I grew up always loving fashion, but never knowing I could pursue fashion as a career. After happening upon an internship at Upscale Magazine in Atlanta, Georgia, I fell in love with fashion writing, then began my pursuit of fashion journalism. The road was not easy: I did unpaid and poorly paid internships, and ultimately found a job as a researcher/reporter at a home magazine. Resumes sent to magazines like Vogue, Elle, and Marie Claire were discarded or looked over. When I couldn't get a seat at the table, I made my own table: My blog Fashion Bomb Daily. What I originally created to show off my writing skills and talent became its own fashion magazine with an international following, widely respected around the globe.
What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business?
How did the idea for your business come about?
I started my business out of necessity: a need to satisfy my fashion for passion by Any Means Necessary. I had a degree from Harvard, so I knew I was capable. That confidence kept me going, even in the face of rejection. I knew that I was able to get into one of the nation's most prestigious and academically rigorous institutions. Why couldn't I get a job as a fashion writer at Vogue? Starting Fashion Bomb Daily was like my extra credit assignment I launched to showcase my skills. To my surprise, it took off. And once I began making money from it, I realized I didn't need validation from Vogue to become who I wanted to be in the industry.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
My hurdle has always been access. Access to designers, events, fashion shows, people places and things that could add content to my website. But where there's a will, there's a way, and I began honing in on emerging brands, streetwear, young designers, and keeping our finger on the pulse of what's new, now, and next.
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I am currently reading "What You Do is Who You Are" by Ben Horowitz. I'd recommend reading, On Writing Well by William Zinsser, The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz, and How to be CEO by Jeffrey Fox.
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?
Yes! My Caribbean parents used to encourage me to stay at my job or to pack things up when times got rough. I think for any entrepreneur, you HAVE to believe in yourself, enough to ignore the naysayers and stay the course until you accomplish your goals.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
My faith in GOD coupled with hard work.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
I'd say to handle the business part of your business. In Creative fields, it's easy to focus on the content, the photos, and videos, but you also have to treat a business like a business. Hire a great accountant. Save for a rainy day. If you love beautiful things, that's fine: see how you can get them for a discount or in exchange for promotion. Trends come and go, so make sure you keep your financial house in order.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
If you have a calling on your heart, answer that call. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself financially and sustain yourself until your passion turns into profit. Stay grounded in faith and never forget to be grateful for your small victories. Be a kind person of integrity and do the right thing.
Photo credit: @nykielle