Made Here, For us Everywhere

An Interview with Travis C. Withers, Founder and CEO of Urban Beard NY/U.B. Nation L.L.C.

Facebook: Urban Beard NY
Instagram: @urbanbeardny
Website: Urban Beard NY
Etsy: Urban Beard NY
Email: UrbanBeardNY@gmail.com

Travis is an extremely respectful, witty and professional businessman. Two of the things I enjoyed most about working with him was; how passionate he was about the quality of his product and how often he made me laugh. Even though I’ve never met Travis in-person, talking to him was like sitting on a stoop in Brooklyn, with a good friend.

Doing business with Travis definitely felt like I was getting the red carpet service. His knowledge of beard health is enough to make you question everything about hair in general.

Check out his interview to learn more about him and his business.

Where are you originally from

I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY (Park Slope)

What was life like growing up where you grew up

Life in Park Slope was real dope as a kid. Everything I needed and wanted was a block or two away, if that. All the kids in the neighborhood went to the same schools. We watched each other grow up. Everybody knew everybody’s mom lol. We fought each other a lot growing up, but you never heard of us killing each other or anything like that. We were all still humble enough at the end of the day to respect life.

Gentrification changed Park Slope a lot. I live in one of the richest neighborhoods in Brooklyn. Not because my family has an abundance of money, but because my grandfather was a very smart man. Back then, they were giving away brownstones being that park slope was one of the least desired neighborhoods to reside in. He bought one and built it up and kept it in the family all of these years. We were very fortunate for him having the mind to buy the real estate and land.

What challenges did you face growing up

Since my mom was a single parent, she had to play both roles for quite sometime. Up until the point where my step father came in. It was a challenge every day trying to find my way as a man.

The process of discovering what that meant to me, how that lined up with what was taught to me, by my mom. As well as what was being portrayed by things I saw every day. Finding myself with no male guidance was definitely a challenge, as is for so many young men unfortunately.

How many siblings do you have

I have an older sister and younger brother. I also have a younger half brother and half sister.

What’s your educational background

I graduated High School (late) in 2010 with a regents diploma. I got caught up in having fun in school rather than doing my school work. If I could, i’d relive every day of my school career. I just wish I did a little more work lol. I plan on going back to school for business.

What attracted you to this field

I had been mixing my own beard butter for about a year before I ever thought about selling it. In looking for beard products, I was dissatisfied with the “quantity to price” ratio of a lot of other brands. It seems like all other brands want to do is pack any and everything into their beard products. Then flip it a few different ways and then sell you 2 Oz. of product for 16 bucks. This led me to just making my own products.

Tell us about your business and the services you offer

Right now, Urban Beard has an All Natural Beard Butter on the market. This is the Original Blend, so I of course nicknamed it “OG”. The mix of oils in our butter calm the wildest of Beards. It also instantly softens the hair. Overtime you will definitely notice a difference in the overall health of your beard. It will grow in thicker and fuller.

Your hair will have an unbelievable shine, any little light will reflect off your Beard like diamonds. All common facial hair complaints are fixed. No itching, flaking, build up etc. It also takes great care of the skin under hair AND it’s probably one of the best smelling products out. It’s funny how many customers complain of people in their house (mostly wives) stealing their beard butter.


How long have you been in business

I’ve been in business officially for about a year and a half now.

What’s your overhead like

I operate out of my home for now. It’s saves me a ton of money to be a home operated business. I also infuse my own oil. This saves me a lot of money and also allows me to give my customers 100% of what is intended, instead of buying 5 or 6 other oils to substitute.

How do you manage your full-time job and your business, what’s your schedule like

It actually works out pretty great most times. I am a bouncer so mostly I work nights. I start my day off waking up about 2 in the afternoon and I’m usually pretty free during the day, which allows me to operate my business. The hardest part is waking up, my internal clock is all backward from working nightlife.

How many customers did you have when you first started out vs now

Urban Beard NY grows more and more daily. It started with friends and coworkers, because I did not have a means for selling online when I first started. I opened my online shop about 8/9 months ago through Etsy and through promotion, the demand for my product has been crazy.

The product has been moving across the U.S. as well as a few jars overseas. Hands down, the hottest beard butter on the market as told by my customers.

What makes your business unique

At first glance, my logo is very eye catching. It’s important to stand out. I have a beauty product that’s about to be turned into a clothing line. The first cool beauty product that also makes a bold statement. A Black, Bearded King on the Brooklyn Bridge, what else can grab your attention more?

The background is a sunrise, which represents awakening. The awakening of the inner King in us all. Regardless of race, sexual orientation, location, religion or anything meant to divide and group us into categories.

I feel like we’re all Kings and Queens in our own right and we should move as such. Each product I put out is stamped with the most humble of well wishes, positivity to everyone. “Made Here, For Us Everywhere”.

What drove you to choose Entrepreneurship

I found myself at a dead end working in nightlife. I’m one of the top Bouncers in NY. I grew tired of this profession and I knew I needed a way out. Wage wise, I’m definitely under appreciated. I never thought this would be the path I’d be taking in my life. However, the more I thought it over, I saw there was no reason not to dive into my plan headfirst.

As in my personal and work life, I’ve always stood out and I’ve always been very well respected by doing things my way, showing love and respect every step of the way. Why should my business be any different?

What are your 2 biggest business challenges

A lot of Men around me and my surroundings just grow a beard freely. Some don’t know about, or aren’t really into, maintenance for their manes. It’s been a little hard getting people into the groove of why beard maintenance is very beneficial for their bearded life. A lot of people don’t know what healthy hair looks like.

What do you love most about what you’re doing

I love that fact that this is all me. I’m my own boss. It’s been fun just figuring things out. The experience so far has been exciting and it’s still just so surreal watching it all unfold. I love the fact that it’s something positive I can put my heart into, my way of giving back.

What is your best advice for other Entrepreneur’s

Go for it. If you have something you’re passionate about doing, jump into it. Nobody is going to do for your business as much as you are. It’s your dream to make come true. It can be disheartening at times but keep your head up. Every step of the process is a lesson learned. Stay away from negative vibes as well, keep a very positive mental space.

Where do you see your business in the next 5 years

In the next 5 years, UB Nation will be not only be established, but dominant as well. Urban Beard NY will have a lot more products and accessories added to the line. I’m also going to be launching a female line as well. My brand will definitely make a bold, lasting impression in multiple industries.

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A Passion to clean and a Purpose to Serve

An interview with Tamara Wilson, Founder and CEO of A Vibrant Cleaning Solution

Facebook: A Vibrant Cleaning Solution
Instagram: A Vibrant Cleaning Solution
Twitter: @avibclnsolution
Email: info@avibrantcleaningsolution.com
Website: Coming Soon

Tamara is one of the most appreciative, humble and professional human beings, I’ve had the pleasure of working with. What I appreciated most about working with her, is how she valued my time and always said thank you. In business and especially in her line of work, these are two things that make her an asset in the Professional Cleaning Services industry.

Check out her interview to learn more about her and her business.

Where are you originally from

My family and I are originally from Newark, New Jersey. However, we currently reside in North Carolina, home of the Carolina Panthers, “go Panthers”.

What was life like growing up where you grew up

Hmm…growing up in New Jersey was all about family. You had grandmother (rest her soul), my mom, my brother and sister, aunts, uncle and cousins. We all lived together in a 3 story home. At least two weekends out the month we would either: go to the beach, visit one of the local amusement parks or have a family cookout.

Regardless of what we were doing, we always had fun, laughed and created priceless memories!

How many siblings do you have

  • My sister: she is the oldest, she is furthering her education and career in the Healthcare Industry.
  • My brother: the middle child (rest his soul), passed away in a tragic car accident in Dec 2011.
  • Then there is me: I am the youngest and I have a one year old son Amir, whom I love very much!

I’ve always dreamed of having my own business ever since I was a young girl.

What’s a childhood fear you overcame

As a child I remember being very shy. I would never volunteer to speak in front of the class, how’s that for an up and coming business woman, lol. It wasn’t until after high school, when I enlisted in the military that I found “my thing”…some sort of empowerment. I was eager to “pay it forward” and help others, the fear of being shy was no longer there.

What’s your educational background

Upon graduating high school, I joined the military and then began my undergraduate studies at Johnson C. Smith University. I served a total of 8 years in the U.S Army Reserves. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science, I accepted a job at a hospital as a Computer Application Specialist. Working in the healthcare field became intriguing, so within a year I found myself going back to school.

I studied Healthcare Information Technology at the University of NC at Charlotte, and within a few years I graduated with a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration from Strayer University.

What attracted you to this field

I have always enjoyed doing things that put a smile on peoples’ faces, as well as in their heart. Just because we associate ourselves with people, we don’t always know what they need. I am motivated when it comes down to helping, serving and making a difference.

Tell us about your business and the services you offer

I started my cleaning business from a Passion of cleaning and a Purpose to serve. I know most people get into this type of business because it is an easy startup and doesn’t require much funding. Although this is true, I believe in doing what I enjoy most and that is putting to use my gifts and talents to serve others.

A Vibrant Cleaning Solution is a locally owned and operating business located outside of Cabarrus County. We provide professional cleaning services to commercial and residential clients. In addition to our cleaning services, we also work closely with other local organizations to assist and develop a relationship within the community.

How long have you been in business

I have been in business for a year and a half.

What’s your overhead like

Since starting my business I’ve had little overhead. Basically in the beginning, I made sure to only purchase items that were necessary such as supplies, business insurance, and marketing material. Some of the ways I’ve managed to cut down on cost is by running my business remotely and purchasing cleaning supplies and agents in bulk.

How did you fund your business when you started out

When I first started the business, I used a lot of my own personal funds. Once business picked up and we established more clients, I was able to profit and use the revenue that came in, to continue funding the business.

How many customers did you have when you first started out vs now

Starting out was a little tough. I had a few customers here and there, but I remained faithful, kept marketing, and continued in my purpose to serve. I am pleased to say, that over time the business has attracted many great clients, whom we greatly enjoy providing service to.

What are 2 key things that make your business unique

The two key differences that separate A Vibrant Cleaning Solution from other cleaning service businesses are:

1. We are an eco-friendly “green” cleaning company. With that being said, we take into consideration using products that are hypoallergenic, user-friendly, and safe for our clients, as well as their families.

2. In addition, we pride ourselves as a business that helps out and does work in the community as a whole.

As a business owner I look at the bigger picture: “You cannot provide a service to the people without serving the community, the people make up the community.”

What is the one thing you think your industry lacks, that you wish to change

The one thing I think the cleaning industry lacks is consistency. I think the majority of startup cleaning companies are excited about landing deals, that they forget to be consistent. The problem comes in after a few contracts and things aren’t as precise as in the beginning.

Before you know it, you are getting more complaints than contracts. I would rather do a great job and guarantee my work, instead of letting valued clients walk away.

What drove you to choose Entrepreneurship

I chose to become an entrepreneur for a few reasons. First it allows me the opportunity to do what I love as often as I want to. Secondly, this approach allows me to dig into my own creativity and uniquely bring about a solution.

How many employees do you have and how do you manage them

As of today, I have a handful of trusted employees that I can rely on. The key to managing and retaining good employees is communication and delegation, effectively as well efficiently. I keep my team in the loop, they are familiar with the company standards, their responsibility and what is to be expected.

I respect my employees as individuals, in addition to the job they perform. Therefore, I don’t mind rewarding them with a “Thank You” note or a card. I believe rewards and recognition for a job well done, goes a long way. I want my team to know that I truly care and do not take their hard work for granted.

How do you manage being a mom and running a business

I started my business when my son turned three months’ and I must admit it was a tough task. I am a mother first, but I proudly continue to run my business with purpose. The one thing that keeps me going is my inner strength from the Lord, knowing my purpose, and that one day i’ll be able to look my son in the eyes and say, “Through it all, Mommy did it.” As my son gets older, he will also be helping and doing his part to serve in the business.

What do you love most about what you’re doing

  • I love knowing that someway, somehow I am helping to make a difference.
  • I love that I can be myself and give to people from a genuine heart.
  • I love that A Vibrant Cleaning Solution offers professional cleaning services while connecting with the community.

What do you do in your spare time

When I have spare time I read, spend quality time with my family, work out, volunteer, or just meditate and focus.

What is your best advice for other Entrepreneur’s

The best advice I can give to a new entrepreneur is to never quit. Stay true to your passion and purpose, whatever you are destined to do in this life; will eventually happen. Take baby steps into success and have fun, dig deep within and keep going.


Where do you see your business in the next 5 years

Within the next five years, I see the business planting seeds of greatness in the community. I see expansion and potentially opening up new locations. I see A Vibrant Cleaning Solution excelling beyond what I imagined when I initially established and opened the business.

I would also like to add that in the near future, we’ll be offering a wide variety of value-added services to enhance our current offerings.

What is your favorite quote and Why

While I was serving in the military, my supply sergeant once told me

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”~ Kevin Durant

I like this quote because it takes more than talent to produce results, more often than not, it takes hard work and dedication.

Adore What You Wear

An Interview with Sierra Taylor, Founder and CEO of Adore Lee Taylor

Instagram: @AdoreLeeTaylor
Website: AdoreLeeTaylor
Email: adoreleetaylor@gmail.com

Sierra is one of the most humble and professional Young Entrepreneurs you will ever come in contact with. Her level of professionalism and confidence at such a young age is what will carry her to greater heights.

Check out my interview with her to learn more about her and her brand.
Tell us about you

Well, I’m 17 years old and a senior in high school. I’m from North Carolina, but i’m a military child so I’ve been to a few different states and schools. I’ve always had good grades, so it’s always been natural for me to get A’s and B’s. I was the child that had higher expectations.

Currently I live with my mom and my brother lives with my dad in Florida. I have a cat and a blue Pitbull that I love to death. My family is small but we love each other. We’re all we have.

What age were you when you first started your business and how did you get into it

I was 17 when I started my business and I still am. I’ve only been in business for a few months now but I’m doing well. It all started one day when I was sitting on the couch and thought “I need another job, these hours aren’t cutting it. But I can’t work for someone, I have to be my own boss.”

I’ve always had an interest in selling clothes and giving stuff out. I started this event called ‘Giveaway Wednesday’ and every Wednesday I would give away a few items. I loved doing this and this love turned into Adore Lee Taylor.

What services do you offer

As of now, I offer women’s tee shirts, two piece sets and phone cases.

What are your duties as a Founder and CEO

I do everything, literally! I designed my business cards, my website, and my stickers. I complete all orders and send out most orders. However, my mom helps me out as well. I also place the orders for inventory and communicate with wholesalers and customers. I don’t mind all of the work though, I rather do it myself so I know it’s done the way I want.


Do you have any employees or helpers

I don’t have any employees but I will say my mom is a helper.

How do you manage school and running a business

Well thankfully this semester of school I only have two classes and an internship. This gives me so much more time to do what I need for my brand. Normally I try to spend about 3 hours a day on my brand and an hour on homework. The best blessing to come from this is being able to sleep more!


When and Where do you sell your product

I sell my products on my website, Adore Lee Taylor, and in person. I love my website because it is convenient for me and customers. It allows the customers to buy at anytime. I love in person sales too because I get to hand deliver the package and make the packaging a bit more cute. The downside to that is finding a time me and my customer can meet.

What makes your business stand out

My business is focused around self love and confidence. The back of my business cards say ‘Adore What You Wear’. I created that quote and always use it because I believe whenever you put something on you should love it. You should adore it. Society has given us so many unrealistic expectations of what beauty is suppose to look like, that we don’t see our own beauty. I want to give back confidence.

What places have you traveled

I’ve been as far as Las Vegas, Nevada for a cheerleading competition around 6 years ago. I was too young to really enjoy Vegas, but the experience was still nice. I’ve also been to New Jersey, Indiana, Virginia and Kentucky. All because of family or military purposes.


How do you come up with ideas for your business

I normally brain storm a whole bunch of ideas in my ‘Goals Notebook’ and decide which one is best. I also get ideas from my close friend Dominique, he has been a big part of my brand too. My mom gives me great ideas as well. I normally use most of the ideas she gives me.

What other interests or hobbies do you have

I love to read. I’ve stayed up until 3 am because I just had to read “one more chapter”. I loved cheerleading when I was a cheerleader. I also love Youtube and watching videos. I always watch different Youtubers like Jayla Koriyan, Amber Martin, Leah Gordone, and many more.

What advice do you have for other Young Entrepreneurs

No matter what don’t give up. I know at times it gets hard and you get that urge to give up but don’t, it will all be worth it one day. Also, do not be surprised if your “friends” don’t support you, you have to do this for you and make this happen for you. Take that leap of faith, and if it’s in God’s plan it will happen.

What advice do you have for the parents of Young Entrepreneurs

I would say just to support your child no matter what! I know when I got started my mom helped me out a great amount. From mental support to financial support she has helped build Adore Lee Taylor.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from your parents

The most important lesson i’ve learned from my parents is education is very important. I’m so blessed to have parents who instilled this in me at such a young age, because now i’m a great reader and i’m always ready to learn something new.

What other business ideas do you have in store for us

Well I don’t want to say to much, but just know whatever I put out, it’s something I believe in. I want to be able to provide a range of items from cosmetics to hair. I want to be an all around company that has plenty to offer.


Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years

In five years I see myself in my own home, new car, and traveling the world. I’d love to be making plans to have an actual store front as well, that’s my main goal. I hope to be able to give back too.

I’d love to build a few shelters in Charlotte. Lastly, I want to adopt a teenager in foster care and give them a loving home, well maybe I’ll do that one in eight years.

What’s your favorite quote and why?

My favorite quote is

Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” ~ Jim Rohn

This is my favorite quote because I believe it’s never too early or too late to chase your dreams.

Having a brand is something I never thought I would have, but it has taught me so much and made me step out of my comfort zone. I love what I do and i’m glad i’m building my empire now. What’s the point in waiting?

sierra_adore_stand

7 Things i’ve learned about Entrepreneurs from interviewing them

As most of you know, within the next couple of weeks i’ll be launching Entrepreneur Stories on my Website. I am humbled and excited for you to join this journey with me, as I learn and grow from others. These amazing Entrepreneurs have allowed me into their worlds and have great stories to tell.

While working back and forth with each Entrepreneur, I noticed that most Entrepreneurs seem to believe in several basic principles.

    1. What we learn in childhood is an essential part of why we succeed. Even if a child does the complete opposite of what you are telling them. They really are listening and it’s best to keep talking.

 

    1. We never forget our childhood memories. Which includes but is not limited to: our parents and guardians, our friends and their parents. Most importantly, the neighborhood we grew up in.

 

    1. We’ve all had a childhood challenge that caused us to struggle with our self confidence. We all realize that, that doesn’t change with age. Simply because if you are moving forward and serving your purpose, you will be challenged.

 

    1. We all have “problems” we’d like to solve. A large part of Entrepreneurship is finding a problem, having a solution, and putting it into effect.

 

    1. There are many different things that can drive someone to become an Entrepreneur. They include but are not limited to; dissatisfaction with a product or service, being under employed or unemployed, a low paying job, a desire to create your own hours, or you may simply want a change.

 

    1. Everyone faces business challenges. Just because you’ve launched a business that doesn’t mean life is perfect. Though most people around you will assume that, because they are seeing you pushing through.

 

  1. Once you start you can’t stop. Every Entrepreneur has a plan to expand on their business. They’ve solved one problem and seek to solve other problems in the process.

One of the most disheartening things I found Entrepreneurs had in common was an understanding that nowadays people rarely support their own friends and family. Most Entrepreneurs listed it as something you shouldn’t expect. Entrepreneurs noticed how some friends and family were quick to support other businesses but not theirs.

From a consumer side I can play devil’s advocate and say not every idea is interesting. However, from a human side I believe most people can tell the difference between when someone doesn’t like an idea or they don’t want to support because they are not moving forward.

This isn’t just in business this is in life! Right now we are living in a world where people think if you are happy and focused you are phony. If you are miserable and unfocused, you’re keeping it real. They say misery loves company. I say so does happy. Entrepreneurs are always grateful for the support they do receive.


Here’s a little inspiration from a 17 year old Entrepreneur

promote yourself

Brownies, Brunch and a Website

I had the most amazing day as an Entrepreneur and Business Owner. I spent the day with my new client Carlette Stover of Carlette’s Divine Delights LLC.

Due to my daughter getting sick I had to reschedule our first one on one session. However, that didn’t stop me from setting up tutorials and sending them to her. With a coughing, sneezing, sniffly baby in tow I managed to pull off some amazing tutorials, to which Carlette followed to the letter!

So by the time we met up for our one on one session, Carlette managed to do quite a few things on her own. Carlette and I met a little less than two weeks ago at a Business conference for military spouses. I kept hearing her say how she needed a website and how she wasn’t comfortable with certain technologies so I offered up my services. The rest as they say, was history!

Carlette went from being completely uncomfortable with Web Development to being a key player in designing her own website. We also had to do a little HTML coding, to which she was very proud of herself!

In the process we enjoyed brunch and brownies! We’re just about done with her website. Some minor tweaks need to be made but that’s it!

This Homeschooling Mama, Military Wife, Business Woman, and Dessert Queen has some amazing days ahead of her. I’m very proud to be a part of it!