We were happy to introduce Imani, founder of Huemanity Avenue (who is rebranding as Love Afrique in September 2017) through our my B.O.B. campaign on Instagram! This campaign brings awareness to Black businesses from the owner's perspective. At blackbox we believe it's important to know the vision and purpose behind a business. Through our blog, we can dig deeper into their stories and provide a fuller perspective with you!
Motivated by the birth of her daughter and inspired by the entrepreneurial path of her mother, Imani launched Huemanity Avenue to help women embrace and be empowered by their African heritage. Since her launch in early 2016, she has been determined to create the life she wanted for herself and her new family.
You mentioned starting your business right before the birth of your daughter. How did you plan taking the leap into entrepreneurship and not returning to work?
In all honesty, I NEEDED to work. Not in the sense of finding a job or anything like that. But something productive to fill my time and pursue my passion. While I was pregnant with my baby girl I searched endlessly for a job, but who wants to hire someone that's about to give birth? I can't say that I really "planned" for anything. I had an idea and just went for it. With no realistic view of what it would turn out to be. I just went for it.
What's the story behind the name Huemanity Avenue?
When Huemanity Avenue was first created it was a store of diverse handmade dolls for babies, children or collectors. I really liked the name Huemanity because I felt it truly captured what I was trying to do at the time. Which was have something special for ALL of us--all ethnicities included and represented.
How did your mother quitting her job to be an entrepreneur help you during your journey?
It has taught me to be fearless, or close enough to it. Her leaving her prestigious position to go after her dreams is still something I think about often. Knowing that it is possible to be successful in an unconventional way. She wasn't afraid of failing or what people would think of her, she just did it. Whenever I might feel down on myself or feel like maybe I made a mistake by not doing what everyone else is doing, I think of her .
What does the future hold for Huemanity Avenue?
Big things I hope (crosses fingers) Haha! No but really, we are currently re-branding. The new name is now Love Afrique. Afrique meaning "Africa" in French. I'm so excited for this much needed re-opening . Also, Love Afrique has a purse collection that will be presented in Africa Fashion Week this August. So be on the lookout for that!
Why did you feel the need to re-brand?
Remember how I mentioned "tweak and grow?" Well that's just what I'm doing. 'Love Afrique' is going to be THAT brand. Don't get me wrong Huemanity Avenue was my baby and I love everything about her. But as I've learned and become more knowledgeable about what it is I want to do and what my queens who support me want, it's come time to step it up a notch or two. Hue Ave was my baby. And now it's time to grow up and glow up!
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who are considering leaving their job to pursue their dream?
Don't quit your day job (just yet)! Dive in head first with all your amazing ideas and concepts and see which ones stick. Don't try and wait until everything is perfect to start, because then you never will. Something I tell myself often is "tweak and grow, tweak and grow". You cannot expect to be perfect right out the gate. But with doing, you will learn what your demographic connects to and what they couldn't care less about. Also, NEVER let anyone tell you that your dreams are unachievable. Maybe it's not for them, but you're not them.
We enjoyed learning more about the launching of Huemanity Avenue and its future as Love Afrique. You can see more of Imani's collection of accessories and headwraps here. We wish her continued success in with her business as she re-brands and grows!