Written for The Argo by Moujnir Lewis
On March 25, Stockton University’s Leadership Lunch series examined what it takes to run a business through the lens of small business owners and entrepreneurs Tiffany Rice and Marshay Monet.
Rice is the owner of They Didn’t Tell You, LLC, a business dedicated to “creating space in merchandise that both celebrates and centers Black people, Blackness, and our uniqueness in our experiences; and, in the words that I like to use, by any means necessary.”
Monet is the owner of Glow Skin Deep, LLC, a skin-care brand and lifestyle that “promotes healthy skin, hair, and self-love.”
Monet originally started her business for herself. She wanted products that would be effective for her sensitive skin and inspire a natural glow. However, once those products became a reality, her loved ones started using them and one encouraged her to open a business.
Rice began her business with the goal of paying down her student debt. Inspired by the need to celebrate the African American community through affirming merchandise, Rice began producing clothes and sharing her thoughts through her podcast.
Though the presentation went over three different categories—including the idea, making a thought become a thing, and growing your business—Rice consistently emphasized the importance of perspective.
“Marshay and I want to give you the perspective of two business owners who are really honestly just scratching the surface,” Rice said. “We’re just at the very beginning of it and I think it’s important to see where we start, so that when we get to where the finish line is we can say ‘Oh I remember when Marshay and when Tiffany said [this is my experience, this is a possibility,’ and so that’s kind of what we want you to kind of get in your mind; that there’s a beginning to all of this. And it’s nice to hear the end story but I think it’s important to hear the beginning as well.”
Monet recommends scoping out the competition and doing research, especially in terms of product and name.
“Do your research. See if it exists,” Monet said. Even if it is just a “half a step better,” Monet advises that proper marketing and tools such as SWOT analyses and statistics charts can help business owners create concrete goals and set a tone for the future of their careers.
Monet and Rice also emphasized the importance of hard work and multitasking in business. Marketing, research, accounting, and outreach are all part of the job when one is operating a business alone. Second jobs are also not uncommon, and Monet and Rice believe it is important that every prospective businessperson recognizes this as they work to turn their ideas into reality.