I really thought I had it all figured out. When I started City Inspired, I had created a marketing plan and a business proposal, outlining the steps of how I planned to launch and start the business. My background is in communications and design so I was excited about the opportunity to create a brand - something that reflected my passion for Black creatives and showcased their unique work. But creating the branding was just the start. I was wearing all the hats - marketing, sourcing, finance and more. It was juggling and pushing different parts of my mind constantly in order to build something from the ground up.
I was ready and confident to take it on, yet nothing really prepared me to the daily work of starting a business, especially one on your own. Life came at me fast and I often found myself questioning what direction to push City Inspired in, whether I was reaching my audience, or in many times of frustration - whether I needed to start again from scratch. It was at these times where I felt most vulnerable and confused. So I incorporated a few tips, thanks to the help of others, to adapt and make it through.
Sometimes it helps to take a break from it all - to step outside (yes, even in the rainy London streets) to just clear your head. I found myself constantly stressing about the type of colours I would use for the brand, how to craft emails to the vendors, what vendors to feature and even just the logo. I took the little stuff seriously, almost too seriously. It got to the point where I was overthinking everything and I was stuck on making any decision. Nothing would budge and every I did felt like it would make or break City Inspired.
One of the vendors from this box had great advice - to breathe and let go of the small things. She noted that the goal of starting a business is to just get it running. That's it. Full stop. Everything else can change over time. Hate the colour scheme? Do a re-branding. Nervous about the vendors? Find different ones next time. Businesses evolve, nothing is set in stone. And its important to remember that - by taking a breath.
2. Ask for help, find your tribe
As a young Black woman, #Blackgirlmagic is the motto, mood, vibe, anything and everything in between. And we are magic, it's incredible and inspiring to see the work that Black women are doing to secure the bag. I felt that Black girl magic also meant doing it on your own. Asking for help was okay but if you can do it on your own - do it. However that mindset can be detrimental - as my parents say "no one person is an island" so it was key for me to find my tribe and ask for help.
My tribe is multi-faceted supporting me in both my personal and professional life. It's a group of Black women entrepreneurs who meet once a month to discuss business strategy and reach. It's my best friends, who send memes to the group text and have ideas about the vendors. It's my family, who even across the pond find ways to root for me - and send the auntie shout outs on Facebook. And it's this City Inspired community that has been following our journey. Black girl magic encompasses finding that tribe, asking for support and working together to make something special.
3. Enjoy the journey
Starting a business is a serious endeavor, something that takes time and patience. But it's also very fun and exciting to do. During the launch party, I spent most of the time running back and forth, figuring out the music and introducing people to City Inspired. Halfway through the party, I realised I had missed everything! Yes, I was talking to people but my mind was racing with everything that needed to be done to launch the box. However I had just made a huge accomplishment - I organised a launch party for my box. And I didn't take the time to enjoy that milestone and almost missed out on something important. So take time to enjoy, celebrate your accomplishments. Share them with the world. And then get back to that grind.