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Rising Stars: Meet Kesha Rainey

Today we’d like to introduce you to Kesha Rainey.

Hi Kesha, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
When I launched my business in 2018 as Simply Unapologetik LLC, the focus was geared toward empowering women to stand unapologetically in their truth through bold and unique fashion accessories. I had just transitioned from a season of my life where I had thought conforming into someone else’s expectations and withholding my truth was the best way to gain acceptance. And as I settled into my role of an entrepreneur, I recognized that as I stood in my truth unapologetically, I was evolving into a different version of myself and how I showed up for my target customer base also shifted. As I became more intentional about my own truth, I also paid closer attention to how my business supported my audience and their unique stories. As my first year of entrepreneurship came to a close, I made two conscious decisions around the following areas: target customer and brand identity. From a target customer standpoint, I had learned the majority of my customers were members within sororities.

In response, I realigned my initial customer base to be inclusive solely of sorority members within the divine nine community. This shift allowed me to curate unique collections and have more targeted content for marketing. In relation to brand identity, I pivoted from an emphasis on standing boldly within your truth through accessories to the communities in our lives that empower us to stand in our truth. In 2019, I introduced Simply Unapologetik, LLC DBA Simply Charmed Greek, an online retailer that specializes in greek paraphernalia and other novelty items for members of National Pan – Helllenic (Divine9) sororities that celebrate the sisterhood shared between sorority sisters. When you become Greek, it is symbolic of a commitment to the values established by your respective founders, but also the lifelong journey of sisterhood where you cultivate relationships that uplift you, push you, and support you as you stand in your truth.

I arrived to my fourth year of entrepreneurship through embracing the doughnuts of entrepreneurship:

DOUGHNUT, ever forget to show gratitude to your supporters. Without each supporter that showed up to my first vendor shows, when there was no website, the highs and lows, I wouldn’t be in this place. They believed in my dream even when I was still refining it.

DOUGHNUT be fearful of starting over. It’s not a failure to start over, just a new opportunity to change your ending. Trust me on this one, I have rebranded, renamed, redesigned, and had that on repeat to get more aligned with my customers but also my vision for where Simply Charmed Greek is headed. On the other side of starting over is a new chapter and endless possibilities.

DOUGHNUT stop learning: The market is evolving, technology is evolving, and your target customer is evolving. You need to continue to learn in order to step into your next.

DOUGHNUT dismiss the power of community. Surround yourself with other like-minded business owners who are: where you are, been where you are already were, and where you want to be. There is always a learning lesson and great to have support in every chapter

DOUGHNUT neglect taking time to rest. You need time to reset and recharge which will allow you to be more present in your business.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Being an entrepreneur is not for the weak at heart, and it requires a refined version of yourself in each season in order to gain access to your next. And for me, trusting the process was and still is the hardest part of entrepreneurship. In a world, we often only see the snapshot of historic milestones of those we admire and not the entire journey that they endured to get there. It’s the countless no’s before the one yes, it’s the disappointments, the missing of targets, and the sleepless nights. And oftentimes, it becomes so easy to start comparing my chapter four to some else’s chapter 39. And it is a constant battle to remind myself that every chapter has a purpose and there is something to be learned that will unlock the next chapter, if only I trust the timing.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
As an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc, I value service within my community, but most importantly sisterhood. I recognize that in every season of my life, in addition to my loved ones, my sisters were right there cheering me on and holding my hand when I was too afraid to take the first step. To know me is to know, I am my sister’s keeper. What truly sets Simply Charmed Greek apart from others in our industry is how we have structured our business around the concept of sisterhood and our commitment to celebrating that bond between sorority sisters. We redefine the space of greek vendors with our collection of diverse mementos that are not limited to your traditional greek paraphernalia but also incorporate the active role sisterhood plays amongst sorority sisters. When you become Greek it is symbolic of a lifelong commitment to that organization, but also the journey of sisterhood where you cultivate relationships that uplift you, push you, and support you through every season of life. And being able to support that journey amongst sorority sisters is what I am most proud of as a business owner. We all need community and to be able to support women uplifting one another contrary to mainstream media, is my why to give my business everything I have.

Is there any advice you’d like to share with our readers who might just be starting out?
For anyone just beginning their entrepreneurial journey, I wish I knew these three things before starting my journey:

Be Consistent: Show up every day, even when you don’t want to, even when you don’t have the sales. Just by you showing up, it’s a reminder to yourself of the commitment you have towards your business but also to your customers, that rain or shine, or highs and lows, they can always count on you.

Invest in Learning: It’s okay if you don’t know everything about business as there are tons of resources to support your learning journey. And the investment first of your time to learn those areas that you are not familiar with and then your finances with mentors and or material will help support the sustainment and growth of your business. Caution as you learn, don’t get so consumed you lose sight of making actionable steps to apply what you have learned.

Prioritize Your Health: If You need to take a day for yourself, do that. If you need help because you are overwhelmed, do that as well. Your business can not flourish when you are pouring from an empty cup.

I am sure if I had known those things, I would have been able to weather some of my experiences a little better. However, I wouldn’t change those chapters as now I get to share this with other business owners so they don’t have to make the same mistakes I did.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Heacox Creative Co.

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