March brings a new month and a new look for Launch DFW. While the revamping is finally finished, there’s some catching up to do with posts from February. Launch wants to take this moment to continue the Black History Month Startup Profiles that were featured during the month of February.
Black History Month was created and is observed annually for remembrance and appreciation of notable people and events in the history of descendants of the African diaspora or people of African ancestry. This month gives us a chance to highlight what these notable people and events not only mean to Black history but to general history at large. Within the startup and entrepreneurial community, black men and women are increasing their contributions but are still behind other racial groups in owning their own business or creating a product. Less than 1 percent of Black Americans receive the venture capital necessary to get their business or product off the ground. Despite those setbacks, there are Black men and women, especially in North Texas, who have been successful. Here are some of their stories.
Could you give a summary of what your company does and the idea or inspiration behind it?
Tisha Holman Events is a boutique event planning, production and design firm. I do events of all kinds – corporate, social, weddings – anything that’s a reason to celebrate, I bring the fabulous. I’ve really have kind of always been an event planner, and I think when you talk to people who are walking in their passion, they can kind of relate to the fact that it’s something that they’ve always done, even as a young person.
As a teenager volunteering in different community organizations, I was on the committee for the events and conferences, it’s always been there. I think where the light bulb really clicked was in high school. My junior prom was one of the worst events I’ve been to, to date. I’ve always been a solutions-oriented girl, so I decided to run for senior class president because they chair the [prom] committee, so that way, I could have some control over the planning of it. I ran, I won and that was kind of the beginning.
What got you into entrepreneurship?
When it comes to something like event planning, when you are a creative, not to say you can’t work for another person, if you’re going to push full steam at it, it’s something that you really need to be at the helm of. As a creative entrepreneur, the design and execution of events is such a unique and customized experience for my clients that it would be difficult to channel my energy, talent and skills under someone else. I’ve always been a leader and it just makes sense that I would have taken the helm of my own ship.
As an entrepreneur who is Black and a woman, how have those intersections affected how you do business or how you approach your market?
For me, I try to build and develop a brand that reaches everybody. I know that there are some realistic hurdles that minorities and women encounter as business owners but the way that I navigate that is building something that everybody can find something fabulous and amazing in. With hard work and ingenuity, I can differentiate myself in what is a brand new, big market for me. I don’t worry about those factors, I just build something that whoever comes across it will see value and quality in it and be attracted to it.
Do you feel that it’s important to have people of color, especially Black people, in the entrepreneurial/startup field?
Oh definitely, definitely. The ironic part is that although we [Blacks] are underrepresented in entrepreneurial endeavors, entrepreneurial circles, especially in technology, we are some of the highest consumers and spenders, those are just the facts. I think that more people need to consider finding something inside of them that they’re passionate about, that’s a heart thing for them and really looking at how they can make it a profitable endeavor for themselves. Like I said, our weakness as a community is that we’re consumers. We’re spending the money but we have to find a way to maximize those dollars in our communities and take those leadership opportunities as Black people and capitalize on that.
What advice would you give anyone about becoming an entrepreneur?
When I talk about my business, I say that events make my heart beat, it’s a heart thing for me. So identify what your passions are, what your talents are and what’s a heart thing for you and find a way to monetize it and make it a business venture. Be willing to always learn and grow, no matter how long you’ve been in business. Be willing to perfect your craft and educate and develop yourself so when you do venture out into your particular industry, you have the tools and knowledge in addition to the heart and passion. If you marry the two, passion/heart/talent with education and tools, the desire to learn more, you have a winning combination.