Kimberly Jesika had the awesome opportunity to catch up with Tiea Whitaker! Tiea brings you the world of beauty, fashion, lifestyle, celeb gossip in her fabulous secret brew of Tea!!
Check out the interview below!
What inspired you to create the Shopaholic City brand?
Fashion has always been one of my first loves and event hosting runs neck to neck. Shopping is therapeutic to me as with many other women I know. I wanted to create a place where women can get their fashion fix without breaking the bank or looking as if they shopped on a budget. They could splurge guilt free, feeding their fashion addiction.
My goal for Shopaholic city was to create a lifestyle brand that incorporated fashion, media and events, all while promoting community engagement and charity awareness. As a former event planner for corporate companies, I wanted to merge my knack for event planning and love for hosting, networking and community engagement.
Shopaholic City has caught the attention of many media outlets in various cities across the U.S., even receiving a Proclamation in the City of Charlotte for bringing together entrepreneurs to promote support of small businesses and charity awareness, naming November 21st as Shopaholic City Day. Did you always know that Shopaholic City would take off the way it has?
Never in my wildest dreams, especially not as fast. When I launched Shopaholic City I set out to travel to different cities/states and host themed events geared towards bringing out the community and providing a platform for other entrepreneurs to share the great things they have going on. I noticed that we often seek outside of our community for products or services and it’s not always because we don’t want to do business there, most times people are unaware that what they are seeking someone in their community offers. The idea took off and from that other events were birthed and took on a life of their own.
I had much ambition as it relates to the brand but to see goals set come to life has truly been a whirlwind experience, one I’m still trying to digest. I feel so blessed, beyond grateful for all the positive strides reached thus far. It really motivates me to keep going.
I read that you have a corporate career background, was the transition to the entrepreneurial lifestyle a smooth one?
Oh, how I wish it was. Smooth is far from what that experience was like. It felt more like jumping into traffic or playing rushing roulette. On the outside looking in many may think that since so much was accomplished in the first year of launching that it must have been smooth sailing. The truth is, it was a difficult and stressful process. When I initially launched Shopaholic City I was working full-time. It was my intent to do both until the brand took off and I was able to financially sustain on the income from my business. When I reached that point the plan was to walk away from corporate and focus solely on the brand. I quickly learned that things don’t go according to plan no matter how much time you spend in the planning phase. I ended up being unexpectedly laid off my job and for whatever reason no matter how high and low I searched I couldn’t land another a job. I took that as an indicator that I needed to just focus primarily on making it as an entrepreneur. I can honestly say from that point forward the road was the rockiest ever. The stress behind that decision was out of this world and the financial loss experienced took a toll on me emotionally. From the outside looking in Shopaholic City was thriving, but behind the scene’s I was crumbling. So many obstacles were in my way, so much till I contemplated many times on throwing in the towel. I’ve had ideas stolen from me, people I let into my fold in business trying to sabotage my brand, I ‘ve loss relationships, money and the list goes on. It was a mess. Despite it all I was blessed to have family and true friends who supported me throughout the process. I’ve met other amazing entrepreneurs along the way who’ve dropped jewels that have been helpful throughout the journey. So, while the ride wasn’t smooth, with motivation, faith and a support system I’ve managed to stay the course.
What can we expect to see from you closing out 2017 leading into 2018.. any new projects in the works?
I have quite a few projects underway that I am excited about. First up, Shopaholic City is gearing up for a Winter White Relaunch on New Years Day. I’m set to finally release my first book Success Diaries “Turning Your Dream Into Reality”: 30 Days of Motivation & Inspiration. It will be out this Winter 2017. I am super pumped about it as I was originally set to launch much earlier, but everything happens in its appointed time. Also in the works is the official launch of my newest media platform Fashion Life & Tea (FLT) which will be the Hub for All Things Fashion, Lifestyle & Entertainment News. The blog soft launched last week, and the official launch of the blog site and podcast is slated for December 1, 2017.
I’ve been fortunate to partner with several other amazing brands that have great projects underway for 2018, can’t release the details just yet but I can say that it’s awesome!
Any advice you’d offer to someone looking to start a business or just starting out?
I would tell them that consistency, determination and faith is key. The road will be tough at times but with faith and determination you will move mountains. Never let anyone discourage you, even if that someone is you. We can be our worse critics at times. Anything you can conjure up in your mind can be accomplish if you take the steps necessary. No matter how long it takes or how hard the process gets, it can be done if you stick with it. And trust me when it’s all said and done it will be the most fulfilling experience ever.