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Meet Richard Panier of Uphill Global & Empress Crwns

Today we’d like to introduce you to Richard Panier.

Richard, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Uphill Global – I got started in real estate investing upon graduating from Florida A&M University and starting full-time with JPMorgan Chase in New York City. I knew from my internships with one of the big 4 accounting firms that I did not want to be obligated or completely dependent to a 9 to 5, especially with how the job market took a turn after the financial crisis. From that, I made the conscious decision to use my starting bonus to purchase my first rental property out of state down in my hometown of West Palm Beach, FL. However, by doing so I knew I’d no longer have the funds to get my own place in NYC so I opted to stay in my great uncle’s attic. Living in the attic was a few months plan that essentially turned into a 2.5-year plan. I used the extra money that I was saving to acquire more rental properties and invest in friends’ businesses. At 25 years old, I owned 15 rental units and had invested in two close friends’ businesses. Currently, I’m working on starting an investment fund that will invest capital of close friends and associates within real estate.

Empress Crwns – This project got started when I noticed two IG posts by my beautiful little sisters; however, their captions didn’t mirror my thoughts of them as amazing & pretty young girls. So, it got me thinking about what would get my sisters to have more confidence in themselves. Crowns!! But not tiaras or anything corny, something they’d be cool with wearing. So, I researched where some could be purchased & shipped to my lil’ homies but none were found. I look up who could make custom versions & that’s when it hit me, maybe others would be interested as well. I’ve learned the best business ideas are when you’re looking to scratch your own itch! Thus, Empress Wears LLC was born in August 2016 distributing confidence via crowns. I’m proud to say that it’s been doing well and is now partnering with the beloved McClure Twins to uplift young girls everywhere! The crowns can be purchased through my site or through

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Uphill Global – It has been somewhat of a smooth road but I’m grateful because it hasn’t been as hectic as some of the stories I’ve heard from podcast guests and other investors. The biggest struggle is attempting to save when there’s so much going on, especially in a place like New York City. I’ve had a few hiccups where some deals haven’t worked out but luckily was able to pull out before losing any capital.

Empress Crwns – Definitely has not been a smooth road but again still grateful because I’ve learned a lot and connected with many great thinkers and doers! Realized that this is very marketing/branding heavy venture, which I don’t have a background in but was able to solicit the help of friends who are well versed in these areas. The other difficulty is dealing with manufacturers in China, the time difference puts a slight hemorrhage on productivity. I typically go to sleep between 11PM-12AM and wake up between 5AM-6AM and basically my primetime to sleep is there primetime to send emails asking questions which causes delays.

Please tell us about Uphill Global & Empress Crwns.
Uphill Global – Is an LLC opened to invest in rentals across the southeast of the US, so basically just a holding company for real estate. Since I graduated from Florida A&M University, my rentals in Tallahassee I’m turning to specialize in student rentals. For properties in south Florida, they are more geared towards providing quality homes to lower and middle-income residents. I am branching out and getting into flips and will also be starting the investment fund as stated before to help millennials and those who are looking for investment avenues to get started. I think what sets me apart is my focus and love for learning, I’m always in a book or picking the mind of someone who has been there before me.

Empress Crwns – At the current moment crowns come in two sizes and 4 different colors. Expanding the product line is something I’ve been heavily considering but we’ll see. Our specialty is young women of color, it has to be since my younger sisters were the inspiration for the whole project.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
My favorite childhood memory would probably be horseback riding with my father through the country and mountainside of Haiti. My grandfather owned a farm that stretched for miles. He hired folks to work the land and in return, they could keep some of what they grew and build a home for their family on a portion. My grandfather had all types of animals but my favorite were the horses. He gave me my own horse that I would ride every summer I went to visit. One summer my father was going from town to town and while going up one steep mountainside my father slipped off the back of the horse and landed (somewhat) swiftly on his feet.


  • Empress Crwns Mini – $12.99
  • Empress Crwns – $14.99

Contact Info:

  • Website:
  • Phone: 5612942306
  • Email:
  • Instagram: EmpressCrwns
  • Facebook: EmpressCrwns
  • Twitter: EmpressCrwns

Image Credit:

Getting in touch: VoyageATL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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