Anthony Frasier, the Newark-bred tech entrepreneur who has started successful companies in the tech and media space, had his work widely reported on, and has helped incubate a burgeoning tech community here in town, released his self-published book, Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness, in paperback and for Kindle yesterday.
“I’m going to give you the advice I wish someone would have given me when I first started out,” Frasier promises. “When I learned each of these skills I became a better entrepreneur, but most of all a better person.”
The efficiently-etched volume (it clocks in at 94 pages), whose cover is a callback to the movie poster for Spike Lee’s classic Do The Right Thing, is aimed at “young entrepreneurs of color [who] aren’t getting good advice,” according to the book’s description. He’s spent several years curating entrepreneurship advice for this exact community under the banner of The Phat Startup, the entrepreneurship education and media company he cofounded.
For instance, entrepreneurs are routinely advised to look first to their personal connections to raise money for their ventures – the “friends and family round” of funding – even when a rich uncle is not at hand for all, or to seek venture capital funding even when they often lack the connections or cultural capital to do this easily. Frasier understand these built-in limitations well, and promises to address them head-on in his book with both research and anecdotes from his own journey as an entrepreneur, and to offer affirmative advice that will help would-be entrepreneurs advance their startup goals.
Frasier recently told BrickCityLive.com that he will be coming to Newark to interface with the public about his new book. Stay tuned for more on his plans as they develop.
Frasier previously co-authored How to Grind Like Diddy with James Lopez, who is a Phat Startup cofounder.
Don’t Dumb Down Your Greatness is available on Amazon.com.
Since its launch last year, Gateway Project Spaces has been home to art exhibits, a culinary show, writing workshops, parties, and performances.
Now the spaces will add a new category to their roster: vintage clothing shop.
The new Reginald Parks Men’s & Women’s Vintage Shop will open at Gateway Project Spaces, located on the main concourse of 2 Gateway Center, next Friday, February 26th. The shop is the brainchild of Peter Winstead, Jr, who is both an accomplished recording artist and the creative director of brand strategy firm The Honors Program, which has produced the successful Guard d’Avant festival for two years in a row at Military Park (the festival will return this summer), and curated music events and programming for the 2015 Open Doors arts festival, The Gateway Project’s Winter Fête, and the Newark Business Hub’s launch event.
The name of the shop is an homage to two of Winstead, Jr.’s personal heroes who together represent the top tier in commerce and taste: Reginald Lewis, the first black person in America to build a billion-dollar company, and Gordon Parks, a renaissance man of the arts who was the first black American to direct and produce major motion pictures.
Although Winstead, Jr. and the Honors Project are perhaps best known for music and event production, Winstead, Jr. actually worked first as a fashion stylist, as a marketing consultant for brands like And 1, and in sales and management for high-end labels and boutiques including Schott Brothers, Ralph Lauren, and Pieces NYC. “Its been a long-time dream for me to one day open my own shop, and now here we are!” he said in a recent email announcing the pending opening.
In a callback to his music and event production chops, Winstead, Jr. will also be infusing his own taste into a curated series of live music and other events, one of the benefits of co-locating his shop at The Gateway Project, he said. (Another: direct connection to Newark Penn Station, which offers potential channel to customers and audiences further afield of Newark.) The February 26th kickoff event, dubbed “The Kickback,” will feature live music performances and DJs.
In the runup to launching, Winstead, Jr. has hosted a series of “Cocktails and Garments” preview events at the location on Thursdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. With music, cocktails, and Winstead, Jr. himself on hand to walk patrons through the various vintage sartorial choices available at the shop, the events are meant to project the vibe of store once it’s fully launched.
Designers, jewelry makers, and craftsmen of all kinds who are looking to sell their handmade goods have an opportunity to learn how to tackle the online market. A new Rutgers Business School class will help local craft makers establish their own Etsy.com store, market their products globally, and earn extra income.
The Rutgers University Newark Business School’s Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development is partnering with Etsy.com to train creative entrepreneurs and help them grow their independent business. Etsy.com is an e-commerce site that globally connects independent artists and designers with shoppers looking to purchase unique handmade goods.
The course will cover a range of topics such as setting up the online shop, time management, branding, pricing, shipping, and photography. Students will also be able to list up to 20 items for sale on Etsy.com for free.
Applicants must have at least one handmade craft item ready to sell and an idea for a related line of products for their online store. They must have never made any sales on Etsy.com, reside in New Jersey, have a credit card and checking account, and regular access to an internet connection.
There are only 15 spaces open in the class, and interested participants must apply online by August 31 here. Selected participants must commit to attending two hour evening sessions on Tuesdays from September 15 to October 6, and a five hour session on Saturday, October 10.
The course will be taught by Becky Garcia, an artist who sells her own craft items online at Etsy and will coach students on how to achieve the same success.
The Rutgers University Newark Business School CUUED is located at 1 Washington Park in Newark.
Featured image via Creative Commons
Patchouli, frankincense and myrrh are some of the scents that might greet you at the doorway to Ancient African Formula on Halsey Street. That is unless the embroidered prints adorning the mannequins in the store’s display window don’t lure you in first.
Aminata Dukuray, a native of Gambia by way of Sierra Leone, runs the health and lifestyle store with the help of her four daughters. At around 1 p.m. on any given weekday, one can find Dukuray bottling samples of her sweet-smelling body oils, or explaining to her loyal customers how exactly her Super Hair Grow formula works.
Dukuray’s Ancient African Formula skincare and hair care products are all handmade by Dukuray herself in the back of the store. Customers who find themselves there will see blocks of her uncut Shea butter soap ready to be packaged and sold.
Dukuray opened the Halsey Street store in November of 2014, but she has been in business much longer than that, making her products for at-home use before becoming a wholesaler and stocking local beauty supply stores all over New Jersey with her products.
“I’ve been in business for a long, long time,” said Dukuray when asked about the origin of her line. “I started making my products at home because my daughter had ringworm, and nothing was working. So I decided to try and make something myself, and that’s how it started.”
Less than a year after Dukuray opened shop, she has built a legion of customers that keep coming back for her sweet-smelling products.
“I buy oils. I buy soap. I buy Shea butter. I even buy earrings. I love her products because they are natural. I use them for everything,” said Kecia Richardson-Gilbert, one of Dukuray’s customers.
Beyond skin and hair care, Ancient African Formula is also home to African-inspired jewelry, artwork and more recently, clothing. As Dukuray bagged up another one of her orders, a customer lamented the sign outside the store informing customers that Dukuray will not be able to take anymore clothing orders for another two weeks due to her busy schedule.
“I overbooked myself. People were making so many orders for the clothes that I barely had time to make my products,” Dukuray explained. “Customers came in and there was nothing on the shelves, nothing to sell.”
The new additions to Dukuray’s brand are bespoke, embroidered outfits made from African prints — prints that her daughter brings back to the U.S. from her trips to West Africa. From the midday rush in Dukuray’s store, it is clear that her store is thriving.
“Everyone comes here, it’s not just African women. Some people come because their friends tell them about it, and some just come because they see the sign,” Dukuray said.
Even though her store is doing well, Dukuray is not one to rest on her laurels. The businesswoman is already in the planning stages of developing an African-inspired restaurant right next door to her existing space.
“I see it [Ancient African Formula] growing. I see us opening more stores, and not just in New Jersey,” she said.
Newark native Isabel Livingston is bringing high-end, designer fashion to Newark in the form of her store, Closet Savvy Consignment.
The shop, which is located in Newark’s Teachers Village, offers a carefully selected inventory of designer items, including brands like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton. Livingston and her daughter, college student Asata Evans, founded the store in 2012 as an online retail business.
“When my daughter was a junior in high school, it became time to consider college. Tuition and costs became very real numbers, and we realized how unprepared we were. So we decided to go into business,” said Livingston.
With the goal to bring an extra $10,000 dollars into her home, Livingston purged her designer-laden closet and began Closet Savvy on a self-hosted website. She embarked on the occasional pop-up shop setup when the opportunity presented itself.
Over $10,000 and 10,000 Instagram followers later, Livingston saw the potential in converting the business into a brick-and-mortar store, and eventually launched the cozy and chic boutique in the new development on the south end of Halsey Street.
Livingston said social media created a built-in audience that has benefited the shop since opening day. “Having the time to have built up that social media following made all the difference,” Livingston said. “Without 10,000 people being able to see my stuff everyday and just opening my door to the world, this could have been a completely different situation for me.”
To be sure, in addition to now being a physical store, Closet Savvy is still a thriving social movement. Livingston’s followers talk about everything from the store’s latest designer products to natural hair trends to pop culture. The social platform has also powered Livingston’s buying reach, with Closet Savvy offering customers the opportunity to purchase products directly from the store’s page for an added shipping fee.
While the social media activity adds dimension to her brand for followers well outside of the city, Livingston says the store itself provides a carefully considered experience for the nearby shoppers who venture in. Walking into the store, it’s clear to see what Livingston is referring to. With a Chanel-embossed drink tray, monogrammed Louis Vuitton trunks stacked against the wall, and Beyoncé blaring from the speakers, Closet Savvy is a dream experience for shoppers in her demographic.
“When you shop with a woman, you’re really on an intimate level. You get to see how she really feels about herself,” Livingston mused. (Closet Savvy also offers a selection of men’s apparel.)
“Women come in here as total strangers, and by the time they leave, we’ve bonded. They leave here promising to come back, and you can’t get that online. People come here, and it really is an authentic experience.”
Closet Savvy is located at 35 Maiden Lane, just off Halsey Street in downtown Newark. The shop is open from Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shop online here, and visit their thriving Instagram community @ClosetSavvyConsignment.
Images courtesy Closet Saavy Consignment.
Late last week, 146 entrepreneurs — including 56 from Essex County — graduated from Rising Tide Capital’s (RTC) nationally recognized 12-week Community Business Academy (CBA) with a newly-acquired business education, an expanded network, and access to the support and resources they need to start or grow a successful business. In a historic moment in the organization’s 10-year history, the 1,000th entrepreneur graduated from the program, as part of the largest CBA class to-date.
The new RTC entrepreneurs joined an alumni network of 968 CBA graduates across Northern New Jersey in a graduation ceremony held at Saint Peter’s University. Featured speakers included Virginia Bender of Saint Peter’s University, Rising Tide Capital’s Chairman of the Board of Trustees Doug Forrester, cofounders Alex Forrester and Alfa Demmellash as well as representatives from the eight sessions of the CBA. During the ceremony, graduates received a Community Business Academy completion certificate and free membership into the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.
Among the graduating class was Newark native D’TaRelle Tullis, who is making a difference in her local community. With a mission to fight childhood obesity and provide affordable dance classes to surrounding communities, Tullis started her mobile dance studio Pitter Patter Feet in 1993. Starting with schools in urban cities like Newark, Maplewood and Irvington—she teaches ballet, hip hop, jazz and tap to youth combining dance with classroom instruction.
“Most families in my hometown lack the funds to offer their children professional dance classes; my business allows me to provide that opportunity. While my parents were unable to afford dance classes while I was growing up, I hope to infuse physical activity into the everyday curriculum to ensure the optimal development of youth,” she said.
With clients ranging from childcare facilities to public schools, Tullis uses her expertise as a New Jersey State approved consultant and trainer in early childhood development to create classes that provide physical and social development. While she started her business 22 years ago, Tullis took the Community Business Academy to gain the business and financial management acumen to sustain her business.
“I been in business for a really long time, however while I enjoyed the artistic side of teaching the dance classes I needed help with actually running the business. The CBA was extremely valuable. I learned that I needed to create a system to my everyday work to ensure I deliver excellent quality services. I also learned a lot about myself and built lasting relationships with my classmates and instructors.”
Since taking the Community Business Academy, Tulis has won $3,000 for Pitter Patter Feet after pitching her business in the Newark Innovation Acceleration Challenge. She says her participation in the CBA gave her the additional boost of confidence needed to present her business and talk about pricing and book keeping. Tullis plans to explore options for creating online classes to expand her reach to more students.
The CBA, offered in locations throughout Hudson and Essex Counties, teaches entrepreneurs business fundamentals including budgeting, marketing, bookkeeping and financing. Each CBA student receives a full-tuition waiver—covered by Rising Tide Capital’s funding partners—and continued business support through the Business Acceleration Services Program.
Last week, Rising Tide Capital raised more than $260,000 to support entrepreneurship development in underserved communities throughout New Jersey. In just three years, the Start Something Champions Gala has raised more than $1 million, providing scholarships for aspiring entrepreneurs to receive business training through the nonprofit’s nationally recognized Community Business Academy (CBAs).
Two community business academies will be launching in Newark in 2015: one in Vailsburg, and one in the Ironbound. Because of Rising Tide Capital’s success in raising funds, the $3,000 tuition for the 12-week intensive course will be waived for applicants.
“This year’s Start Something Champions Gala recognized engines of our local economy from small business owners such as first place winner of the 2014 Start Something Challenge Ninotchka Johnson to a national leader in values-based business like Whole Foods’s Co-CEO Walter Robb who received the Market Maker of the Year award,” said RTC co-founder and CEO Alfa Demmellash.
Hosted at the Hyatt Regency on the Hudson, Rising Tide Capital also honored The Paul & Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation, New Jersey City University and Numi Organic Tea, for their dedication to entrepreneurship, job creation, and commitment to sustainability in underserved communities. The three winners of the 2014 Start Something Challenge were also awarded $22,500 in cash to help build and strengthen their businesses.
“The Start Something Challenge helped me evolve from an artist into an entrepreneur,” said Ninotchka Johnson, winner of the 2014 Start Something Challenge. ”The process helped me perfect my business pitch and create a solid business concept and direction for the future. I also gained a support system, the 9 other finalists. They give helpful advice and understand the work and sacrifice it takes to be an entrepreneur.