Published: Jan. 25, 2024 By

Laura Moore Graduating from college and facing the world at the age of 22 should mark a time of celebration and new beginnings. But for Laura Moore, this period came with the untimely passing of her mother. Suddenly, Laura found herself not only grappling with her grief but shouldering the responsibility of leading her sisters and supporting her father. From her earliest memories, Laura was a force of nature, immersing herself in every opportunity from the adrenaline of basketball to the endurance of starting new clubs and her perseverance through loss. Laura embraces everything that comes her way. Little did she realize that her appetite to embrace it all would become the cornerstone of her career.

In high school, Laura was an International Baccalaureate (IB) student. The IB program focuses on personal development and skills that align with students’ academic growth. Laura notes that she was one of very few students of color in the program, which had her feeling out of place when she got to the IB program. Laura discovered that years prior, there was the International Baccalaureate Black Organization, which brought together students of color for support through the IB program. When Laura found herself feeling isolated as one of few black students, she reinstated the International Baccalaureate Black Organization to create a space for herself and other students of color to find community.

“I am a firstborn and a natural overachiever. So that was definitely me. But I think a turning point for myself, and for my career really, was back in high school, and little did I know that it was something that was going to follow me.”

Now, Laura is the Office of Diversity Affairs in the Leeds School of Business Program Manager. She thanks her experiences with feeling isolated at school, as well as the challenge of losing her mother at a young age, for unlocking her ability to empathize with students who feel isolated or those who are working through unique struggles. 

Embracing Authenticity

Growing up as a student of color in a primarily caucasian-dominated school, Laura empathizes with students who often find themselves facing the challenge of fitting in and overcoming social hurdles. For those who feel like outcasts, walking into a room with their heads held high can be particularly challenging. Laura’s advice is to authentically and genuinely show up in the space as yourself. She encourages students to say to themselves: "This is who I am, and you accept me for who I am." It encourages individuals to boldly assert their presence without validation or conformity. Laura highlights the importance of connecting with others, especially for introverts who may find face-to-face interactions challenging. 

“Always authentically and genuinely show up in the space as yourself. Do not try to cover yourself. Don't put a facade up. People will learn to fall in love with that person. And so there is no faking. There is no questioning yourself.”

Silk by Laura: A Journey from Personal Need to Thriving Business

Along with being program manager at the Diversity Affairs Office, Laura spends her time investing in what she calls her “side gig”: Silk by Laura. Being a former participant in Miss Colorado, a state pageant competition, beauty, skincare and self-improvement has been predominant in her life. The idea for Silk by Laura was sparked by the challenges posed by living in Colorado, a region known for its dry climate. Laura recounts her encounters with a shea butter vendor at the Colorado Black Arts Festival, where she would sporadically purchase raw shea butter. Frustrated with the lack of avenues to buy whipped shea butter in her community, Laura decided to take matters into her own hands and make the product for her personal use.

Laura’s vision was not just to recreate shea butter but to enhance it, making it whipped for a more viscous and usable texture. In addition, Laura introduced scents and focused on aesthetics, ensuring that each jar was intentional in its design. Whipped to perfection in a glass jar, each variant of the butter comes with a unique accent, such as rose petals or lavender.Laura Moore at her Silk by Laura Product Showcase

 After perfecting her recipe, her friends and family fell in love with her product. Responding to constant requests from family and friends, Laura made the entrepreneurial decision to turn her passion into a business. The journey from taking orders through text messages and Google forms to developing a fully functional website, shopsilkbylaura.com, marked a significant evolution for Silk by Laura. Despite the initial struggles, the venture has brought Laura unique experiences and opportunities she would have never encountered otherwise.

“It has been rewarding because I've learned a lot, on the full operations and day-to-day growth of the business. And it has brought me so many unique experiences and opportunities that I would have never come across if I never started Silk by Laura.”

Small Business Making a Meaningful Impact 

Silk by Laura has gone beyond the business of offering unique beauty products and become a conduit for meaningful partnerships and community engagement by working with Imagine Colorado in Lafayette, an organization dedicated to working with individuals with high-functioning disabilities. Laura acknowledges that partnering with Imagine Colorado has opened doors to opportunities beyond the scope of her business. Imagine Colorado has helped thousands of disabled individuals get established in their communities and help them find jobs and careers. Currently serving on their board, Laura expresses the fulfillment she finds in contributing to a higher purpose beyond monetary gains. Drawing from personal experiences with her sister having a high functioning intellectual disorder, Laura's involvement with Imagine Colorado reflects a genuine commitment toLaura Moore at a Silk by Laura Event making a positive impact. She recognizes the challenges faced by individuals with developmental difficulties and actively seeks ways to support them as they transition into adulthood. 

Acknowledging the uniqueness of her small business, Laura sees the opportunity for small enterprises to serve a higher purpose in the community. Small businesses, like Silk by Laura, can provide opportunities for those who struggle in a traditional workforce setting, fostering a sense of purpose and belonging while creating a story for a business to thrive on. 

“It's about putting in your passion involving your story because at the end of the day, people will always ask your story.”

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