Jeneba Barrie is Founder and Creative Director of Jeneba Barrie Nude Footwear, LLC. Her line is a first to fill the diversity gap in the shoe world, creating inclusive options for women of any shade. Jeneba Barrie is a luxury skin-tone shoe line with an objective of revolutionizing and redefining the meaning of nude shoes from beige to skin-tone colors that matches the wearer’s complexion. Finally some nude heels we can all slay in!!! Here is what she had to say to all up and coming black female entrepreneurs in her Sistah Biz Interview:
My one piece of advice is to be confident and know why you started the business in the first place. Once you have the confidence and remember the “why”, you will be able to overcome hardships.
In the morning, I get my sons (23 months old and 2 months old) ready for the day. I get ready for the day and begin replying to emails, calls and settle down to do more work on my business.
My pumps are still in the pre-order phase. But we did 4 rounds of prototyping. We will be doing another round for lower heel lengths because that is the biggest request from potential customers.
My husband and I raised the money to begin prototyping. We then launched a crowdfunding campaign through Kickstarter to raise capital for our first production run.
The area of business that I had the least experience in was finding manufacturers and tanneries in Italy (where the shoes are made). But I researched and was able to find a middle man that connected us to these factories.
Of course! My product, in its DNA, is targeted at women of all skin tones and race. My advice is to be your authentic self and show how your product can make their lives better.
My first big deal was raising our first production funding through Kickstarter. I achieved this by preparing (over 8 months). I collected email addresses, told everyone on my social media channels, and asked people for commitments before actually launching the campaign. Preparing this way allowed me to raise well over $5,000 more than my original goal.
Having a great relationship will always have positive impact on your business. Nurture your business relationships. Be kind but firm. Set boundaries and respect the boundaries of others. Remember, it’s not personal. It’s business.
A great disappointment that I learned is that people will let you down. They will fail to keep their promises. Learning this has taught me to have less of an emotional and more pragmatic approach to running my business, and that is a big deal and helps alleviate stress.
Keep going! Just keep pushing and stay true to you and your brand. You can never fail at being yourself.
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