Ep 143: The Owner of DCs Nubian Hueman Boutique is Revolutionizing What it Means to Buy Black (w/Anika Hobbs)

Automatic TRANSCRIPT

So we wanna make sure that we have something that's unique. And reflects as culture words, ideas ingredients and patterns that really reflects us as people of color or black people is really important for us things that you will not find at urban outfitters or anthropology or h. Into side-hustle. Pro the podcast that teaches you to build and grow your side hustle from passion project to profitable business, and I'm your host Kayla. Matthews Akot may salons get started. Hey, guys. Welcome. Welcome back to the show to say indicates chair. We have a Nika hops, the founder of Nubian, human Nubian human is a social enterprise that specializes in sourcing, unique goods fashion and art by designers, representing the global task FRA it has become a catalyst for culture community and the development of the creative economy by connecting the consumer to independent artists from across the world and serving as a means to promote collective interaction, community development and global responsibility through a fresh and artistic brick and mortar platform Nubian humid has worked with over four hundred artists in thirty countries across six different continents to date, and it has also received recognition from our forever. President Barack Obama the Washington Post NPR and most recently Forbes, welcome to the guest chair nica. Thank. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I am so happy to have you here. Now, first things first gave us a peek in your own words into the life of a nica. What would you like everyone to know? And when were you bitten by the entrepeneurship bug? Oh, man. So I guess some things about me is that I had a crazy background my background is not actually in retail. So where I started was pretty much. I went to school for interior architecture graduated from Syracuse university a while ago and. And when I got out of school. My mom was like, you know, these bills are coming in you need to be able to pay these loans. So I started working for H M as a sales associate, you know, which for me was already like I have this big degree from Syracuse. But I didn't have a portfolio. I didn't have a resume. I didn't have the connections. So I started working with age really really when they were really really young in the US when you say interior architecture. What was when you majored in that what what was it that you wanted to do? I wanted to become a non I still want to become an architect. But I wanted to become I was going to school for architecture. So it's technically environmental design. So we pretty much learn how to build in design the interior of spaces. Right. So you started working at H AM. And I know that had to like you said it was not what you expected to do after you graduate from visa recuse university. So how long did you work for H them? And how. How were you navigate your career as he worked for them where you're trying to get out or were you just rising within the company I worked for them for a let with eleven years, and they were so new to the USO. It was kind of like a different company than it is now so it was so much smaller that we really close to see owes corporate all of that is based in Sweden, and you know, when they used to open stores, they would bring over people from Germany, Sweden, Allport Europe, New York because the store that opened in Boston was like the ace store, and they have well over three hundred stores at this point. So one thing that I didn't really know about at the time was because my background wasn't in retail was visual merchandising, and because I had designed degree. I was really really interested in visual merchandising, so not long after being a sales associate. Did. I become a visual merchandiser. What exactly was what is visual merchandiser? So pretty much. We're the ones that make the store look. Pretty so all of that like, you know, how the clothing is laid out by color combinations. Styling mannequins all the floor layout of the fixtures and things like that. That's what we're responsible for. So that the high look vision of the company were supposed to implement in our individual stores, isn't it funny. How your background in architecture? You might not have wanted to be visual merchandiser. But I'm sure that also kind of came into play as you were doing that it did. And that was one of the things that allowed me to actually grow in the company. So I spent probably two and a half years as a visual merchandiser opening stores. So I would every two weeks I would be in another state. So I would be like in San Francisco than I'll be in. Chicago been Toronto opened their first store in China. And it was just like a lot of traveling in using my skills that I didn't think that I could use to apply to my new career. So that was really really awesome. That does sound awesome. One other thing about that, you know, because I don't wanna gloss over this. And I think it's so important to your broader story is that this visual merchandising, it is so important like they're literally h names that are my favorite chimps because I know go in there, and there's something about the experience. But what it is the store has been merchandise that I want to shop. But if it's too crowded or cluttered, or I can't immediately. See a look presented to me. Then it's like, okay. I'm just I'm overwhelmed. I'm leaving. So it's so to getting people to shop to have a good visual merchandiser. Yeah. A lot of people don't know that especially coming into a brick and mortar retail space. So like one of the people that we studied in college was Papua Underhill. He wrote a few books on basically the psychology of people in space. So how color the sound smells, even like the thickness of your carpet. Like what that does for people coming in and out of your space. Does it turn? In their feet to the left in does that make them feel uncomfortable? I've just always been fascinated by that process people in space. So luckily that fifty thousand dollars a year did pay off. Agreer? Yes now when did the seeds for Nubian human start taking Rupe? You know? It's really interesting because when I graduated and I started working agent in. There was myself and one of my best friends were still really really close now and a sore of mine sh we we would come together we were just all like we want to start businesses. So it was probably really early out of college that was like working at agent, and I'm like coming into the stores, and I'm like, you know, we're always dealing with, you know, pencil skirts in blouses and pants, but in my travels, I would find like amazing amazing, jewelry and fashion by all of these independent artists. And my thing was, you know, when I try to find them again, I wouldn't be able to in this before you know, when everybody had their own website. So it was kind of like, how do I find everyone? And I was like I'm gonna make my own store all these beautiful things that I really. I really love that everybody keeps asking about. So really early on. I would say I started to get that bug. Like, we would start to read business books together like black enterprise business book that was like the first one we read, and we just kind of kept telling each other accountable to our dreams. That's so awesome to have that. So it was kind of like a little mastermind guys. We're keeping each other countable now when that seed start to take root what plan did you start to put into action? What pieces did you know you wanted to have together before you started this? I think for me was was I was, you know, heavy on the creative design side because I was right at a school. That was you know, because I was basically dealing with artists visual merchandisers. But as a business person, I didn't really have an understanding of that process. So even as I grew with agent know, once I became, you know, like store manager like visual manager of a store in the district. I just really focus. On learning the business side, you know, like how many units per transactions? Should we have was the average dollar sales? How do we measure success in? How do we create business goals in? So I would take classes I did like score which they didn't really understand, you know, it's kind of like old white men who didn't. Can you break down? What score stands for again. I know we've a few guests I've mentioned, but I always like to remind. I actually I'm not sure what score what the acronym of score. Is here. Look it up while you speak you guys. So, you know, real time real time action right now share what it provides each city. Yes. A wet there. There is a location city. So basically, they're more. So like retired business people who who dedicate their time to those at wanna get into business. So they help with like your business plan your marketing plan if you don't understand counting. How to understand a profit and loss statement balance sheet? So basically, they kind of help you build your business. They give you resources and things like that. Okay. I don't think stands for anything you guys. But yes. Courthouse. Small businesses and provides all these resources and right now, you know, actually, no friends who volunteer for score work with score. So it's not just old people anymore. I mean in the early. So that's good. What kind you took some classes with score? Yeah. And I would just, you know, basically, it was it was a huge conflict of interest was taking these classes in getting this advice at night because I was in retail. It was it was a conflict of interest. But you know, you gotta do what you gotta do. But yet, and I mean anything throughout the business. I would just Bank that information. So with agent immuno were sitting in our meetings in you know, we go over with a country level teams. We would go over information. I was just pretty much learning like process, you know, like you learn what how they work through their season. How do they work with old stock? How do they come up with new brands would do they need to activate a campaign? Like, I said because of the time it was so small you were able to see so much in learned a lot from the entire team there from store level to corporate level because we were so close and also with the company also relocated. So I knew that I wanted to be where newbie human is focused on people of colors. I wanted to be. I was located in Boston. That's where I'm from. And I wanted to be further down south, my family is from Alabama. So they're further down south end. I wanted. To be in a community that looked like me. I wanted basically, you know athlete that the store the mission in everything is sit surrounded south with people of color. Yeah. So they were to relocate me to Atlanta or DC, and I chose DC. So that's how I ended up there for H relocated. You in a as you were you mentioned that you open the Boston store as you were doing that where you'll see also making note of what it takes the real estate side of brick and mortar what it takes to choose a location. Make sure it's a prime location in all of that. Yeah. That was a huge part of the process. I was looking at retail spaces in Boston in that time knew at that point that I wanted to be further down south because in Boston there really wasn't the space that I was looking for within the communities that I wanted to be in though. I just figured like down south would have a larger basically impact of what you know, what why was trying to do. So now about how long did it take you from the time you relocated to DC to actually physically open newbie human? So I came to DC in two thousand at the end two thousand nine in. I opened Nubian human stop working for in two thousand twelve I took a year off in the opened in two thousand thirteen so it took about four years, but it was a great opportunity to learn the retail market here. So it's it's different in every state. You know, so I was able to really learn through eight and a half dollars. You know, how staff works in the DC area the DMV area, which I didn't know before. So DC Virginia Maryland stores with stores that I had once I moved down here is the district manager and just learning. They're hiring process in how people work. I was used to Boston. I was used to New York, which is quick fast. You know, like get it done. But it's further south. So it's a little bit different. So I got to learn that while I was you know, since I've been here. So I took that. And then I elected twenty twelve I would you do you mentioned you take a year old? So how did you prepare for your leave? Did you have a lot in savings at that time and then to support yourself while you the store wasn't bringing income. It didn't even was fully developed yet. And then you still working for for each nominee more. Right. So pretty much. My dad was really really good acceding. So he taught me how to to save money like basically live below your means. So because I was traveling so much I would get paid per diem. You know, so they would feed me pretty much for lunch breakfast dinner, and then any type of transportation needs. And you know, I mean, I don't eat like a hundred dollars a day while traveling. So I would save it. So. Oh for pretty much. I would say for about eight years out of the eleven years that I was there. I was saving and because I became a district manager. I was a district manager for about four five years. We had a company car we had a company cell phone. So there was just things that I could just I wasn't driving my personal car. I could have the most basic cell phone plan because I had company foam though, I was able to just save a lot. So when I left I had about forty thousand dollars in cash savings how and when did you know, it was time to pull that trigger and leave? My goodness. I'm you know, it was it was it was a really pivotal point for me. So my dad lived in New Mexico at the time, and he was really really sick. So I had to move him to Maryland. Which is where I live in. That was a huge process for me because I was out of work for about a month in a half getting him set up and getting him back. Well, and when I. Returned had a new had a new boss, and he was pretty much like I need you to give one hundred twenty five percent. And after coming off with a, you know time that I had with my dad, and then we also had the biggest district at the time. So we had the most doors. It was close to thirty stores that we were managing. It was kind of like, I just don't have it. And I told him the best I can give you a hundred percent, but anything past that I can't do. And I just knew that. This was a new manager who came in with fire, and I just didn't have it. And I kinda felt that way before you know, I've been a district manager for a while in the next position that they wanted me in was in New York, and I couldn't move to New York because I had just moved my dad, so which would have been the perfect job because it was basically laying out the it was doing the interior architecture. You know, the drawings and stuff for new stores, which is like what I went to school for. But I wasn't able to take that job in kind of felt like I was at a dead. End in my energy was tired salves. Like next day. I came in and I gave him my letter you while and when you say your energy was tired, but you still had this fire for your business idea. Oh, yeah. I mean that was new, you know, and I always felt like I had fire for the mice staff in my team. They worked really hard for me at HMO, you know, some of them I actually hired for new being human. But look at that. But. You know, I just I did have a fire for that. I knew that. There was a market. I knew that there was an opportunity for. So I didn't see it around me at the time. It wasn't as popular as it is now. So that's labs like need to get on this. And you know, I would talk with my controller who basically is the accountant for your district. So we would work hand in hand. So I'd be like can I go now in so he would basically break down. The math remains like I think it's a good time in. I'm like, I'm out a right foot. Speaking of breaking down the math in a good time. Now, what was always interesting to me is okay. It's one thing to save. But was there stress when she left and you're saving starts to dwindle. You know? What did you do? How did you feel as you're starting this new business concept and its depleting the savings? Yeah. Good question. I so for little bit outside. I think maybe three or four months out of the year. I actually started working for restoration hardware. Okay. Because I got so nervous seeing. The account go down that I was like, oh, man. I need to do something because I'm still paying rent. I still have to eat. I still have car insurance. So I started working for them for like four months, which was really really great because I got to learn about hard goods. I got to learn about basically luxury because I was so used to fast fashion, and they have a really great culture, really really great culture that it's really really inspiring. So I learned a laughing in that short amount of time. But yet I had to work. I was like I need to to work quick. So I mean, the forty thousand obviously wasn't all gone, but I needed still start up money. And, you know, one of the one thing I love about this fact that you worked for retail and initially as someone who graduates from, you know, private university or just college in general, it's almost it's looked down upon but these are businesses that were founded by people like this. This is another place where you can be on the ground learning. There is no job. That is beneath anyone like there's something to learn from that. And now look at you starting would could be the next H M restoration hardware. You know what I mean? And so kudos to you girl. Now, let's talk about the early days. So you quit your working your you keeping up the cash flow. What were you doing to start new being human where you sourcing? You know, researching locations where you starting to source artists at that point. Yes, all of that. So I was pretty much like scouring everything I could I was going to you know, a bunch of events learning about artists I was going to university. So, you know, spend time at Howard University that time it area from beads Bharti. She was our first I ever and. Yeah, I was pretty much working on getting the name out there and a built had a website built which was like probably not this martis thing to do. 'cause I spent close. Lsa like a thousand dollars on a logo and a website and the website couldn't even take like online orders. This makes. And then I learned shop by when you thirty dollars a month. I mean, you living learner. Yes. Exactly. So you were online first. So when did you decide to open a brick and mortar? So, you know, actually, I wanted a brick and mortar before online and everybody was like, no, you gotta have a website. So I was like, okay. But but yet so not long at probably about seven eight months after I became online is when opened the brick and mortar, but I spent a lot of time like hustling like I was pretty much. I was making my own jewelry, which was not good at all. Like, it's not good people still wear it. I'm like, I can't believe those airings still held together. They're not falling apart L Y. Gosh, I started with one was like a feather earing, and they were just kinda like hot glued together. And if it rain it was like goodbyes, he of Iran like it was bad. But you know, some of them were pretty good. But what was the original concept? This is a marketplace for goods and artists across Africa's, bro. Yeah. I mean, I would go to bam. Every summer in Brooklyn. Bam is. It's the Brooklyn arts museum. They have a dance festival is African dance festival every year. And I would go to like their marketplace. Every summer, I think it might be in July. Maybe and back then it was so huge and people were doing the contemporary looks on car like fifteen years ago, you know, twenty years ago. Nobody really knows that. But because it wasn't as huge here in the states over Instagram was like big. Yeah. Yeah. It was before all of that. So I would see brands like, Harry, it's our to ego. She was doing you know, pieces that were already like that. And I'm like man, like, how do I get this to the masses? That was my thing is like how to how do we get people to know though, you know, my thing was just like being out there. Talking to these artists getting their information, even in because social media became the internet. Help the world to kinda. Become small. It was like, you know, reach out to artists like Tina, LA Bondi. She's located in the UK in London. You know, she was one of the first designers that we had in the store, and it was just like can I buy your stuff and she's like okay in in? That was it. You know, there was no real process to it at the time. And how does it work as far as the process of actually fulfilling the goods to the customer? Are you the middle person? Or is it strictly you're connecting them to artists in it? Then it's happening and they're responsible for fulfillment. Yeah. I mean before before I had a buyer on my team. It was pretty much me reaching out to artists speaking directly to them, and then them sending a line sheet or pictures of whatever they had and then I'm just straight buying from them. But you know, as we've gotten bigger now that I have a buyer. You know, we talk about we negoti were able to negotiate pricing about working on shipping international shipping, which is huge for us. So it's a little bit of a diff-. Process. Now, we actually have a purchasing agreement that might turn is created. So this is a real process, and as you were starting out the online process and people started buying things like that. Were you ever intimidated by the whole brick and mortar aspect of it because that takes a chunk out of the revenue? Yeah. I mean, it was huge. You didn't. He really can't don't realize how quickly money goes when to start buying inventory. But opening a store was not scary part because I had spent all those years with agent him opening stores. Also, I knew that process. The scary part was like, okay. So how do we stay open? You know, how do we stay relevant? Oh, I literally would be out in the streets out be at the store all day in if there were events at Howard University. If it's homecoming, I was that girl that was at the lead out passing out fliers. I don't care if it was cold any party that new was happening any event, I was there passing out flyers or I was bending, and I was bending like anywhere that I could just so people knew the name that was like the biggest thing for me anywhere in the DMV. I needed people to know the name of Nubian human, especially before I even opened it was kind of like a big ramp up. Like, we're opening a store opening a store. So when we did over. The doors. We had a really great turnout. Tell us about this face because this is this is not your average space. This ain't no h nem. This is no restoration hardware. So walk the listeners through like give them a visual and just the aroma and the aura of when they step through the doors of Nubian human. Yes. A we tried to basically make space of black excellence. So from the smell you smell soaps from buying soaps, which you know, I said on radio it, smells like happen. So you fighting mango grapefruit black so you can smell the shape butters, you can smell everything. And you know, we make sure that we have music that we can all connect to you know. So it's awesome to see people singing afro beads, or, you know, singing, do it's you know, we really make sure that we connect people on the the sonic part of it too. And then just visually. It's we really liked to have order. We like to have things where they're supposed to. Be a lot of our stores by color combinations departments. And we'd like for people on average people spend about twenty five minutes in the store because we want you to stay pick up. Turn it around smell it. Read the label ask questions, let's talk about with that print came from. Let's talk about the ingredients in this product in how it can help you. So for us customer services, huge we know that as people of color, we kinda have this, you know, label of not providing good customer service. So we want you to feel like you're at home. You have a conversation with the sister brother, and we're here to support you in connect you, and you know, basically make you feel good about where you're voting your dollar to be. So that's our big. Did you utilize any funding resources to open up the space? I didn't actually so that all of that was basically from my father did lend me a few thousand dollars, which I had to pay back. See that is the difference between us and some other entrepreneurship show. Right. We got we got to give that back. But then just pretty much use my savings than anything that the store brought in put right back into the company. So I didn't start paying myself until like probably a year or so ago we've been in business for five years. So yeah. But I am at this point looking into other options because we're opening a storm Baltimore. What would you say are your biggest categories, and how do you manage the inventory? Now, you have a buyer you mentioned that, but how do you make it? So that your customers know what to expect? So we do a lot of study in research. So we look at our numbers a lot. You know, we try to understand the customer journey as much as possible. We try to understand what they like when they buy it. So you know for us. It was like I would buy all this clothing in the holiday season thinking that people wanna buy clothing, but during that time people are looking for gifts. So then, you know, we kind of altered shifted how we do our buying during the seasons our peak season for a lot of people when it comes to apparel. You know is the holidays, but for us it's the summer because when people think about African fabric on crowd. I think summer they think spring or summer so for us, we have increased apparel. Purchasing in the summer. So a lot of it is just really thinking about how does our customer by. And then online we realized you know, like clothing a little bit harder for us to sell a line. So we really focused on having more of the beauty products and a gifts online. So any of the homeware candles things. Like that we ended up turning a lot better on online stores, and when did you incorporate the events. Honestly, we opened in September. October was our first it was our first trunk show. You know, just as you as soon as you get in you realize if nobody's coming in the new kind of have dead space. Right. No. You can't just look at your physical space is just for this one thing it has to be a multi stream space. So I was like, okay. We'll let start having shrunk shows. And then let's start having private events and then book readings and things like that. So what could we continuously do to get people in the store? So literally the for the month after I opened our first trunk shown. I think that is so smart because foot traffic is something that Oprah can mortars a struggle with right now. And if you're not giving a compelling reason for people to come into your store. It's like they won't know that any of those things are there. Now once they're there. They'll happily buy stuff because they're like, oh, I didn't know this was here. But how do you get them there? Especially with the challenge of you know, were already east of the river, which is, you know, not the heart of DC in across the river. But we're still in DC, and they were inside of a building east of the river. So they are couple barriers to entry that were completely aware of. So that's why events became really huge for us to when you were thinking of when you're looking for a location. What made you settle in that location and the neighborhood itself was important to you to be in that specific neighborhood. You know, I was looking in different. So actually, I was looking in Maryland for a little while in that was looking in another part of DC for a very long time in there was nowhere that kinda was like, okay. This is where I feel really really good at that. I didn't have to do a lot of work in. And so my mentor was like will want to try the anacostia art centers. I said, okay. I'll try there which is totally interesting thing because about a year and a half before I had actually signed. My least there I had done a vending event inside that space had no idea that it will end up going to be. But they had totally renovated. It was turn key. And it was just really really great opportunity for someone who was just learning brick and mortar. So it was it was a perfect opportunity. So yet, so since then we've we've expanded we've doubled the size of our space through a grant that we received, but was definitely like a good opportunity. Okay. And was that grant the those something you apply for was it through another organization like score? No, it was actually through DC DC government. So we applied for the grant it's called the great DC grey streets grant, which is four brick and mortar stores and we received fifty thousand dollars to make some capital improvements. So that's awesome. Yeah. It helped allot it helps a lot the face any mental or physical roadblock through this whole process. You know, you sound. Very resilient and also very determined. Like, you were just one track mind tunnel vision. Let's get this open. But were there any roadblocks that made you ever just feel like quitting or like it wouldn't happen? Not so much on this side of the opening part. I think some of the mental roadblocks as far as like once I was opened was you know, like, how do I stay cool in? How do I manage all of this? How do I manage so much? So, you know, you're the sales associate your the store manager. You're the customer service person managing online. I think a lot of times like for me for a while. I didn't really realize like your online store is actually a store, and you also have your brick and mortar stores you have to stores, and I didn't look at it like that. So it was kind of like I was stretched in a lot of different places. And from me is just a lot of mental fatigue. You know, learning your accounting like math is so huge in retail that you know, it was like bookkeeping I was falling behind on taxes. I was falling behind on especially in DC when you have a brick and mortar there so many diffe-. Different taxes that come throughout the year Utah. You're like, oh my gosh. How to keep up? So I think for me it was a mental fatigue of like, just handling everything, you know. And I think also because I'm an only child, and I'm you know, there's a certain way of how I like things instead of hiring people. I would just do it all myself. That really burns me out it continues to sometimes but burn me out, really bad. Now would point. Did you change that trying to do everything yourself? I would say probably about a year end I hired a sales associate and she worked there part time which allowed me to not be at the desk all the time. And so I was able to have like, you know, breakouts. Lots of time that I didn't have you know, to to be interrupted uninterrupted time to work on the things like the books in the research and things like that that helped me a lot. I think also once I started having a buyer as well because that negotiation that talking process with independent artists is completely different than when you're buying from somebody who's really well established. So tell us a little bit more about what the buyer does for the business. And would you recommend it for other boutique owners? So what are buyer does? She pretty much research is what is out there. And she handles the congress the conversation person liaison between myself in that artist in so she also filters through because we get a lot of people wanting to be a newbie human in. We probably only take about thirty percent of those at actually applied was so she kinda filters through all of all of the applications and things like that. She also supports with working with artists on like what we need in. What will also help them to scale? So, you know, a lot of don't know what a line sheet is. So we have a conversation about what that looks like or even figuring out their cost of goods and wholesale pricing. We talk through that process as well. So she helps with that part of it. And then like I said we do a lot with our numbers. So we break down our numbers. How much does it cost for shipping per item? What is taxes on this? You know, any type of that anything like that? We have. Pay. She does that process for us. That's such an important point because we won't get into. I mean, I mean we could into the breaking down of. How do you price for wholesale? How do you figure out what your cost of goods sold is? And the thing that I love about what you're doing with new being human. You know, I've heard you say that it's kind of like, you were focused on building wealth through the creative economy, and one of the things that we need to know in order to build wealth is what it takes us to produce a product what is actually profit, you know, like every single thing we spend money on in the process, and then we need to know how to scale that. Right. So how do you look at Newby inhuman in the larger scheme of helping with building wealth through the creative economy? I think for me, it's it's figuring out where the holes are when it when it comes to certain things, I think you know in the beginning. It was like I just wanna have a store. And you know, now, it's become like I want to build out an incubator because I understand that there's a need a specific type of incubators there's a lot of incubators out there. But I wanna be very specific in intentional with what happens through that. And then after that, how do we support them in that scaling process with getting access to other batiks that may be interested in holding their product. So I think it's for me. It's about seeing the gaps building the pipelines in order for us to to keep it going beyond just the small moments of interactions between each other. I think that's what's important for me like building that long wealth is not just about having this one quick moment of me buying your goods in. But how to build a relationship that we grow and you eat do that with everyone. But at least if you will get a good amount than you've done, your part and on that same topic. A lot of people lose money. In the first few years of their business. What it what was your experience, especially as you started to hire? You know, that was always a really scary thing. You know, like if I spend the money can actually buy more inventory, but then maybe this person could actually bring in you know, it was a hard balance. But you know, for the first couple of years, we were very very lean. I was very very lean on how I built my business. And then I would. So the profitability was actually pretty decent which is not normal for a new business or new store, we actually did have minimal, but we have profit. And then I would say between years three and four we lost a bit because I started hiring more people. But then also when we went through the construction phase, which is something I didn't account for you know, the store had closed with still was dusty or we didn't have as much inventories with that kinda hurt us a bit. So with the you know, it's it's been up and down thing. But you know, as of now, we are profitable business, which is really important, otherwise I can't keep doing it. But. Congratulations. Thank you. But I think a lot of it is is just, you know, knowing your audience knowing what people like knowing how lonely like it for. I think also for us. It's like not being scared to have product that was made by us that has our brand on it. I don't wanna be a designer at do any of that. But if the cost is low, and you create it do it like, Jill, fill the gap is what's important ios. And speaking of products, what do you look for you mentioned a lot of people pitch, Nubian, humid. So what are you looking for? What is the criteria? How do you pass the tests? So we really obviously, you know, we try to make sure that, you know, the founder or at least fifty percent is black owned or minority owned, and then we also look for quality goods. So basically if you were to look at us allow people categorizes as luxury retailer because of our price point. So we wanna make sure that we have quality that matches our price point also something that unique in reflected in reflects us as. Culture. So things that we can relate to words in in ideas, and ingredients and patterns that really reflect us as people of color or black people is really important for us things that you will not find at urban outfitters or at the policy or agent them, and what's next for Nubian human. So we're opening like a so we're opening our second store in Baltimore, which is really exciting at the end of the summer. You're actually the first no so son appro exclusively. Zoa really excited about that. You know, we've got some great artists in Baltimore. So we're glad to would just excited to be able to bring artists up there in partner with artists. There were also working on a non-profit side of the work that we do the we already kinda do everybody keeps saying you do the work. You just need to be a nonprofit. So we're actually building out the nonprofit arm in order to really really hone in on supporting businesses of color were also working on a couple like apps and things like that to kind of help artists with getting bigger reach to a bigger audience. So I love that. Now one thing I want to touch on before we jump into the lightning round is personal sacrifice. So you have a physical location. You basically have to businesses as you said because of the online the physical location nine you're opening a nonprofit and a new location and. And I'm all for it. Because like I said, I want us to be, you know, the the next great big retail brand owned by a black woman. But when do you get to network? Yeah. We're still working on that. So you know, what the interesting is is like you have for me. It's like I have to realize the I'm still working. Sometimes, you know, I'll go places, and I'm like will let me go here because it inspires me. I just really wanna like or I'll pick up things at a new type of store like we just had our biggest event, which is the black love experience on like let me go to restaurant depot, which is so exciting for me. Just to see stuff in bulk. I don't know why. But you know, that was still business. Even though I'm so I do think it's really important that you do have that work life harmony. I dunno if a balance is necessarily possible, but some sort of harmony with it, I would say the most time that I really don't work during sleep. But I love what I do. I genuinely love what God has shown me to do here in. So, you know, very rarely does it actually feel like work. I get tired. I do get burnt out. But I still love it. You know, my purpose is greater than just like opening doors selling clothes. So it is something that I do need to work on you. Do you do sacrifice? You know, I told my girlfriend's like I need to be better a better front to you. So that something that I'm focusing on you know, my dad passed away. So my mom, you know, I'm like, I need to be a better daughter to my mom, you know, like honorable each out. So I really do focus on try to be a better person to those than I am close to because that's important. They they're, you know, they're my rock. They support me. But we're not going to end this question with you be down on yourself because kit. Well, do the best we can. And I, you know, I feel that one hundred percent sometimes it's looking up be like, I wanna be better at X and something my husband tells me, which is helpful is that, you know, you don't need to be a plus it everything like the go getter in us will sometimes field so terrible. If we're be minus b plus in some areas, but it is, you know, it's maybe an in in high school and college. There's times when you can get straight as but in life is more important than the strays in. I think it's also important to get away. So like, you know in next week, I'll be Jamaica for about a week in half. And I'm just like, you know, you do need to vacate you do need to stop because you will have done it. Like, you will burn out at some point. If you're just always always doing any. You're no good to your business. If you're burnt out. You know, like, they need you. So yeah. Yeah. I'm glad already so now Trump into the mining around. You just answer the very first thing that comes to mind, you ready ready? All right, number one, would is a resource that has helped you in your business that you can share with the side hustle pro audience. I would say one thing for me was reading reading helps a lot. So like I read retail math very early in the game. And that completely helped me understand my business. That was huge. See I was gonna next question was been the best business book or podcast episode. That you've consumed this year. How I built this is my favorite this. It's an NPR podcast one one of my favorites. Yeah. People mentioned that. And that's the one I was saying like you don't hear about people giving back the money on how I felt. How I felt. Do you never knew? All right. Number three. What is a non negotiable part of your morning routine? You know, I don't really have the greatest morning routine. But I would say the Nanako Chaba for me is rest like have to sleep like at all. You gotta get your seventy hours of rest. I did that whole like no rest grind to you know, salt in it doesn't work. So rest is non-negotiable for me. Number four would is a personal habit. That has helped you significantly in your business. I would say asking for feedback. So when because you're the business owner, or the CEO whatever a lot of times, there's nobody to give you feedback you're giving everybody else feedback. But for me, it's like feedback for is really important from those you work with those in and outside of your business like that. And finally would is your party advice for fellow women entrepreneurs who want to be their own boss, but are worried about losing the steady paycheck. I would say try small try lean. I think that's really important like you don't have to like leave your fulltime job. If you can find a way to do what you're doing a small level. And then do it enough to grow it? So that it becomes profitable. And then leave your job like it doesn't have to be this big leap that everybody thinks you have to do. It doesn't have to work like that. I have -solutely. And so with that any co working people connect with you connect with Nubian human after the show. Yes. So we're located online Nubian human dot com in its H U E M A N dot com were also located in southeast DC at twelve thirty one Good Hope road inside the anacostia art center in soon coming to west Reed street in Baltimore, Maryland. So look out for that Ararat in with that guys there you have it. Maybe I'll see you there. If you're a DC. Lease. Thank you so much for being in the guest here. Having me. Guys. Thanks for listening to side, hustle pro. If you wanna hear more from me head on over to side-hustle pro Desi force last side-hustle corner to get my weekly side-hustle diaries chronicles about my own journey from passion project profitable business that if you wanna find me online at side-hustle pro on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, no forget to join the site house of pro Facebook community, put aside hustle protests. See oh, four slash mastermind. And as always if you have the show to me a favor and subscribe rate and review on I tunes. Thanks, guys. Talk to you next week.

Coming up next