The Heart Of A Bootstrapped Owned and Operated Woman Business

The Journey Of An Entrepreneur

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The Heart Of A Bootstrapped Owned and Operated Woman Business

I sat down to create an earring, but instead I found myself looking back over the 32 years I’ve been in business, as I paused, taking a sip of my green tea,  tears filled my eyes with gratefulness in my heart.  I was lead from my studio to my kitchen and while sitting I could hear the heat popping along with the sound of cars driving by. I continued to gaze out the window at  the trees when I noticed there were still a great amount of green leaves, like the beginning of spring and then some that had turned to represent the beautiful colors of fall.

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Everything Has A Season

Everything has a time and a season, but faith and prayer sustains you throughout your season. Changes will occur along with some questions that’ll remain unanswered until you’ve worked through the questions to reveal the answer. During times such as this, I would repeat Proverbs 3:5-6 repeatedly in my head, non-stop.

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

At my last job, out of frustration I kneeled to pray.

“Lord if I have to work this hard let me do it for myself.”

Until God answered my prayer, I was running around on my job like a turkey with a dangling neck about to fall off.  Unbelievably not then, but later during the week while idled at my desk a voice said,

 “Sell Jewelry.”

My mouth flew wide  open and I asked the person over the cubicle next to me if she’d heard it and if she knew anything about jewelry?  She answered, no!

Antreina’s Creation Was Born

One day on my lunch hour I found myself  sitting and doodling with my name. I replaced the letter I with an actual eye and I fell in love with the idea to use my name by replacing the letter I with an eye as my business name.  Check out the first drawings  and slogan for my logo.

I don’t know until today why the person aded a nose to the logo which eventually was removed.  Lol!! And believe it or not, the drawing of the lady was supposedly to be me, but she turned out to look more Asian than African American, can you tell?

This is another great example of changing seasons. You may have an ideal for something and it turns out to be entirely different from your vision because it is not your intended season.  Well, I eventually dropped “Creations” and stayed with Antreina’s!

What’s For You Will Find You

There I was driving down Coolidge High Way in Oak Park , Michigan when I suddenly glanced over at a building and a voice said go inside.

Now, I’m starting to get excited.  Confirmation, knowing if I had not followed the voice OF God, I do not know where I’ll be. #Faith

Well, when I walked in the building I was led to the  first suite on the right, I turned the knob and walked right into an empty office.  Still not knowing God’s plans for me, I called and told my husband what I had experienced and he said call and ask about the lease. I called and ended up signing a 3 year lease for 619 sq ft office.

My Humble Beginnings

When I opened my doors on Coolidge, I was not creating all of my jewelry.  With a torn earlobe I searched for clip on earrings which in fact was difficult to find.

My husband and I would travel to Chicago to purchase at shows, but the quality wasn’t good.  I had to repair earrings left and right and I knew,  I wouldn’t  have repeated business if most of the earrings kept breaking and plus It was challenging finding clip on earrings that expressed my personality and the women who sought the same, so I started designing my own.

 

I Need More Space

Well, eventually I grew out of the 619 SQFT space and in 1993 moved into a 3,000 SQFT  free standing building in a small strip mall one mile away on Coolidge Hwy.

antreina's earrings

Ten years later, closing the brick and mortar in 2003, setting up Antreina’s Earrings online.

My Summary As An Entrepreneur

There are people that will stand by you through thick and thin, they’re your bread and butter and are not there to judge, but to help and support you on those days that you feel like giving up, your phone will ring, or either  you’ll receive a text with words of encouragement, and better yet they’re more like family! I thank God for these people. I have these people on the journey with me.  Some have been around from day one and others have stood with me from the first time purchasing my products, being clothes, tee-shirts, books, or hand made jewelry. I am humbled to have such people on this entrepreneurial journey with me.

I’ve learned to listen to my customer and if there’s a discrepancy, for clarity, I always put myself on the same side as the customer and its always a win, win.

Many days I wanted to give up, but, I know I have visions for Antreina’s that hasn’t come to pass.  I never will forget during the pandemic praying and a voice said, although you’re anointed,  it’s not your appointed season.

Today was my day to reflect back on the good years of Antreina’s, it’s not about the millions in sells, its about faith, trust, LOVE and GOD.  The one that started it is the one who will end it.

MY Last Question

Why does some people want to keep small businesses a secret?  Do they know people shop more with businesses that are referred by friends, family, or even someone that has shopped with them before.  If you recommend a business today that could very well be a potential lifetime customer for that business.  But wait, this is what I often here.

“Girl, they’re not going to spend the money” or “I don’t want anyone to know”

In Closing

Share a small business with someone that you enjoy shopping with.  Don’t worry, they’re not going to buy what you have and if they do, everyone wears things differently.

 

 

 

 

 

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