THROUGHOUT THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER WE WILL BE CELEBRATING BLACK BUSINESS OWNERS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY.
Business: All My Children Daycare
Owner: Escelena Harris
Business: New Haven Sound Lounge
Owner: Will “MixedBySkool” Barnes
Business: Maintenance Pro, LLC
Owner: Darryl Nicholson
Business: Through Her Eyes Productions
Owner: Simone Roberts
VFTS: When did you start your business? What was your inspiration?
SR: I started my business after hearing positive feedback from women on how after publishing my first book they were inspired to share their stories. I had no idea that what I had been through at 19, would inspire so many others especially older than me, to also want to share their story.
VFTS: Why is it so important to you to give women a platform to tell their stories?
SR: I believe it’s so important because women are so use to being the strength for everyone else, that we forget to be strong and embrace our own stories. Each platform I have created and plan to continue to create, is for women to just come together in a safe space and share their story through whatever form is most comfortable.
VFTS: What obstacles, if any, did you overcome in starting your business?
SR: My biggest obstacle was self-doubt. I didn’t believe that anyone was going to support this 19 year old girl with a “vision.” I remember even up to my first cafè, I thought no one was going to show up and be apart. Nevertheless, I had over 10 women show up to share their stories. My other obstacle was money. Sometimes your vision can be bigger than your pockets. It doesn’t mean you give up on it, but make a plan to get it done.
VFTS: What would you say your company’s greatest success is up to this point?
SR: I think it is a tie between my bi-monthly cafes entitled “And So She Speaks” and my second book “We Survived It.” I say my cafè because each one brings a diverse crowd of women as young as 9 and as old as mid-60’s sharing their art, sharing their story. I am always left amazed. I also said my book We Survived It, because 24 women (25 including myself), entrusted me to share their deepest battles turned victories. The stories ranged from cancer, to physical/mental abuse, to surviving near death experiences. I am forever humbled by the experience. From that book, so many visions, movements and even more books were birthed from the women included.
VFTS: What do your workshops consist of? What do you hope those attending your workshops get out of them?
SR: I haven’t done many workshops lately, but the ones I have hosted are focused on mental empowerment. Every activity, discussion, panel is focused on helping the person to grow. I hope that whoever attends one of these workshops leave feeling inspired and motivated to take on the world.
VFTS: What advice would you give aspiring business owners?
SR: Never give up. It is not always going to be easy. There will surely be more bad days than good at first but keep going. The reward will be worth it!
VFTS: What is next for you and your company?
SR: Right now I am taking a step in the direction of mental empowerment for kids (my first love). I am in the processing of getting ready to release my second children’s book in my four part series; “Monie Says.” The next book will be Monie Says Love.
Business: Kinfolk Klothing
Owner: Neff Castell