Despair, solitude, and unpredictable are just a few terms that come to mind that describes the ongoing outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and it’s impact on society. People have lost loved ones, jobs, and some have lost faith. Entrepreneurs take a huge leap of faith when they decide to pursue their dreams full-time. What happens when faith is gone? Saint Louis’s female entrepreneurs provide affirmation, resources, and a glimpse of hope for small business owners and entrepreneurs to rebuild, reconnect and regain hope during these uncertain times. Last April St. Louis female entrepreneurs were the leading group of start-up businesses in the country.
According to Forbes, “ Last year Seek Capital conducted a study that analyzed the largest metro areas in the U.S. in terms of the percentage of startups owned by women- with 37.2% of startups female-owned in St Louis.”
While local businesses have closed, revenue has decreased, female small business owners in St. Louis are not giving up, and they believe that now is the time to rebrand and become creative.
CEO of Patrice J Johnson Bridal tells entrepreneurs to
“Keep up the work, be present on social media, revamp your website, and try something new”.
Patrice J Bridal is a formal wear boutique shop located in the heart of St. Louis city. This boutique opened in November 2019, but CEO Patrice Johnson has been an independent seamstress for 14 years. The spring season is fashion designers, seamstress, and formal wear shops peak season due to prom, spring gala…however, this virus has restricted many social gatherings.
The Saint Louis Post Dispatch announced that retail stores in the St. Louis’s region are cutting hours or closing due to the coronavirus.
“I had a lot of cancelations, and for the first time in my life a lot of refunds on orders because of prom cancelation. At this point, I do feel like there are enough ways to generate income and generate my brand. For instance, I can sew so I have been making face masks and selling them. I am trying to think of different ways to support my brand,” said Johnson.
Female entrepreneurs in Saint Louis are using their creativity and developing accountability partners to aid female entrepreneurs. Mena Darre, CEO of Mena Darre Photography wants African American female entrepreneurs to remember their reason for creating their business before they decide to give up. She also urges women to support each other during these difficult times.
“Our services and products are necessary because they show other women of color that it can be done. St. Louis has been “bad-mouthed” for such a long time, and some people think we don’t have talent compared to other big cities. We now have time to uplift women of color to show up for each other. Women will not be inspired if they don’t see others defeating obstacles. My journey has barked a flame for others to step into the light to follow their passion,” said Darre.
Great leadership requires taking on new challenges to lead the way for others to follow. Mena Darre Photography is a reputable videography and photography service located in downtown St. Louis. Her service also includes educational leadership for scholars in her program Creatives of Tomorrow and entrepreneurial empowerment apparel in her retail shop Boss Thingz. Like most careers, the creative lifestyle has its good and bad effects, but it should push you to create change and positivity in the world.
Owner of Elite Branding & Media, Jasmine Obsy says,
“When the pandemic first started I decided to put my entrepreneurs’ endeavors on the side. I used my spare time to explore my business and now new doors have opened. I have so much time to sit down, analyze, and brainstorm so that I create new and better products for my clients.
Elite Branding & Media LLC is a full-service public relationship activist that provides branding services for entrepreneurs, and creatives in the urban entertainment community. Saint Louis female entrepreneurs suggest that all women follow their entrepreneurial tips to fulfill their dreams and regain hope.
1. W- Write , journal, read, listen to different podcasts to keep you motivated.
2. O- Organize your finances, thoughts, ideas, and goals.
3. M- Motivate your mentality-seek therapeutic counseling to keep you thriving. Log off
Social Media for some time, it can be discouraging when your business is not thriving.
4. E- Exercise your mind, body, and spirit. Pray every day. Get your body moving to prepare to take on any challenges.
5. N- Network with like-minded individuals. Seek mentorship or become an accountability partner for someone.
Now is not the time to question your service or product purpose for this world. The world should see why your product/service…most importantly why you are significant!
By Andrea Scott