What inspired the creation of Terra-Tory?
My mom used to run her own apothecary business 20 years ago, and i remember having so much fun with her, bonding with her, going to shows at the Jacob Davits Center and helping her sell soaps and candles. Seeing the looks on people’s faces when they saw her display and smelled her products. People went crazy over it. My mom then got married and started a family so she couldn’t keep up with running a business. So when I whispered about reviving her company back again, she said “If you can handle it, it’s all yours”, it just made sense to revive that nostalgic feeling for the both of us.
What led you to pursue entrepreneurship?
Getting fired. Apparel Design and Technical Design Degree, 6 years Experience in the garment industry, just to end up making soap for a living. The garment industry sucks. Especially for black women being that it’s ran primarily by Jewish Men. I was at the bottom of the food chain and doomed at birth going into that industry. It just took a few years to realize it.
What excites you the most about this new and exciting chapter?
The creative control/direction i get to have through marketing and merchandising. Learning the market and figuring out different ways to appeal to a new audience. Realizing that i want to change the game of viewing soap. The unique opportunities that come my way. It’s interesting to see how something so essential is being taken for granted so easily.
How would you describe your work ethic?
Quick burst of long weeks and then nice vacations in between. I love to educate my customers every step of the way. The more they know the better for my business. Commercial soap brands succeed from keep ppl in the dark for so long, my business thrives from knowledge. My customers feel empowered and in control. I want that for them.
What keeps you going when juggling life and business presents various challenges?
The fact that I’m doing this full time so i have a endless supply of friends and family and fellow entrepreneurs around me that i can ask advice from when i encounter these challenges. A lot of the time google doesn’t actually help! My life is the ppl around me. I’m such a creative person, that i incorporate my life in my work because that’s what works for ME. What we put on our skin IS apart of life. There’s no separating it, So it’m comes naturally to juggle to two.
What advice would you offer to aspiring entrepreneurs?
FAIL at everything you do so you can learn from it as quickly as you can! Don’t rely on social media to do the work for you. Too many ppl rely on followers but your followers don’t make you money, paying customers do. And if you have a good product, they stick with you forever. Don’t let numbers fool you, get out there and make face to face contact with ppl. Shake hands, converse, make eye contact, see how the product can relate to that persons lifestyle and that will sell itself. And be patient.
What is the best business advice you have ever received?
So far the best business advice is to leave NY if you want to grow your business. My good friend Michelene told me that her mentor blessed her with that gem. Leave NY to pursue your career/business because NY is so oversaturated with entrepreneurs that the competition is healthy but it gets exhausting. Go where your target audience is or where your service is scarce but needed. Build up a genuine and loyal audience out there. Gain the relationships out there; NY has everything already. We’re the spoiled state lol.