FOUNDERS OF THE COLORED GIRL: TORI ELIZABETH & VICTORY JONES
The Colored Girl was birthed through and inspiring conversation about identity, during a blizzard 2 years ago. We were snowed in and started talking who we are as WOC, and the issues surrounding that. Then decided to joining forces to do a creative and disruptive passion project for women to talk about those same issues of identity, representation, empowerment and other things within our communities. We decided to use beauty and fashion as tools of change to “beautifully disrupt the status quo”, and our very first campaign (featured in Essence and Fashion Bomb Daily) went viral. So what started out as a passion project, to have our voices heard and rewrite our own narratives, turned into a movement, and then quickly became a brand! People started reaching out to us to help them tell their stories thru content and campaign curation… including brands. Our audience organically grew, and community galvanized around the idea of uniting, uplifting, representing and further empowering WOC! Two years later, here we are specializing in content curation, campaigns, amazing immersive experiences, like our life changing women’s empowerment retreat IMARA... with a rapidly expanding global community, we lovingly call our #tribe. It’s all really beautiful.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
There are so many hurdles to owning a business! Starting one, growing it, nurturing it, deciding what to say yes & no to, daily management and keeping up with admin, etc. The best and easiest part for us is creating since that’s who we are at the core: creatives! We’ve combatted these other challenges, by remaining focused on our core mission, which then helped us to simplify and streamline what we needed to say “yes” to. Narrowing that list down, and really honing in on our strengths: compelling storytelling, open & honest communications, cultivating and nurturing relationships, the ability to create amazing things…. Have all helped overcome these odds.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
The Wisdom of Sundays (excerpts from Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday), HitMakers by Derek Thompson, and Women Who Run with the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. But a great book for entrepreneurs to read is Built to Sell by John Warrillow! One of our all time faves, that we constantly revisit is The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho too.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
No not really. Our family and friends are our core support network. We honestly wouldn’t have done much differently, other than maybe started sooner!
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
Well it’s a combination of a few things: Pure Intentions + authentic connection (with self & community) + bravery + killer creative instincts! We are super creative, and unabashedly unafraid to try things, that most people deem courageous/ bordering on crazy. But taking those risks, while remaining true to ourselves and our TRIBE is what keeps us thriving.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
LOL! That list is way too long...we think finding your strength and sticking with that, cultivating it, building a process around it and then getting the proper support are all major keys! This includes not being afraid to ask for help and always staying open to LEARN more, are also very important as well.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Figure out what you want to do. Really figure it out, and know the intention behind that. The WHY really matters. Then, find your TRIBE and work smarter. The hard work will always be there, but working smarter will help tremendously. Oh and LISTEN: to self and others. Especially those in similar and complementary industries. The knowledge you’ll get from just listening, is truly invaluable!