get their teeth whitened.”
Looks like everyone now can!