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Self-Taught To Self-Made: “Education Is Everywhere If You Look Hard Enough”, Says Fashion Boss Ebony Swank 

Cam Speck

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Recent research revealed that 78% of MBA students end up working for someone else. So if you are someone whose end goal is to become the founder of a start-up, spending precious years confined to a desk might not be the best option anymore.

Corroborating this story is fashion boss and entrepreneur Ebony Swank, CEO of Swank-A-Posh, America’s leading female-wear fashion brand. She is a high school dropout and one of the country’s unlikely success stories. In life, the businesswoman has had to face several challenges, from bankruptcy to failed attempts. Contrary to what you might think, not having an education was never a major contributing factor. She has learned a lot more from the classrooms of life than most people ever do sitting inside the 4 walls.

“I learned to be successful by surrounding myself with successful people,” says Swank. “Being amongst people and entrepreneurs that I could learn from. The learning never stops, and I still consider myself a self-learner and observer, which helps enable to scale my brand to the next level.’’

Excellent Decision-Making and Foresight – Always Ten Steps Ahead

Making calculated, clever decisions isn’t an ability that can be taught. Only when you actually get burned by the flame will you learn all the ways to avoid it. No amount of textbook learning could ever make up for the wealth of knowledge that one gains on the ground. 

Swank urges aspiring entrepreneurs to plan ahead. Something you learn from your own mistakes is how to rise after failing. Failing at a task does not mean you are a failure. One bad ending doesn’t make you a bad businessman; it makes you an experienced one. Failures happen; it’s the lesson you learn that matters.

You cannot anticipate everything, that is not how it goes. This isn’t your school exam where you’re given the syllabus ahead of time. You need to be prepared to face a plethora of challenges, some more difficult than others. 

However, it all gets easier over time. That is where experience in the field matters – something that you won’t get from closed classrooms, outdated case studies, and theoretical knowledge.

Even though Swank holds no fancy degrees, she employs quite a few people who do, and that is everything you need to know about the power of real experience. 

Onto The Next Generation Of Exceptional Black Female Entrepreneurs

Ebony Swank can rest easy knowing that her legacy will be carried on for ages, a lot longer after her time. With her 25-year daughter, Alaya, gearing up to take charge of Swank-A-Posh, she has plenty to look forward to in the future.

What makes Swank the happiest is knowing that she has taught her daughter well. From learned principles to secrets picked up on from years of experience, Swank sits ready to empower a new generation of black women, much like herself.

Stay alert, think practically, and always be armed with a plan, are Ebony Swank’s top tips for aspiring young entrepreneurs everywhere.

Cam’s mission is to empower and allow people to perform better at everything they do while developing the confidence and mindset to become their best selves. Leading by example in every way, Cam shows us that nothing can stand in your way when you prioritize.

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Lifestyle & Fashion

Adidas and Kanye West: The Controversy, the Apology, and the Aftermath

Ryan Lenett

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Adidas and rapper Kanye West, now formally known as Ye, had a lucrative collaboration until a barrage of anti-Semitic remarks made by the artist led to its abrupt termination. The comments not only saw West snap ties with Adidas but also with several other major brands. He was suspended from all primary social media platforms, and further, in a series of podcasts and interviews, West reinforced his comments, going as far as praising Adolf Hitler.

CEO’s Comments and Apology

Bjorn Gulden, who took the helm at Adidas in 2023, weighed in on the controversy during an interview on the podcast “In Good Company.” Gulden acknowledged West’s remarks weren’t “that good” but expressed his personal belief that the rapper did not mean them. He described West as “one of the most creative people in the world, both in music and… street culture.” However, these comments led to an outcry.

Faced with the backlash, Gulden publicly apologized for his remarks. Jonathan Greenblatt, the head of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), confirmed that the CEO had expressed regret over his misstatement. Gulden further reiterated Adidas’s commitment to fighting anti-Semitism in a conversation with the ADL chief.

Adidas issued an official statement to the Associated Press and AFP Friday, asserting that their decision to end their partnership with Ye due to his inappropriate comments was unequivocally the right one. They emphasized, “Hate of any kind has no place in sports or society, and we remain committed to fighting it.”

Key Points:

  • Adidas terminated its partnership with Kanye West due to his anti-Semitic remarks.
  • Bjorn Gulden’s comments on a podcast stirred public backlash, leading to his apology.
  • Adidas reiterates its stand against hate and commitment to fighting discrimination.

Financial Impact and Charity Initiatives

In light of the split, Adidas began selling its remaining Yeezy inventory, the result of its collaboration with West. These sales, done exclusively through the company’s website and app, totaled around $437 million (€400 million) in revenue. Interestingly, this figure was largely consistent with Yeezy sales from the same quarter the previous year, indicating that the controversy did not significantly impact interest in the brand.

However, this termination did have financial implications for Adidas. The sportswear giant faced challenges, with two consecutive quarters of losses leading up to a modest profit of 84 million euros between April and June 2023. The termination of the regular Yeezy business also resulted in a hit of $437 million (€400 million) in the first half of 2023.

Despite these challenges, Adidas took a charitable approach, earmarking 110 million euros ($117 million) in the second quarter for donations. A significant portion of the proceeds from the Yeezy sales was allocated to organizations such as the ADL and the Philonise and Keeta Floyd Institute for Social Change, demonstrating the brand’s commitment to combating discrimination and promoting positive societal change.

Key Points:

  • Adidas sold off its Yeezy stock, raising $437 million (€400 million) in revenue.
  • The end of the Yeezy partnership added to Adidas’s financial challenges.
  • Adidas donated a significant amount to organizations fighting discrimination and hate.

Repercussions in the Entertainment Industry

The controversy between Adidas and Kanye West hasn’t just caught the attention of the fashion and sportswear industry; it’s made ripples in the entertainment world as well. As brands worldwide become increasingly conscious of the values and beliefs they represent and promote, artists and celebrities might find themselves under more significant scrutiny. It signals a shift in the entertainment and endorsement landscape, where not just talent, but also personal beliefs and actions, could play a decisive role in forging partnerships.

Other Brands Take a Stand

Following Adidas’s swift action, other brands have begun reassessing their affiliations with celebrities. This is not an isolated incident, as companies aim to strike a balance between endorsing influential personalities and ensuring that these figures resonate with their brand values and ethos.

Recent studies indicate that consumers, especially the younger generation, prefer brands that take a stand on social and political issues. Thus, staying neutral or silent might no longer be an option for many companies. Instead, they are compelled to voice their opinions and, in some cases, distance themselves from controversies.

Conclusion

The Adidas-Kanye West alliance hit some serious highs, but let’s face it, their partnership ended up in a hot mess of controversy. This goes to show just how crucial it is for brands to stay true to their core values and take a sturdy stand when those get shaken. In this whirlwind era of star-studded tie-ups and endorsements, vigilance is the name of the game for businesses aiming to stick to their guns.

For an ear to the ground on all things music and collaboration-related, keep your eyes peeled on HNHH.

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Landmark San Francisco Eateries HRD Coffee Shop and Aux Delices Announce Closure

Ryan Lenett

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The culinary community of San Francisco is experiencing significant shockwaves as two of its most beloved eateries, HRD Coffee Shop and Aux Delices, are shutting their doors. HRD Coffee Shop, a fusion eatery with humble beginnings, and Aux Delices, a long-standing Vietnamese restaurant, have been pivotal to the city’s diverse food culture, attracting locals and tourists alike. The announced closures have left their faithful patrons reminiscing over shared memories and unforgettable meals.

HRD Coffee Shop: From Postwar Serving Spot to Fusion Favorite

The HRD Coffee Shop, which started as a breakfast spot serving government employees in the postwar period, has announced its impending closure this Friday. Sydney Saidyan, owner of the restaurant through the Saidyan Group, revealed to The Standard that despite the eatery’s success catering to local sports teams and Fortune 1000 companies like Salesforce, mounting operational challenges have made continuing the business unsustainable. Among the issues were disputes with the state over taxes, problems with Recology over dumping, and disturbances from a nearby homeless encampment.

Key points about HRD Coffee Shop: HRD Coffee Shop was initially a breakfast place serving government employees. It expanded to become a fusion eatery featured on Food Network and catered to notable organizations like Salesforce and the San Francisco Giants. Despite the successes, mounting operational challenges, including a lack of support from the city and the landlord, have led to its impending closure.

Aux Delices: Vietnamese Delights for Over Three Decades

Simultaneously, Aux Delices, a Vietnamese restaurant cherished for its home-style cuisine and Asian fusion dishes, will also be closing after 36 years of operation. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Chris and Thiet Nguyen, the current owners of the restaurant, have decided to retire, hence the closure. Originally established in 1975 by Sinh Luong, Chris’s mother, in Potrero Hill, Aux Delices has become a cornerstone of Vietnamese cuisine in the city, and its absence will be felt deeply within the culinary community.

Key points about Aux Delices: Aux Delices has been a part of San Francisco’s dining scene for over three decades, serving home-style Vietnamese cuisine. The restaurant was known for its refined setting and Asian fusion dishes. The current owners have decided to retire, leading to the closure of the restaurant.

Future Prospects

Although both establishments are closing, their legacies within San Francisco’s vibrant dining scene are far from forgotten. Sydney Saidyan of HRD Coffee Shop expressed interest in possibly relocating to other Bay Area locations, stating that a fresh leadership approach and support from the city would be necessary to reopen the business. Meanwhile, the Nguyen family’s impact on the city’s Vietnamese culinary scene through Aux Delices is a testament to the diversity and resilience of San Francisco’s gastronomy.

As we bid farewell to these institutions, we also look forward to the new and exciting culinary ventures that will continue to shape the city’s dynamic food culture in their absence.

Impact of Closures

The closures of both HRD Coffee Shop and Aux Delices mark the end of an era in San Francisco’s diverse culinary scene. Saidyan’s HRD, with its fusion approach, has been an integral part of the city’s gastronomy for nearly seven decades. Its innovative blend of Chinese and Mexican cuisine, with popular offerings like burritos, wraps, bowls, and platters, has not only catered to locals but also attracted a wide range of customers, including celebrities and corporate clients.

Customer Reactions

Understandably, the news of the closures has been met with an outpouring of support and nostalgia from customers. Saidyan spoke about the heartwarming reaction from HRD’s longtime patrons, expressing appreciation for the memories and good times shared at the eatery: “Every customer that’s come there, they have given me hugs. They have said thank you. They have said, ‘You did more than enough for us.'”

Looking Ahead

In the wake of these closures, San Francisco’s food scene is at a crossroads. It’s a time for reflection on the city’s culinary history and also an opportunity for new beginnings. The city’s ability to cultivate and support a diverse array of dining options will be key to maintaining its reputation as a food lover’s paradise. For now, the city bids adieu to HRD Coffee Shop and Aux Delices, honoring the indelible mark they’ve left on its culinary heritage.

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Mistakes that you Might be Doing in your Fashion Business

Cam Speck

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Mistakes That You Might Be Doing in Your Fashion Business

We all make mistakes. And when it comes to running a fashion business, you’re bound to make a few along the way. But that’s okay! It’s how you learn and grow. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most common mistakes fashion businesses make, and how you can avoid them. So read on, and learn from the mistakes of others! 🙂

1. Not Defining Your Target Customer

One of the biggest mistakes fashion businesses make is not defining their target customer. Without a clear understanding of who your target customer is, it will be very difficult to create a product or marketing strategy that resonates with them. Spend some time defining your target customer and make sure that everything you do is geared towards reaching them.

2. Not Creating a Unique Selling Proposition

Another mistake fashion businesses make is failing to create a unique selling proposition (USP). Your USP is what sets your business apart from your competitors and should be something that your target customer cares about. Without a strong USP, it will be very difficult to stand out in the crowded fashion market.

3. Not Investing in Quality Fabric

Investing in quality fabric is one of the most important things you can do for your fashion business. The fabric you use will have a direct impact on the quality of your garments, so it’s important to choose wisely. There are many different types of fabrics available on the market, so take some time to research which ones are best suited for your garments.

4. Not Creating a Strong Brand

Creating a strong brand is essential for any business, but it’s especially important in the fashion industry. Your brand should be unique and memorable, and it should reflect the values of your business. Without a strong brand, it will be very difficult to build a loyal customer base.

5. Not Investing in Marketing

Many fashion businesses make the mistake of not investing enough in marketing. Marketing is essential for reaching your target customers and building awareness for your brand. There are many different types of marketing, so make sure to choose the ones that are most effective for reaching your target customer.

6. Relying Too Much on Social Media

While social media can be a great way to reach your target customers, relying too heavily on it can be detrimental to your business. Social media should be just one part of your overall marketing strategy, so make sure to invest in other marketing channels as well.

7. Not Pricing Your Products Correctly

Pricing your products correctly is essential for making a profit and attracting customers. If you price your products too high, you’ll deter potential customers from buying them. On the other hand, if you price them too low, you won’t make enough money to cover your costs. Make sure to do some research before setting your prices so you can find the sweet spot that maximizes profits and attracts customers.

8. Failing to Plan for Seasonal Changes

Seasonal changes can have a big impact on fashion businesses, so it’s important to plan ahead for them. Make sure you have enough inventory to meet increased demand during peak seasons, and plan sales and promotions around key dates like holiday shopping periods. By planning ahead, you can avoid many of the pitfalls associated with seasonal changes.

9.  Not Prioritizing Customer Service

Customer service is essential for any successful business, and fashion businesses are no exception. Make sure to prioritize customer service and create a system that allows you to quickly respond to questions, issues, and complaints. This will help build customer loyalty and ensure that your customers remain satisfied with your products.

10.  Not Staying Up to Date With Trends

Staying up to date with fashion trends is essential for any fashion business. Make sure to stay informed about the latest styles and incorporate them into your products and marketing efforts. Doing so will help you ensure that your products remain relevant in a constantly changing market.

FAQs

What are some tips for making a fashion business successful?

Focus on quality, develop a unique brand identity, invest in marketing, price products correctly, plan ahead for seasonal changes, prioritize customer service, stay up to date with trends, and measure results.

How can I make sure my fashion business stands out from the competition?

Developing a unique brand identity is essential for standing out from the competition. Make sure to create a distinctive logo, color palette, and messaging that reflect your brand’s personality. Additionally, make sure the design of your garments is on-trend and stands out from similar products on the market.

What are some strategies for increasing sales?

Investing in marketing is key for increasing sales. Make sure to utilize multiple channels, such as social media and email campaigns, to reach a larger audience. Additionally, consider creating seasonal sales and promotions around peak shopping times to drive more customers.

What should I do to ensure my products remain relevant?

Staying up to date with trends is essential for ensuring your products remain relevant. Make sure to research the latest styles and incorporate them into your products, messaging, and marketing efforts. Additionally, consider adjusting prices based on changes in the market.

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