All Articles Tagged "black entrepreneurs"
During SXSW Interactive 2012, PayPal VP, Global Product & Experience, Sam Shrauger introduced PayPal’s latest product PayPal Digital Wallet. They are focused on the future of money and redefining the consumer experience. With Square processing credit card payments for one out of every eight merchants, PayPal’s announcement is very timely. PayPal Wallet is digital not mobile so it’s clear that their strategy is focused on reaching beyond accepting payments via mobile devices.
PAYPAL DIGITAL WALLET FEATURES:
Separating the purchase from the payment: This is truly a unique feature that is different than other mobile payment processing tools. PayPal will allow three new aspects in separating the purchase from the payment: (1) Switch funding sources (change from credit card to a debit card for example); (2) Pay in installments and (3) Apply different payment sources (gift cards, airline miles, etc.). PayPal will offer a 5-7 day grace period that will allow customers to change how they pay for their purchases.
Read the rest at BlackEnterprise.com
By Brittany Hutson
Ella Gorgla lives and breathes fashion. But like so many who bypass their true interests and opt for a career that is considered to be ‘safe,’ ‘secure’ and ‘lucrative,’ Gorgla chose to pursue a degree in engineering and spent over a decade working with global institutions such as Ernest & Young, Arthur Anderson and IBM. Gorgla’s choice to study engineering wasn’t far-fetched. A native of Monrovia, Liberia, it was expected that as a child of African descent, she would become a doctor, lawyer or engineer. Though becoming a fashion designer wasn’t in the cards for her, Gorgla never lost her interest.
She ultimately combined her interest, along with her background in engineering and technology, and created I-ELLA.com, an online fashion marketplace were fashionistas can buy, sell, borrow and swap for the latest in fashion apparel, accessories, shoes, handbags and more. Since the site’s public launch in April 2011, (the site was first launched in a private beta format during fashion week of September 2010), I-ELLA.com has been featured in InStyle, Lucky, Glamour and Essence magazines. The site was named by Time Inc. as a “Top 10 NYC Startup to Watch” and Gorgla was selected as one of Inc. Magazine’s “11 Leaders to Watch in 2011.”
“I knew I was going to launch this company no matter what,” said Gorgla. “I knew my goal wasn’t to become a partner at these firms that I worked for. My goal was to create something and this was the perfect opportunity.”
I-ELLA is typically compared to E-Bay, Rent the Runway and Gilt Groupe, but Gorgla, who is a graduate of Columbia and London Business Schools, incorporated some distinct elements to ensure that I-ELLA would be a fun and engaging online shopping community. I-ELLA, which is named after Gorgla’s grandmother, brings the ancient pastime of raiding your mother’s closet for 70s and 80s vintage pieces, or your girlfriend’s closet for her hottest pair of jeans, to the web. A fashion lover’s heaven, the site carries pre-owned luxury brands including Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Valentino, as well as contemporary brands, homemade and vintage pieces. Items can be borrowed at a weekly or monthly rate, or purchased at discounted price, plus shipping and a small I-ELLA user fee. The average price point is $100 to $120 and pieces can be priced as low as $20 to upwards of $10,000.
Synonymous with style, design and exquisite detail, Ruth E. Carter is the costume designer to call when a filmmaker needs to tell an authentic story though a characters’ attire and accessories. Getting her start in the theatre and in opera houses, Carter remembers getting her shot for the first time as a feature film costume designer from Spike Lee on the classic School Daze in 1988. Her portfolio today reads like that of a Hollywood A-Lister, with credits in over forty films, including classics as I’m Gonna Get U Sucka, The Five Heartbeats, Jungle Fever, Malcolm X, What’s Love Got to Do with It and most recently, Sparkle, which is scheduled to release in August 2012.
MN: What are the responsibilities of a costume designer?
RC: Essentially, the costume designer designs the look of the film. Most of the time people get that confused with a fashion designer and although we do work with fashion and we love fashion, it has more to do with coordinating the look of each character. Sometimes there is fashion that’s required and other times there’s not. You really have to know people and what makes people who they are through their clothes.
MN: We know that every film starts with the written word. How did you feel about the script for Sparkle?
RC: I’m always motivated about the story: if it moves me in some way, if it makes me laugh or makes me cry, just like you are in the movie theater. I like it for the same reasons in the script form. Once I read the script as I did with Sparkle, I was motivated by the 60s and Motown and that’s where my process started with researching the 60s and the Motown era. When I met with the [the director and writer] Salim and Mara Akil I bought images with me that I felt spoke to me.
MN: Where do you do your research? Do you start at Google like everyone else?
RC: Yeah. The same as everyone else, I go online and I spend hours on line looking at a lot of pictures. It’s different from when I first started back in the ole days. I’d start at the library or at the newsstand and spend money on magazines. Now, there are lots of magazine sites, fashion research sites that show you what people looked like in the 60s. It saves lots of time and money and it’s easier when it’s electronic so you can create your boards and ideabooks a lot faster. I still also enjoy the process of pulling tearsheets from magazines and putting together things physically to show my ideas.
Today, the PR industry is dominated by women. It’s certainly one of the few areas in small business where women rule. Michelle Flowers Welch is not just an example of a women in pr success story but stands as an example of a black women successfully crafting a career in multicultural marketing and public relations. She launched her firm, Flowers Communications Group, twenty years ago. Since she launched her own business, she tells mediabistro that she has seen an improvement in multicultural marketing although it is still a work in progress.
“When I first started the company and even prior to that, it was a hard sell to get corporations to see the need to develop specific, authentic programs to reach African American and Latino consumers. It was almost like people would see the numbers but not yet the importance of changing the communications approach to reach that consumer base. Many thought they could use the same strategic approach, take the same ad, and plug in people of color, and put it in publications of color.”
Flowers originally wanted to go into journalism but got steered into PR by a guidance counselor. She went on to work with the Chicago Urban League and then to the big agency GolinHarris. She followed that impressive experience by moving on to Burrell Communications where she served as SVP.
Flowers eventually set up her own boutique agency in 1992 to target multicultural audiences and has successfully sustained a foothold in the competitive industry.
by Darralynn Hutson
Growing up in the inner city of Kansas City, Missouri, LaShawnna Stanley had dreams of being her own boss. Motivated to never accept the status of “Welfare chick,” LaShawnna said the birth of her daughter was the driving force for her to succeed. “I was the only chocolate chip in my family and for a long time, I never could really identify,” expresses Stanley, 42. “I met my family on my dads side for the first time at the age of twelve and it made me feel happy that I was me. It’s so important to know where you come from.” Today, the owner and CEO of Ethnicity Models, a flourishing modeling and talent agency that specializes in ethnic models – is on a mission to motivate other women to do the same.
MN: How did you start Ethnicity Models?
LaShawnna: I initially started the company recruiting models that looked good in my clothes. I owned a clothing boutique on the beach (in South Beach, Miami) and needed girls with curves; we starting doing fashion and modeling shows on the beach. More and more people came, especially celebrities and that’s how it started to grow.
MN: What was your method of raising money?
LaShawnna: I worked for corporate America for 10 years and had profit sharing account that I liquidated to start my business. It wasn’t a great deal of money but I used what I had to get a little start, reinvested what I made until eventually I had a complete business. I think it’s important for aspiring entrepreneurs to know that you do not need lots of money to start a business, you can start with a little and grow from there. Focus on doing what you love and the money will come.
MN: Who were your first clients and how did you close the deal?
LaShawnna: My very first client was a charity event for Magic Johnson’s foundation. Magic had been a mentor of mine for many years. He knew I started the company and gave us the opportunity to gain exposure. After that FUBU was in Miami looking for models for a calendar they were producing. I went to the casting with my models and waited until the end to have a one-on-one conversation with the owner Daymond John and convinced him that FUBU and Ethnicity pretty much had the same meaning and that he should use my models.
MN: How did you find the best models?
LaShawnna: It’s funny, I’ve never really had to find models, they always find me. Once I started out with my first five models and the word got out about how protective and supportive I was with my company; not to mention they call me “the negotiator” when it comes to getting the best pay rate for the girls. I get so many request from models, I had to start a online talent database community website that helps me manage and keep track.
MN: What type of Boss are you?
LaShawnna: I’m fun and playful; most people feel like they’ve known me for years. But when it comes to business, all games are put aside. As soon as the job is complete, I’m back to being my silly lil self. I’m the type of boss that creates other bosses, if you are around me, I will bring the entrepreneur out of you one way or another. You will look up and have created some type of business out of doing what you love. I love bringing that out of people.
MN: What advice do you have for aspiring models?
LaShawnna: My advice would be do your research first before anything else. Trust your intuition; if something doesn’t feel right, trust that feeling. Last but not least, don’t do anything in this business that you can’t share and be proud of with your mother and grandmother.
MN: What’s your advice for women struggling with being their own boss?
LaShawnna: Take time out for yourself no matter what. Learn balance and realize the business will still be there after your mani-pedi and massage, so don’t neglect taking time out for yourself. The happier you are, the more business and opportunities you will attract. I also recommend reading self help books by other bosses such as Russell Simmons, Oprah and Donald Trump. It will motivate you and also give you new ideas and inspiration.
MN: What is it that sets you apart from other Talent/Modeling Agencies?
LaShawnna: Ethnicity is personable and very family-oriented, which I think people are drawn to. I also set very high standards for the company and will not settle for less. Now, I listen to the lyrics in a song before booking my models. I can turn down a job if it degrades women. I didn’t do that in the past but now I’m taking responsibility for how women are portrayed. The girls have rules and regulations that they must adhere to. And I must enforce them. On set, I’m called the momma bear, a lot of the producers don’t like me. I have to fight all the time to keep respect. I didn’t know that at first, I had to learn that.
MN: How do you maintain and continue to grow in a lazy economy?
LaShawnna:You have to diversify yourself and your business; you have to have more than one avenue of income. In addition to representing talent, I am a casting director, producer, and I still own an online boutique and just started a modeling academy. I do motivational speaking for aspiring models & entrepreneurs, as well as, women’s empowerment life coaching. I believe the universe is abundant and it’s only a lazy economy if you believe it is.
“You’ve been dying to leave that company for years. Mazel tov!”
She was right. Yes, I was unhappy at work for what seemed like forever. Although no one else had said it so bluntly, the general consensus among family and friends was that getting laid off from my job was a good thing. Now I could go into business for myself and become a full-time freelance writer.
All my life I had been told to study hard and get an education so I could get a good job. Now even my mother was encouraging me to become my own boss – writing and selling features to newspapers and magazines around the world, effectively becoming my own news agency.
But that was easier said than done. Working out taxes and payroll, getting acquainted with LLCs, S-Corps and Quick Books has made my head hurt. In the month since I launched my company – Marissa Charles Media – I have mostly learned my lessons the hard way. Here is a list of things the Universe has brought to my attention:
I can’t do it all
Yep. That’s right. I am merely a writer. I say that with genuine humility. I was put on this earth to tell the stories of others and I’m blessed that I have been able to earn a living doing that for more than 12 years.
What I am NOT is an accountant, web designer, lawyer and IT expert. But when I started this business I tried to take on most of those roles with gusto.
Part of being your own boss is realizing your limitations. If you don’t know something, find someone who does.
Looking back, I cannot believe I even thought I could design my own website. Seriously? In the end, finding someone who could tinker away on it while I did other things, was the best decision I ever made and the result speaks for itself.
America’s young black professionals have spoken. And they want President Barack Obama for a second term. “We love him,” Brian Benjamin, founder of Young Professionals United 4 Change told tells BET.com. “One of the things we saw in the State of the Union is the president talk about this whole idea of fairness across the board — with American businesses, the education system and in foreign policy. As the beneficiaries of the civil rights generation, we get what he’s saying.”
Black America’s opinion of Obama has greatly fluctuated since the beginning of his presidency, from high enthusiasm to the Congressional Black Caucus’ condemning remarks that he had not met the black community’s needs. Tuesday’s State of the Union address seems to have affirmed his support among young African American leaders and professionals.
I have had my differences with the president,” Elkhair Balla, co-founder of b condoms, a minority-owned condom company said. Balla was comforted by Obama’s speech and its promise of funding young entrepreneurs to help them create new jobs for the country. ”I felt that he was talking directly to me,” Balla said to BET.com “I think four more years is what we will need for him to push his policies and agenda.”
Even with Obama’s renewed support, the black community still has high expectations from the president, including creating new, better-paying jobs for African Americans. “Whether people are young, old, middle class or poor, that’s what’s hitting us the most,” Marc Jenkins, president of the New York Black Expo, said. Jenkins, who considers himself part of the black middle class, is currently working three jobs to make ends meet.
But hope, one of the central ideas that Obama inspired from the onset, remains strong among African Americans. Many still believe in his ability to succeed and make changes on their behalf. “I give him my support because he walked into a very tough situation,” graphic designer Carla Brown said to BET.com. “He walked into the economy when it bottomed out. To come in and make any sort of change is better than President Bush who walked into an economy that was great and tanked it.”
Black women have battled the brick wall that blocks the glass ceiling for decades. But the climb up the corporate ladder to the C-suite, that suite belonging to a companies Chief Executive Officer, has been conquered by several notable African American women. Women like Ursala Burns and Oprah Winfrey make success look achievable and have certainly made leading major corporations a sistah thang. Here’s our list of top ten black female CEOs:
Ursala Burns became the black superwoman of corporate America when she was appointed the first African American CEO of a fortune 500 company, Xerox, in 2009. Since then she has catapulted her profile with savvy business moves like leading the company’s biggest transaction to date: a $6.4 billion acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services, a business-process outsourcing company. With that move, Burns showed her plans to expand Xerox beyond the technology its known for. As head of the corporate giant, Burns commands not only a $4.1 million salary, she also earned the coveted title of one of the world’s most powerful women according to Forbes Magazine.
by Tianna Robinson
Unless you are living under a rock, you’ve probably seen Love & Hip Hop and it is most likely a guilty pleasure of yours. It seems that Vh1 loves to show the drama, cat-fighting and sometimes downright ignorance. I highly doubt that a lot of you know that the drama-fueled reality show doesn’t only feature rapper’s girlfriends but also a mega manager and entertainment production pro. This season’s newcomer, Yandy Smith is entertainment powerhouse with years invested in the industry.
We got a chance to sit down and chat with Ms. Smith about her career and the ambitious business woman she is when the camera’s aren’t rolling. Turn the page to see what she has to say about how to make it in the entertainment industry.
Welcome back to my LDC Black Women In Tech profile series. I’m happy to bring you an interview with a hot entrepreneur named Kimberly Dillon, founder of House of Mikko, a “personalized recommendation engine that helps customers discover the best haircare, skincare, and color beauty products for them, based on their unique features and beauty goals.” She is quite a trailblazer and certainly one to watch as 2012 kicks off. Here’s a peak inside my recent conversation with a fellow player in the digital space:
LDC: I see you’ve been covered by certain mainstream tech/media outlets. We rarely see the brown face of a tech entrepreneur profiled in these types of outlets. Why do you think that is, and how did you overcome that hurdle?
I’ll be back just in the new year with more great profiles, so keep watching. You can also find out more about tech events, webinars and more at www.ldcoleman.com.