Who Run This?
As we bring you creative, inspirational, and essential items that celebrate our beauty and culture, Mahogany also caught up with the sisters behind these successful businesses. We chatted with Kenya Freeman, owner and creator of Sylvia Mollie, to find out what motivates her, who empowers her, and how she celebrates her Blackness.
What was your inspiration for starting this brand?
The inspiration for starting my brand was me wanting to be fabulous all the time in high school. I was like, what else am I going to do, lol! More importantly, I was making sure I lived life on purpose and according to the plan for my life, which so happens to be fashion.
What do you hope Black women will feel when they wear Sylvia Mollie?
What I hope Black women will feel when they wear my clothes is empowered! I want them to walk into a room and all eyes are on them—not because they are half-naked but because the clothes make them feel bold, classy, fearless and on top of the world. They should feel like a Boss!
How does it feel to receive support and encouragement from our community?
It feels amazing to receive support and encouragement from my own community. It’s very important to me to represent my people well. You never know how you will be received, so it’s overwhelming to have my people surround me with love and support. I’m honored and grateful!
Who in your life encourages and empowers you the most?
My mother and my grandmother encourage and empower me the most. My brand Sylvia Mollie is named after my mother (Sylvia) and my grandmother (Mollie), the two most important ladies in my life. My mom has been my biggest cheerleader this entire journey—even borrowing against her life insurance policy to buy sewing machines when no one saw the vision but me!
What advice would you give to a sister who wants to start her own business?
The advice I’d give to a sister who wants to start her own business is…don’t! Lol! But seriously, I’d tell her to follow her heart. Make sure it’s purpose-driven and not money-driven. The purpose is God-sent and will turn into dollars because that’s the assignment He set forth for you. If it’s money-driven, you will be temporarily happy until the next money move comes along. You will always be chasing your tail. Get in, do the work, and don’t fold! Being an entrepreneur takes a certain level of discipline. Oh, and don’t quit your day job till your new business is bringing in your salary times two!
Here at Mahogany, we’re motivated by purpose, faith, and community, to celebrate Blackness 24/7. How do you celebrate yours?
I celebrate my Blackness too much! I love pouring into my own people. I used to pray and ask God to show me how, in my own way, I can give back to my own. Well, I will be kicking off my nonprofit for kids called I’m SEW Fantastic! ISF is a day camp for kids teaching sewing and self-esteem building. I’m thankful and excited. Let’s Go!
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