This post was originally posted on the Miss Representation blog that I run with two friends. Head over to Miss Representation and check out some of the amazing stuff we’re doing over there!
“Our gift boxes are an affordable way to treat ourselves in a world that’s always asking us to focus on others.”
-Unapologetically Single co-founder, Lezita
Kat and Lezita are taking the phrase “Treat Yo Self” to a whole new level. The two founders of unapologeticallysingle.com are tapping into the gift box craze and encouraging self love along the way.
Both founders are Florida State University graduates with backgrounds in fashion and retail. They carefully select the items in the boxes, which range from gorgeous Afro-centric head scarfs from A+ Curves to banana pudding candles from Shea Shea Bakery. After scrolling through the Unapologetically Single market, it’s clear that Kat and Lezita created these gift boxes with you in mind. You unapologetically single people. You happy people in relationships. You people in situationships having the time of your lives.
After hearing their story and how they created a business by tapping into a literally slept on market, we wanted to share how a little self care, inspiration, and creativity can inspire you to start your own hustle.
Give us an overview of Unapologeticallysingle.com.
Kat: We want it to feel like a lifestyle destination where women can come and talk about love, life, and everything in between. We also have a market where we feature items lovingly curated with single women in mind.
What drove you to create UnapologeticallySingle.com?
Lezita: It was the end of August in 2016 and I was on the way to buy my 3rd baby shower gift and my 1st bridal shower gift of the year. As I was walking around the store looking at the gift registry, I immediately started to think, “I’m 29 years old and I’m not in a relationship NOR am I interested in kids at the moment. What if no one ever celebrates me?” After I left the baby store, I immediately called Kat and we started to brainstorm. Six months later, Unapologetically Single was officially born.
Kat: I was tired of being judged and feeling less than just because of a status. We graduated from college, have great jobs, take care of ourselves and people still feel they can knock you down by saying things like: “You still aren’t married yet?” “That’s why you’re single.” “Pretty, successful and single! You must be crazy.” Our site is not meant to bash men or relationships. We want to create a place to celebrate single women of color, and not continue to inundate them with tips on how to not be single or constantly tell them what they are doing wrong. We want to encourage them to live their lives unapologetically single and to enjoy the process.
How do you choose a product to feature in the gift box?
Kat: It’s simple, I always ask myself, “Is this something that I would be excited to receive or give?” Every day we get more and more people reaching out to us, which is super exciting. We try not to lose focus and stay in line with our brand message and ,of course, our product standards.
Why do you think single women need these gift boxes?
Kat: How many times have you gone into a Target for soap and walked out with countless items because they were cute, made you happy or you just wanted them? We want women to feel they can do the same at our site. We hope that black people will feel comfortable supporting all black-owned businesses with that same sort of effortlessness. We just want to build a community for women to share their thoughts on love, life and everything in-between. And of course, buy some cool shit while they’re there.
Lezita: As a single woman, it’s almost always assumed that you don’t have better things to do with your money or time because you have “less responsibilities or stressors” than everyone else. Our gift boxes are an affordable way to treat ourselves in a world that’s always asking us to focus on others.
I’m a woman in my mid 20s who would love to create my own business but I have no idea where to start. What’s your best advice towards doing so?
Kat: Like Nike says, “Just Do It.” Lezita and I have had so many great ideas but we could never seem to get started. Initially, it can be overwhelming and easier to just sink back into your normal routine or that cushy 9-5, but once you take that initial leap (create a website, buy product, etc.), then it’ll be hard to turn around.
Lezita: Start out by writing down your goals in pencil ( because they WILL change) and from there set a timeline. There is no RIGHT starting point for anyone, but having a timeline will help to keep you on track and in line. Also, be extremely open to change. When Kat and I first started discussing what we thought our business should look like, it was NOWHERE NEAR, where it is today.
What challenges have you faced that are unique to Unapologetically Single?
Lezita: The biggest challenge has been “defining single.” When some people see the words “Unapologetically Single”, they’re automatically off-put because they “gotta good man at home” or because they don’t want to identify as being “ the lonely, single girl.” We’re constantly brainstorming ways to get the message across that “ Unapologetically Single” doesn’t mean you’re sitting at home alone eating cat food waiting to jump off the ledge. Nor does it mean you aren’t dating or enjoying your life.
What is the best lesson you’ve learned so far?
Kat: The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to not rush the process. Of course, I want to make money doing what I love, but it’s not my motivating factor. I’m just enjoying the process of building the business and watching the company grow. I try not to get caught up with what other brands are doing, or compare their success to ours. I just want to feel confident that we are doing our best and putting something out to the world that we are proud of. I feel confident that, if we do that and give it our all, success will come
Lezita: I wholeheartedly agree with Kat. Everyday I remind myself that Rome wasn’t built in a day.
What resources would you recommend for Black woman who are self-employed?
Kat: Honestly, it has been a real learning experience for me. I just try to follow (on Social media) a lot of small business accounts and bloggers who have been where we are and who are not afraid to share their struggles and how they’ve overcome them. One of my current favorite resources is the Facebook page “Brand, Build and Launch with Arsha Jones.” It’s a closed group with 13k like-minded members that are supportive and freely share any tips that will help you build and grow a brand. It’s just a really positive community and I’ve learned a lot and I’ve been inspired to keep pushing from the women there.
Lezita: NETWORK LOCALLY!! It’s so easy to want to reach out to your IG and TWITTER faves to network, however, always keep in mind the local organizations too. Go to that alumni meeting that you’d never normally attend or get involved in city events! You’d be surprised the people that can inspire you or even invest in you just by participating in local events.
What is your professional motto?
Kat: It’s pretty cliché but I live by [this] motto, which really pushes me to take chances. They may not all work out in my favor but at least I know I tried. In combination with that motto, I just really try not to be caught up in worrying about what others might think or say because someone will ALWAYS have something negative to say.
“The most they can do is say no.”
Lezita: Breathe. Let go. And remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure. ~ Muva Oprah Winfrey. With so many outside forces affecting us everyday, I don’t have the time, energy, or the space to waste worrying about what the things I cannot change. The best thing that I can do for myself and my business is to do my very best in the MOMENT and continue to persevere every moment thereafter.
“Remind yourself that this very moment is the only one you know you have for sure.”
Muva Oprah Winfrey