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This month’s Small Business Saturday post is a unique one. Typically I highlight a solo entrepreneur to find out their process, why they are in business and what makes them tick. But last month I read an article in Huff Post about a partnership of four young women who had started a business in a predominately male-driven industry and I was intrigued. Posh Entertainment is a start-up event management and promotions company in Chicago that was started to fill the void in the lack of diversity in Chicago’s social scene. Diamond Ingram, Paris Tyler, Kisha Keeney and Lesley Martin are four socialites who noticed the nightlife and party scene in the city of wind was segmented and needed a breath of fresh air. They not only promote their own parties, they also plan and host events for clients. Here, I find out more about their business, where they fit into it and the challenges and triumphs in working in a partnership.
BrightGirl: How long have you been in business? How long have you had the entrepreneurial bug?
Paris, Director of Operations: We’ve been in business as of January 2012. But I have had the entrepreneurial bug for some time.
Diamond, Director of New Business Development: I have always had the entrepreneurial bug beginning with my parents who both own their own businesses.
Kisha, Director of Event Coordination: I honestly didn’t have the entrepreneur bug prior to this. It was just about doing what I love.
Lesley, Director of Client Services: My dream of being an entrepreneur stems from my early years. I’ve always admired Oprah Winfrey and how she owned her own production company. I knew then I wanted to own my own business.
BrightGirl: Most of you have had the entrepreneurial bug for a while. So why Posh? Why this business?
Lesley: All four of us have always had a passion of bring people together. We have seen so many times people are not open to supporting one another and building a great foundation of positive interaction in our city leaving people in strong cliquish behavior. We really wanted to launch Posh because it was what Chicago was missing. We all believe Chicago is filled with a ton of amazing, talented people and is an amazing city with so much our demographic has not discovered yet. We strongly believe there is strength in numbers. We wanted to bring the wonderful city of Chicago and the lovely people in it together to just enjoy the moments created. Bringing good people together and creating a space for people to be able to come and have fun, feel comfortable to embrace their individuality, embrace different activities and meet like people is what Posh was created to do. If people walk away from our events feeling like they had a blast, met new people, discovered a new venue, and were given an experience then our work is done!
BrightGirl: Event planning and execution looks glamorous and seems fun but it’s a lot of hard work! Did you have experience in planning events previously or is this a first shot?
Paris: A part of my career has been planning and executing events on behalf of my clients which have included Wells Fargo, McDonald’s, Got Milk? campaign and Unilever.
Kisha: I actually planned large scale events for a radio group I worked for in another market. I realized I loved what I was doing and started coordinating and planning weddings in my free time.
BrightGirl: How has the first year of business been? What have been some of the challenges you have faced and how have you overcome them as a team?
Diamond: We have been blessed to have a lot of success in our first year and we want to keep the momentum. I think the challenges we go through are just like any other start up and that is building your team, hoping to cater to your target market, and continuing to be on a growth strategy.
Lesley: Starting your own business takes a lot of time and while still working full time it was hard sometimes to schedule meetings or events and still balance it all. One of the things I did to overcome those challenges was lean on my other partners. It is a blessing to be in this with three of my closet friends! When I drop the ball they can come right in and pick it up!
Kisha: It’s all been a learning experience, challenges are inevitable. However, I’m a firm believer that it’s really about how you overcome those challenges. We do a good job of recapping every event we do in an effort to learn and grow. Communication has been key in managing our ups and downs, and maintaining a high level to ensure our long-term success as a team.
BrightGirl: What is unique about your business? What sets you apart from your competitors?
Paris: This market [Chicago] is very saturated. Everyone wants to host or plan events. However, some people are just seeing it as a way to make a quick dollar. We want to ensure that people see us not as another promotions company but as an event planning company that truly wants our consumers and audience to experience the “posh life.” We make sure that we stay tuned into new restaurants, lounges, fashion designers in the city that we want to introduce our crowd to.
Lesley: What makes Posh so unique is that we not only have Style but substance as well. I think the biggest thing that separates us from our competition is our intentions and care for each individual that attends our events! We really let God lead our direction and feel God is just as much a business partner as the four of us. There is not a decision, meeting, or event without prayer first. We also think one thing that makes us stand separate from the rest of our competition because we are personable and take the time to really hear from our following, get to know them personally, and listen to what they would like to see. We care and are interested in if they are really getting a take away from our services.
BrightGirl: What are some of the challenges and advantages of working in a partnership?
Diamond: We are all good friends and we are growing and learning about one another each day. I think it’s a blessing that we all have similar interest but are able to bring a different value and perspective to the company. I am blessed to work with such a great group of girls who I can also call girlfriends.
Kisha: We are friends too, which has actually worked as an advantage for us, I don’t think everyone could do this though. Our challenges are just getting to know each other in a work capacity, strengths, weaknesses, and skills. We are learning everything as we go that’s a challenge in itself!
Paris: The one key challenge is coordinating our schedules to meet. We all have our own careers along with other extracurricular activities that we are involved in so taking time out for meetings sometimes comes down to conference calls. The advantage is the bond that we are developing as we grow this business. These three women are more than my friends, they are becoming my sisters. We disagree at times, but we all have the same vision of where we see our company becoming and that ultimately helps us win.
BrightGirl: What do you love about owning a business? Why is it the right decision for you?
Diamond: I love having the flexibility to set my own schedule and experience a new challenge every day. I am not the one to sit behind a desk all day! LOL
Paris: It allows me the freedom to pursue the things I want to do, to work with the clients I desire to work with and ultimately I am making a way and name for myself.
Kisha: I’m still not used to the fact that we own a business. We love what we do, and that makes it right!
Lesley: I knew this business with these other three amazing women was the right place for me because of how organic everything fell into place.
BrightGirl: What advice do you have for people who are toying around with the idea of starting a business but may be afraid to step out?
Lesley: You just got to go for it but have a plan! Make sure you know exactly who you are and what your business is capable of or someone else will tell you! And also make sure you know your vision and align yourself with people that know and support your vision because if you don’t you will end up in the messy wilderness! Lastly, remember the vision and intentions for your company will always pull you forward and in the right direction for your company!
Diamond: Take a leap of faith, follow your passion and the money will come.
Paris: Go for it. Don’t be afraid of failure. It’s best to say you’ve tried and you can typically find what your calling is or it will confirm your calling by not only the success but by the passion seen behind that you do.
Kisha: Plan ahead, and step out on faith, plain and simple.
January 29, 2013 from 12pm to 1pm at online webinar
Organized By: Terry Jackson
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