Entrepreneurs Tracy Garley, Ariana Pierce, Kierra Emerson and Briana Moore are all motivated young women who have found a perfect way to balance an education, social life and lucrative business.
Ariana Pierce owns her own unique nail polish line called SUPERSTAR NAIL LACQUER. Her idea started three years ago, when she was a freshman here at Michigan State. She was always intrigued by couture fashions and originally decided to start a clothing line, but then discovered that there was a void in fashion for nail polish. Ariana wanted to create an affordable, couture polish that emulated celebrities’ lifestyles and fashions.
Teaming up with her parents, who are also entrepreneurs, she began to formulate a plan. Ari had to create her nail polish from scratch. Her line was released in May 2008 and she received her first mention in Glamour Magazine, the rest is history.
SUPERSTAR NAIL LACQUER is now in stores across East Lansing.She has been in numerous magazine, has her own blog, has been amongst elite celebrities such as Amber Rose, Diddy, Soulja Boy, Selena Gomez, Vanessa and Angelia Simmons and many more.Ariana recently created a collegiate line called SuperstarU, which features colors from universities such as Howard, Spellman, U of M, and of course MSU.
Along with SuperstarU, this year Ari and her mother have a campaign called “Big in 2012” as well as a business conference being held in Orlando in July, which teaches the core steps to starting a business.
“Big in 2012 means just doing things that are outrageous. If you have B’s, aim for A’s. Aim high even if it is impossible, because even if you do not accomplish everything, you still obtained more than you wanted in the first place,” said Pierce.
Pierce’s advice to readers: “Read books outside of classes. I have learned so much about business and branding from reading and learning from others.
“Everyone around me has or had an iPhone and my chargers kept getting stolen. So I thought ‘why don’t they just make them in different colors, so I know which one is mine’. Then I decided, why don’t I just make them myself?” said Emerson.
Emerson began researching manufacturers. After that she had to choose her color schemes and decide which brand of chargers she wanted to sell. She decided on iPhone and Android chargers because they are most common among her peers. After developing her product she received an investment from her father and developed a logo, trademark, and website. She began advertising on Google ads and used social media sites as a way to spread the word. She also hosted events, parties, and sold products at step shows.
“Bow Wow’s mom even bought one of my cords once she seen one on Twitter,” said Emerson.
She has sold cords worldwide and has even been able to employ others. Currently, she is working on combining Wacky Cords with her new project Genius Phone Toys. Emerson’s target market for Genius is the professional world.
“Genius Phone Toys are cool, sleek, professional computer and phone accessories, created for the business world,” said Emerson.
Kierra’s Advice to Readers: “Find a mentor; get someone who has done it already. There’s nothing like a person who knows answers and can help you. Do your own research because no one is going to do anything for you.”
Briana Moore, owner of Styles by BeBe, began her business by simply nurturing her natural talent; hairstyling. Briana had been making a profit from hairstyling ever since she started college. Briana saw the money her mother was making from her clients and was inspired.
“I needed money and my mother does nails and seeing how easy and quick the money was made me decide to do hair,” said Moore.
Styles by BeBe generates around ten clients weekly, not including her regulars who come monthly for sew-ins. Briana gathered her clientele by using her closest friends as models and gaining recognition from her work.
“I would not encourage anyone to drop out of school. Use your small business as an advantage while finishing school,” said Moore. Although she has a talent and passion for styling Briana’s future is in sociology. She plans on finishing her degree and opening a salon in the future.
Briana’s Advice to Readers: “Remain confident in what you do.”
Tracy Garley, co-owner of Zarkpa, teamed up with her mother and created a business that commemorates her grandmother’s legacy and their family’s unity. “We started Zarkpa’s Purses/Accessories in 2009 and named it after my grandmother who passed away. We wanted to keep her legacy strong, starting with this store,” said Garley.
Zarkpa is a African name meaning “debt-free”; it is also Tracy’s African name. The store specializes in women’s accessories and purses and started to take off in October 2010. Since its opening, Zarkpa averages 14-20 customers a week and 25-30 people during the weekend.
“My schedule is very hectic, but if you want to succeed you must put in the work,” said Garley.
Growing up, Tracy always wanted to have her own business. Motivated by her family’s success and her leadership positions in high school, Garley knew that becoming a CEO was nothing she couldn’t accomplish.
“Working and going to school full time is a job within itself, not to mention balancing my social life. I have found that you need determination, focus, and great planning skills,” said Garley.
Tracy credits most of her success from the networking skills she has developed.
“I make it my goal to tell at least one person per day about my business. Each day should be about building your brand,” said Garley.
“Sometimes people will look at you as inexperienced because you are a young entrepreneur but that is why you should focus on your overall appearance, professionalism, and punctuality.”
Tracy’s Advice to Readers: “Never let anyone tell you you cannot do something. Negativity is useless. Surround yourself with like individuals, who also want to succeed. Stay humble as well because what you are doing today can be something someone else can do better tomorrow.”
BY Shanacee Shreve