Today we’d like to introduce you to Denisah Shonte’.
Denisah, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’m from a fairly small town in NC known as Rose Hill. Although I love my town having spent most of my summers visiting my aunt and uncle in Atlanta as a teen, I moved there shortly after graduating from high school. Those summers opened my world and exposed this small town country girl to so much. The city was a complete culture shock for me and I fell in love with the music, food, and the people. All of the exposure made college such a fun experience.
While in college I was super active, had great grades, and even served on several leadership committees. However, attending the Art Institute of Atlanta became a financial burden and I didn’t complete my program. I was devastated! I was this 20-year old who knew everything including my entire life plan, not completing my program was NOT APART OF THE PLAN!
I can remember having an entire meltdown in my mother’s sunroom about how I was a failure. I can laugh at it now but it was far from funny at the time. I had everyone asking me why I wasn’t in school, I had only applied to one college, I had even taken a bite of humble pie and asked for cosigners for loans. The family I once made so proud now appeared to look down on me and it wasn’t because I wasn’t capable or didn’t have it in me, it was all about not being able to afford it!
At the time, I was also working retail and my mother simply said “Neat, its ok. You are not a failure, you’re 20! You shouldn’t go into debt to be successful. Go about it another way, you can go to another school or work your way up.” I took her advice. I worked my way up. Within a year, I was a full-time manager at 21. I worked at one of the best performing stores in the city for the top retailer in plus size fashion. We even grossed over 1.5 million dollars annually at that location.
Through the years, I worked for various companies in the retail world. But, over time that too became unfulfilling. When I started serving at my church, my world opened up. I developed some amazing relationships through SHiFT (our college and young adult ministry and World Changers). It was that tribe of people who continued to encourage me when I felt God calling me to launch a business that was so far out of my comfort zone.
I sometimes wish there was this extravagant story of how I “arrived”, but the truth is I’m still on this journey. A journey that has brought me to this space of saying yes to God, the unknown and making myself available wherever needed. All of that leaves us here with me knocking on 30, being a new business owner and taking it one day at a time. Accepting what he is showing and transforming me into. From a loud country girl who used to cut up her clothes, and considered a college drop out into a respected business owner. WHAT?
Has it been a smooth road?
Ha! OF COURSE THERE WAS STRUGGLE! My struggle was so real! I say this while laughing but it’s still true. Being a millennial we are professionals at consuming information. That alone has caused me to need the answers RIGHT NOW. *In my Kanye voice* Not only did sway not have the answers but neither did I! While my high school and college classmates were graduating with degrees and starting families, I was struggling feeling left behind. Comparison, student loans and bad credit had me feeling like everyone was running laps around me. I now know that to not be the case, it was my lack of knowing what my purpose was and feeling unfulfilled because I appeared to not measure up.
As I mentioned earlier, most of my struggle was rooted in insecurity and anger. I was angry with God for not allowing my life to go as I had planned. Oddly enough I had never considered him when I initially made those plans. Honestly speaking, I was a BOLD hot mess. Upset at the time that I kept finding myself in these situations that weren’t his best for me. Even in knowing God to be so loving that he gives us free will. I was free to make decisions on how I lived my life. I had to accept the fact that I chose to work on my time, instead of his.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into FeedHerCo story. Tell us more about it.
Initially, it started in 2015 as a blog, where I gave myself the title of being “The Spirit Feeder.” I incorporated fashion, interviews of other young believers, and shared my lifestyle. As sad as it is to say, four months, was all it lasted. God started showing me areas where I could FEED-HER, the woman that God has created us as individuals to be. It grew so much that I got overwhelmed and shut down.
A name change and a few years later in 2017, now being confident in my purpose I gave it another go. Skeptical still in what he was showing me, I worked out the vision piece by piece. Starting designing the journal, creating the outline and even found a manufacture. It took a year and a half but FeedHerCo was birthed last summer in Denver and we’ve been going non stop ever since!
I’d have to say the Table Talks and Journals that we create are what I’m most proud of. Being apart of changing the narrative of what a christian is and destroying old mindsets of what having a personal relationship with God should look like, is by far the most rewarding.
Knowing at some point on this journey of being Christians, we desire to know God and not just know about him. FeedHer is all about feeding ourselves the word. Reading the Bible is how we develop a real relationship. I know every person may not like reading and may even find the Bible confusing or boring. Thats exactly why the journal was created! Our scripture journals guide you on that journey and help to stay true to the context.
Now we’ve expanded beyond a journal to other stationary items, apparel and workbooks that launch in a few short weeks!
Do you have any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general? What has worked well for you?
I’d say be genuine and become involved. I’ve developed great friendships over the years through serving at my church and building authentic relationships with peers (outside of the workplace and school). Some social stalking of my favorite business owners has helped with meeting like minded people as well. Mostly, be open and know that you may benefit from having a mentor thats not necessarily in the field you’d like to work in.
- Website: www.feedher.co
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @feedher.co
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/feedherco
- Other: @denisahshonte
Voice or No Voice Photography, Rebecca Lartey, Hakaba Design