Diving into the uncharted waters of starting a business is no easy task. But attempting to encourage women to treat themselves to self-love while you do it could be nearly impossible. However, the founders of the Unapologetically Single gift box, Kat and Lezita, managed to do so, and for that we needed to know how.
Both founders who have backgrounds in fashion and retail, play a role in carefully selecting the items in the boxes to ensure the products align with their mission to make women feel great about themselves whether they’re single or in relationships. After scrolling through the Unapologetically Single market, it’s clear that Kat and Lezita created these gift boxes for a market that most retailers sleep on, literally.
Give us an overview of Unapologeticallysingle.com.
Kat: We want it to feel like a lifestyle destination where women can come and talk about love, life, and everything in between. We also have a market where we feature items lovingly curated with single women in mind.
What drove you to create UnapologeticallySingle.com?
Lezita: It was the end of August in 2016 and I was on the way to buy my 3rd baby shower gift and my 1st bridal shower gift of the year. As I was walking around the store looking at the gift registry, I immediately started to think, “I’m 29 years old and I’m not in a relationship nor am I interested in kids at the moment. What if no one ever celebrates me?” After I left the baby store, I immediately called Kat and we started to brainstorm. Six months later, Unapologetically Single was officially born.
Kat: I was tired of being judged and feeling less than just because of a status. We graduated from college, have great jobs, take care of ourselves and people still feel they can knock you down by saying things like: “You still aren’t married yet?” “That’s why you’re single.” “Pretty, successful and single! You must be crazy.”
Our site is not meant to bash men or relationships. We want to create a place to celebrate single women of color, and not continue to inundate them with tips on how to not be single or constantly tell them what they are doing wrong. We want to encourage them to live their lives unapologetically single and to enjoy the process.Kat & Lezita push back against the pressure to 'settle down' with UnapologeticallySingle Click To Tweet
What do you feel are the most successful tools you used to build your brand?
Lezita: One of THEE most important tools of success to me is simply staying true to yourself and representing your brand how you want to. It’s so easy to look at what the next company or brand is doing and you may find yourself trying to compete. To me, that’s a losing battle and it’s exhausting. When you stay true to who you are and what you want your brand to be, people will gravitate towards that authenticity.
Also, for the obvious reasons, never take rejection or negative opinions personal. A lot of times it’s so easy to feel slighted and hurt when someone doesn’t like your idea or they don’t necessarily want to work with you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve shared my ideas with someone and their reaction was LACKLUSTER or downright rude to say the least lol. Everyone can’t see your vision and that’s ok. Rejection will never dictate your success AND/OR your worth. Always keep pushing.
What resources would you recommend for Black woman who are self-employed?
Kat: Honestly, it has been a real learning experience for me. I just try to follow a lot of small business accounts and bloggers who have been where we are and who are not afraid to share their struggles and how they’ve overcome them. One of my current favorite resources is the page Brand, Build and Launch with Arsha Jones.
It’s a group with like-minded members that are supportive and freely share any tips that will help you build and grow a brand. It’s a really positive community and I’ve been inspired to keep pushing from the women there.
Lezita: NETWORK LOCALLY! It’s so easy to want to reach out to your Instagram and Twitter favorites to network, however, always keep the local organizations in mind too. Go to that alumni meeting that you’d never normally attend or get involved in city events! You’d be surprised the people that can inspire you or even invest in you just by participating in local events.
I’m a woman in my mid 20s who would love to create my own business but I have no idea where to start. What’s your best advice towards doing so?
Kat: Like Nike says, “Just Do It.” Lezita and I have had so many great ideas but we could never seem to get started. Initially, it can be overwhelming and easier to just sink back into your normal routine or that cushy 9-5, but once you take that initial leap (create a website, buy product, etc.), it’ll be hard to turn around.
Lezita: Start out by writing down your goals in pencil (because they will change) and from there set a timeline. There is no right starting point for anyone, but having a timeline will help to keep you on track and in line. Also, be extremely open to change. When Kat and I first started discussing what we thought our business should look like, it was nowhere near where it is today.
What is your target audience and what challenges have you faced that are unique to your market?
Lezita: Our target audience is women from the ages of 21 and up. The biggest challenge has been defining single. When some people see the words “Unapologetically Single”, they’re automatically off-put because they “got a good man at home” or because they don’t want to identify as being “ the lonely, single girl.”
We’re constantly brainstorming ways to get the message across that “ Unapologetically Single” doesn’t mean you’re sitting at home alone eating cat food waiting to jump off the ledge. Nor does it mean you aren’t dating or enjoying your life.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned so far?
Kat: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to not rush the process. Of course, I want to make money doing what I love, but it’s not my motivating factor. I’m just enjoying the process of building the business and watching the company grow.
Also, I try not to get caught up with what other brands are doing, or compare their success to ours. I just want to feel confident that we are doing our best and putting something out to the world that we are proud of. I feel confident that, if we do that and give it our all, success will come
Lezita: I wholeheartedly agree with Kat. Everyday I remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
What is your professional motto?
Kat: “The most they can do is say no”. It’s pretty cliché but I live by this motto, which really pushes me to take chances. In combination with that motto, I just really try not to be caught up in worrying about what others might think or say because someone will always have something negative to say.
Lezita: Breathe, let go, and “remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. – Muva Oprah Winfrey. With so many outside forces affecting us everyday, I don’t have the time, energy, or the space to waste worrying about what the things I cannot change. The best thing that I can do for myself and my business is to do my very best in the moment and continue to persevere every moment thereafter.
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