Despite facing numerous challenges and obstacles, Black women have been starting and running successful businesses at an unprecedented rate. This week, we hear from three amazing Black women entrepreneurs who have overcome barriers, persevered through tough times, and are building thriving businesses that make an impact in their communities. Let's get into it!
Sondra King, Founder, Owner at K&B’s Smooth Nutrition | Lakeland, Tennessee
Sondra, when did you realize that you wanted to become an entrepreneur?
Sondra: I was exhausted from the corporate world. I wanted more independence and control over myself, my schedule, and my life.
Woodrina Williams, Owner at Infinite Boutique | Cleveland, Ohio
How about you, Woodrina?
Woodrina: At an early age
Celes Mickle, CEO at Amazing Grace Christian Online Store | Ahoskie, North Carolina
Celes, what's your story?
Celes: I wanted to become an entrepreneur since I was a child
The importance of self-awareness and understanding one's own motivations and goals in starting a business are critical in entrepreneurship. Woodrina, Celes and Sondra all exemplify these traits in how they were able to decipher their desires to delve into entrepreneurship on their own at various points in their lives.
Diving deeper into their stories.
K&B’s Smooth Nutrition - offering fresh organic superfood smoothies
"My mission is simply wellness & to be able to offer a better alternative to everyone. Especially those who aren’t exposed to a healthy lifestyle or foods. I serve because it’s humbling. Jesus was actually a servant. It’s brings me joy. I created my business to show others that changing your mindset and choices of food can literally change your life. I also wanted to honor my father who loved gardening! My company names is named after he and I," said Sondra King
K&B’s Smooth Nutrition offers nutritious Superfood smoothies
Sondra's Story: I’ve always had a passion for nutrition, health/fitness, and wellness. I started my health journey years ago through blogging. I would share healthy recipes, wellness tips, and smoothie recipes. My blog began to garner a lot of traffic and people began asking questions about how to maintain a healthier lifestyle.
My parents have been gardeners their entire lives which developed my passion & knowledge about food. I began to study different types of food and how they affect one's body. Shortly after that, I started experiencing some personal health challenges. I began feeling lethargic at times, and fatigued. My blood pressure started escalating. I had a history of migraines, but they began to become more intense and frequent. I had digestion issues to the point of being placed on medication.
My physician recommended placing me on medications to treat everything. I didn’t like that, and I wanted to try another alternative. I asked him to allow me time to try a different method. I had a fast-paced and highly demanding job at the time which meant that being placed on medication and not being fully alert was not an option for me.
So what did I do? I started to exercise more and changed my diet. I began drinking smoothies and went vegetarian for about 6 months to see if food impacted my body in the way I suspected. It did!
I started drinking green smoothies daily. Everyday! I began putting ingredients in them that contained food groups I wouldn’t otherwise receive on a daily basis. More greens, nutrients, etc.
My life changed. All of my health challenges miraculously disappeared. Fast forward to a few years later, my father took ill and suddenly passed. I decided to make this smoothie business A BUSINESS. I designed and launched my website and business, did a pop-up at Stretchlab Lakeland and have since expanded to doing pop-ups all over the city.
I’m now partnered with Core Collective, Pure Barre, Girls on the Run, Stretchlab, Cyclebar (Midtown, Germantown, & Lakeland) Esporta Fitness, Hotworx Edgedistrict, Hotworx Bartlett, Club Pilates Lakeland, Brwnskyn Yoga, Hot Yoga Plus, Mind, Body, Haus, The MMDC (Memphis Medical District), Greater Memphis Chamber, and UTHSC.
I was recently featured in Memphis Health and Fitness Magazine, Action News 5, Memphis Voyager Magazine and The Bartlett Express Newspaper. I was also featured on The Kim Jacobs Show. My smoothies are also stocked at Mind, Body, Haus Yoga Studio, Core Collective, and Brwnskn Yoga Studio.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Sondra: My typical day involves: making smoothies, going over orders, looking over my website functions, and delivering orders. I also follow up with my emails, and meetings as well as network with other companies and entrepreneurs. Overall, I try to make sure that everything is flowing as it should.
Did you have any fears about venturing into entrepreneurship?
Sondra: To put it simply, failure and perfection.
What does your support system look like as an entrepreneur?
Sondra: I am intentional about surrounding myself with people, friends, and family that are like-minded. Those that are willing to work hard towards my vision. That's where I derive my support from.
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Gosh, Sondra, your story is so inspiring! The 360-degree spin you did with your health is beautiful. This resonates so much with the focus we want Black women entrepreneurs to place on their physical and mental well-being. We deserve to show up as our best selves always! If you are a Black woman entrepreneur, please do not neglect taking care of yourself even as you grow your business. Eat healthily, meditate, exercise and rest!
Infinite Boutique - helping women embrace themselves
"My mission is to help women of all ages and sizes embrace themselves and understand beauty comes in all types of definitions not just what is fed into us through social media, advertising, television, etc. A lot of women who come in my store speak so negatively about themselves. Even if they don’t purchase anything, I need them to leave my store with at least one positive attribute about themselves to go off of," said Woodrina Williams
Infinite Boutique sells women’s clothing and in the near future plans to include healthcare apparel as well.
What does a typical day look like for you as an entrepreneur?
Woodrina: Learning how to effectively and efficiently run a business. I’m always researching and observing strategies that will help me grow.
What were your greatest fears stepping into entrepreneurship?
Woodrina: The fear of failure or my dream being a mere thought process that turns into a “shoulda, coulda, woulda.”
What does your support system look like today?
Woodrina: My support system can be counted on one hand with three of the fingers being me, lol.
Woodrina, we embrace you into our tribe with open, loving arms and commit to being beside you each time your reach for us. Additionally, we applaud you for making learning an important part of your journey. Entrepreneurship is an exciting and challenging journey that requires a broad range of skills and expertise to successfully navigate. Learning how to effectively and efficiently run a business is critical for entrepreneurs to achieve long-term success. If you are a Black woman entrepreneur who's reading this and looking to learn how to grow your business and operate more successfully, then you should be sure to check out our Knowledge Academy today!
Amazing Grace Christian Online Store - inspiring, uplifting and bringing Christ to others through various products
"I created Amazing Grace Christian Online Store because I felt a need to serve individuals who are struggling, and going through situations in their life where they may need prayer, encouragement, and someone to talk to," said Celes Mickle
Amazing Grace Christian Online Store is currently being relaunched and will sell sublimated journals, notebooks, handmade beaded ink pens, DTF hoodies, sublimated hoodies, and books of Christian Inspirational Poetry. All our products will be Christian Inspirational products.
Can you walk us through a typical day in your life?
Celes: A typical day in my entrepreneurial lifestyle consists of me creating content for my social media platforms and going live every now and then, checking my inventory, doing my doctoral school work, praying for people, ministering to people, and encouraging people.
What does your support system look like?
Celes: As an entrepreneur, I am able to receive support from other entrepreneurs within my circle. I also get free support from the Small Business Administration Mentorship program in addition to support from followers across my social media platforms.
What was your greatest fear before stepping into entrepreneurship?
Celes: My greatest fear before stepping into entrepreneurship was not knowing if anyone would buy my products. The way that I faced this fear was by just starting my business regardless, doing pop-up shops, and going live on social media.
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Celes, it's so beautiful how you didn't allow your fear to hold you back and ventured out scared! The truth is that the entrepreneurial journey comes with many different fears of the unknown. However, fear should never be a setback for an entrepreneur, instead, it should serve as a propeller. Our growth and success often lie on the other side of things that scare us!
All three ladies nursed very similar fears prior to starting - the fear of failure. Overcoming the fear of failure is crucial for any entrepreneur, and it can be especially challenging for Black women who may face additional barriers and obstacles. This is why seeking our mentorship and building a strong support system is critical. Prioritizing these two areas can make a world of a difference in how easily you are able to overcome the various fears entrepreneurship throws your way.
We appreciate you Sondra, Woodrina and Celes for sharing your inspiring journeys with us!
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