We had the good fortune of connecting with Moneé Thomas-Martin, MD and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Moneé, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Lauren and I met, worked together and became friends while completing our dermatology residency at Howard University Hospital. During residency, we encountered and treated many skin conditions in all skin types, but acquired abundant training and treatment of conditions in skin of color due to our ethnically diverse patient population. We both recognized a need for an effective product to treat a commonly encountered problem by many, but especially patients with skin of color, that being razor bumps. Though there are quite a few products on the market that claim to treat this condition, due to our specialty training and medical knowledge and reviewing the active ingredients in these products, we discovered that certain medically active ingredients that we use and have great success with in our clinical practice are not being utilized in current products on the market. Since both of us also have entrepreneurial mindsets, it was an easy decision to create our own product that helps improve intimate skin care issues like ingrown hairs, discoloration, and hair removal bumps in the bikini area. From that point, Coco Leveaux was born.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Since I was a young teen, I always knew I wanted to become a doctor. However, upon going to a summer program at Xavier University of Louisiana the summer before my undergraduate year, I was delighted when I met a dermatology resident that introduced me to the specialty of dermatology. At that point, I knew that dermatology was my calling because I undoubtedly love instilling confidence in people. Being that dermatology is one of the least diverse fields in medicine (with only 3% of dermatologists being black), I knew it would be a tough, uphill battle. However, I believe there’s no challenge too big for my ambition. Once reaching my goal of becoming a dermatologist, I moved to Houston from Washington, D.C. to share my talents with the Houston community. Although I love my patients and office, the past few years I felt like something was missing. I struggled with offering all of my time to seeing 30-35 patients a day and wanting to pursue my passion of creating. I’ve since learned that I am a multifaceted being and that it’s ok to pursue all of my passions. Creating Coco Leveaux with Lauren has been one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. Entrepreneurship is a journey, but I am absolutely loving every second of the grind.
Lauren lives and practices medical, surgical, cosmetic, and laser dermatology in Washington, DC and Maryland region. She also teaches and trains dermatology residents as well as mentors minority students interested in becoming physicians. Her journey was not easy and she encountered hurdles and challenges as she navigated the path on her own through college, medical school, and residency. However, her passion for and perseverance for becoming a dermatologist never wavered. Along the way, she was also able to meet several mentors who provided advice and guidance and she continues to do the same for the next generation of dermatologists. She wants to show students (and patients) that with passion and purpose comes progress and success! Partnering to create a business in a field that she loves that can help treat common skin conditions she sees in her patients is just the next natural step in her journey!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
n/a Houston is filled with wonderful people and places. Anytime I have guests in town, I love to bring my friends to a nice garden brunch at Ouisie’s table or Tiny Boxwoods. I love The Flat for a very chill vibe and the best frozen mojitos. For a fun time, I have to bring my guests to 5015 for great music and people. I also love our many beautiful parks and museums.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Seeing as though we met, trained, and became friends and business partners during residency, we have to shout out the Howard University Dermatology Residency Program. We also want to shout out our family and friends, some of whom are entrepreneurs, for providing examples of successful business owners and also supporting our dreams of doing the same.
Facebook: Coco Leveaux
all pictures taken by colleague Lauren Payne