Once Kissa “Starr” Thompson realized she couldn’t reach her fashion business dreams working for other people, she decided she couldn’t wait any longer. She started her company, Buttafly Unlimited after her second year of school in 2000.
“There’s a lot of times when you work at a job and it’s not really where you want to go or you don’t see yourself really going anywhere with it,” she tells Black Enterprise. “For me, I had some goals for myself and my company, and I was like, when I had reached this certain goal I want to make the step out on my own.”
Although Thompson had succeeded in starting her own company, in its initial stages she still had to work for others. Black Enterprise reports she found several 9-5 jobs with Def Jam, BET and Burberry. She also worked as a personal assistant to one celebrity. Thompson used each experience to help build contacts and her own personal brand.
“I think every experience, depending on how you take it, can take you to the next level,” she said. “It’s not in vain depending on how you used the time, so for me, when I’m in a situation where I’m freelancing for another company, I use that as a learning opportunity and I’m getting paid for it.”
Almost twelve years later, Buttafly Unlimited now sells hats, scarves andn t-shirts for men, women and children. Her designs have been worn by celebrities such as Alicia Keys and are sold in boutiques in New York, Atlanta, London and Japan, as well as through her website. Her most popular design features the words, “I Love My Hair,” and has inspired “I Love My Hair” self-esteem building workshops in New York City.
“The acronym B.U. is about being who you are and reaching your unlimited potential,” Thompson said. “Even though you’re different or you want to do something different or sometimes you thinking you want to do something different and you change who you are, it’s okay.”