2021 Business to Watch – Designs By Dij

Khadijah Muhammad is the founder and designer of Designs By Dij, which is a Gift Shop that specializes in creating signature collections of lifestyle art to empower and uplift and elevate. Her brand focus is to celebrate the beauty and diversity of the black culture and melanated people. She designs her beautiful statement art on accessories and home decor items such as umbrellas, backpacks, pillows, blankets, and more to showcase the representation that is lacking in the market. Representation matters and it’s important to her to create a space of inclusion in celebrating the beauty of natural hair, which is shunned in various workplaces, the beauty of cultural hairstyles such as goddess locs, and even the beauty in being covered and crowned, as she is Muslim. The world is a diverse place and she feels that the more we see ourselves in the world, the better the world will be. She hits various bullet points through her statement pieces to embrace the dopeness and diversity of the black culture and is fully invested in changing the trajectory of what society deems as “normal”, one powerful design at a time. Her most popular item is her umbrellas that display beautiful art that makes her customer base looking forward to a day of rain. Many customers are quoted as saying “I can’t wait until it rains so that I can carry my umbrella!”. She is creating an experience with her brand that literally changes a drab day into a fab day. She also places an emphasis on young black girls whose studies show that 2 out of every 3 girls feel that they are underrepresented in products on the market, and through our empowering products, she aims to help make black girls feel more confident in themselves.

Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?


My business is a business to watch in 2021 because as a small business, I’m always looking for ways to be innovative and I always have my ‘ear to the streets’ and am listening to my customer base in how I design and aim to help push the culture forward. Also, one of the highlights of Designs By Dij is that we celebrate the beauty of natural hair through art because, in 2021, there are still black women who face natural hair discrimination in corporate America and in various workplaces, and that is not okay. So it’s important to empower women in spaces like mine to celebrate the beauty and diversity of their natural tresses that grow from their roots. I love creating experiences around my brand and will be hosting an event to build awareness around the story of each of my designs in fall 2021.


What inspired you to start your business?


The lack of true and accurate representation and the lack of celebrating diversity and inclusion.


How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?

2020 changed my business drastically. Before Covid-19, I was strictly focused on selling at pop-up events, not giving a worry to building my website. I barely looked at my website and didn’t focus on building it up. It was just…there. I would do pretty good at these events, but 2020 forced me to focus on turning my digital platforms around and focused on building my social media, which I have been having success with. Also, it’s forced me to learn how to optimize my website so that my products can be seen by those who are searching specific keywords on Google. So, I would say that at the beginning of 2020, I was a deer in headlights because now, events were non-existent. But, I’m the type of person who knows when it’s time to pivot. I took some classes on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and have been educated on how to get rid of the crickets in my online platforms (website, and social media) and things have turned around for the better. 2020 was a year to be still and grow and take in all of the gems of knowledge that were being taught to me so that I will be covered no matter what happens in the outside world.


What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?


If last year hasn’t taught me anything else, it has taught me to always stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. It taught me to stay prepared and make sure that your business is set up so that if you aren’t physically able to attend events etc, you are still making money on your digital platform.
What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
I want to leave a lasting impression on my customers; I want them to feel important and feel like they truly matter. I also want them to feel fully represented and feel celebrated and empowered. When they purchase one of my products, I want it to be about the EXPERIENCE; it’s not just a product but my brand is an experience.


Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market?


Yes! I ABSOLUTELY feel that my product meets the needs of the market. Right now in this time of social injustice, more than ever.


What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?


Before opening my business, I faced the hurdles of not knowing how to properly register my business and I didn’t know really know what I was doing: I thought I could just pop up one day and say “I have a business!” and that’s all, but it’s more to it than that. You have to have your paperwork in order, and your documents filed so that you can be considered a legitimate business. So that’s what I did. I educated myself by doing some deep online research and also surrounded myself by other business bosses in various Facebook groups and at different events, and I learned the proper way to open up a business and I went back and filed all of my documents. Better late than never.


When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?


I’ve known that entrepreneurship was for me since I was a little girl. Growing up in my Muslim community, I was taught the meaning of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps and going to work for yourself. All of my life, I saw members of our community turning the key to their own businesses and being their own boss. I was taught the importance of regenerating our dollars amongst our own black communities and neighborhoods. I’ve witnessed the hardships and successes of entrepreneurship because I was around it so much in various capacities.
When I was an early teen, I had my own “babysitting club” where I was the president of the club. I had some business cards made and everything, haha. I just knew that I was going to be the boss of SOMEthing. I just didn’t know what.


Why did you choose entrepreneurship?


As they say, “I didn’t choose entrepreneurship; entrepreneurship chose me.” But seriously, it’s been ingrained within me and I couldn’t imagine anything better than working for myself and doing what I love to do, and working towards making it a full-time gig for myself. Entrepreneurship is definitely not for the faint of heart. You have to be a specific kind of person to endure the ups and downs and highs and lows of entrepreneurship, and by the grace of God, I’m still here and growing by the day.


What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?


My motivation comes from my Faith. That’s number 1. Secondly, my support system. And also, just knowing that I am making a difference also drives me to keep doing what I’m doing.


What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)


My future looks pretty great both in business and personal life. In business, I’m excited about taking things to the next level by being able to take a person’s picture and making it into an illustration version of them. I’m currently working on this now. In my personal/professional life, I’m excited about music! I am a singer/songwriter/pianist and wrote and performed my first song on a stage at age 11. I am currently in a group called Soul Essence, which is a soulful singing group that includes myself and two other amazingly talented sisters. We have some special performances coming up and every time we perform together, it’s a vibe. We are all strong vocalists as individuals and it’s beautiful to harmonize and create beautiful music with these ladies.


What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?


I want to just continue being a better version of myself. I am in competition with no one but to be a better me tomorrow than I was today. My personal goals are to continue growing in all ways for the better and never be complacent. Complacency is a dangerous thing and to stay there means you have given up on life. I will never give up on this beautiful gift of life, therefore I will never allow myself to be complacent. A little growth every day is the goal, mentally, spiritually, financially, and professionally.


Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.


I lean heavily into my Faith, as I am who I am today because of my strong background and foundation in Islam, by my leader and teacher, which is the single most important part of my life and has molded and shaped me into a decent human being with a good head on my shoulders, and for that, I am truly grateful.


Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.


My big brother encouraged me to start my business. One day we were chatting and he really picked my brain about what I wanted to do next. I was at a crossroads with what direction I wanted to go in and he laid out a list of ideas for me. Although I didn’t choose any of those ideas, he really brought back to the forefront of my mind the values of entrepreneurship that he and I were taught as children, growing up together. As I began to really turn things over in my brain about what was next for me, Designs By Dij was birthed.

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?

You can look forward to more empowering art and also events to create an experience around each of my collections. You can look forward to more handmade art and designs on new products. I will announce new product alerts through my email list, and you will be one of the first to know if you sign up for my email list on my website.

Check out her website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter |. Tiktok

2021 Business to Watch – Eight22 Paris Avenue

Paris Monae is Entrepreneur originally from Flint, Michigan. Motivated with a passion to break generational curses Paris set out to own her own piece of the pie and there emerged Eight22 Paris Avenue, a boutique style jewelry store that has made its presence known in the world of online shopping. Like so many businesses, Eight22 Paris Avenue had to adopt an online shopping model during COVID-19 and boy did it thrive. Eight22 Paris Avenue combines Paris’s love for spirituality and (you guessed it) Paris. This elegant boutique carries hand made bling for every consumer type. Whether you’re trying to protect your energy or find that luxurious piece to compliment your outfit, Eight22 Paris Avenue has got you covered.

Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
Our presence is out there! We continue to evolve as a company and a brand proving to our consumers that their support matters. We speak to the beauty and strength of the black woman, and we do it in style.


What inspired you to start your business?
Wanting to live in my purpose, on purpose.


How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
Eight22 Paris Avenue actually took off in 2020. I was in my creative zone and our shoppers allowed me to be free. We received a lot of custom orders in 2020.

What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
You fail 100% of the chances that you do not take.


What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
Black women are the more creative beings on this earth. We can accomplish anything that we won’t and if we want it bad enough, no one can stand in our way.

Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market?
Yes, we deserve to spoil ourselves while connecting to our ancestors. Jewelry is something we all use.


What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
I was my biggest hurdle. I simply had made the first move and my ancestors handled the rest.


When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
When I realized I had so much more to give the world.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship chose me.


What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
My desire to break generational curses. My desire to change our narrative. My desire to forever be free!

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)
Living !!!!! We seem to just exist in this world. I want to actually live.


What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
I want to turn on an award show and see inspirational women wearing my pieces.

What’s next for you in your brand? What can readers look forward to from you? We are bringing in new pieces frequently. Watch us continue to group.

www.eight22parisavenue.co

2021 Business to Watch – Knowledge is Capital Publishing and Educational Programs

Over her twenty-five-year career in education, Veronica has worked to help young people and their families learn more about the importance and value of the acquisition of knowledge. In addition to serving as a college admission officer at three liberal arts colleges, Veronica has tutored, coached and encouraged students to learn many of the soft skills required in order to be successful in school and in life. As a consultant, Veronica has taught young students how to successfully interview for admission to independent school and college as well as provide instruction on dining etiquette. She has also tutored students for the SSAT, an entrance exam for admission to independent school. She currently serves as Assistant Director of Alumni Relations for Affinity and Identity Programs at Colgate University. Her primary responsibility is to develop events and programs that build affinity and deeper relationships between Colgate and Alumni of Color, LGBTQ+ Alumni, alumni of Greek Letter Organizations, alumni of A Capella Groups, and former International Students. In 2020, Veronica published a children’s book, “A Visit to The Bahamas from A to Z”. The story centers on three cousins who embark on an alphabetical adventure that explores the history, culture, and people of The Bahamas. The book was created as a tribute to her father and mother who are both native Bahamians, and is a recollection of many summers spent in The Bahamas visiting with her late grandmother and extended family who still reside in The Bahamas. As a Mellon Fellow at Teachers College, Columbia, University, she earned both a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and a M.A. in Bilingual-Bicultural Education. She earned her B.A. in Spanish, with honors, from Colgate University.


Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
Knowledge is Capital Publishing and Educational Programs is an educational omni media corporation that focuses on providing learners of all ages with upbeat and interesting media and educational programming that focuses on multiple aspects of teaching, learning, and knowledge acquisition. Additional products and services that focus on learning will be developed over the next three to five years, to help meet the growing demand for diverse learning materials and opportunities.


What inspired you to start your business?
I created the company after the passing of my father. He was an elementary school custodian in a nearby town, and he always encouraged us to learn as much as we can, because his parents could not afford to send him to high school after the 8th grade. I decided to create a company that provided kids with access to opportunities to learn about the world around them, in honor of his memory and to encourage my children to have a passion for learning.

How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
As many families with school-aged children juggled multiple responsibilities, including homeschooling children, we accelerated our efforts to complete the book so that it could be available for purchase. Despite not being able to make in-person connections to sell my book, we realized that social media is a powerful way to market and sell merchandise.


What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
To be adaptable and discover unique ways to sell your product in the absence of in-person opportunities to generate sales.


What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
As a woman of color, and parent, I want my customer to know that they are purchasing a high-quality children’s book that has been well researched and vetted. As a publisher, I want my customer to know that I created this product and company because of the lack of books written and published by people of color. I also want my customers to know that you too can create and sell your own products if it is not readily available in the marketplace. If you decide to pursue entrepreneurship and be the first person in your family to be an entrepreneur, you will be a great role model to those who may consider entrepreneurship. I also want them to consider the challenges small business owners face in creating products for the marketplace and support small business owners whenever possible.


Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market?
I created the book and the company because of the lack of children’s books that had children of color as lead characters. I loved to read as a kid and remember how few books there were about kids like me so I created my characters to show that children of color are adventurous, curious, and love learning. I also wanted to empower young people and make them realize that they have the freedom to express themselves in any way that they choose. I also decided to create the company because we need more minority-owned and women-owned businesses.


What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
Having enough time to manage the business and a full-time job. I had to learn how to manage my time so that I could make time to work on my book and manage the business side of selling books. To complete the book project, I invested lots of personal funds and had the financial support of a few good friends and my eldest child who was an early investor. Funding is a huge challenge for small business owners and especially for women of color. Finding an illustrator was the greatest challenge as I was searching for many years to find someone who understood my vision. Luckily, my illustrator is a former colleague who is an extremely gifted artist who was interested in the project and shared his talents with me and subsequently the world. I am most indebted to him for his patience and the time he invested in the book.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
I started my company over a decade ago as a passion project and as a way to generate extra income. Entrepreneurship is in my blood. My maternal grandfather was a tailor who immigrated to The Bahamas from Barbados. My parents owned a small catering company when I was growing up, so we always helped in any way we could when my parents had catering opportunities. Watching my parents and hearing stories about my grandfather made me realize that entrepreneurship is for anyone who wishes to share their product or service with others who have a need for their product of service.


What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
There are many histories, perspectives and stories about the black diaspora that need to be heard and seen. I created the book and the company to provide a platform to encourage others to share their stories and diversify the children’s book market.


What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)
Passionate about helping young people reach their full potential. I also love helping people learn about The Bahamas – its culture, history, and people.


What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
Initially, my goal was to write and publish a children’s book about The Bahamas. I will write more books for children and adults to enjoy. Because education comes in many forms. I have provided services that help young people with interview skills, etiquette, and how to structure their college admission essays. I will continue to provide these services in order to help young people achieve their goals.


Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
My mother. She trained as a registered nurse and immigrated to the United States in her mid-thirties. She is a wise and kind woman who had great hopes for me and my siblings. She was also very tough, but as a parent myself, I am glad she raised me the way she did. She taught me the value of exposing kids to various activities at a young age (reading, music, sports, travel), and she and my dad made a lot of sacrifices to make sure that we participated in activities outside of the classroom which gave us the confidence to go anywhere and do anything we set our mind to achieve.
Two of my professors in graduate school, Dr. A Lin Goodwin, and Dr. Jennifer Robinson were instrumental in my development as an educator. As women of color, they are outstanding educators who worked hard to provide educators with strategies on how to improve instruction for children of color. I am very lucky that they were my professors as well as mentors and friends.
My children are the reason why I created the book and provide help to young people through other means. They inspire me every day to do more to help other children learn more about the world around them.


Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
As a woman in my mid-fifties with three children of my own, I realize that parenting is an incredibly difficult job. I appreciate the sacrifices that my parents made for me and my siblings now more than ever, especially as I watch my children come into their own as young adults. A lot of my parenting skills are adapted from how I was raised, and my kids got a mix of old school and modified new school values.
Also, having had exposure to travel and the opportunity to learn Spanish at a young age made me realize that you can travel the world, meet different types of people and learn anything if you put your mind to it and make an effort.

What’s next for you in your brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
More books for children and adults about other parts of the world and potentially a memoir about my experiences as an educator and parent.

How did you come up with the name for your company?
The first time I took my eldest child to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NY, NY, I remember standing in front of Van Gogh’s “Irises” with my kid in a forward-facing harness. I just stood there and realized that even as an infant, the colors and the shapes fascinated them. This was back in the mid-1990s when parents did not take infants to the museum. I remember the unwelcome stares I got from museum-goers for bringing an infant to the museum. It did not bother me because I was determined to expose my child to art and music at an early age. I also started doing research into the importance of sharing the arts with children at an early age, and was fascinated by the impact early language development, and visual stimulation can have on a child. Also, because I studied bilingual/bicultural education, I wanted the company name to reflect my belief in the power of understanding and appreciating other languages and cultures other than your own. Additionally, I wanted the name of my company to reflect how the acquisition of knowledge or education can help to increase your ability to earn a living wage.

www.veronicamcfall.com | www.knowledgeiscapital.com | LinkedIn| Facebook | Instagram

2021 Business to Watch – Deborah Risper Inc

While Deborah tends to be a “Jill of all trades,” you could consider her a Serial Entrepreneur that is better know as The Billionaire Brewer. Deborah loves launching and nurturing new businesses so much that she’s made it her life’s mission to help other women with their own hustles. Deborah spends most of her working hours as an Author, Speaker, and Business & Book Coach. At home, she is a Believer, a Wife, a Mother to the Fantastic 4, and a lover of shoes.

Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
I am a trailblazer for billionaire beauties. I help women activate their hidden talents and gems that produce multiple streams of income and add value to the community they serve.

What inspired you to start your business?
My motivation comes from wanting more out of life than working a traditional 9-5. I thrive best when I am controlling my vacation, finances, and the ability to watch my children grow. Because of this same freedom, I believe in empowering other women to do the same.


How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
2020 allowed me to grow tremendously because people learned that an employer isn’t always a reliable source when it comes to income. Many businesses shut their doors which essentially left people scrambling for income. This was my moment to assist people who had no business build a business and profit. For those who had a business, they wanted assistance with thinking outside the box to generate consistent revenue in their business.


What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
2020 taught me consistency for sure. I used to think I could lack off from business and bounce back in, however with the uncertainty of 2020, I learned that people need consistency and resources to learn how to generate money outside of their normal 9-5 which was at stake.


What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
I want my client to always leave with the attitude that they can be financially stable while enjoying their freedom in life. I want my clients to know that sky is not the limit because there is more beyond the clouds.


Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market?
I feel that my products meet the need of the market and my target audience. I always try to be a one-stop shop for my clients.


What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
I think the biggest hurdle was locating clients and funding. To overcome these obstacles I learned how to build my ideal clientele, speak their language that allowed me to generate income to put back into my business.


When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
I realized entrepreneurship was right for me when I understand that I did not want anyone in control of how much money I spend when I can. take a vacation as well as seeing other women like myself who wanted out of the traditional 9-5 job setting.


Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
I chose entrepreneurship to make an impact. My life goal is to help as many women as possible live their dreams without limits with the understanding they can be in control of every area of their life.


What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
My most driving motivation is when I see my clients live out their dreams and make an impact. I also look to my husband and children to be proud of the work that I do and know that my impact is greater than any tough moment.


What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)
I am excited about my future and my family’s generational wealth that I get to be a part of. I’m excited because I grew up in a poor neighborhood and to have this level of success was once only a dream.


What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
My goal is to help over 5,000 women achieve their goals and dreams. Personally, I want to be sure I’m known for uplifting women.


Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
I looked up to people such as Oprah, Maya Angelou, Phylicia Rashad, Michelle Obama


Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
My life-changing moment came when I was working in corporate and my oldest ask about a memory of hers from 5th grade. I felt terrible because I was gone, enjoying the height of my career in banking making excellent money. I didn’t realize how much my time away affected my children. From that moment on I vowed to be present and worry about money later. I learned that there were other ways of making money outside a traditional job which birthed my very first business.

What’s next for you in your brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
Right now my focus is on growing more outside of the U.S. I am currently partnering with some amazing women in other countries to expose them to my offerings. Currently, I am also heading up a life-changing weekend experience for women happening in Scottsdale, AZ September 24-26. This weekend was inspired by my latest Anthology entitled “Do It Scared.”

deborahrisper.com | Facebook | Instagram

2021 Business to Watch – Dymanz Glaze

Meet Eugenia Davis, a Dallas Texas native, is the Owner of up-in-coming cosmetic brand, Dymanz Glaze and self-published book author. Dymanz Glaze, headquartered in Dallas, offers a full line of high pigment and cruelty free lip glosses designed to compliment every shade and tone. In addition to serving the cosmetic industry with a bold new take on “shades for every shade”, Eugenia has also published a new e-book highlighting her mental health awareness experience in, Therapy Saved My Life. Since its debut in December 2020, the e-book has achieved raving 5-star reviews from customers ranging across the country. By inspiring every individual to seek mental health support, Eugenia hopes to empower the role of self-care within every lifestyle and reduce the stigma associated with seeking guidance. Through her story, Eugenia wants to encourage others that it is never too late to start over with a little help.

Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
Dymanz Glaze is dedicated to making people feel beautiful and push them out of their comfort zone with bold metallic shades and that’s something I want women to experience.

How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
My business started during the pandemic so it was challenging to make people feel like beautiful was still possible, even though we were all stuck inside. The pandemic made it easier through social media to build that audience.


What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
The power of social media made a huge impact on building awareness of Dymanz Glaze. You had to be creative because of the limitations of events or social interactions. You couldn’t simply go out handing samples or attend expos, so it required me to adapt and work quickly with expanding my audience digitally.


What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
I want my customer to feel beautiful and feel like they discovered something new with my products. Many people feel like certain colors and shades are not for them and I’m here to prove that they are.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
I realized entrepreneurship was the right space for me after having difficulty finding products that complemented my deep skin tone. I wanted other women to feel empowered in their looks, not hidden, so I designed the line to compliment every shade and tone. Since then, we’ve grown the brand and consistently receive positive feedback from our clients on how confident they feel with our lip colors.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
My children are what drives me in every aspect of my life and business. I am a proud mom of three beautiful daughters, so it’s important for me to show them that you can do anything.

Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
I didn’t start wearing lipstick until I was 26, I was very much one of those “oh my lips are too big or that color isn’t for me” personalities. I had to see that I was wrong and too often I hear beautiful people make comments like that. We want to change that concept and through my line, I wanted to show people that those things are not true. You are beautiful no matter your shade or size of your lips.

www.dymanzglaze.com | Facebook | Instagram

2021 Business to Watch – R&B/Pop Singer and Songwriter, True

True is an all American R&B/Pop recording artist, musician, model and actress. Born and raised in Youngstown, OH, the young starlet was introduced to her talents at the tender age of 3. Officially launching her professional career in 2010, True kept herself active in the local scene, performing at lounges, community events and opening for national acts such as Jeremih, August Alsina, and Mario. To date, the ambitious artist has performed for many notable regional events such as the Ohio Hip Hop Awards, Ohio Entertainment Awards and the Cleveland Film Fest. With a resume that started at the age of 9, True has credits of opening for and working with the some recognizable names such as Clarence “Dr. Bob” Ross (Saxophone player and Musical coordinator for “The Isley Brothers), J-Stylez (Member of Blackstreet 2), James Worthy (Grammy Award Winning Producer), K. Camp and many more. She has released “No Fucc Boyz” and “Blow It” singles. Now that True is signed to Sky’s The Limit Entertainment’s label, expect to hear more from her and Sky as a joint effort starting with her single “W.T.F.Y.M” being released this April. With her sights set on national success, she is in the studio preparing to release her debut EP/Album and continues to stay busy with modeling and acting opportunities.

Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
Honestly I want to bring something different to music that’s “out” now. I think most of the music that is popular now isn’t Timeless. I want to make timeless music. Something that can Resonate for years. Positive music with good Vibes. Like Beyoncé said “ I was here, I lived, I loved, I was here I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted And it was more than I thought it would beI will leave my mark so everyone will know I was here”


What inspired your to start your business?
I grew up in a family of singers lol. My sister and my mother were the first inspirations when it came to singing. I once lost at the Apollo To my mom. My dad played all types of instruments. As far as my sister, we’re in a girl group (Prevail) at 11. It’s pretty safe I was made to Sing.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you? I realized it when I was in college and I said I wasn’t doing music anymore . By the end of my first semester I ended up playing piano and singing in the school choir . When God says yes no one can say no. Not even yourself.

Why did you choose entrepreneurship? I didn’t it chose me.

Is there anything else you would like to share with me? Please stream My new single “WTFYM” (A Ladies Anthem). The radio version is now available on all streaming platforms. The explicit version will be available on all streaming platforms.

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2021 Business to Watch – Tee Talk

A talk show host, producer, and author, Tiana Heath aka MsTeeTalk has been part of the media industry for the last 8 years. Born and raised in Long Island, New York, she has always been passionate about helping people narrate their stories. More commonly known for her web show, ‘Tee Talk,’ Tiana gained her confidence by leading video logs about many topics ranging from personal anecdotes, hair tutorials, pop culture analyses, and many others. This became a blossoming interest for her, directing her education into a similar field where she would find success. Tiana graduated with her scholastic focus on Radio and Television from Brooklyn College, earning her Associates Degree in 2015 and her Bachelors in 2017. Following her graduation, Tiana revamped her video log series to become an interview series with the same familiar name, ‘Tee Talk,’ and expanded her series to conduct over a hundred interviews including notable artists R&B singer Bobby V and rapper Twista. Her most recent venture, Missing on Long Island, is an investigative YouTube series with a mission to highlight strange disappearances while helping victims’ families. A passionate writer, Tiana loves to share her experiences through her writing. Her e-book, Harness the Power of Media Hosting, is all about empowering aspiring media hosts to tackle the challenges of the media in the 21st century. Tiana has always remained consistent over the years – she truly desires a platform to give others to shine in a remarkable way.

Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
My business is a business to watch in 2021 because I provide quality and thorough interviews with many people such as photographers, artists, business owners, and much more. I provide a platform for those to narrate their story whether their just getting started or an notable figure.


What inspired your to start your business?
I was inspired by the change of social media and where it was going at the time. 2012, YouTube was pretty popular and I wanted to showcase some interviews, hair reviews, culture commentary, and more.


How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
2020 has changed in a great way for my brand Tee Talk. Before the pandemic hit I was conducting interviews on a weekly basis in person. Now, I have access to interview anyone from across the world via Instagram live. 2020 has given me an opportunity to grow and network across.


What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
In my business in 2020 I learned that I have endless possibilities on who to interview. My credibility in this industry has gone up and I’ve done that by myself and I couldn’t be more proud. I learned that consistency is key.


What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
I want my show ” Tee Talk” to be a safe space for those to come on and be comfortable to share their story.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
The most driving motivation to keep me doing my show is the people. My audience tune in every week to watch my show currently on Instagram live/Youtube and will always give me feedback. I do this for them.

What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
The goals that I want to accomplish for Tee Talk is for it to be on TV, a feature on TV, or just noticed on a notable platform. I want to be that interviewer that people will remember. I work hard diligently making sure I will accomplish that one day.

What’s next for you in your brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
I want to continue to push the envelope and be a media powerhouse. I have a show called ” Missing on Long Island” which is a docu-series to highlight strange disappearances from Long Island, New York. I will be releasing more episodes of that show plus Tee Talk.

www.teetalktv.com | Instagram | Twitter | YouTube

2021 Business to Watch – Creative Resource Foundation, LLC

Meet Andy the Managing Partner and Senior Wealth Strategist of Creative Resource Foundation, Personal Affairs, Academy, and Management. Following the completion of her Associates in Information Technology and Bachelors of Business Management, Andy stepped into the world of finance in 2009 as a hobby. In 2011, she launched her company The Creative Resource Foundation, and has since helped over 300 plus clients achieve homeownership, secure long-term financial responsibility, in addition, helped business owners secure business funding. On Mother’s Day 2019, Andy made the decision to be a full time entrepreneur and focus her strengths on helping others build long term wealth. Andy has been featured on Fox 26 News, CBS, Empowering Boss Life, NBC, FYI Houston, Keynote speaker with the FOCUS Business Conference yearly and much more within recent years to discuss the Importance of Financial Freedom and How to achieve Personal and Business Wealth with leverage power tactics. As a Community Leader with Proclamation, March 1, 2020, has been declared as Andy Thibo Day in the City of Houston.

Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
Our company is giving the creative up roar of business! This includes the knowledge of alternative resources of funding, facelift with branding plus marketing to increase digital goods sales as well as policies to implement due to COVID 19 small business compliance. It’s nothing like have a company that keeps your company place for the what if factors. This is why Creative Resource is the business to watch!


What inspired you to start your business?
Being denied a home loan due to the lack of knowledge of creditworthiness. It wasn’t that credit was not mention but at the time, credit was not an option that was needed. When the time came to leverage my credit, the behavior sucked! After research, using personal tactics than trying the same methods on others the birth of a Credit Strategist was develop. Not long afterward of the desire of a home then a car followed with business interest, Creative Resource was founded. By understanding using your resources to obtain the knowledge therefore you build asset rather than liabilities place you in the position of leaving generations of wealth.


How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
YIKES, nobody wiped 2020 out of their brains yet? lol 2020 was mixed with lessons, blessings, and a lot of budgeting. There are no complaints about 2020 because that year really makes Creative Resource Foundation very creative. All policies were updated monthly. lol, Thankful our company was able to keep the doors open and scale.


What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
Update your business documentation on a regular. Read government articles, stay in compliance and keep great communication with all clients. (wipe forehead) lol

What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
Anything is possible as long as you recognize the idea/goal, follow plan of action, execute, understand patience is key. Skipping step will hold you back but trusting the process is golden.


Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market?
Yes and our team is in the works to create more due to the demand of wanting more. Thank CRF family!

What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
One hurdle that I had opening up business when not knowing there is really steps to starting a business. I researched, read books then called the State of Texas to understand how to properly structure my business.


When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
While at my 9 to 5 job and for 3 years, I was in my manager’s office each quarter due to some type of issue. I was in the mental state as long as they don’t fire me plus I still got a check bi-weekly I was fine. Then I prayed to simply drop off and pick my children up from school daily, take week-long trips and make 6 figures in a business. In addition, being a single mom is not easy trying to work every weekend with these types of dreams. The only solution was to be an entrepreneur to make my own rules and make as much money as I desire. So, I gave my 9 to 5 a pink slip in 2018 and have not looked back since.


Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship chose me! As a little girl, I never liked the word, “NO”…. I rather you tell me not right now. When I did hear no, I would figure out ways to get the yes even if I didn’t want/need whatever it was at the time, it still feels good to hear yes. If you ask any Entrepreneur that is serious about their craft, the word “NO” clicks a “GO BUTTON” in our brain to get the word, “Yes or You’re Approved” later. lol


What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
Giving is not the problem, the problem is giving to those who are not going to follow through. So with that said, the most driven motivation to keep me doing what I do currently is seeing other implement what is given to them and actually showing the plan works.

What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)
Freedom, Family and Peace. Overall, I work hard in the industry I love and I can set aside family fun plus time at any time I want too. Life is WONDERFUL!


What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
One goal is growing the FOCUS Business Conference annual event to 500 paid attendees yearly. Second goal is to grow my kids companies with recurring 6 figures incoming after taxes before 2025. Third goal is to open or purchase an office building with recurring positive revenue as equity within the family business.


Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in, and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
My key mentor was my mom, Beth Jason, which displayed giving up is not an option. An idea is just an idea with no actions. As well as your word is your bond and never break the bond that could damage you as an individual, always stay true to self.


Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
Yes, hearing the word, “No”! The experience is part of the path that will led you what you asked the universe for so be ready for anything. When you pray, make sure you pray in detail with a vision of steps that includes a plan of action. Here’s a prayer I always recite, “God, Prepare ME For What Is Coming, So When It Comes I AM Prepared, AMEN!” I am living proof but if you have questions…. Just Ask Andy!

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you?
In May 2021, I hosted a Mother’s Appreciations Month with weekly guests, a free professional headshot day plus discounts on Club House under the Hello Houston Clubhouse name. June 2021, I hosted The Roots of Abundance that includes a retreat invitation in Jacksonville, Florida, 1 year Anniversary of Mommy’s & Daddy’s in Business Planner, and June 16 Birthday Celebration. July 2021, will be in Atlanta with a private session as well as attending the VenCON 2021 event.

www.andythibo.com

Just Andy – Instagram | Hello Houston – Instagram | Focus Business Conference – Instagram

2021 Business to Watch – Women Wives Warriors

Dacía James Lewis is a creative executioner known for her professional poise, outgoing personality and infectious smile. After graduating from Texas State University with a BS in Sociology, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue her passion of working in the entertainment industry. It’s here where she started her career as a production assistant while continuing to train as a dancer. She has served as creative director and choreographer on multiple marketing campaigns for brands such as Weight Watchers and Pantene Pro-V and has choreographed and graced stages with artists such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Jennifer Hudson, Jamie Foxx, Kanye West, Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige and more. Her recent performances include Coming 2 America and Genius: Aretha. Dacía is the president of Women Wives Warriors, an organization that inspires women all over the world to reach their potential in spirit, soul and body and is the owner of D.O.P. Entertainment. When The Game of Life author is not on television and film sets, she is busy creating content for her company and/or serving youth ministries. Dacía teaches and speaks worldwide at dance studios, universities, conferences and various church events. She resides in Atlanta with her husband Walter and is currently getting her MA in writing and digital communication.

What is the name of your business? Women Wives Warriors

What inspired your to start your business?
Being the only girl in a family of boys I struggled to relate to other girls at a young age until I crossed paths with some amazing women who taught me the power of sisterhood. Whether it was becoming a woman, becoming a wife, or facing the wars of life there was always a female warrior there to help lead the way. The support and mentorship of those ladies are the ingredients to the essence of who I am today. Women Wives Warriors was birthed through my desire to always keep strong women of integrity in my circle to hold me accountable and to encourage other women to do the same. What started off as a small circle of friends has now turned into a community of women on a mission to empower the next generation of women, wives, and warriors.

How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
Absolutely! Being a choreographer/dancer I am used to moving and shaking. And with TV/Film industry being shut down (like most industries) so I was forced to take a deeper dive into creativity. I wanted to inspire the women around me to pick up a healthy habit of exercising and meditating during the quarantine. The inception of our free Saturday workouts and prayer calls was a direct result of the pandemic in 2020.

What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
Where there is a will, there is a way. Be creative, and find a way to keep it pushing.

What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle that I faced when starting my business was time management. When building a brand or a business there is a significant amount of time and money that one must invest. Chances are you might not see an immediate return on that investment so to avoid burnout I recommend scheduling your week in advance. By designating a specific number of hours a day to my business and writing down the plans for the week I was able to establish a good work/life balance. Preparation is key.


When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
I knew early on that I wanted to work for myself. I remember in high school I worked at a department store and every day I had to dress us. I hated wearing stockings and one day as I was putting those itchy things on I said, “I will be my own boss, and I will wear what I want to work.'” Who knew my loathe for stockings would be the catalyst to dreaming a bigger dream for myself.

What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do? The impact of affecting one person’s life, making a difference in their world is the fuel that keeps me on the journey of entrepreneurship.

What’s next for you in your business/brand? What can readers look forward to from you? I just published my first book, The Game of Life, through my company Women Wives Warriors. It has been a fantastic journey and the support has been overwhelming. Also, our podcast will launch this summer so be on the lookout for that.

www.daciajames.com | Instagram

www.womenwiveswarriors.com | Instagram

2021 Business to Watch – Coble’s Landing

Meet Shawanda Coble, Owner of Coble’s Landing – Coble’s Landing is the perfect example of a safe space that is leaps and bounds outside of the original concept. Owned by Rex and Shawanda Coble of Charlotte, NC; Coble’s Landing is 25 acres of natural, untouched land that has been transformed into the ultimate safe space. Like most families that loved the outdoors, the Coble’s would frequent public areas to hike, fish, and enjoy the time along with their children but it began to be a little hard to ignore the disparities within the outdoor community and People of Color. While the “Nature Gap” was no surprise to the Coble’s, they were not going to allow it from keeping the experience from their family. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Rex was forced to take some time off from his successful barbershop in Charlotte and had time to spend in his hometown of Burnsville, NC. As he returned to his roots, he saw an opportunity to fill a void. Not less than five minutes from where Rex grew up was an available mass amount of land that held every element that the Coble family loved about the outdoors. After researching the land and planning out how the space would serve a purpose to the community, the Coble’s purchased the acres in October of 2020 owning what would be the first Black-Owned nature preserve in the southeast and the second on the entire east coast.

What is the name of your business?
Coble’s Landing


Why is your business a business to watch in 2021?
Coble’s Landing was created to be a safe space for people of color to enjoy nature. Our 25 acres will be able to host a variety of events for our community.


What inspired you to start your business?
To reclaim our land and create generational wealth. Owning land is one of the greatest forms of currency that is sustainable throughout future generations.

How did 2020 change your business? Was it for the better?
We were able to purchase 25 acres in 2020. While the world was in a pandemic we seized the opportunity to focus on clearing out the land and beginning to develop it little by little.


What lessons did you learn in your business in 2020?
Even in the face of adversity, an opportunity will present itself. 2020 allowed a lot of time for planning. We were forced to stay home and isolate ourselves from others. During those days of quarantine, a lot of research and planning was able to get completed.


What kind of impact do you want your business to leave on your client or customer?
We would like our guests to feel relaxed, safe, respected, and close to nature. This space will be available for a variety of cultural events.


Do you feel your product or service meets the needs of the market?
Absolutely. COVID19 has placed outdoor spaces as the most sought-after venue. Coble’s Landing is about an hour away from uptown Charlotte, which makes it a perfect space to visit or host events.


What hurdles did you personally face in getting ready to open your business and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle has been developing 25 acres from scratch during a pandemic. Our development plans have been delayed but It’s difficult to secure concrete investors and/or donors in the middle of a pandemic.

When did you realize entrepreneurship was right for you?
It’s something that I have always been interested in but COVID19 gave me an opportunity to really dive in. I had time to plan and actually think about how I could do it and actually support my family.


Why did you choose entrepreneurship?
Entrepreneurship grants me peace of mind. I have control and flexibility.


What would you say is your most driving motivation to keep doing what you do?
Our desire to create generational wealth, instill the value of family, develop pride in our community and continue to take back what belong to us land and culture.


What are you most excited or passionate about? (In both business and life or both)
I am very passionate about our youth and the programs/services that support them. Our youth is truly our greatest resource and it our responsibility to nurture and cultivate them.


What are the goals you most want to accomplish in your business? What are the goals that you hold personally?
One of the main goals is to be recognized as a culturally safe space for people of color. Personally, I am focused on connecting with youth programs that will fully benefit from the therapeutic atmosphere at Coble’s Landing.


Did you have any key mentors or people who deeply influenced who you are, what you believe in and what you’re committed to in your work and life? Tell me about them.
There are several women that have inspired and influenced me from my mother, aunts, grandmother and godmother to Ida B Wells, Oprah (who I met when I was 8), Celia Cruz and countless others. I’ve learned that every women’s journey is filled with curves, speed bumps, stop signs, roundabouts and even dead ends. Triumphant women drive on, through it all, sometimes we reach destinations that we didn’t know were on our map.


Did you have any life-changing experiences that put you on the path that led you to be doing what you’re doing today? Tell me about them.
I have always been fascinated by the healing powers of nature and herbs. Although I grew up in the city both of my grandmothers had full gardens. They always taught that nature provides all, food, medicine, and even joy.

What’s next for you in your business? What can readers look forward to from you? We are looking to continue our development and open the space up to the youth to provide that outlet. Get our community back to nature.

www.VisitCoblesLanding.com | Facebook | Instagram