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Celebrity Inventor: How D’Andra Simmons of Real Housewives of Dallas Was Moved By Tragedy To Invent

by Reyne Hirsch Published in Authority Magazine

Make sure you have a story that resonates with people if you are going to compete in the nutrition or beauty industry. This is a VERY competitive space that is over saturated as it is, and the more you can differentiate yourself, the more successful you will be.

Celebrity Inventor talks with some of our favorite celebrities about their other passions outside of what you might know them for.

Recently I had the pleasure of talking with Real Housewives of Dallas star, D’Andra Simmons about her projects outside of taping the series.

D’Andra has been with RHoD since Season 2, however she is also the founder of a beauty care line too. I caught up with her to learn a little more about the business, and how it came about….


Thank you for taking the time to talk with me about your company. I’d love a little backstory on you first:

I am a female entrepreneur that has been in the skincare and nutrition industry for over 20 years. I am the owner of two brands, Ultimate Living International, which makes nutrition products, and Hard Night Good Morning skin care. I have been formulating nutrition and skin care products for over twenty years. I am a SAG/AFTRA/AEA actress, and I enjoy cooking, traveling, entertaining, and spending time with my family and friends. I am a current cast member on BRAVO TV’s “The Real Housewives of Dallas” for the last 3 years. I have a comedy podcast on YEA Networks with my friend Amy Vandereof, called, “I Don’t Give a Rip”, where my mom, Momma Dee, is a frequent guest and sometimes co-host. I am married for 6 years to Award-Winning Photojournalist, Jeremy T. Lock, and we have two sons, Keatin Lock and Koen Lock. My husband and I are part-time filmmakers, and we just produced a movie that releases July 17, entitled, My Brother’s Crossing. Our home is full of items we have curated on our travels around the globe. My friends call me “Miss United Nations” because of our unique home, my culinary style, and my friends from all over the world. They also call me Liz for short, aka Elizabeth Taylor!

How did Hard Night Good Morning come about?

My companies both came about because of a tragedy. In 1987, my mother, Dee Simmons, was diagnosed with cancer. It forced both of us to make changes first and foremost in our eating habits and to reevaluate our lifestyles. We decided to educate ourselves about nutrition, supplements, and the skin, which is the body’s largest organ. We traveled worldwide to undergo holistic treatments, study complementary and alternative medicine and to learn from chemists, herbalists, nutritionists and doctors, plus indigenous people in faraway lands that were living longer due to diet and lifestyle.

Thirty-three years later, our lives are a testament to a road-less traveled and time spent bettering the quality of life for all people through our company Ultimate Living, which was founded in 1996, and makes quality supplements for enhanced wellness and prevention of disease.

Following my mother’s lead in 2008, I created a line of high-quality aloe-vera based skin care products that are inspired by Mother Nature, and proven by science, along with my twenty-four years of experience and knowledge in the nutrition and skin care industry. Hard Night Good Morning®️ is infused with the purest botanicals, a powerful delivery system and key actives at the highest percentages, which makes it one of the most effective skin care lines available today. Hard Night Good Morning®️ is the result of working with my mother’s nutrition company and gaining many years of hands-on experience in the lab, meeting with raw material providers, interviewing countless women across the globe regarding their skin care concerns and secrets, plus constantly researching new and unique ingredients.

Can you tell me a little about some of the stumbling blocks you’ve had along the way?

I launched my line right at the beginning of a recession — that was the biggest challenge. I was an unknown company and name, and no stores were investing in new lines and taking a chance on new products. I struggled the first year to get sales, and the phone calls were not being returned. The answer was always, “We are not considering new lines at this time.” All luxury retailers were playing it safe and staying with their tried and true brands but not investing in new brands.

I made a mistake right off the bat and priced myself out of the mainstream market which was not a prudent decision considering the economy. Of course, I wanted to be a luxury line, so at the beginning I thought I had to charge “luxury prices.” I had no track record with brick and mortar and my mother’s skin care line, which I had formulated, was sold only on Christian TV and for a while on HSN. I did not really have a marketing budget and understand the competition I was facing and the amount of investment that needs to be made into a skin care brand. Plus, there were really no people doing Instagram ads and/or promotions. Social media and the influencing trend had not really begun, and people were not aware of how to use this platform to capitalize on building a brand. I soon realized that I could make the same quality products as the companies charging 10 times my amount because I have access to the same ingredients, but I would just have to shave my margins and change my strategy to focus on volume to make a profit, instead of huge markups.

I decided to lower my prices by 60% (a tough pill to swallow) and pitch my products to larger retail chains that focused on natural, paraben and sulfate free skin care for people that were interested in a healthier lifestyle. This way, I could incorporate my story of being the only woman in my family that has not had cancer, and my history of developing products for my mother and aunt, who were seeking natural skin care products as cancer survivors. This is a huge market as more and more women and men are being diagnosed with cancer and other diseases. They are now concerned about what goes “on” their body as well as what goes “into” their body.

Today small businesses are facing another struggle in the COVID 19 virus that is affecting our economy greatly. Luckily, there is more access to social media platforms than in 2008, and you can literally run an entire business online with social media messaging and ads, but you still must have buyers for the products. Without consumers that have money to spend, it is hard to survive. I am currently redirecting my focus to our immune boosting products in our Ultimate Living nutrition line, like Green Miracle, ORAC and Ionic Trace Minerals since people are looking for ways to keep their bodies healthy during this challenging time.

What are some of the key factors as to why your product is a hit?

All of my product line is made from high quality aloe-vera based skin care products that are inspired by Mother Nature, plus when formulating I always use actives at the highest percentages that were used in the clinical studies. Coupling that along with my twenty-four years of experience in the nutrition and skin care industry formulating products and researching raw materials in health, nutrition and skin care are the key factors as to why so many people love our products! Hard Night Good Morning®️ is infused with the purest botanicals, a powerful delivery system and key actives, which makes it one of the most effective skin care lines available today. We’ve researched enough to know that men and women want more products available to them that are naturally-based but scientifically sound, and Hard Night Good Morning truly fits consumer needs and concerns when shopping for products that work for them and fit their lifestyle. Why infuse your skin with chemicals when you can infuse it with ingredients from nature!

Where do you see your brand going next?

This is one of those questions that unfortunately I do not know how to answer accurately because 2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year for small business and Indie brands and the plans I had made for this year had to be put on the back burner while I pivoted to create increased brand awareness with Instagram and Facebook live interviews so that sales were kept steady. In addition, we have three new websites coming soon for all the brands, Hard Night Good Morning, Ultimate Living and D’Andra Simmons, plus repackaging for the two brands. Hard Night Good Morning’s new website is completed and up and running. We had plans to move into brick and mortar partnerships and they were put aside as stores closed and retailers were also pivoting to stay alive without in-store customers. It is almost like déjà vu of 2008, all over again!

We are hoping to continue to grow the Hard Night Good Morning skincare line along with its sister company, Ultimate Living, our health supplement line, when stores are open to having trunk shows again and people are buying at the previous rate prior to the Coronavirus pandemic. We continue to spread the word about our products, and I will continue to provide knowledge to all my fans and followers via Facebook and Instagram Live videos, which we have been doing weekly during this COVID-19 crisis.

We are a small business, but we are working toward being able to ship our products outside of the United States and Canada to our fans worldwide as we have increased amount of interest in the product lines in Europe and Australia.

Long term future plans are to expand both lines to include makeup, haircare, and essential oils, plus probably some food items down the road under the D’Andra Simmons’ brand.

What is one tip you can offer to future entrepreneurs that might help them along the way?

  1. Make sure you have a story that resonates with people if you are going to compete in the nutrition or beauty industry. This is a VERY competitive space that is over saturated as it is, and the more you can differentiate yourself, the more successful you will be.

  2. Skin care is about beauty and making people look and feel beautiful, which is very sexy, yet also pure in a way. It is about clean and fresh faced, but a little glamour is acceptable too. You don’t have to be “crunchy” to make natural skin care products.

  3. In the skin care and beauty business you have changes with regards to new ingredients on the horizon or color palettes for cosmetics, but it is less frequent (unless it is color) and there is always the tried and true and your “anchor product” that normally does not change. Find the “anchor product” in your line or a story to expand upon and build your line around that, so that your uniqueness and personality or personal brand shines through your product line.

  4. DO NOT copy another brand. Be unique and pave your own way. That is the only way you will be viable and have longevity in any industry.

  5. Also, identify a philanthropic aspect of your business when you are creating a business plan and getting started. People resonate with you when they know you are not only doing your part to boost the economy, but also giving back to those less fortunate with your profits. We give to various charitable organizations throughout the year. I know we must streamline this to be much more specific and targeted, and we are currently working with industry experts on a plan for our business to pinpoint exactly where we want to give, so it is not all over the board. I think focusing on one or two issue areas is best with regards to your business philanthropy and having a set focus on an issue area. You can spread the love more widely with personal income and charitable donations, but in a business environment it is best to have a focus and reason for your giving that resonates not only with you, but also with your brand.

Follow her @dandrasimmons

Learn more about her beauty line Hard Night Good Morning


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