My name is Alicia Fairfax Harper, I have always been a creative at heart and loved to customize my clothing. I have always had an eccentric and vibrant look as far as my clothing is concerned. Colors, shapes and various textiles have always caught my eye. I would have to say I have always been intrigued with how a few yards of fabric could be turned into something fabulous!
I went to Africa with my mother a couple of years ago and collected a few patches in the hopes of adding it to a coat or something. I held on to them for sometime and one day came across them as I was going through everything I acquired from my trip. I realized I wanted to do more with them. I asked my husband (at that time fiancé) to grab me a couple of hoodies when he ran to Walmart. By the end of the week I had attached my patches to the arm of one of the sweatshirts but the front was blank. I proudly showed him what I had done with them but explained how I was lost as to what to put on the front. A month before it was prophesied to me to “get with my fabrics” so was already in the process of making various garments with my sewing machine but never really saw it as a business. A name was given to me in one of my morning prayers. Sew Fax came about. Sew instead of so and my maiden name is Fairfax from there came fax (instead of facts). A few people saw the pieces I had made for myself and husband, loved it, and wanted a creation of their own. I customized each and every garment specific to each customer to their present story as well as their future story. So here I am today!
Some challenges I have faced have been mental blocks and a period of lack of creativity. But in those moments it’s so important to remember why you started and most importantly what you loved most about it. Prayer, fresh air like a walk in the park or a quick trip to the fabric store always seems to do it for me. Oh getting multiple orders at one time! Never get overwhelmed with the workload. No matter how much you have to get done take your time. Space out your turnaround time accordingly to ensure your standard of quality NEVER gets compromised.
If you want to start a business GO FOR IT! Always remember to have a strategy in please as well as a plan, written out so that you can visualize it, of where you want to go. I believe everything is a learning experience, including mistakes. The rise, the setbacks, even the times where it seems to be stagnant. My business is still fresh so I don’t consider myself an expert but the most important thing one can do is believe in yourself (I know it’s cliché, but it’s true) and in the capability of God. A good idea is alright but a God idea will never fail!!!
My name is Danyell Flowers, I’m originally from South Carolina. I’ve been living in NYC for 6 years and operating my company, Maven Media Management, for the last 3 years. Maven Media is a public relations + branding agency. I’m an Alumnae of the University of South Carolina, and I am also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Starting my own business was an organic decision for me. I was both freelancing and working as a publicity director for a public relations agency before I started my business. It was becoming too difficult to manage both, and coincidentally my former bosses and I had been at odds for quite some time. So, I took those two things as clear signs that I should take a leap of faith, and 3 1/2 years later Maven Media is still here and growing daily. I’m so glad that I took a chance on myself.
Learning time management between work + personal life and mastering self-care have been the biggest challenges to overcome. I have always been a hard worker, but now that I work for myself my work ethic is even more intense. If I don’t work I don’t eat, so I admittedly overwork to make sure my clients are satisfied. With Maven Media being a new start-up I am constantly building its reputation and portfolio, so I sacrifice a lot of my free time and neglect my needs in the process. To a certain extent these things come with the territory of the industry I’m in. Working in publicity is a lifestyle so the work and client needs are ALWAYS there. There is no 9-5 in dealing with the media or clients. You have to always be aware of what’s going on in the media and society to figure out how your client can be leveraged in the ever-changing news cycle we live in. My whole career revolves around making other people happy and servicing their needs because their success is a direct reflection of my success. However, in the last year-and-a-half I began to notice signs of anxiety in my body and physical/mental exhaustion. I came to the realization that while all of the above circumstances about my career are true I have to set boundaries and make time to care for myself. BECAUSE my clients’ success IS my success–that means if I am not at my best I won’t be able to give my clients my best. As a result, these last 9 months I’ve made a conscious effort to do things for me: I meditate and practice stillness the first 2 hours of my day; I exercise regularly; I wait until I have the mental capacity to answer non-urgent texts/calls/emails. I say “no” to things that don’t serve me; I do not work or communicate with my clients on the weekends or holidays; I take at least 2 Fridays off every month. I have also started working with a reiki healer and I’m actively seeking a therapist and life coach. I don’t do all of these things 100% of the time, but I am very proud of the progress I’ve made so far ( I also added 2 people to my staff woo-hoo)!
My advice for anyone starting their own business is: Don’t fight the process; most often success is not an overnight thing. There will be broke days, there will be challenges, there will be sacrifices, there will be detours that you must take on your path. Don’t give up because these things build character and will ultimately work together for your good. Don’t be afraid of failure or let it stop you from starting your business. Failure is inevitable, but how you chose to deal with your failures is up to you. Look at failures as teachable moments and take away applicable lessons that will help you in the future. A delay is not a deny; trust the timing of all things in your life. It’s going to happen when it’s supposed to happen. Your only job is to keep working towards your goals and stay positive.