Join us as we chronicle the BLK & Bold journey.
November 18, 2018: The Rat Race. Commuter Traffic. TGIF. Happy Hours. Each is directly correlated with the traditional means of making a living and equally give a 9-5 a bad name. “Thank God, it’s Friday” as in “damn, I’m so glad to not be at work anymore for at least a couple days.” A quick Google search casually defines “the Rat Race” as a way of life in which people are caught up in a fiercely competitive struggle for wealth or power; an exhausting, usually competitive routine. Gotta love the subtext. That’s where the gems are. It’s like Pam Grier (1) in “Foxy Brown":
Don’t mess around with Foxy Brown. She’s the meanest chick in town! Now you know what the movie’s about.
Presumptuously, we can all think of better ways to spend 40+ hours a week, but often hesitate to pivot from the norm and bridge the gap between just talmboutit and really doing it. So after years of personal entrepreneurial start and stops, earlier this summer, my homie, PJ and I took the proverbial “leap of faith” and started BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages (3). I’m making it seem much simpler than it was when in truth, we have much more to build but believe the runway is long.
I know, hoop dreams. Trust me, like Lebron with his hairline (2), I’m still grappling with the idea of entirely removing the safety net that is my 9-5. That, family, leads us here. Reflections on this nuanced, balancing act. Walk with me.
- Pam Grier epitomizes #blackgirlmagic.
- Word up to his barber and NBA headbands. The irony that his new show “The Shop” is filmed in a barbershop is golden.
- blkandbold.com to learn why we contribute 5% of our profits to support initiatives directly impacting disadvantaged domestic youth.
March 6, 2019 It’s been nine months since we opened the virtual doors to BLK & Bold Specialty Beverages. Much can transpire in that amount of time. Full term pregnancies. A “year” of college. (Never quite understood this math but I’m not one to judge as it took me five to finish undergrad. I digress.) And as one can imagine with operating a small business, you can lose sight within the day-to-day. So this is us stopping to smell the flowers. Quick recap:
- June 2018 BLK & Bold opens for business
- Aug 2018 Pledged support and resources to educational programming via Boys & Girls Club of Central Iowa’s back to school event
- Nov 2018 Pledged support the Boys & Girls Club of Northwest Indiana, a familiar, instrumental establishment in the growth and development for us both personally
- By Dec 2018 Attended and participated in 6 pop-up events to share BLK & Bold’s message and mission
- Jan 2019 Pledged support to By Degrees Foundation, an organization impacting post-graduate success by opening individual college savings accounts for each of its K-12 scholars; Our commercial roaster finally arrived
- Feb 2019 P graduated from Founder Gym, a program designed to train founders of color on raising money and scaling start up businesses; Participate in Target’s annual Black Owned Business Fair, showcasing our products
Let’s stay there for a moment, not because of the destination, rather the journey to. The morning we were scheduled to leave, it was announced all major roads were closed due to inclement weather. Winter in the Midwest is like a conversation with Kanye West, at any moment this can go left, I’m not sure why we are having it in the first place and what normally takes four hours ballooned to twenty-two. Anyway, we fought against roads less traveled for a shot. An opportunity. An introduction. These are the times I am thankful BLK & Bold is a coffee and tea brand because without the caffeine to stay awake on the drive or warmth of chamomile tea to sleep in unfamiliar places on uncomfortable portable cots (shout out to the Gold Key Motel in Hampton, IA…where’s that? Exactly!), it would’ve been rough. But what’s the alternative: wonder what if after turning around? Nah, mama ain’t raise no quitter so we made it in time for the last third of the Fair. Motivational speaker Inky Johnson reminds us in these moments your perspective can become your passport or your prison. Your fuel to keep going or the embarrassing orange metal boot for unpaid parking tickets. Perspective is a free choice we make every day with everything. We are learning that resilience is a key asset each small business owner needs as roads will literally and figuratively be closed in your pursuit. We made the best of it, networked, shook hands, and kissed babies. Who knows what will come from those interactions? Maybe something. Maybe nothing. We’ll wait to see as there are no shortages to employ patience as a small business owner. From financing to equipment to blatant typos on labels that somehow still get printed and you have to eat that mistake considering it’s primarily a two man show and you can only blame the man in the mirror. That obviously still stings. Til next time.