Lashena McElroy is truly God’s masterpiece in the making. Lashena D. McElroy, Event Designer & Certified Wedding Planner/Owner of DESIGNED BY DIAMONDS has always had an eye for creativity, beauty, and all things glamorous. Her mother had an inkling as well when she adorned her with the middle name of Diamonds! It all began with her love of fashion and shoes.
Lashena is a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University and holds Degrees in Business Management, Business Administration, and Human Resources. She is also an ordained Pastor and serves at For Him International Ministries in Milwaukee, WI.
In 2014, she received a Breast Cancer diagnosis that began a series of life-changing events. As she states “You don’t go through the process of fighting for your life to remain the same.” As she emerged from Cancer as an Overcomer, and now Thriver, she has chosen to Live Life on Purpose using ALL the gifts and talents God has given her with a Life poured out!
What inspired the start of “Designed By Diamonds”?
I have always had an eye for beauty and creativity. I was always the little girl that wanted to dress up every day. I was inspired to start Designed by Diamonds after I came out on the other side of a stage 3 Breast Cancer diagnosis as an Overcomer. This began a series of life-changing events for me. After fighting to get back to life, I wanted to pursue my passion full time. No longer was I going to settle for the status quo. Here I am 4 years later still in remission, still growing and thriving!
What has been the biggest challenge of running a brand like “Designed By Diamonds”?
The biggest challenge for running Designed by Diamonds has been the social media part of marketing! Who knew that this was really a thing to consider as part of your marketing plan & strategy. Honestly, I struggled with it because I felt like I didn’t have the time to do it. As a result, I am behind the curveball with social media. How quickly I learned the power of social media and it is a blessing if used correctly to leverage your business. I am just now starting to put a significant amount of time into creating content and posting on a consistent basis. CONSISTENCY is key and I wasn’t before. It’s getting a little easier for me now that there are tools available to help with scheduling your posts so you can set it and forget.
How does “Designed by diamonds” impact the community?
As a 100% women-owned company, it is important to give back. Designed by Diamonds has paid internship opportunities for youth. These opportunities afford youth the opportunity to learn new skills that they may normally have access to or be exposed to. As a business owner, it is extremely important to create opportunities for the next generation and one way to do that is by creating opportunities for them to see people who look just like them. Another way that Designed by Diamonds gives back is by partnering with other community organizations to host events throughout the year.
What products and services are currently being offered through Designed by Diamonds?
Currently Designed by Diamonds is offering wedding coordination services, event design services, and launching soon virtual courses to learn the elements of design. Examples will include balloon garlands, tablescaping, florals, CRM tools, forms, contracts, pricing, and overall backroom policies and procedures that new Entrepreneurs are struggling with.
Where do you hope to see your brand in the next 3-5 years?
I hope and pray to see my brand within the next 3-5 years with an event venue and traveling to teach other future entrepreneurs all over the world. I would also like to expand my brand into marketing, media, and fashion.
What advice do you have for the next generation of entrepreneurs?
I would share with the next generations of entrepreneurs to NEVER give up on their dreams! Too many times we have been told what we can not do. The beauty of one door closing is the unforeseen opportunity of the next door opening. All you need is 1 YES! Have faith, believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid to put in the work. Don’t wait for an opportunity, create it!
What does being “Pretty and Black Owned” mean to you?
“Being Pretty & Black Owned” absolutely means the world to me! In a society where African American women are pitted against one another for the color of their skin, natural hair versus relaxed hair, make-up versus no make; it feels AMAZING to be able to celebrate each other’s accomplishments on platforms such as this. I remember the first time I saw “Black Girls Rock” in 2006 on BET. I was in awe of the sea of women in the audience & on stage that looked just like me being honored in such a way that I have never seen before. The class, grace, and sophistication being displayed were exhilarating. Completely different from what the media portrays our culture. So being “Pretty and Black Owned” isn’t just something to describe me, it is a way of life that I own inside & out!
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