“Other Women Are Depending On You” And 9 Other Things I Learned From The BrownGirlsLove POWER Day
On January 7, 12 Black women who’ve taken the entrepreneurial leap and a host of others who hope to, gathered together in New York City for a day of inspiration and networking. Fostered by Christina S. Brown of BrownGirlsLove, the BrownGirlsLove POWER Day was created to provide millennial women with the tools to launch their brand or business by getting the inside scoop on the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to be, not just an entrepreneur, but a Black female entrepreneur, from the women who’ve already done it. The takeaways from the six-hour event were numerous, here are 10 that stuck out the most.
1. “It’s expensive to be a Black woman” — Nicole Sanchez, Founder, eCreditHero
Even the best credit score and financial profile can’t shield Black women from discriminatory lending practices, shared Nicole Sanchez, who was named “One of the Most Powerful Women In NYC Tech” by Refinery29. And if that wasn’t enough, most of us are already starting from deficits, likely growing up in a home with parents who weren’t well-off and leaving college with tens of thousands of dollars in debt. It’s for these reasons that it’s even more imperative we take financial planning seriously and take advantage of free services, like eCreditHero, that want to free you from generational debt.
2. “Be just as comfortable with having money in your savings account as you are with having it on your wrist” — Tonya Rapley, Founder, My Fab Finance
Often times, a lack of funds has less to do with how much you make and more to do with your relationship with money. Tonya Rapley of My Fab Finance explained that she had to ask herself, “Why do I feel like I have to buy things to impress people?” Eventually, she realized she was buying acceptance rather than investing in her future and that shift in thinking transformed into a shift in her finances.
3. “An idea is nothing” –Melissa Butler, Founder, The Lip Bar
“A lot of times people are afraid to share their ideas; that’s dangerous,” shared Melissa Butler, founder of The Lip Bar, who launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a Lip Bar Beauty Truck. After reaching $15,000 of her $25,000 goal, a producer from the Bethenny show heard about the campaign and Butler was brought on the talk show to receive a check for the remaining $10,000. “Yes, someone can steal your idea, but it’s all about the execution,” Butler said, encouraging the women in the crowd not to be afraid to speak life to their dreams.
Melissa Butler, Nicole Sanchez, Tonya Rapley, and Christina S. Brown
4. “Be careful who you go into business with” –Tiffini Gatlin, Founder, Latched and Hooked, and Denequa Williams, Founder, LIT Brooklyn
Tiffini Gatlin and Denequa Williams were both transparent about the woes of starting a business with someone who may be a great friend but a not-so-great business partner. Tiffini Gatlin, who within one year built the million-dollar e-commerce beauty brand Curlkalon, had her initial business idea stolen from her by a friend because she didn’t set up the necessary legal protections. Denequa Williams also built a wildly successful business within one year — a soy wax candle brand known as Lit Brooklyn — but along the way lost a friend whom she started the brand with because who didn’t put in equal work. Once the entrepreneurs took the courageous step to get rid of the dead weight, their businesses began to flourish.
5. “Get over what everybody has to say” — Africa Miranda, Spokesmodel and Founder, beauty by Africa Miranda
Whether you’re quitting your job, switching your business focus, or launching an entirely different enterprise, someone is going to have something to say, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen. Africa Miranda knows that better than anyone, having worn many different hats as an actress, spokesmodel, and now beautypreneur. But even if from the outside looking in things don’t make sense, Miranda has always stayed true to her core interests and that has brought her success with each new venture.
6. “Don’t Chase” — Africa Miranda
Before starting any new endeavor, Miranda asks herself whether it fits her equation for success which is Passion + Purpose = Profit. If you follow that equation you don’t have to chase opportunities or switch your business idea every three months, you focus on the opportunities hat make sense for your passion and purpose, and the profit, financial and otherwise, will follow.
7. “Figure Out What Can’t You Not Do” — Ty Alexander, Founder, Gorgeous in Grey and Author, Things I Wish I Knew Before My Mother Died
Instead of worrying about being popular, spend time discovering your passion, encouraged Ty Alexander, Founder of Gorgeous in Grey, who said, ultimately, being authentic is what built her successful brand, not a will to be liked. As she explained, “I never understood the idea of putting energy into someone who doesn’t like you.”
8. “Whatever is not supposed to be connected to you will die and fall off” — Rashida Selise Wilson, Author, The Millenial Movement
Echoing that sentiment, Rashida Selise Wilson, Author, The Millenial Movement, also encouraged attendees not to worry about haters and cutting people off in 2017. Instead, she said, “Stay planting, keep being fed and keep growing and whatever is not supposed to be connected to you will die and fall off.” Amen.
9.”Just like confidence is contagious, hopelessness is contagious as well” — Tonya Rapley
When it comes to taking the leap to become an entrepreneur, “A lot of people struggle with the idea of believing it’s possible,” Rapley shared, explaining how she’s observed most people are always dealing the three Ds: debt, doubt, and depression. “Just like confidence is contagious, hopelessness is contagious as well,” she added. Make sure you surround yourself with people who give you hope rather than make you feel your passion isn’t worth pursuing.
10. “There are women who are depending on you” — Christina S. Brown, Founder, Brown Girls Love
Lastly, fulfilling your purpose isn’t only necessary from a singular view, “Tapping into your gifts and fulfilling your purpose is important because there are women who are depending on you,” Christina Brown, Founder of Brown Girls Love and Brown Girls Love Power Day explained. Every Black woman who achieves entrepreneurial success gives the next Black woman hope that she can too.