When many people think of Memphis they think of our soulful music, smoky barbecue or muddy Mississippi River. One of the last things that come to mind is Memphis as a fashion forward city.
There is, however, a growing class of creative individuals committed to bringing fashion into the forefront of a place that seems to reference the past more frequently than the future. In part one of a two-part series, we meet pioneer James Davis, who not only offers tailor-made clothing, but has his own fragrance as well.
Carlee McCullough: Thank you for taking the time to share with our readers your experience and knowledge. Tell us about James Davis?
James Davis: Let me first thank you for taking time to have me for the interview. I am the president and owner of L.R. CLOTHIER. I strive to be more successful every day and understand that success is not simply defined by how much money is made, but how many people you have a positive influence upon as well. I truly believe that if you think it – then you can achieve it. Everyday is something new, something different and life is what you make of it. I love what I do.
Michael Partee recently had one of those experiences that lend credence to the thought that it is often the journey – rather than the destination – that yields the most reward.
Partee, the owner of M.B. Partee's Gourmet Pecans, recently emerged the winner of the best business plan grant competition sponsored by Deidre Malone and The Carter Malone Group LLC. After a thorough review by a panel of professionals, Partee came out on top of the grading process. He netted money to invest into his business and a new perspective on what it takes to run one.
"I'd like to think that I learned more about my business through the process of writing this business plan than I they learned from reviewing it," said Partee. "Through their symposium, I was able to truly look at my business and identify strengths and weaknesses that will affect its success long-term. ...This was a great learning experience."
From designer fragrances, clothes, shoes and bags, men and women go in debt to stay current in fashion. While the trends may come and go, fashion as a whole is the staple of life for many. Even the knock offs have a place in society. Just as in any business, it takes determination, resources, creativity and talent to make it in fashion.
On a national level, entrepreneurs such as Russell Simmons of Phat Farm, P Diddy of Sean Jean, Damond John of FUBU, Rachel Roy of Rachel Roy Collection, and Tracy Reese of Tracy Reese have inspired an entire generation of designers and consumers alike.
African Americans, Hispanics and Asian Americans face an economic "quadruple whammy," leaving them with little or no financial cushion as they age, finds a new study released Monday.
Titled "Beyond Broke: Why Closing the Racial Wealth Gap is a Priority for National Economic Security," the study used 2011 Census data to examine household worth for all ages. It found that the medium net worth of households of color from 2005-2011 dropped 58 percent for Latinos, 48 percent for Asians, 45 percent for African Americans – but only 21 percent for whites.
"You have the racial gap in pay, the gender gap in pay, the ageism gap in pay and predominantly single-income households," says Maya Rockeymoore, president of the Center for Global Policy Solutions (CGPS), which commissioned the study. "You're looking at the intersection of all of these disparities."
Smart, sassy and enterprising, Princess Woodard is well suited for the business opportunities in virgin hair, which has become the next big thing. A recent graduate of law school, she has already been a business owner for three years, focusing on importing virgin hair from abroad. With attention to detail and an eye for the bottom line, Woodard is poised for success as she shares her story of the hustle of hair.
Carlee McCullough: Tell me about yourself.
Princess Woodard: My name is Princess Woodard. I am a native Memphian and a recent graduate of the University of Memphis' School of Law. I have been a virgin hair retailer since 2011.
Whether the preference is weave or extensions, the process of lengthening or thickening hair crosses all color and ethnic lines. According to Clutch Magazine, the hair extension business is a $9 billion industry that has shown no signs of slowing.
Just as the hairstyles are creative, so are the many ways of entering the market. For example, entry can made via a brick-and-mortar store as a distributor or hair stylist or through an online presence or even through franchising and multilevel marketing.