We were happy to introduce Shantel Collins, founder of Shanieism 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!
Shantel launched Shanieism after deciding to take a step away from working as a freelance graphic designer in October 2016. She partnered with an illustrator to bring to life a product line that reflected the beauty of the African-American woman. With that as the basis of her plan, Shanieism launched beyond Shantel's expectations!
Tell us more about the name Shanieism. What was the idea behind your business name?
Well, my nickname as a child was Shanie. The moniker Shanieism came about from my knack of saying wildly crazy, funny things. When I decided to re-brand my business, it just seemed fitting to call it Shanieism.
We love that you found a niche in your designs pertaining to Black women. Was it always branded as "for women who love cursing"? How has the brand evolved?
What's so funny and surprising is when I re-branded my business, I was doing graphic design and marketing. Retail was the furthest thing from my mind because I knew it would entail a lot of work. However, being a self-taught graphic designer presented many challenges, one of which I was always undercharging for my services. I think in the back of my mind I felt like I couldn't really charge what "real" graphic designers charged because I didn't have the "proper" training. So, the move I made and shifting the focus of my brand came out of sheer desperation because I had just left my corporate job and relocated to a new city and state. So, I was BROKE and I had a 5 year old depending on me. I came across the work of this artist, formed a partnership with her and got to work on building this brand in a matter of 2 DAYS before I actually launched it. I'll celebrate six months this month and it still doesn't seem real because I built this brand from nothing.
You worked as a graphic designer before launching the business. How did you make the financial transition? It has been less than 1 year since you've launched and have apparently been able to work fully for yourself and provide for your family. How?!
Must we talk finances LOL... I admit I suck when it comes to finances. However with this business venture, I actually got hip to countless ways that I could bring products on the market with NO MONEY. That in itself is probably why I have been been able to survive financially speaking.
What do you envision for Shanieism as you grow?
I envision having a strong team of no more than 4-5 people. I want us to focus on creating fabulous products for Women of Color that can be sold in major department stores. Even with the downward spiral of the retail industry that is currently taking place, I haven't ruled out having a storefront for my brand either. I have no plans to rush though, because I firmly believe that slow and steady wins the race.
What advice Would you give to other working Black moms, like OUR co-founder Jacque, who want that freedom to actually be able to see their children grow up, but are entrepreneurs as well- trying to grow a business to work for themselves?
Here's the thing, you have to really be willing to step out on faith. My faith was tested my first year. I was broke, struggling and sick. I had so many days and nights of nothing but crying. I had to be my own cheerleader and remind myself of the reason why I took that leap of faith. The one thing that kept me pushing was remembering that my daughter was watching. I mean it too. Every single time I thought I wanted to just give up and run back to Michigan I told myself, "Sophia is watching you". It's so easy for us to say out loud that our faith is strong but it's a whole other ballgame to actually prove that point with our actions.
Make sure you check out Shanieism's fun products here. We thoroughly enjoyed learning more about Shantel and how she built Shanieism from the ground to where she is today. We wish her continued success and growth of her vibrant brand!